From one fire to another

Last night was Halloween. Did you dress up? Have trick-or-treaters at your door? Halloween (October 31) is the holiday I reserve for the fun, cultural aspects of this particular season. I enjoy the knocks on the door and walking around in the dark. I admit I take a perverse pleasure in getting to peek inside people’s homes. I don’t enjoy the abundance of cheap sugary crap and “sexy” costumes, but much of that can be avoided with a little creativity and diligence.

My kids dressed up as Luigi (from the Mario Brothers game). Son was Firepower Luigi and daughter was regular ol’ Luigi. My husband dressed up as LeBron James. I went as myself: “sexy” theologian. Hey, at least I amuse myself. Hopefully I’ll have some pictures to post later in the week.

Now, with that sugar fest behind us, I can turn to the more meaningful aspects of the season. Today is All Saint’s Day and Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead); tomorrow is All Soul’s Day. Tonight my family will observe our dumb supper. Adam’s grandmother has not passed; in fact, she’s doing better and is doing well in her own home. No new faces will grace our table this year.

This time of year I honor Death and I choose to welcome the Dead into my home. A common refrain is ‘the veils between the world are thin.’ I don’t know if I feel this or have experienced it, but I do feel a shift. Autumn is fully entrenched here in the Pacific North West. Dinner times are dark. I feel the energy shift within me and without.

I’m feeling weary from all the blazing of the fires of summer. My ashes are smoldering and I need time to sit with the embers as the die down, reflect on what has burnt to the ground, and prepare for the cold that comes when that fire goes out. It’s time to light a smaller fire, one that will warm me through winter as I hibernate, gestate – all those good hunkering down metaphors.

This year I have felt the fires acutely. I have been burned, I have blazed, I have seen the fires consuming those around me. Burn, burn it all to the ground, so that we can rise like phoenixes. But I’m tired. Really, profoundly tired. It means I won’t be attending a Feri ritual on Saturday; I just can’t make the 80 minute drive each way. I’m not sure I would have anything to offer. I’m not sure how able I am to connect with the spirit world right now. That disappoints me.

But I feel the fires. I honor that. I’ll sit with that. Maybe I’ll have more to report later and maybe I won’t.

Happy Samhain to all! May your fires be contained and may you find rest and celebration around them.

About Niki Whiting

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