I don't claim the label of "pagan" or "Wiccan" for myself, but the Celtic calendar's spiritual significance speaks to me. This time of year has always been my favorite and full of meaning. Perhaps observing the new year at a nonstandard time of year makes it easier for me to do so in a thoughtful manner. Whatever the reason, this is my time for reflection on what has passed and what may be coming.
In the Celtic tradition, Samhain marks a time when the veil between the physical world and the spiritual world is very thin, allowing for easier access of one side from the other. The chill in the air and the falling leaves accents this as the wind physically changes the external view of the world. Trees release their leaves, which swirl and fall, seemingly dying. And yet, the rich smell of decay as they become soaked with rain is a harbinger of new life just below the surface waiting to be called forth in the spring. Rather than seeing this as a dormant time, I see it as a pregnant waiting, nurturing life.
As one who is not only experiencing a great many transitions but also actively courting them, I consider what leaves I am dropping and what will spring from their remains. I have released a great deal of what we generally call security for the hope of new growth. But I doubt, on some level, that security even exists. Everything that we hold dear can be taken from us without notice through disease or catastrophe. And I fear that many grasp at the illusion of security only to find that they hold stagnation in their hands. So, perhaps, all I have released there is an illusion.
I have released some very solid stumbling blocks both in the physical and mental realms and risked the consequences of going against the societal grain. However, society has never particularly rewarded me for my conformity and I have only released things that were not serving me well. I have given up the illusion of acceptance for the possibility of self-actualization. So, this is my time of watching some of my illusions fall away.
What may be coming in their place, I wonder? Of that I cannot be sure. The nature of waiting through pregnancy requires general preparation with only the assurance that there is something to prepare for. The new life springing forth could have any number of different traits and characteristics. Boy, girl, tall, short, blue eyes, blond hair, bright, slow. The only thing that is known is that there is a high likelihood that new life will be coming. We cannot even know exactly when it will arrive.
So, I'm settled in for my nesting period. Wrapped in a warm shawl against the chill and eagerly awaiting what might appear at any moment.
Teacher Voices: Stewart Matthews - Here's another post in my continuing series on teacher voices. I'm interviewing some of my former students who have gone on to become teachers. In this po...
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