CYCLES OF THE EARTH
SAMHAIN & THE WINTER TIDE
At this time of increasing darkness, life retreats in the face of cold days and returning frost. The autumnal colour falls away to reveal the monochrome silhouettes of the trees and fallen leaves impact underfoot to form a deep carpet on the quiet land, now resting after its summer long outpouring of abundant growth. This transition brings the cycle of fertility to a close. This is the end of the ancient year, marked by the Celtic festival of Samhain, where the Dark Goddess, the Great Crone, holds sway. Here, as a counterpoint to the growing darkness, the fire and light of the orange flames of the bonfire and the pungent scent of its wood-smoke fill the cold night air in a celebration of the passing of the year. Yet darker nights are still to come. This is the time of release and letting go of old forms, of cutting away the vestiges of what has flourished and whose time is over, releasing its elements back into the eternal cycle of birth, death and rebirth. This is a time for waiting in quiet contemplation, seeking insight and inner illumination, until the dark has reached its zenith and light must return. At that time the seeds of our hopes and wishes for the year to come can then be engendered, with the first rays of the return of the light, at the Winter Solstice.
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