Most of the year, I keep a small, ceramic box of earth sitting near a figure of Kuan Yin.
The box of earth holds soil from two places. One, more black, is from the field that is in front of my Grandma and Grandpa Wright’s house. Less than a month after his funeral, I walked into the field and was pulled so strongly towards the earth by the strength of his spirit that my knees buckled. The other is more red. It’s from the turned earth that made his grave.
I took it home with me after a solo, fall visit. Not yet calling myself Pagan, and yet, no longer Christian, I felt the need to visit, to bring bread and milk, to pick blackberries from the vines across the road and scatter all on the still-bare ground.
Kuan Yin watches over the box because, although she is not seen as a Deity associated with death, she does hear all the cries of the world. And the bereaved do cry out.
This five-day, public cycle has both made me feel the loss of my Grandpa more sharply than I have in years, and has put me more in touch with the gifts he left me. As I stood in meditation at the Crossroads and called to Hecate, Her lifted torch showed me that all our lives are a crossroads. That in every moment we have the power of choice to see joy, or sorrow, or to stand at the meeting point of both and pull them together to make something greater than either alone.
Physical clutter is in its way the easiest to clear. We can put it in a box or a bag. Donate, sell, discard. It’s the energy of the past that continues to pull at us, sometimes resisting the effort of years to clear it away.
This year, the Samhain crossroads opened for me into a country of green hills and golden light. I met with the ancestors who hold dedicated space on the altar this year. I gave and received compassion. And most of all, the message that while we all have had our hard, difficult times, those times are an essential part of who we become. But it’s a mistake to let them poison the rest of our lives with fear.
I buried a small, black bundle representing the past issues I’ve worked with this week. I felt instantly lighter and joyous, yet a little sad that it’s gone. Change is hard. And now, I no longer have the excuse of acting out of past experience. I have pledged to move forward, and I must.
Even the cave that I once visited during an intensive period of shadow work had changed. Instead of being dark and dry, it shimmered with veins of light. A waterfall flowed down one wall and into other chambers.
One of the cards I drew upon returning is the Japanese Goddess Uzume. Like Baubo in the Demeter and Persephone myth, Uzume used a silly, bawdy dance to draw her Goddess out of a funk. In the Japanese myth, it’s Amaterasu the Sun Goddess who comes out of her cave and shines upon the Earth once more, ending winter. In the Demeter myth, it’s Baubo who cheers up Demeter, giving the Earth Goddess the spunk to demand her daughter back, restoring spring and growth to the world.
Why it’s a crone shaking her breasts and lifting her skirts that helps bring back the sunshine is a topic for another day. The message I took for now is, laughter and gratitude go a along way towards helping free us from the dead energies of the past.
The action message I got from my journeys was for the next 28 days, keep a gratitude journal. At least three things a day I am grateful for. This is an old method for changing attitudes, and it’s one I’m a little embarrassed I’ve never actually done. But when the ancestors have a suggestion on Samhain, we carry it out.
In addition to today’s meditation, I also will perform a ritual on astrological Samhain. This year that is November 6, when the sun reaches 15 degrees Scorpio. It’s an annual divination/art project that I’ll write about later.
For today, I recommend that you use the altar or art work created for clearing clutter from your soul. I added a few items to my altar. I sprinkled corn from their farm in front of Grandma and Grandpa’s picture, then added the ceramic box of soils. I put milk in a small cup in front of the Faery house, and added one of my Hag Stones.
I lit the white candle at the crossroads symbol, and the one representing Inanna. I also lit the Star Goddess candle on my working altar. I cast a circle. I meditated.
To begin your ritual journey, concentrate on the altar or art images. Call to the ally who came forth in yesterday’s working. Visualize a crossroads, or a hillside with Standing Stones, or even an opening in the earth. All are good keys for opening our perception to the world across the Veil. If you have an image which speaks more to you, please use that.
Move with your ally towards the entrance to this other world. Remember that you are safe, and your ally is there to support you.
Ask your ally how he or she can help you as you continue to clear away physical and emotional blocks that keep you from the life you want to lead.
If there is another figure who seems to be blocking your way, ask who or what it is. This may be an important clue to your healing. Listen to what your challenger has to say. See if you can extend compassion, love or kindness to your challenger. This can be very healing. If that does not feel possible or appropriate at this time, do not. You must judge for yourself what seems right for you.
Remember that you may perceive images, or hear voices. You may sense movement or pressure, or smell a loved one’s perfume. Be open and accept what comes without judgment.
If you are new to this kind of work, don’t feel like you have failed if it seems you haven’t received a clear message. Accept that the information may have been passed along beneath your conscious perception. Also realize that the message may come later.
If it feels right, ask questions. Give compassion if you need to, accept it if offered.
After you feel you have spent enough time in meditation or ritual communion, return to your body and the physical room. Journal and draw cards or runes if you would like more information. After you have closed the ritual space, eat something.
If you would like to chat about your experiences this week, or in your ritual work, feel free to do so in the comments section or more privately in the Decluttering for the Soul Facebook Group.