~ from cats, dogs and nature to the flowering of body, mind and spirit ~

Saturday, October 31, 2009

And to Her we shall return

Life and Death are not opposites.
Birth and Death are.
Life is always.

Because we were suddenly blessed with a balmy (67 deg) evening, I decided to go outside to the labyrinth to celebrate Samhain and honor those of my loved ones who have died. In many pagan traditions, this evening is when the veil is thinnest between the worlds and thus our connection is stronger to those whose spirits are no longer in the forms in which we once knew them. The forecast was for rain but, in spite of an overcast sky, we had only experienced the occasional light sprinkle.

I gathered some supplies and candles, and as I stepped out the door I heard some rain droplets pelting the dead leaves everywhere. I continued to the labyrinth, lighting candles on the outside at the four directions and a large one in the center.

As I spoke the names of my loved ones - two-legged and four-legged - who have died over the years, I honored their lives in form, expressing gratitude for the gifts of love, wisdom, and companionship they shared with me. I still feel compelled each year to ask forgiveness for any hurt I may have caused in whatever form it may have manifested. As raindrops fell on my upturned face, I realized that they represented tears of sorrow and joy, grief and pain; tears I have shed as well as those I may have been unable to release before. Tears of letting go.

The night was dark because of the overcast sky so the nearly full moon could only barely cast her glow through the clouds to silhouette our sentinel pines, but still I was drawn to walk the path. I wanted to release any negative emotions of the past - to set them free and let go of those that might be holding me back in some way. I asked my ancestors and loved ones to guide me, knowing we are all One, always, no matter where we are, on what plane in what incarnation -- we are still One - part of each other - connected through our joint experiences of love in the world of form.

So, as I walked the dark labyrinth, I turned off my flashlight, only the light of the candles at the four corners and center lit -- only the pale glow of the night sky that looked more like smoke -- keeping total blackness at bay. But I realized as I walked that the night was perfect. The path perfect. I shuffled my feet through the thick layer of leaves, taking small steps along the path, guided more by feel than anything else. The flat path a contrast with the edges of the large, dark rocks that lined the path, the hardness halting my feet when I needed to turn. I trusted my feet and the rocks to guide me -- and I embraced the reminder that I could also trust Gaia (Source, Infinite Spirit, She of Ten Thousand Names) and my loved ones to guide my path in this life of form, to help me know/see when to turn or pause or reflect - when to be tentative and patient or bold and forthright. To see that if I release the past -- my fears, the negative patterns -- then I can trust in love to guide my steps where I need to go.

And as I stopped in the center, releasing, I sighed from deep within, raising arms and face to the sky. Beautiful indeed. Light sprinkles of rain fell on my cheeks and I smiled in gratitude -- to Gaia, to my loved ones -- for love, guidance and wisdom bestowed now and to come.

Walking out of the labyrinth is a time to embrace, to welcome in joy and love, beauty and wisdom, the peace of knowing that all is as it should be past, present and future. As I walked, I sang:
"We all come from the Goddess, and to Her we shall return,
like a drop of rain, flowing to the ocean."

I felt the moon's glowing, healing energy pouring down upon me, infusing me, lighting the way. The path that earlier seemed so dark, was now far more clear, softly lit, water on tips of leaves twinkling like little fireflies. The message is also clear. My path is always right there in front of me and all I have to do is trust and step forward into the light of Love.

I am blessed. We are blessed.
I am never alone. We are never alone or separated.
I am filled with gratitude. We have so much to be grateful for.
I am loved. I love. We love.
We are all One.

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