October is a time when the veils between the worlds are thinnest, gifting us an opportunity to merge the world of matter and spirit, life and death. At the threshold of Samhain, we may transition more easily beyond the usual restrictions of duality.
For the ancient Celts, Samhain marked the end of the old year and the beginning of the new year, holding for a moment the past and present in one eternal continuum.
It is traditionally a time to honour our ancestors, the ones who walked before us, and all our relations in the cycle of life. As embodied expressions of our lineage, we walk with, and sow the seeds of their consciousness.
This year, the October new moon happens on 28th, 3 days before Samhain. This adds double availability in accessing liminal states as dark of the moon is also a time when the veils are thin… a time when the workings of the goddess are being woven within the mystery of Her darkness. At the balsamic moon, in the void of creation, the old is being released, returned to the womb of creation while the new, not yet known, is being dreamed, or birthed, into being.
At this time we also have an opportunity to release that which has served its purpose and dream ourselves into being.
At the end of October, we stand before the threshold of the old and the new not just as a spiritual ideal but also as a natural phenomenon. All around nature is retreating into herself, into her centre, deep within the earth, releasing the harvest of the old year, composting the energy in order to fertilize the seeds of the new… seeds that are not yet realised on the physical level for they are transiting from the world of spirit to the world of matter.
And this is the secret of Samhain.
What is it that we need to compost from our past to fertilise our future? As a sacred substance compost cannot just be disregarded, forgotten or disposed of in a vacuum, for it contains the essence and power of all that has gone before. This is our lessons learned, our wisdom gained, and our evolving consciousness.
We cannot forget our ancestors; they have learned much and have much to teach us. They have a seed intention and in spite of the wounds that may have afflicted them, the essence of that intention wants to be realised.
The process of transformation is not only witnessed in the world of matter it is also reflected in the dance of the cosmos in the stars… ‘As above so below’.
On October 27th, just before Samhain the fixed star Symra joins the Sun at 4 degrees of Scorpio, one day before the sun/moon conjunction of the new moon on the 28th. Three days later, and one day before Samhain, fixed star Khambalia joins the Sun.
Both stars are within the constellation of Virgo, the Virgin, whose esoteric knowledge has to do with the mysterious secrets of life-death, and renewal, and spirit in matter.
The configuration of Symra and Khambalia conjunct the sun and moon just before the threshold of Samhain reflects the occult workings that take place behind the scenes- ‘beneath the skirts of the virgin’, or the mysterious processes of nature that the alchemists have long attempted to know and master.
Symra, which means the ‘train of the skirt of the goddess’ relates to the 3rd tarot, the Empress who is the gateway to source, and keeper of a secret knowledge, available to us if we know how to access it.
Other archetypes that hold the key to this wisdom are the Virgin Mary, Inanna, Ishtar, Demeter, Persephone, Kali/Shakti and Gaia.
While Symra is located at the left shine of the Virgo constellation, Khambalia is located on the left foot and is an old Coptic word meaning ‘crooked claw’.
Khambalia has connections with the swastika, which far from the corrupted meaning imposed upon it by the Third Reich, is in truth an ancient symbol of life, power and the sun. It is a visual depiction of the harmony and equilibrium of the changing seasons and the innate wisdom of nature.
The word ‘Shambala’ has a similar root to Khambalia, as has the pentagram and the Arabic word for five, ‘Khamsa’. For the ancient Arabs these were the most auspicious of stars.
The pentagram has associations with Venus and again points to the mysteries of merging spirit and matter. It is no coincidence that ‘crossing into the dark’ time of year is presided over by the goddess, the crone and her feminine mysteries of renewal. This myth is an analogy of the cycle of Venus in the sky from Morning Star to Evening Star.
The solar gods having expressed their energy and brought forth the harvest, like Dumuzi, now descend into the underworld for 6 months of the year where he will be transformed ready to take up his sovereignty again with the return of the light.
While the Empress wears a starry crown her throne is placed firmly in the material world- in a field of corn. Traditionally associated with matter, the Empress has dominion over all growing things. Manifesting spirit in the material world is the deep mystery known to the Empress, Virgo, the Virgin Mary, and many of the feminine archetypes who operate in the occult knowledge of renewal.
The birth of Christ, birthing Christ consciousness are the processes that happen in the mystery of the goddess. It is She who births solar consciousness by an occult process that is beyond the bounds of rationality. It is magic.
Women have the capacity to experience something of this wisdom every lunar cycle in the process of menstruation.
As women we can connect to this wisdom through our womb, the alembic from which we create our lives, and affect the lives of those around us, and in the world. The womb is the living chalice that when cleared and opened has the potential to connect us with the divine and empower us to be creators and leaders of our world.
If we are cut off from our womb – the seat of our power- the portal, or doorway, to source is blocked and our ability to create and manifest is lost or weakened.
Samhain, the teachings of the dark moon, the secret wisdom of the goddess, the bio-mystical experience of menstruation and birthing, and the womb as cosmic portal between spirit and matter are the teaching that are open us- as men and women- as we enter into the dark of the year.
The teachings are below our feet in the earth and above our heads in the stars, and we, conduits of spirit and matter are creators far beyond what many of us have been led to believe.
We are part of the same cycle of renewal and in this process we have potential to grow and evolve, carrying the most sacred seed of our ancestors forward so that it flowers and blooms in us.
Samhain teaches us that while everything changes, everything is circulated in the great cosmic womb, returned to the earth as primordial matter and recycled as energy to rebirth the new. By honouring and accepting the past, and by understanding that it is all part of one eternal continuum, we too free ourselves to be renewed in the cycle of life.