Rather than try to address months of secular amusements & obligations which have kept me from dutifully journaling, I shall cut to the chase. After all, here my fingers return to the keys on "the big day." No coincidences.
Samhain has been a messy item for me for years. Along the way, I have come to the conclusion that I don't like what other people do with it. Whether too kitschy, cute, Love & Light, or creepy pants I'm-so-Gothy-cool-worship-me, or unstoppably careening into nauseating psycho-drama hyperbole, I just cannot fucking do it.
No. Just no.
Leave me & my Spirits out, whether I bother to honour them on this day or not.
Oddly, something salvaged my Samhain sensibilities this season: Doreen Valiente. In my ongoing excavations to uncover myself (& everything else that matters), I have come 'round to this woman countless times. I come 'round & 'round, again & again (I might suggest that she would say that is apropos for her). I cannot shake her.
Even when I really, really don't want to identify with all the Wicca & Witches & sometimes the entire pagan/Pagan/Neo-pagan/Neo-neo-pagan/occult/esoteric... etc., etc. communities, I cannot turn from her. Kind of like the Moon, I reckon.
In the more recent portion of my absence, I have been reading Heselton's Doreen Valiente: Witch. I didn't realize just how much I missed her until I took up the book. I also didn't quite realize how much I relate to her personally until now. It seems she had the same habit of becoming hopelessly & enthusiastically attracted to an esoteric group or system, studying & engaging with it vigorously & then finding herself quickly seeing the shortcomings -- particularly the factual ones. Heselton does not state it outright, but I sense that she found herself regularly disappointed by the reality of the people behind the metaphysical practices. Not surprising with her talent & intellect.
Of course, the text inevitably arrives at Robert Cochrane who, as characterized by my dear Chas Clifton, was the "bad boy" of Witchcraft. There's no question why Doreen joined his short-lived parade, I would have followed him too, right up onto the tors & down into the caves. And though Cochrane was not immune to folly -- also being completely full of shit -- he was insightful enough that he indeed had his finger on the real deal. Ecstasis.
But you see, people don't want to go there.
The text includes Doreen's elegy for Robert. I had read it plenty before, but it moved me deeply this time 'round.
Elegy For A Dead Witch
(Written by Doreen originally for Robert Cochrane)
To think that you are gone, over the crest of the hills,
As the Moon passed from her fullness, riding the sky,
And the White Mare took you with her.
To think that we will wait another life
To drink the wine from the horns and leap the fire.
Farewell from this world, but not from the Circle.
That place that is between the worlds
Shall hold return in due time. Nothing is lost.
The half of a fruit from the tree of Avalon
Shall be our reminder, among the fallen leaves
This life treads underfoot. Let the rain weep.
Waken in sunlight from the Realms of Sleep.
© Copyright The Doreen Valiente Foundation
This leads me to this one day & one conclusion: from now on I say, screw the fearful & self conscious (yes, I suffer from both). I'll go it alone.
Samhain. I see it now.
And I'll dedicate it all to you both -- perhaps the two persons I never met, yet strangely miss the most.
(Edit: images are from my own Samhain ceremony, dedicated to D.V. & R.C.)