The Samhain Time of Year

Being away from the computer has been refreshing. I’d forgotten what it’s like to not have to sit down first thing in the morning, or log off late at night.

I began a new story on Friday night, struck by a lovely new idea for a YA historical set in early 18th century Venice, and got nine hundred words down plus three hours of research (you see, Sorceror, I am weak still) to give myself at least some kind of context. It feels marvellous to be able to respond to inspiration again, and indeed, to have inspiration at all, because it means that my brain is no longer swamped by the Large All-Consuming Project written to deadline. And, as I suspected, as of half an hour after I sent the MS in to the editor, I began to remember things I wanted to do that didn’t make it to my final list, and ways in which I could have made what’s already there more focused and to the point. I’ve been noting them down as they occur, and when I get it back for edits and rewrites I’ll add them in. I’m expecting some of them to come up in the copyeditor’s queries anyhow. It’s too easy to ascribe the new story idea to the rebound factor: I think it may have more to do with the whole decks-cleared feeling of the end of the year. Part of me wants to pick up Swan Sister again, and I will, except my creative spirit seems to want me to work through something new to get the gears meshing properly again before I do.

Speaking of the creative spirit, Jan and I met Friday afternoon to work on music, and band was terrific on Saturday. For those of you who are fans and have been asking when the next gig date is to be, I can now tell you to circle January 20 on your calendars, assuming you already have a 2007 calendar. Otherwise, write it on a sticky-note and put it on your fridge or something.

We had a lovely Samhain ritual today, and as always, it reminded my soul that it’s the end of the year, and that goes so very far to expaining how I’ve been feeling these past few weeks. No matter how clearly my intellectual brain remembers Ah, yes, the Samhain time of year, my spirit doesn’t get it until we’re actually in circle, and then everything slots into place: emotional shifts, sleep patterns, sensations of loss and regret and slow greyness that creep into my being, which I usually ascribe to SAD and am only partially correct in so doing.

I did another Brid-centered ritual tonight as well with some of the Daughters of the Flame, and that too settled some of the murky misdirected emotion within me. Why can’t I remember that doing rit is good for me? Ritual feeds something in my soul that craves a semi-formal structure in which to meet my perception of the Divine. It’s easy, it’s direct, and it works. Maybe it’s that it all seems too simple, and my intellectual mind waves it away as such. Whatever the reason, I know better, and I’ve fallen out of the habit because of the boy and the family schedule. With some time off now that the book is finished, I can turn my attention to reconstructing a healthier spiritual pattern again as I rediscover who I am and what my life is, for perhaps the first time since the boy was born.

I can play the cello again, too, for example, something that I haven’t been able to do since I started the book because I’ve either been working or watching the boy. We had our first rehearsal for the Messiah this past Wednesday, and it was good. I’ve been waiting a full two months to feel that way about an orchestra rehearsal, rather than coming home and trying to forget the experience every week because they made me feel awful, my lack of rehearsal time showing how poorly I’m keeping up with the demands the music makes of me. I played through all the new music directly after I sent off the MS, and it went a long way toward helping me not feel behind before we’d even started playing that night. The work I’ve done for band recently too has helped me remember how much I love music, and how beautiful it can be when I’m not trying too hard or too tense to let it flow.

The decks do feel cleared. I’ve been struggling through that feeling of endings and going nowhere this past month, as I do every year. With Samhain past and the new year before me, I can sense that still point I need in order to rebalance and begin again.

And so the Wheel turns….

One thought on “The Samhain Time of Year

  1. Paze

    I’m so glad your Samhain ritual had such a restorative effect on you. Mine was solitary this year, but just as I wanted it, and very meaningful.

    It’s funny—long before I knew anything about Samhain, when I was only a child, in fact, this time of year always felt like the end of something and the beginning of something else. When I was younger, I ascribed my comparatively ambivalent feeling about December 30/January 1 to the fact that I was too young to go out for New Year’s Eve parties. Then, when I learned about the Wheel and Samhain, it all made sense to me. It felt right. (It also, thankfully, removed once and for all any pressure I had felt to celebrate on December 30th.)

    My only wish, now, is that we could just skip over the months of November and December entirely and go straight to January. It’s unfortunate that the first months of the year seem to be so grim and depressing and busy and stressful for so many of us.


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