Blog for website Samhain 2011

My name is Dolores Whelan and I want to welcome you to my first ever blog.  This feels like an exciting new adventure for me one I hope that you will also enjoy. Welcome to the Celtic New Year which begins with the Season of Samhain. The festival of Samhain which is celebrated from Oct 31st till Nov 2nd represents the space between the old and New Year.  20 years ago I celebrated the festival of Samhain for the first time.

Since then I have studied the season, the festivals and the ritual practises associated with the festivals of the Celtic year. During this period the festivals have come alive in me and have become a significant part of my lived reality… In Ever Ancient Ever New (2006/ 2011) I wrote extensively about the Celtic year and the significance of reclaiming it wisdom in 21st century. In 2007 I created an audio CD “A Journey through the Celtic Year “which also explores the many different layers and aspects of the Celtic calendar and the sophisticated mindset of the people who created and lived by this calendar. This year I have collaborated with Cynthai Matyi ( an American artist whose work specialises in modern interpretations of Celtic designs. Together we have co-created a Perpetual Celtic calendar using reproductions of Cynthia’s paintings and insights about the seasons of the Celtic year from my work. We are both delighted with the beauty and the wisdom present in this piece of sacred work. The calendar is available through both of our websites. So why all this focus on the Celtic Year? I believe that held within this calendar are many of the essential teachings of the Celtic and pre- Celtic peoples that have endured throughout the Millennia.

The Celtic year begins with the season of Samhain where in the northern hemisphere the days become shorter and the nights longer… Darkness and death is visible everywhere in the natural world.  This is a time for inwardly focused activity and for reflecting and dreaming. It is a time when the seeds of the coming year’s possibilities are nurtured deep with the earth… The season of Samhain is a profoundly important season, not only because of what happens in the earth but also within the human journey. Right now we, as a society, are in a Samhain season.  In order to engage with the energies of Samhain in a way that will bring  transformation  and new life, we need to learn about this season, Its gifts and its challenges, we need to  know the skills that are needed to successfully negotiate this season. So what are these skills?  They include a willingness to become still, to listen deep within, and to develop the feminine qualities of being, of surrender and active waiting for subtle signs. In this season letting go of what no longer serves us is another essential task. This can be very challenging for those of us who constantly want to be active and DO and be in control! The Cailleach (or the hag) aspect of the Divine Feminine is the dominant energy that operates within this season. This energy insists that we allow her to guide us as we move deeper into the void until we reach the place of surrender and stillness at the winter solstice (Dec 21st). Only when we arrive at this point can the new possibility present itself to us. It is only at this time of immense darkness that the birth of the new light, new life, new possibilities begins.

I wish you every blessing in your journey during this Samhain season. May you have the courage to allow yourself to sink into that deep creative place, where transformation and new life are to be found?