Samhain and its counterpart, Beltane, are the time of access to the wisdom of the natural world and the Ancestors. The energy that is called forth at Beltane and communion with the nature spirits and the Fae stands as the point of inception and quickening of what will move, expand and grow in its form and scope towards the next opportunity. When it comes half wheel cycle to Samhain this energy of communication with and greater access to what lay beyond our physical realms has matured and deepened as we call to the Ancestors to offer up their wisdom. It is this wisdom that will carry us through the darkening of the months, the turning within and the introspection that holds within its womb the spark of Light that will be birthed at the Winter Solstice.
I do a great deal of personal energetic work infusing some of the Eastern mystical practices with those of Western Magick. When drawing on this synthesis and applying it to the energies present at Beltane and Samhain we can use each to inform the other. Beltane’s fires are those of consummate union, celebrated with the union of God and Goddess, male and female. These are the qualities of the polarities held within each of us. Parting the veils at this time is an opening to our natural and instinctual self. The connection to the basic needs and desires that are the promise of continuation of species and cycle of growth and evolution. Energetically, as we enter Samhain’s parting of the veils and its energy we are now ready to open to the experience of our mature and wizened nature and the union of what we may access of the Higher Self informed by the wisdom of our Lower Self. The union of these integral parts of our spiritual and physical states of being enables the transformative reaching out and ultimate connection to the Ancestors who have helped to form who we are.
As we enter into the Dark Half of the year, the winter months and the Sabbats that are held within that space we bring with us the expectations of this growth. We have finished harvesting what had been nurtured from the time of the previous Winter Solstice forward and we hold expectation that the ripe fruits we have carefully selected from this harvest will sustain us through this time of fallow fields, frost and cold. We approach the opening of the veils with great expectations of coming face to face with what visions and mysteries are rooted in our core state of being and align ourselves with the energies of the Dark Goddess and the wisdom of the Crone. It is Her wisdom that takes us into the realms of the Ancestors and the blessings they wish to bestow. And. although we may feel that our intent is clear and purposeful, we often do not embrace every ounce of what lay hidden, largely from fear of what we will lay claim to. Moreover, we hesitate because we are afraid of what the answers that we so dearly seek may be.
For many there is lack of clarity about who and what the Ancestors are. And, this definition will be a variety of things depending on your own beliefs. The Ancestors may be of your own lineage, meaning departed family or those whom offered guidance during their living human existence. If you expand this further and consider that we are all interconnected as spiritual beings, regardless of blood lines, the Ancestors take on the form of all of the great souls who in their incarnation offered teachings, wisdom, and were examples of illuminated and evolved humans. These are those that exemplified the adage that we are Spiritual beings having a physical experience. Most often when you begin the intention of asking for information of the Ancestors, there is greater comfort in the specificity of inquiring of a departed family member or friend. The personal connection and feeling is what makes the difference between asking for help from a Patron or Deity you work with and an Ancestor.
The truth of the matter is that the Ancestors, our guides and guardians want us to succeed. They want us to step fully into the light of who and what we truly are. The Gods and Goddesses want us to become more fully aligned with facing our truths, because then we are better able to see the reality and beauty of their truths. In all of these instances the time of Samhain and the parting of the veils is the optimal time for reaching out and drawing to ourselves the reflected and refined image of understanding that holds everything we need to know.
One of the primary precepts in working with Ancestral wisdom is that of gratitude. Whenever we step into a place of gratitude for what has been received we are aligning ourselves with our Higher Self. Offerings to the Ancestors, altars of remembrance or simply holding a cherished memory in mind strengthen that energetic connection. Opening ourselves to offering up and the act of expressing that gratitude initiates a cycle of receipt and return. It is the universal law of magnetism in action. All that we send out, positive or negative seeks the energy of that which is compatible and similar. Gratitude calls to our place of Spirit within the eternal and the wisdom of those who reside within those realms.
If we are able to stand strong in our conviction and intent to seek the wisdom of our Ancestors as the thinning between the worlds occurs, the information gained becomes the foundation upon which we stand as we begin the process of turning within and integrating what has been received. Like the Hermit of the Tarot, we become the master of our own Will, seeking our truths and finding our way using the light of the lantern of truth.
I would like to invite you to join me on a journey of opening. The pathworking written below may be used anytime. It is particularly useful as a tool at Samhain and during the time between that flows into the Winter Solstice through Imbolc.
A Pathworking of Opening:
Find a quiet space where you will not be disturbed and sit comfortably allowing your breath to establish an even and relaxed rhythm. Make note of any tension you may be holding in your body and as you exhale gently breathe that tension out; allowing it to drop around you like beads of water. Allow any thoughts that wish to have your attention to be acknowledged and then gently let go to pass as leaves in a gently flowing stream. Draw your consciousness up to rest in the space of your third eye and mid-forehead. See in this space a blank inner screen. You are sitting as observer and you take note of a small blue dot of energy that is central within that space. As you continue to breathe deeply and fully you see that the blue sphere is expanding and coming to fill the entirety of the space in front of you. You feel the energy of thousands of tiny blue dots comprising this veil of mist and you issue forth the intent of communing with your Ancestors and seeking their wisdom. You take a deep breath in. As you slowly and gently exhale you step through this mist and emerge to find that you are standing in the center of a moonlit forest clearing. You see the silhouette of tall shapely trees just ahead of you and can smell the fragrant burning of wood wafting through the air.
You offer up a call of invocation to those ancestors you wish to help with the opening of your intuitive sight on this journey. Before the last utterance of name and word is issued you see that an opening has appeared between two of the largest trees just ahead. You walk towards the opening in the trees, passing through a gossamer like veil of multicolored energy. The particles of this veiling are very refined and the sensation is one very much like that of a piece of the softest silk as it is gently drawn across your skin.
As you move forward you now see the flickering of light and the smell of wood burning growing stronger and brighter with each step you take towards this light. As you reach the edge of the trees you see that there is a small clearing centrally located and surrounded by another circle of smaller trees. There appear to be shadowy forms creating a circular shape. As you move closer, you can make out the shapes and forms seated near each of the trees and instinctively know that these are the ancestors you have called to aid you in your working.
A fire is crackling and hissing in the center and offers its light to this darkened space. You move towards the fire and see placed just in front of it a large cauldron sitting atop a very large and round tree stump. You move towards the cauldron and see that it has been filled with water that shimmers from the reflection of fire and candlelight. You look around, hoping to see more clearly the face of those observing, but they are cloaked in a veiling and you don’t have the clarity to see. You hesitate for a moment, unsure that you should be in this space and just as you are about to turn to walk away, you feel gentle yet firm hands on your shoulders. Words fill your mind, not spoken in audible manner but more of a telepathic knowing. You are told that you are welcome in this space and that they have been waiting for you to ask for assistance and guidance. You feel a bit more pressure and come to kneel in front of the cauldron.
You close your eyes and take a deep breath in and pull to the center of your consciousness the question that you have. This question has long been held in the deep recesses of your awareness. It is important now to your future growth and you are in safe space and supportive company that it may freely and have its own will rise to the surface. Holding firmly to the intent of this query, you take another deep breath in and as you exhale you breathe out and into the waters of the cauldron. A swirling of violet mist briefly surrounds you, the cauldron and the flames and just as quickly dissipates as images begin to form on the surface of the waters.
You feel excited and energized at what lie before you and breathe deeply to calm and steady your sight. As the images become clearer an inner dialogue begins of question and answer as to the nature of what you are seeing, how it may be applied and the relevance it has for you at this time. Spend some time gazing deeply, listening purposefully and taking in the sensations that are moving through you.
As the last image and words of explanation fade you feel the energy of what you have experienced rising up and moving through you informing all aspects of your being. It is as though you have drunk an elixir of warm liquid and you feel calm, centered and very much aware of all that is around you. You look into the cauldron once again and see that the waters are shimmering in reflection of the fire; their deeper mysteries cloaked until the next opening and parting of the veils. You rise up and feel more firmly anchored to the earth beneath and connected to the sky above. You turn away from the cauldron and look around at all that surrounds you.
One of the ancestors rises and approaches you. He takes a spark of flame from the hissing fire and holds it before you. He tells you that this is the spark of flame that is held within all living beings and that this flame is what fuels the desire to commune with him and other beings of his kind. It is this flame that opens you to the deeper mysteries you carry within and will warm and light your journey of introspection as the days grow darker and the winter chills the air. He bids you take a deep breath and pushes the glowing flame into the center of your being. There is no discomfort, just a rush of energy and the sense of acceptance and acknowledgment of like attracting like. Everything appears to glow more brightly now and as you look around at each of the faces of the ancestors you called to witness and guide this working, they come into crystal clarity. Take a moment to acknowledge each and offer up gratitude for their blessings and inspiration.
When you have completed this offering, you take a deep breath in and as you exhale the space around you fades. Each inhalation and exhalation dissipates more of the detail and energy of the space. You feel a lightness and exhilarated warmth moving through you and you know that this is a space you will revisit again at the next parting of the veils. You close your eyes and return to the space of being observer of the inner screen within your consciousness. You breathe deeply and think for a moment on your experience, recalling the images and words that were offered in answer. The last memories pass through and you sigh deeply into the next breaths. Each breath brings you back to the physicality of your being, the space in which you began this pathworking and the sounds of life around you.