All Hallows

Isn’t She amazing? That is one of the Macnas puppet sculptures made for the Samhain parade this year in Galway that was published on Facebook.  Julia Dinen captured this amazing moment where the two worlds are side by side. Just as we are this Halloween.  Which is a big enough holiday to warrant a bank holiday weekend each year. It is Celtic New Year’s Eve tonight.The Irish for this celebration in Samhain. (Say it Sow -like the female pig – in). This is the night when our world is separated from ‘the other’ with a tissue thin veil between us. We can see things we would ordinarily not be able to discern.

To me that puppet in the photograph is the Cailleach, the oldest female ancestor. She is said to have created the world – or at least the Irish part of it – by emptying her apron of stones to pile into a cairn that became Eireann.  This is the night for connecting with the ancestors beyond the veil. And while some are spooked out by that thought – hence disguising your pretty children so they will not be spirited off stage left behind that curtain veil, – others know this is the best night of the year to do any form of divination. It is a time to both let go of an old year, as well as look to the future and what it holds. And it is well to leave an offering out – for the ancestors or the fairies – to garner blessings of good luck in the year ahead. A tot of whiskey or poitín (or tea if you have taken The Pledge), some honey and cream or milk are good to leave on your doorstep. Make sure that the birds and other critters have something, too. They are all part of the ancestral tapestry.

So it seems appropriate for today’s poetry practice to take a kind of incantory feeling.


All Hallows


Tossing the ancestral bones.

See how they fall.

Inscribe a rune on a stone.

See how they fall.


Speak to us from the beyond.

Watch how they fall.

Speak in the flick of a flame.

Seek direction.


Night has fallen upon earth.

Watch how it falls.

The dead feel close this dark night.

Speak from beyond.


Tossing the ancestral bones.

Inscribing runes on a stone.

Scrying from our hearthside flames.

Seeking tarot to declaim.


See how they fall.

Watch how they fall.

Part the night’s veil.

Beloved dead we hale.

Speak from beyond

before the next dawn.


Copyright © Bee Smith 2018


Featured image by Julia Dinen at Galway’s Macnas Samhain Parade 2018.

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