Saturday, 22 October 2011

like some bold seer in a trance

On the first day that I do not need to speak, my voice has left me. I have sat in my high tower, drinking in the honeyed autumn light and warm infusions of marshmallow and sage, with a feeling of calm and peace that I had not realised I had been missing. I have had the ethereal strains of Tennyson's "Lady of Shallot" as sung by Loreena McKennitt running through my head and realise I have spent the day weaving a pattern from the skeins and threads not of strangers lives glimpsed from afar but of my own.

The Lady of Shallot (Steampunk Version)

Maybe because I spend so much of my life using my voice, to lose it makes me feel vulnerable. I have spent the last few days feeling the familiar choking swell in my throat and the rough burn of swallowing, knowing and fearing the inevitable. Or perhaps because there has been so much to talk about, so many changes, such an overabundance of feelings, that I have talked myself out of words and just need to stop. A day without being able to talk is an uncomfortable trial, but a day without the need to talk about all that has happened is the true blessing here.

As the gates of Samhuinn begin to creak open and I prepare for the dark half of the year, I am surprised that I do not feel bleaker and darker given the remorseless tides of loss and change this year has brought me. As the Wheel of the Year turns, or so our modern imaginings tell us, Samhuinn is a time of endings. This year I have seen so many endings.

I have never connected with the notion of Samhuinn as a Celtic New Year, maybe Hogmanay is simply too firmly imprined in that role and possesses such a strong tradition that I cannot supplant it. A single day of change is so much easier than learning to feel the ending of the agricultural year, the drawing in of the nights, the subtle descent into the dark. So Hogmanay marks the change of the calendar, an arbitrary point when a year is a cycle that is forever ending and beginning, whereas Samhuinn marks the elusive and liminal tipping point between light and dark.

An old dream returned to me last night. I find myself in a dream-altered version one of the many rented accomodations I have had during my adult life, or looking for a new place to live. So far, so relevant to the trials of my waking life. Yet in the dream I will always find an extra space through an awkward hatch or an oddly shaped door in an unusual place. Sometimes a simple extra room, sometimes a vast and dusty museum filled with books and display cases. The body is the mansion of the spirit, I was once told by a very wise woman indeed. I am not gifted with a subtle subconscious, although for some reason it took me years to associate this dream with periods of change and growth in my life.

Once more I stand before the Dark, the domain of my veiled Lady. The sternest and strictest of my teachers, so familiar but this year entirely different. Foolishly I supposed I was to learn about loss, but I look at the pattern of the web before me and see that I am supposed to be learning about the threads that connect endings and beginnings.

1 comment:

Robin said...

The descent into winter is my favourite time of year. Oddly enough I have felt a sore throat coming on since I got up this morning!