Well, well, well! Hello! I’ve returned to New York after being away for six weeks. The gratitude towards being back here, home, healthy and happy, is overwhelming. Which way could I run?! I could run yonder and hither! There is so much beyond the door! Notwithstanding the bliss of our lovely country home. I have missed you Big Long Open Gash and Gash readers! I’m dancing to Robyn and Rihanna and saturated by images of laughing babies. This is exactly how I feel about life.
Australia was a ride. I learnt (and apparently asked for) three levels of non-attachment. I won’t go into details, but let’s say I lost my most treasured possession in a non-descript bathroom at JFK. I then lost something belonging to Isaac that I’d loved, in the airport carpark at Perth. Lastly, I lost something full of life which I had worked light and lovingly to create. It was one of those experiences that women everywhere experience, sometimes more than others. I emerged stronger, wiser, braver and humbler. All I can say is I am very excited about the future.
The Sunday Times in Australia are excited about the cookbook I’ve just started co-creating with my mama. I’m excited about the local & intimate ‘gathering’ design company I’m building as a sister to Paper Castle Press. I’m thrilled to be editing and preparing these very blog posts into two fat books, while discussing spots for them on Mott Street at Australian store, B-Rad Space. These developments are an evolution of me, of my life, of my dreams.
“Difficult as it is to remember, it is our work which creates the market, not the market that creates our work. Art is an act of faith, and we practice practicing it.” – Julia Cameron
The only thing that matters today is creating the life of your dreams. This will be very different from anyone else’s dream. I realize when I read other writers, when I watch the television shows of my generation, when I see what is being created, I realize that I am unique – that as Brenda Uleland once said perfectly, “since you are unlike any being ever created since the beginning of time, you are incomparable.” I’m inspired by things I’ve never been inspired by, interested in things I haven’t been before and uninterested in that which I used to be besotted by. This is testament, I believe, to the evolution of the natural human.
“YOU ARE A FORCE OF NATURE,” said my brother Henry. Yes, yes indeed I am.
AREN’T YOU TOO?
“An important lesson about creativity: It’s not something you will find in a place.”
(Quote from Robert F. Coleman’s article ‘In Berlin, You Never Have to Stop’ featured in The New York Times Magazine, Nov 25, 2012)
”Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But, since no one was listening, everything must be said again.” André Gide
“You don’t fall in love like you fall in a hole. You fall like falling through space. It’s like you jump off your own private planet to visit someone else’s planet. And when you get there it all looks different: the flowers, the animals, the colours people wear. It is a big surprise falling in love because you thought you had everything just right on your own planet, and that was true, in a way, but then somebody signalled to you across space and the only way you could visit was to take a giant jump.’
“Away you go, falling into someone else’s orbit and after a while you might decide to pull your two planets together and call it home. And you can bring your dog. Or your cat. Your goldfish, hamster, collection of stones, all your odd socks. (The ones you lost, including the holes, are on the new planet you found.)’
“And you can bring your friends to visit. And read your favourite stories to each other. And the falling was really the big jump that you had to make to be with someone you don’t want to be without. That’s it.’
PS. You have to be brave.”
(Excerpt from Big Questions from Little People: and Simple Answers from Great Minds (Ecco, 2012) by Jeannette Winterson on the subject of love. Drawing by cucommde CommDe Chulalongkorn, Healing Heart quilt image by Tillymint aka Sue Walsh, 2012)
“All that I have written seems to me like so much straw compared to what I have seen and what has been revealed to me.” Yes, Thomas Aquinas, I quote you again, those words which I have shared time and time before with the eyes on the other side of the publish button. I am in Australia again, as I am every twenty-four months or so. The leaves are amply green and beyond the window where I sit a large buddha emerges from fern. Everything changes, and nothing has changed. I returned to my childhood house, a house I remember well, and in twelvish years, it has evolved into something that is not that house. The spindly trees I once climbed are thick and tall now, and certain fabrics have faded and frayed at the edges. Still, the same old woman walks down and up the street twice a day. She is now nearing 90, her Austrian things fill her house and her husband attempts Sudoku every day. This is what I hear.
As I comb through my writing from years gone now, I am struck by how many words I have penned. Hundreds of thousands to be precise. More than the striking, is the sound; the gong-like reverberation in my heart and soul when I realize that I have accomplished what I always set out to accomplish as a writer… and without knowing it until now. Yes, at times I think all I ever wanted was to be ‘published’ by some great publishing house from yesteryear, to be accepted into the ranks of those writers I have so cherished. The reverb alerted me to the fact that I am with them. Your comments, reflections and contributions over these years have shook me to the bone, trembling with a kind of atomic disturbance which threatens to pulverize the very walls I have built around my heart as a human being.
The full realization that I have touched, inspired, encouraged, gave hope, energy, and stamina to so many individuals just like me, all around this terraqueous globe, blows my mind. The fact that I’m still here, still writing, unnerves me a little. Will I ever cease? It is easier to keep going than to stop. So, where does one end, in the land of blogging? I suppose one never arrives at any end. All this writing will be in book form before I know it, by my own hand (yes, because ‘behind every successful woman is herself’) and I will continue to do what I know to do. Which is express this very unique experience of being me.
It seems I am still me, and yet, I find the landscape of my soul slightly differentiated from that which it was two years ago. I just read from an earlier post, that I felt ‘less like myself’ and yet ‘more like myself’ at the same time, which I found interesting because we are always changing. We are a swift succession of selves, none of which are permanent. Who I am today is not who I was yesterday, and will not be who I am tomorrow. So there is something interesting about why we keep doing certain things – mostly out of habit, of course, but some things we do simply because we must.
This year has been the swiftest of all time, for me, filled with new responsibilities, new landscapes to navigate – yet with none of the dread, fear, fatigue nor sadness I once carried with me. Finding the mirror through which I witness my own love has been the most transcendental experience. I always hoped, while climbing that mountain towards the flicker of an image of a kindred spirit, that I would find someone or something that understood me, cherished me and held me with a heart bigger than I knew my own to be. I summited that mountain, all the while inspiring guitarist’s like you, Chuck, if you’re out there (Chuck once wrote: “How is it possible that a writer can inspire an amateur guitarist so much? You inspired me with this post more than the other guitar players who are actually my influences!!! I will keep climbing to the top of the mountains of guitar”) and thankfully I found that the flicker of a light had a face, and it’s name was Isaac.
How do I even begin to describe what that felt like? How do I go back to writing about my inner landscape, when it simultaneously imploded and exploded with a cosmic mixture of joy, love and relief? All I have written… seems like so much straw…. compared to what I have seen and what has been revealed to me. So, I have abstained from trying to do it all justice with these words. Instead, I have danced upon the sands of time, conquering their slips and slides by flitting across them. There is no need to collapse, anymore. I have taken on my dreams, and while they have been many and magnetic, none of them are so heavy that I could not handle them. More are arriving! I am light, I am lifted, I am love.
I continue now to speak with you, because I can’t help it. I can’t stay back. Something about this place, this space, calls to me. It is you. I hope that my writing reaches many and more people, and that I can be of service to my peers, those of all ages, you in the trenches, you in the clouds, and that we may see more of each other very soon.
For now, this is all I have.
From an incredibly grateful, atomically expanded woman, named Sophie.
The only poet I’ve ever found who comes incredibly close to expressing the joys of love, marriage, and kissing is Kahlil Gibran – the most phenomenal and most wise of beings who gave his words for us on this Earth. I am blissfully enraptured in Perth, Australia, awaiting the arrival of my precious husband in one week! What love is here.
OF THE FIRST LOOK
“It is that moment that divides the intoxication of Life from the awakening. It is the first flame that lights up the inner domain of the heart. It is the first magic note plucked on the silver string of the heart. It is that brief moment that unfolds before the soul the chronicles of time, and reveals to the eyes the deeds of the night, and the works of conscience. It opens Eternity’s secrets of the future. It is the seed cast by Ishtar, goddess of Love, and sown by the eyes of the beloved in the field of Love, brought forth by affection, and reaped by the Soul. The first glance from the eyes of the beloved is like the spirit that moved upon the face of the waters, giving birth to heaven and earth, when the Lord spoke and said, “Let there be.” ‘
OF THE FIRST KISS
“It is the first sip from the cup filled by the goddess with the nectar of Life. It is the dividing line between Doubt that beguiles the spirit and saddens the heart, and Certitude that floods the inner self with joy. It is the beginning of the song of Life and the first act in the drama of the Ideal Man. It is the bond that unites the strangeness of the past with the brightness of the future; the link between the silence of the feelings and their song. It is a word uttered by four lips proclaiming the heart a throne, Love a King, and fidelity a crown. It is the gentle touch of the delicate fingers of the breeze on the lips of the rose-uttering a long sigh of relief and a sweet moan. It is the beginning of that magic vibration that carries the lovers from the world of weights and measures into the world of dreams and revelations.’
“It is the union of two fragrant flowers; and the mingling of their fragrance toward the creation of a third soul. As the first glance is like a seed sown by the goddess in the field of the human heart, so the first kiss is the first flower at the tip of the branch of the Tree of Life. ‘
“Here love begins to render the prose of Life into hymns and canticles of praise, with music that is set by night, to be sung in the day. Here Love’s longing draws back the veil, and illumines the recesses of the heart, creating a happiness that no other happiness can surpass but that of the Soul when she embraces God. Marriage is the union of two divinities that a third might be born on earth. It is the union of two souls in a strong love for the abolishment of separateness. It is that higher unity which fuses the separate unities within the two spirits. It is the golden ring in a chain whose beginning is a glance, and whose ending is Eternity. It is the pure rain that falls from an unblemished sky to fructify and bless the fields of divine Nature.’
“As the first glance from the eyes of the beloved is like a seed sown in the human heart, and the first kiss of her lips like a flower upon the branch of the Tree of Life, so the union of two lovers in marriage is like the first fruit of the first flower of that seed.’
~ Kahlil Gibran
“We are part of this universe, we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts, is that the universe is in us.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson
I FEEL BIG.
Fascinatingly, I have little left to say today but much to express. I’d like to tell you that I’m 33,000 words into my fiction manuscript (Henri!), which is where I have focused my writing energies this year. I want to tell you I’m writing a cookbook with my mother, Claire; a Paper Castle Cookbook! I can hardly believe I didn’t think of it earlier. I’m also making you a series of books, containing nearly every Big Long Open Gash post I’ve ever written. I am co-authoring a non-fiction book with two women on the shadow side of Beauty. I am preparing to make a baby (!) I am enjoying every day of my life. How blessed life can be. When time can slow in our hands and when all of our fears and angers subside, there is such peace possible.
I’ve been studying the brain lately, its neuro-plasticity, the way we can rewire ourselves towards and away from connections, whether they be old or new. I have been witnessing the surfacing of powerful memories through this process of understanding the brain, particularly how we remember things. One day whilst driving into New York City with ‘Harriet the Chariot’ (a.k.a the Saab), I happened to find myself listening to a program on NPR about the way we remember; how our memories are literally ‘re-membered’ afresh, that is, put back together, every time we ‘re-member’ them. I have come to understand and employ the truth in life that the past is not a kingdom to get to, and neither is the future. It is not a ‘place’ we can find. It exists solely in our remembering of it, our fantasizing about it: which happens – NOW. In other words, the past and the future exist only in the now as thoughts or memories, that is, solely as brain patterns firing, NOW.
Why is that important? First of all, know that everything that you have ever seen, heard, felt, done, expressed, understood, witnessed, tasted and touched, is stored in your brain in the form of both action memory patterns and perception memory patterns. EVERYTHING. The connections in your brain are vast – vaster than any scientist can estimate. One way of thinking about it, according to science, is that we have more possible connections in our brain than there are molecules in the universe. That is a lot. Somewhere in there, we have stored EVERYTHING that has ever occurred to us.
When we realize that our greatest fears and our greatest hopes are directly relative to the experiences, sensations, feelings, actions and emotions that have happened before, an incredible freedom becomes possible. For years, I believed that I was just ‘my father’s daughter’; someone who was easily moved, sensitive, all-feeling. In a nutshell, emotional. In many instances, those emotions knocked me sideways, and I could never quite understand why I was having such strong reactions to situations or experiences. After understanding the nature of the brain, and the nature of how we remember (that is, newly, and in the now), it became clear that the emotions I was having now were simply brain patterns that had been laid down in the past, at some point in my earlier life, and which were expressing themselves now.
“The safest memories are in the brains of people who can’t remember.” (quote from the recent NPR program Can We Learn To Forget Our Memories?)
When I face my deepest fear, it becomes obvious how connected the emotion and feeling of fear is to a previous experience I had had. I then realize that I have already survived that fear, that my deepest fear has already happened. For the record, my greatest fear is being ‘left alone’. What happened? I remember being two years old, and my mother going out for the night. She had dropped me off at my Nanna’s house; a woman who had grown up on a farm in the wheat belt of Western Australia, and who was very conscious of energy, water, any ‘wastage’ at all. I remember the being surrounded by gray, it must have been dusk, and there were no lights on at all. Nanna left the room after I’d thrown a tantrum at my mothers ankles. I watched the car leave, and remember having the thought, an entirely new one at the time – “What if she doesn’t come back??”
My survival was intrinsically connected to her. Knowing how fertile the minds of young children are up to the age of three (those baby documentaries come in handy!) I now see how my brain created a firm pattern for surviving her absence. I turned inward, and said to myself and others, “I’m not going to get close to you.” It’s no surprise that I became independently focused, that my imagination grew exponentially, that I began writing stories (alone), and reading (alone) and later in life, compensating for that threat of being ‘alone’ by surrounding myself with as many friends as possible, and marrying a touring musician. No wonder I was getting so burnt out from the constant socializing, and finding myself alone again in the burn out!
Seeing all of this, I realize that I do not have to fear being alone anymore as I’ve already been alone countless times, and I have survived with my Self intact. I am alive! Of course, my mother did come home, and I’m sure the next morning I’d forgotten all about it. The intensity of the experience in that moment however, left it’s indelible mark on my rapidly forming brain. Unbeknownst to me, I would continue to live out that fear again, and again, and again, until I went back to rewire that primary pattern.
Thankfully, I did that last weekend.
These insights are so important for all of us to have. Ask yourself why you feel a certain way, and study the way the brain works (a great introductory book is Your Brain At Work, as well as The Brain That Changes Itself) Whenever you feel something strongly, ask yourself, what brain pattern is firing off right now in response to some stimuli, and when did it first lay down? I know the signing of my sister to IMG left a huge mark on my seventeen year old brain, being at the time an impressionable young person forming her own identity in response to the world around her. Apparently, the brains of teenagers shift to a new state of crucial development not seen since infancy – no wonder those years are fraught with emotional and psychological instability. The brain is rewiring itself again in preparation for the world out there, the next phase, the next set of challenges and circumstances.
I’m enjoying these insights. I remember someone asking me what exactly I write about on this blog, having herself followed it for some years, but not sure why! (!) I have to say that I’m still not sure myself – it’s an ever-evolving landscape, isn’t it? Personally, my blog is for Self expression, to share something with the world, to share my positive insights, and some of the darker ones, too. Most of all, I enjoy the process of evolution as a self-reflective human. I wouldn’t say I am narcissistic, but I wouldn’t say I’m oblivious to myself either. After all, I’ve been looking within for twenty five years, the great majority of my life! What am I writing about? Who knows. Why am I writing? Because I enjoy it, and I enjoy the expansion of my Self into the World.
Isn’t it important that we share what it is to be Human?
I measure myself
Against a tall tree.
I find that I am much taller,
For I reach right up to the Sun,
With my eye;
And I reach to the shore of the Sea
With my ear.
Nevertheless, I dislike
The way the ants crawl
In and out of my shadow.
(from Robert Bly’s The Little Book on the Human Shadow)
I would also like to tell you that I am building a sister company to the press, called Paper Castle Gatherings – a unique and intimate event curation, creation and consultation company. Truly exciting. Perhaps it’s part of the blossoming out of ‘being alone’ – without having to live in that dark, grey room anymore, I realize that I love to work with people, to collaborate, to co-create. My mission is to work intimately with individuals on creating personalized gatherings for their tribe – their own magical events, weddings, ceremonies, dinners, and memories worthy of a big long open gash.
I am very excited and of course uncertain, too. How can one not be when the brain patterns have never been laid before? At the core of it all, I see how I love to create story in everything, meaning, beauty, memory, love, friendship, connection. My goal is not to produce events, but to create gatherings. You will see a new website shortly – and a special healing retreat, too, for you to join if it calls to you. It’s time to gather together.
What else? I’m grateful for the opportunity to share with you all that is growing! So much is growing. What a garden we can create. This is my truest aim – to lead a life that inspires others. To lead a life that encourages self-reflection, self-esteem, the realization of your wildest dreams, the experience of beauty in everyday life, the phenomenon of love, the support of community, the satisfaction of a life well lived.
That is what I’m here for.
Until next time,
LIFE, MORE LIFE!
If you haven’t heard, I’m putting together a series of books containing my every blog post since the beginning of this hootenanny in 2008. I find it fascinating to re-read my work, to wonder who I saw that day, what I was doing, how I was walking, what I was wearing, and to be able to share these thoughts over and over again. This one reminds me of now, with it’s talk of fertile ground, new beginnings, the full sun and empty moon of today, the fact that ‘your innermost feelings take you to your innermost dreams.’ (First posted February 1st, 2009.)
At this quiet summer morning, while Miss Franklin croons me with her pained joy, I’m working on a couple of new creations to add to my already infinitely expanded collection of creations and stories and epic written journeys. Why might I keep adding more, you might ask? Because they all fulfill different parts of my being, which is, I might let slip, the fundamental basis of my new book. And you guys haven’t even seen my first! Yes, it will be, it will be, and you’ll have it for the rest of your life, so don’t hurry – you’re gonna have to get used to it being in your head until you die! (*cue delightedly evil laugh*) I joke, I joke. The Beginning of an Inexplicable Journey will be in your head, if I have anything to do with it, for a while; perhaps while you figure out what it all means, what the lessons were, what your own inexplicable journeys are.
Until then, I’m just going to keep telling you more and more about me, and spill all these words off my fingers so they can see you. For me, as a writer, I have a relationship with the words that come out of me. I couldn’t call it a love affair, because the words are not in a different body, not ‘something out there’ to love and try to get a hold of. My relationship with words is I guess more like one might love children, only I have millions of children. Every word comes out of me and I go, hey!, proudly. It’s a mother’s intention that her children come out from under her loved and gentle fingertips, out into the world so they can see her everything and meet people’s eyes and have their own lives. “Writing is like breathing in and out for you,” said my mama. She remembers well, because I’ve spoken about it like that to her. And like breathing in and out, I cannot explain it, I can’t legitimise it, I can’t actually say why I really do it.
All I know is this is what I do. Like a human breathes. “Say human, why do you breathe?” “Well, so I can move! so I can live! so I can move towards my own death!” I do believe from my own reckoning that we’d all die newborns if we didn’t move to death, and that’d be a sad story: Benjamin Button all over again, in a twisted up kind of way.
See I think even if moving gives you wrinkles and smothers what you’ve created before, you can’t be too squeamish with life. Said Billie Jean King, “Be bold. If you’re going to make an error, make a doozy, and don’t be afraid to hit the ball.” I get that. Get on there and hit the ball, boy! You know who I’m talking to. You know what I’m saying, to all the waiters, to all the thinkers, to all the considers. Go with your gut instincts, those hunches, they won’t lead you elsewhere from your path. They’ll take you back to where you came from. Your innermost feelings will take you to your innermost dreams. It’s back inside that we all want to go, as if the womb were able to be gotten back to. Some kind of primordial womb talks to you when you get those hunches, gut feelings. Talk to her. She’s taking you to your grandest home. All you gotta do is grow, and wait to be born, then it all begins. I’m telling you, I’ve seen it myself.
***I hope more Americans can embrace the things of simplicity, especially in a country not as inhospitable in the interior as Australia is, nor as bitter cold as England or Wales might be, and yet more willing to change than many countries put together. I may be naive about some American things, but from what I’ve learnt, the country is so ripe, and so fertile. And though last seasons rotting fruit has fallen to the ground, and we’re all squelching in it – what will come out of the mulch will be unseen of, full of power and the strong stems of a new season. That part of the world is the land of opportunity. It has been marked that way, and history’s drawings stick hard. Work hard, clean up, give love, be real, keep on.
To be honest, this question frustrated me when, a few months ago, a bright young woman asked me to answer such a riddle. Shortly, it began to entice me. Lately, it continues to boggle the mind. I put my neurons to work before writing the narration for this debut short film. Narrativs is a “social publishing enterprise who have set out to enrich the experience of storytelling by transforming the way we interact with the narrative.”
“Narrativs provides a digital creative space for writers, readers, editors and literary enthusiasts to collaborate, create and present inspiring and motivating pieces of literature. By fostering and advancing the literary frontier, we strive to cultivate and nurture and next generation of storytellers. Narrativs curates stories that capture our imagination and teach us wisdom.
Our three pillars are:
- Illuminate quality stories within a beautiful reading and writing digital space and provide access to editing and social support for aspiring writers;
- Invest in non-for-profit projects that engage and educate underrepresented voices and help them become the next generation of storytellers;
- Commit to continuous research and development in order to revolutionise storytelling and how the narrative is shared around the world.
I am honoured to be an integral part of this creation; not to mention stunned by the visceral experience of witnessing my words having traveled across time and space to find their way into a notebook, re-written and re-read by persons I have not and may not ever know. This is the magic of sharing our creations. I realize how little I understand the breadth and width of the paths with which the words I have written have traveled. Here’s to more of that.
Many thanks to Rachel Bui and the Narrativs team for including me in their project. Here is the full story, online at Narrativs, and a preview below.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE HUMAN?
For a human like myself to even begin to answer this question, I give ourselves away. What does it mean to be human? The very thought shines light on one of the most fragile, courageous, fallible and stunning facets of being human, and that is our ability to invent meaning. As far as we know, we are the only cognitively equipped, physically embodied creature on this planet who has the ability to explore the meaning of our existence. We invent meaning with deduction, reasoning, language, thought, imagination, our consciousness of a self-created time scape, and our memory.
Does a snow leopard tell stories? Does a venus fly-trap have an imagination? I’d like to think so – and that is my imagination at play. I’d like to imagine that a ground mole can reason; that doves have romantic thoughts. Many scientific studies prove that animals do have memories, thoughts, and reasoning beyond our own understanding. Bees have a language that humans are only just beginning to grasp, while rats keep memories of the paths they have trodden before them.
Humans aren’t the only species inheriting this planet, and yet, we are unique. One of the most challenging aspects of being human is that we are still learning about the many species with whom we share our food, space, air and water with. Inquiring about the meaning of being human, we are limited by the question of what it might mean not to be human. Locked in the language of our own genome, just as a firefly is locked in its fireflyness, we cannot speak well of what we are, since we are it.
What does it mean to be human? The truth is, it doesn’t mean anything; not more than what we say it means. We apply meaning with emotion, with language, with memory and imagination, and we express these meanings in dimensions that embed us.
One aspect that has been much more difficult for us to quantify, however, is the question of our being. We are aware of it, and yet we can hardly speak of it. It cannot be captured with direct light. We can however, dance around it, point to it, define it with white space and illuminate it with shadow. Aware of our limitations, we attempt to be liberated from them.
Here is the edge of the forest at which we meet the great poets and artists, the musicians, composers, sculptors and architects. Each century countless humans are seized by a sense of being. They touch it, taste it, hear, see and feel it. They strive to capture this Holy Grail, to make it tangible, to put it into word and song, to give it shape. They try to retrieve the sword from the stone, to seek this Helen of Troy, this treasure at the end of a rainbow [...]
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As Halloween approaches, I find myself turning to ancient rituals, the special ceremonies which initially informed this powerful time. Living away from the city I feel porous and open, while in the city, just an hour away, I feel far more vulnerable and begin to close. In my search for ancient ceremony, I came across the celebration of Samhain, and I wanted to share it with you.
Now all I need are a pomegranate, a white handled knife, a plate marked with an eight spoked wheel, and a wand. To the garden!
The first day of November, celebrated by the ancient Celts as a festival marking the beginning of winter and the Celtic new year.
ORIGIN Irish, from Old Irish samain.
“Place upon the altar apples, pomegranates, pumpkins, squashes and other late autumn fruits. Autumn flowers such as marigolds and chrysanthemums are fine too. Write on a piece of paper an aspect of your life which you wish to be free of: anger, a baneful habit, misplaced feelings, disease. The cauldron or some similar tool must be present before the altar as well, on a trivet or some other heat-proof surface (if the legs aren’t long enough). A small, flat dish marked with an eight-spoked wheel symbol should also be there.
“Prior to the ritual, sit quietly and think of friends and loved ones who have passed away. Do not despair. Know that they have gone on to greater things. Keep firmly in mind that the physical isn’t the absolute reality, and that souls never die.
“Arrange the altar, light the candles and censer, and cast the Circle of Stones. Recite a Blessing Chant, and invoke the Goddess and God in any way that feels right to you.
“Lift one of the pomegranates and, with your freshly-washed white-handled knife, pierce the skin of the fruit. Remove several seeds and place them on the wheel-marked dish. Raise your wand, face the altar and say:
“On this night of Samhain I mark your passing,
O Sun King, through the sunset into the Land of the Young.
I mark also the passing of all who have gone before,
and all who will go after. O Gracious Goddess,
Eternal Mother, You who gives birth to the fallen,
teach me to know that in the time of the greatest
darkness there is the greatest light.
“Taste the pomegranate seeds; burst them with your teeth and savour their, bittersweet flavour. Look down at the eight-spooked symbol on the plate; the wheel of the year, the cycle of the seasons, the end and beginning of all creation.
“Light a fire within the cauldron (a candle is fine). Sit before it holding the piece of paper, gazing at its flames. Say:
Wise One of the Waning Moon,
Goddess of the starry night,
I create this fire within your cauldron
to transform that which is plaguing me.
May the energies be reversed:
From darkness, light!
From bane, good!
From death, birth!
“Light the paper in the cauldron’s flame and drop it inside. As it burns, know that your ill diminishes, lessens and finally leaves you as it is consumed within the universal fires.
“If you wish, you may attempt scrying or some other form of divination, for this is a perfect time to look into the past or future. Try to recall past lives too, if you will. But leave the dead in peace. Honour them with your memories but do not call them to you. Release any pain and sense of loss you may feel into the cauldron’s flames.
“Works of magic, if necessary, may follow. Celebrate the Simple Feast. The circle is released.”
May the powers of the One, the source of all creation; All persuasive, omnipotent, eternal, may the Goddess, The Lady Moon; and The God, Horned Hunter of the Sun;
May the powers of the Spirits of the Stones, Rulers of the elemental realms; May the powers of the stars above
And earth below. Bless this place, and this time, And I who am with you