Samhain season is here. The clocks have fallen back in Europe and North America. This is the season of the Cailleach (sounds like call-yuck). She is the Old ‘Un, considered the creatrix of the island of Ireland. The myth says that this Mother Winter piled stone upon stone to create this island in the North Atlantic. While autumn temperatures are still nmild here, and the Virginia creeper was slow to turn crimson, the darkness has crept in. I want to be a bear and sleep in my den. Maybe that has to do with solar flares, or the clock time shifting around, or the darkness that requires artificial light in at least some corners of the house all day. How did they cope before electrification? Most any time of the day requires some extra light for reading or writing or any close work…
While not ascribing to writer’s block, I do believe there are creative lulls. Sometimes it just needs to be pen down. Meanwhile, I have hoked out bag after bag of comfrey root before dibbing in many kilos of narcissus bulbs to naturalise. I also felt an urge to make an effigy of the Cailleach. Tis her season after all! And then I still had some wool and made her a Wyrd Little Sister. Or Maid. Or Assistant in the creation of the world. While the Wyrd Sister has the button face that many folk Bridéogs have had, I really felt that the Cailleach needed a blank face…sort of like Original Face, since she is Origin. I also found a piece of felled tree branch that works as a stick for her to lean on and into the winter gales. She is a giantess and the Wryd Little Sister is considerably smaller even with her bending into the wind. They have stones in their aprons in accordance with some legends and stones at their feet as they empty load upon load. Creation begins…over and over.
Which really does prove that putting tools down and getting away from the screen or the page can fuel your creativity. Sometimes, some other creative activity will fill your well. I play with wool, collage, cook, bake; I specialise in garden demolition work! The words will come eventually, but first I need to shush the mind chatter and emotional whirlwinds. I need the silence. Perhaps silence is the writer’s equivalent tool to an artist using chiaroscuro in a painting. Silence helps delineate the light and shadow.
Onward to the Weekly Poem in its infant form… It arises from a interrogating myself on what do I want and need to myself at this Samhain time.
Silence and Juice I want more... silence to quell the deep uncertainty out there beyond our small sanctuary of green beginning to sleep, beds caped against frost, for the frost will come, it will bite, it will bleed the juice from the comfrey that will wilt and blacken and lie flat down on the ground, macerating. I want some of that juice. Let it flow. Let it allow something new to grow. Let it be strong and useful and somehow even a little bit beautiful. I need some of that juice from the get go. Also deep sleep, like some bear in its winter lair. I need this darkness though some may feel despair... There is the soft heart beat of seeds waiting for more light, for more warmth, for some water and some wind, some thing... I need to just put my ear to the ground counting earth's twenty-three beats per minute even in the winter, even in the dark, even in the cold. I want silence for myself, but I need the beat. I want the beat for myself in the silence. I need the silence to hear the beat. I need the beat to soften the silence. I need to trust the unexpected. I want to pay the price of all with my all.
If you need a little light in the season of darkness I am going to be conducting some Sunday Zoom reflective writing sessions from the first night of the Festival of Light, Hanukah, until Winter Solstice on 21st December. Because this is a spendy time of year I am only requesting a donation, pay what you are able. Sometimes you just need to have a lighthouse in your living/dining room and beam it out so others don’t run aground. Message me if you are interested in joining.