rituals the seasons

My rituals for this weekend’s portal into the new year

4 Nov 2019

All births begin in the dark. There is a passage from nothingness to somethingness, from chaos to order, from emptiness to fullness, from the void to the veritable. But the journey from the deep dark mystery of an idea to the manifestation + reality of its embodiment does not happen overnight. In fact, it is often a quiet, solitary, lonely, difficult process. And that process, that journey, is exactly the portal that we have crossed into this weekend.

Luckily, I’ve had the pure joy of having 4 days off from work, which means that I’ve been able to really sink down into the vibes of this sacred weekend. I’ve very much intentionally created space to listen to my soul + to engage in rituals that were exactly the medicine that I needed to help me shift from the descending days of October to November’s days deep in the heart of the cave.

One of the things that I talked about in the beginning of October was my desire to turn off the noise from outside influences + rely solely (ok, mostly solely) on my inner wisdom. With that in mind, I didn’t seek out newsletters, blog posts, or any other person’s thoughts + ideas (mostly) of what kinds of rituals to celebrate during this most hallowed weekend.

Instead, since I had the luxury of being at home + choosing how I wanted to spend my time, I created space + my own meaningful rituals to help me celebrate, remember, and soak in the messages + moments of this magical portal.

Samhain/Halloween

Before I get too deep into the weekend, I must recognize what has come before. Back in September, I celebrated the equinox by acknowledging the changing of the seasons, which thrust us into the darkest half of the year. No longer was the light of day longer than the dark. From the end of September onward until March, darkness rules. The hours of dark were now more than the hours of light. Autumn had officially begun, and so also began the descent into the deepest, darkest part of the year.

Now, at the end of October, Halloween + Samhain arrives, and the descent is complete. Death has returned. Nature has surrendered to the cycle of life and the end of the earth’s year has arrived. All Hallow’s Eve (Halloween) is the festival to recognize + celebrate endings, darkness, and night.

So, on a cloudy Samhain day, I woke early, lit candles, and settled into the dark. I drank coffee + listened to music. I wrote in my journal whatever poured out of my soul. I created an altar to my loved ones who have gone before. I burned sage throughout the entire apartment, releasing the old + clearing out the year that has passed. I pulled oracle cards + tapped into my intuition’s message to me.

And, then, on Halloween night, I took a long, long walk at sunset (about 3:30 in the afternoon up here in Sweden). I took with me some dried eucalyptus leaves and dried rose petals to lay as an offering at the base of my sacred tree. A symbol of releasing the old, of acknowledging death, and returning to the earth.

This day, at sundown, was the opening of the portal. This was when I accepted + entered the deep, dark void that will reign from now until the winter solstice.

All Saint’s + All Soul’s

They say that the veil is thin during this holy weekend. That spirits are closer than usual. And there are traditions all around the world that celebrate + remember their loved ones during this sacred dark time. As nature dies and the leaves return to the the earth, so too, are we reminded of death. A natural part of the life-death-life process, this weekend, when death feels so near, is the perfect moment to share in a ritual of remembering or celebrating.

I gathered photos of me + my grandparents to create my own little Samhain/All Saint’s Day altar. A space where I can honor them. Where I can remember their lives + celebrate my own. A space where I can acknowledge the sacred lineage running from them to me. And ponder how to continue my own story, inspired by theirs.

Honestly, I was so moved by my little make shift altar with photos, candles, and a rose that I found myself shedding tears of grief + joy for the first time in years. It was such a cleansing + sweet moment for me.

Now, after celebrating life death, and having entered the portal, I was securely settled in the heart of the darkness. The place where I would surrender to the endings of the past + meet my soul. Empty + alone.

November is the cave

Now that the hallowed weekend has ended + November has begun, now that we have faced death, celebrated it, mourned the endings, and released the old… now we have crossed through the portal and are in the dark. The descent is complete.

I feel as if I am standing deep in a cold, dark, damp, ancient cave. Deep in the earth. In the void of nothingness. In the mystical space where I return to my inner truth. Where I come home to my self. Where I feel + listen + connect to spirit + earth + soul.

This is the time for uncomfortable, quiet introspection, preparation, and rest. This is where silent magic, ancient wisdom, and inner power are found. This is where I find the essence of my being.

Nature invites us to plunge deep into our souls during these long, dark days + nights. To turn inward, to wander downward, to enter the cave of our heart. Only in the quiet, cold, mysterious darkness of this month, can we reach the ancient messages of the past, the wisdom of our ancestors, and our own intuitive powers within us. We need November. We need to come home. 

The new year begins now

It is the custom of many to celebrate the beginning of a new day with sundown on the night before. What is new, what is waiting to be born, begins in the dark. It does not begin with sunrise, but with sunset. It does not begin with birth, but with pregnancy.

The dark night is a period of rest, recuperation, mystical dreams, planning, preparing, and waiting. Pregnancy is the period of gestation, grown, preparation, and the mysterious miracle of creation. All of the silent, magical work done before the sun rises from below the horizon or a baby travels from the womb to the world.

In the silent, lonely cave of our heart is where something new waits to be born. Here is where the seeds of the new year are planted. Where the whispers of a beginning are barely heard. Where all of nature, and ourselves, simply rest in the deep dark night. Seemingly not doing anything. And, yet, magically, something is being formed as we are drawn forward by the simple, quiet revelations of the dark. Even in the silence + the dark, we are learning, realizing, and transforming. 

So, don’t be afraid my friend. Yes, it’s dark + lonely + damp down in the cave. But, look around. Listen to the silence. Ancient messages + truths are revealed on the walls of our heart, just like the symbols + messages in the caves of the ancient people of the earth. 

Trust the cycle of life. Trust the turning of the wheel. We will not be in the darkness of November forever. But, while we are here, we are receiving medicine for our soul.

And, we are beginning a whole new journey. From deep within. Preparing, resting, planning, dreaming. Soon, the journey outward will begin. But, for now, know that the new year has already begun. We are already deep in the heart of becoming. Believe in the process. And dwell in the darkness. 

Passing through the portal

With the turning of the wheel + the sacred flow of the seasons, we have traveled from the autumn equinox… descended into the dark… celebrated death + endings…. passed through the portal of this sacred weekend… entered the deep, dark cave… and are now settling into the mystical void of the next six weeks.

Before we know it, December’s solstice will be upon us + the darkness will meet the light.

For now, rest. Listen. Feel. And, remember, November is the month of gathering + homecoming. For finding our way back to family, but also for finding our way back to our souls. For daring to engage in rituals that help us to slow down + tap into those mysterious whispers in the dark. Something new is waiting to be born. And it is now, as we’ve passed through the portal of this weekend, that we start the preparations.

xoxo. liz

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