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  • Writer's pictureLeoOtherland

Samhain and Shadow Work

Cernunnos, god of wild things and all abandoned places, god of the hunt, god of wealth, god of fertility, god of masculinity, god of death, god of life, consort of the goddess who dies so that she may give life to the world each year, lord of shadows who rises when the veil grows thin and the dead walk with the living, god of opposites in whom all opposites are made one, give me strength, give me courage, remind me it is not yet my time to die, and when my time comes it will not be by my own hands, nor by the hands of those who would see me fall.

I wrote the base of that rambling prayer months ago… No… over a year ago, some time close to when my book was supposed to come out. It’s funny in a way that I don’t even know what was happening in my life at that moment, all I can remember is I felt like dying, and I was trying very hard to convince myself not to.

The year of 2022 was one of the hardest I can remember, and 2023 hasn’t been easy, either. There has been so much, so… I don’t even know how to describe it. Not fast or slow or compounded, just… there. There and not going away. I’ve been tired and out of my mind. I’ve gone on T and off T, and had to move AGAIN because of circumstances that amounted to madness, and… a couple of times I’ve literally pounded my head into a wall until it hurt for days afterward.

So, if you’re looking at these posts and realizing there’s been nothing but book reviews since January, that would be why. For all of those reasons and more, I have barely had energy to survive, much less thrive.

I could go on and on, there is so, SO much.

But I’m not here to keep rehashing the past, the pain. It’s there, and it needs to be dealt with, but that isn’t what this blog is about. And my pain isn’t anyone else’s to bear. It’s my own, and my responsibility to heal.

And today… today, we embrace the future. Today, we remember the past so that we can walk with resolve into what is ahead.

What is today? Most call it Halloween. A day to dress up, put on masks, and look for treats, while avoiding the tricks. But it’s also Samhain, the day when the veil between life and death is at its thinnest. Traditionally, Samain is the time to remember your ancestors, and all those who have passed on before us, because this is the time they are nearest, the time when they, and we, can hear each other’s voices clearest.

But to me, today also feels like a good time to let go of the past and the things that no longer serve my future. Today feels like a good day to remember that though we all die, while we are here, we need to live.

Memento mori, memento vivere.

Gods, it’s hard. It’s so hard to do that, to stop staying stuck in the hurt the past has brought, but I’m choosing to do so. To take one step after another and keep moving forward. In fact, I am choosing shadow work.

In its own way, shadow work is a lot like therapy. You learn what is hurting you, what parts of yourself are holding you back or self-sabotaging your life, and you work to heal those shadows. That is the piece of shadow work I most admire, shadow work isn’t a means of rejecting or throwing away the parts of yourself you don’t like to look at, shadow work is about knowing and embracing your shadows, so you can know and embrace your light.

Definitely the kind of work for this day when the veil is thin and shadows and the living intermingle. Though of course, this isn’t a work that will get done in a day. Or a week. Or anytime soon. This is the work of a lifetime that will keep going on day by day, and that is alright. I’m not worried about that.

I’m going to do my best to just not worry today. (A difficult feat, as hey, life is lifeing, and wouldn’t you know it, I have no heat and it’s snowing outside, 😱 but I’m doing my best, Cernunnos preserve me…) And, while I do my best not to worry, I invite you to not to worry with me. Today, let’s remember memento vivere, we must live. And while we’re living, let’s start off on a new adventure.

Believe me, I have a few in mind.

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