Samhain Blog 2021

Greetings from Ravensdale at the foot of the Cooley mountains in Ireland. We are at this moment in time crossing over into the season of Samhain and transitioning from the end of the old year to the beginning of a brand new year,   Samhain is a crucially important festival which  celebrates endings and beginnings and space in between   them.   The festival and the rituals  associated with each festival  prepare us for the  journey into that  season’s  energies  and  awakening within us the necessary  skills and  dispositions  that will support each of us  as we engage with what unfolds , both within us,  and within the world.  

This is Samhain….winter time, a time of reflection a time of sinking; of surrendering into what is. It is not a submissive act rather a conscious decision to align oneself with the actual reality of the moment.  

Samhain is a time when the veils between the physical and spiritual worlds are thin and, a time when if we wish we can open up to the spiritual world.  

It is a time when we can connect with our personal ancestors and perhaps invite them to come into our lives   perhaps offering   their support in our lives.   Knowing more about our personal ancestors, we can claim those gifts which are a part of our heritage, of our DNA but which may have become dormant over the past centuries.  We acknowledge the woundedness that caused   them and us to abandon those gifts, and we reclaim them now to be used in the creation of a new and healthier society. 

Samhain, at the end and  beginning of the Celtic year, is  a time to reflect  with gratitude  on the year  which has been completed.

Take a moment to reflect your past year remembering moments of birth, of budding, of flowering, of harvesting, of death, of stagnation and waiting. 

Give thanks for it all, the blessings, the lessons learned, and release with gratitude everything from that time which is now completed.  

  Look back and give thanks  Look forward  and take  courage  

This is the season which is overseen by the Cailleach energy that aspect of the Feminine/Goddess energy related to death which leads in time to rebirth. 

 This energy  demands that that we surrender into the darkness of wintertime with its restrictions and  limitation  for outer activities.  The energy present in the season of Samhain brings us down into the depths of ourselves .This is where we can look at aspects of ourselves which  may not be pleasant for us to see  yet    our willingness to engage with the Cailleach  energies  will  supports us to transform these aspects into nourishment for our soul journey .In this Samhain season  the deep, dark, feminine energy of the Cailleach that support our inner growth. 

 I invite you to read the Cailleach poem slowly while  looking at the  Cailleach   wooden image  

An Cailleach 

Stinging gales, trees denuded of foliage, and the damned 

Look for a cave to live in. Winter ways 

Over and over telling us to slow down, to hibernate 

Homeward. With a passion and a letting go 

Of youth and the careless days of brilliant dreams 

And gentle caresses. Now, expectations spent 

on a road so long explored nearly reaching Eden 

Never touched. Time to take stock of our lives 

That very nearly touched the stars in the heavens 

Full of mysteries ah, my dear old woman 

I feel the wrinkles on the face of your wooden effigy. 

Tell me your stories, Wise Brigid and I will tell you mine. 

Full of many things we did this year, 

Of action and reaction and the savage times 

Behind us and ahead. I follow you into friendly darkness, 

The deepest darkness of surrender. 

The chink of light appears, the light that 

Shines then slowly expands. Our liberation 

Unleashed at that moment. My dear ones, 

The beginning of that long journey called hope 

And the cries of a Baby are heard again.  –   Brid McDonnell    

Simple Samhain Rituals   

To create your Samhain fire    

Use a small container or fire pit to light the Samhain fire, or create the fire using either 3 or 9 tea lights.  Traditionally the Samhain fire was lit at Tlaghta (near the hill of Tara) by 9 women using the wood from 9 different Irish trees such as Beech, Oak, Ash, Holly, Hazel, Birch, Rowan, Alder, Willow, Hawthorn, use a twig of any of these trees that are available to you or call in the energy of the tree     

 Use  a bowl or container  filled with water ( from  a holy well if possible) 

Releasing into the cauldron at Samhain    

Each of us is invited to reflect on something which is raw and painful in our lives, something which is not yet resolved or completed.  

Ask yourself “What are you willing to release/sacrifice into the cauldron at this festival of Samhain so it can be transmuted by the power of Fire and Water and the energy of the Cailleach into nourishing creative energy for your journey?” 

 To sacrifice means to be willing to let go of something in order for something new to be born into our lives. 

Release something that is no longer serving you by saying,  

“I release …………. into this cauldron may it be transformed and transmuted by the power of Fire and Water and the dark feminine energy of the Cailleach into nourishment for my soul journey.      

Even though you may be doing this ritual on your own, remember that you are connected with all the other people who are also doing this ritual and so we   connect with each other now through this prayer;  

Let us pray these powerful lines from John O’Donohue’s poem for ourselves our friends and families 

“May all that is un-forgiven in me/ and everyone be released  

May all fears yield their deepest tranquilities?  

May all that is unlived in me and in everyone blossom into a future,  

Graced  with  love 

To ground those dreams, gather some seeds, acorns, marigolds, sunflowers…….and a pot of clay      

As you plant the seed say “I plant the seed of…… my life and I commit myself to nourishing its growth during the Samhain season sure of its emergence in springtime” 

With hands extended say  

I bless these seeds and my commitment to nurture them

May they bear fruit in me and in my life in perfect time”    

Ask for the support you need to ensure the best outcome  

What gifts do I need from the Universe for the year to come?   Who do I call on for support?   Be willing to ask in prayer for what you need knowing that you will receive it 

A Caim (Encircling) Prayer from the Celtic tradition  

Circle me / us with peace – keep light and love within, keep danger without. 

Circle me/ us through this day – keep childlike trust within, keep fear without.Circle me /us this night – keep health and peace within, keep dis-ease without. Deep peace of the quiet earth, deep peace of the flowing air, deep peace of the ocean’s depth, deep peace of the God of peace. Amen. 

May you be blessed tis Samhain season. Le beannachtai Dolores  

Resources to support your knowledge of the Wisdom of the Celtic year Check out the perpetual  Celtic  calendar    The Cd  A journey Through the Celtic  Year and book Ever Ancient Ever New  all available  from

Details of upcoming talk and  workshops on Zoom and in person  will be posted on