Honeymoon Island, Florida, 2016

This is a very special time of the year when the shift of season is felt strongly through each of the senses. I like to say it is the beginning of the season of entering the dark. The Celts divided the year into two parts: the light and the dark. On the Celtic calendar, Samhain, which is the modern day Halloween, signified the end of summer and the start of winter.

 

Carrowmore, Sligo, Ireland, 2012

“In Ireland, the tribes gathered for Samhain at the ritual centers across the land to celebrate this most important festival of the year. It was a time to reconnect with the past, a time of early shadows and light veils of separation.” (Ref.2.)

 

Ophelia Reemerging, Acrylic on Canvas, 2011

According to ancient Celtic myth, the goddess of Winter was Cailleach.  She reigned over the cycles of life and death.  She was a fierce crone goddess whose role was to help us navigate through the period of darkness and death and into new life. As a dark goddess of nature, the Cailleach was called the “Veiled One,” a title given to those who belonged to hidden worlds. She was “the guardian of the seed, the keeper of the essential life force”(ref. 3 below) that was dormant during the Winter season. Her powers allowed her to protect the seeds for the next season.

The Dark Goddess, Acrylic on Canvas, 2017

A way to connect to the Cailleach would be by embracing our inner crone. The crone is the wise woman who can go to the dark places within and look at what is most difficult for us to face. She can help us examine the parts of ourselves that need to be shed and keep the seeds of what is to come. She gives us the wisdom to release things that are no longer working or needed and allow a death to the old. She will facilitate change and support us through these changes when we may feel most alone. She is there with us through this process. She is the wise grandmother looking over our shoulder telling us to keep going and that everything is going to be fine.

Goddess of the Seed, Watercolor, 2016

It is sometimes difficult to adjust to the seasonal changes that are occurring around us. As an intuitive, I feel this strongly especially this time of the year. There is a visible change with the dying of the leaves, flowers, and plants of the season. The sun is shifting position, and the time change has the darkness showing up earlier and earlier each day. Add to that the upcoming holidays, which tend to heighten our emotions as we may be reminded of loved ones who have passed, memories of the past, or of pressures of living up to others’ expectations.

Block Island, Rhode Island, 2013

A way that I ground myself during this time of the year is by creating rituals around the morning and evening time. In the morning, I make a special pot of herbal tea that keeps me warm through the am hours.

In the evening as the sun goes down, I light scented candles throughout the house to bring in the warmth and light.

In addition, I bring out comfy throws, do lots of baking, and make hearty soups(creating wonderful aromas throughout the house). These simple activities help me honor this transitional time into the darkness with appreciation and awe of the present moment, which is really all that there is.

Italian Chick Pea Stew

(recipe listed below)

Channel your inner Cailleach by shedding the outdated patterns that are holding you back. Embrace this period of transition by accessing your inner grandmother who would care for you with her warm foods, warm blankets, and a soft kiss.

 

Dublin, Ireland, 2014

Italian Chick Pea Stew:
Vegetarian Times magazine, March, 1993

This recipe was torn out of a magazine in 1993, and I don’t think that there has been a single year that has passed that I haven’t made it at least once.  It is hand written in my “Tried and True” Recipe book of all of my favorite recipes.  You will not be disappointed.

1 medium onion

2 large cloves garlic

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

4 cups vegetable broth

2 16 oz. cans of chick peas

1 large sweet potato(peeled and cut)

3 large carrots

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

1 tsp. yellow mustard

1/2 tsp minced parsley

black pepper

In heavy saucepan, combine onion, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, and broth.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add chick peas, sweet potato, carrots, celery, and mustard.  Simmer until the vegetables are soft.  Use a potato masher and mash vegetables to a chunky puree(or put half the mixer in a blender).  Stir in parsley and pepper.

Serves 6-8.

 

 

Sources:
1. www.orderofwhitemoon.org

2. www.bealtainecottage.com

3. http://www.firetree.net/wheel/Brighid/cailleach.html