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Dancing with Light and Shadow at Samhain

November 3, 2020

When Hands of Change picked the theme of “dancing with light and shadow” this year, we didn’t have any idea of what was in store for us. We hold a coven divination at Samhain each year, but I don’t think we were in any way prepared for the amount of shadow coming our way.

At the beginning of the Great Pause, I remember thinking that by the end of it, we will all know someone who has passed beyond the veil. This year has certainly been filled with many shadows, from the incredibly polarized political climate to unrest and conflict to illness and deaths.

In order not to be paralyzed by the shadow, we have to remember and rekindle the light. This is our dance as lightbearers, healers, and magical people. The dance of creation is the dance of the phoenix, rising from the ashes of immolation. The dance of rebirth is the shaking down of the old to create the new. Courage comes to us from the fires of creation.

Photo by Juan Encalada on Unsplash

At this time of year, we often descend to the Underworld to commune with our honored dead and to say goodbye to those we have lost in the previous year. It is a time when we as Wiccans remind ourselves that those who have passed beyond the veil are not really lost to us, but waiting for us on the other side.

We’ve had what amounts to a month of Samhain ritual, starting with a procession to the goddess Ereshkigal in the Underworld at Ishtarfest to petition her on behalf of our beloved dead, then a last rites Wiccan Prayer Gathering called Holy Mud, then our small coven-only Samhain and coven divination for next year, and finally the public Samhain scheduled on Sunday Nov. 8 at 4 p.m. EST. (see our FaceBook event or join our mailing list for details).

Right now I feel more in tune with Demeter wandering the earth, bereft of her daughter Kore than with Persephone, the queen of the Underworld. The land has been blighted by the events of 2020, and Demeter has left her mark upon our souls.

It is in this dark time that we reach deep inside to find the light, to be a beacon for those in our communities overshadowed by death, discouragement, and disease. For those who are able, we dance the dance of the New Year as the wheel turns, spinning joy into our lives and beaming that joy to those around us. No one benefits from remaining in despair. Even in her own sorrow, Demeter tried to grant immortality to her host’s son (through fire, I might add) as she sought refuge in Eleusis.

Photo by Pablo Orcaray on Unsplash

It is in this spirit that I hold out my Light to you. Take my hand and dance the new year into being with me. Whirl hope and joy into your community. Through you, the light of Spirit is made manifest on this plane. Be the Light of the world and stand with me, casting light into the darkness and illuminating the shadows with our love.

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