“I feel the nights stretching awayAnnie Finch
thousands long behind the days
till they reach the darkness where
all of me is ancestor.”
This time in between Samhain and the Winter Solstice is a time of descent. We descend into our inner being; into our darkness to find what it is we will bring into being at the Winter Solstice. We look into ourselves and contemplate. Samhain is a time of the ancestors. We acknowledge and celebrate their influence on our lives. The Three Ancestors are those of our bloodlines, our inspiration, and the land:
We thank the ancestors of our bloodlines for our physical form and the wonder of our being here at all. We acknowledge the long lines of family stretching back to the beginnings of time; our ancestors taking many different forms and living many different lives. Through them we inherit stories of cultures, lessons of life, and innate abilities of our bodies and minds. They are alive in us, in our very being and bodies. Without them we would not be.
We thank the ancestors of our inspirations. They are the teachers, guides and those who pass on tradition and truth. Through them we have seen our own truth. We have been given ideas, words and practices that are a part of who we are today. The lineages of these ancestors stretch back though time, with ideas merging together, separating, and finding new forms along the way. We give thanks for all we have received. For without them we would not be who we are today.
We thank the ancestors of the land we stand on. All those whose stories have been left like echoes in the land. The energy of the presence still lingers on for us to know. We feel their presence everywhere around us. These are the indigenous people of the land, the story keepers, and all others who have passed by here. We recognize all the land as sacred and thank the land and its spirits for the messages they bring to us. Without the ancestors of the land we would not be in the world as we know it today.
Into the cauldron within us, the essences of the three ancestors brew. We add our own energy and essence, our own experience and our own unique mix of ideas, experiences and truth. The cauldron is the womb of the goddess from which all life comes. It is the place of Cerridwen’s brew of Awen – the spirit of creativity. Here magic happens. It happens in the present moment, in the recognition of all that we are; the inspiration of the three ancestors helping us to understand ourselves deeply. From the cauldron we find the light within that we will pass on to others – to the descendants. These might be our children, our students, those we guide in life, and those who will walk in our footsteps on this land. We offer our own story to them so that they too might carry on the flame of their own cauldron to others.
At Samhain we acknowledged the ancestors; we found presence in the cauldron and lit our flames for the descendants. Now we spend time in contemplation of this action.
What is this flame that we are to pass along?
How will it come to new life at the winter solstice?
What is it that is burning inside of us, waiting to be born?
What will we pass on to the descendants?
What is our legacy for the future?
These are the questions for this time of year. Be still, welcome the dark time of the year that welcomes us in silence and meditation, and ponder what you will be bringing forth in the coming winter solstice.
Julie Brett is the author of the book Australian Druidry as well as the founder of Druids Down Under. She is passionate about Druidry and the magic of the Australian landscape.