I have always kept Samhain sacred. Since the beginning of my Witchcraft practice there has NEVER been a year where there was no Samhain. Samhain is the day when Witches and Pagans (Halloween) honor, revere and speak with the dead. It is a time to remember that we are finite on this earth and to honor the Dark Gods and Goddesses of the underworld where we all will be one day. It is a time of slaughter, silence, death and sleep.
Hurricane Sandy made sure of that here in New York.
I was to prepare the Covenstead for my Coven here in NYC. We are an Fellowship of Isis group with some of us also in a Wiccan coven. I was excited to do so as I love my home filled with the warm scents of cooking a special meal magically on the stove with the sweet bubbling of spiced ciders, the green magic of my handmade incense and candles on the altar. I had a special robe made this year as well and my husband and I spend days re-organizing the home we were opening to our group and cleansing energy. This was exhausting but also uplifting as well.
Then Sandy hit on the Monday before Samhain. Full moon Taurus. Monday. Day of the Moon.
Sandy hit in the dark while the full moon hung over NYC. I could feel the energy coming in. I felt both exhausted and when the eye of the storm came over us it felt like my body was coming apart. I didn’t have any fear. The power filled me deeply and I could feel the power of air the power of water! I felt like I was deep within the ocean, the womb, the sky. I felt strong and excited and energized. It was so full of power! Power I intended to use. Lights went out. Darkness fell and many died or had destruction.
I was lucky. My whole group was lucky!
I had spent a good portion of the worst part of the storm with my head out a second floor window reviling the powers of air and water. I kept fire and earth hot and heavy on my altar that night and within my own body as I used the passion to survive and the strength of my bones to fight. I made a huge protective circle around not only my home but my neighborhood and send power to the trees in front of our house giving them the strength of the powers of earth to withstand. They did.
A pregnant woman below me went in to labor during the storm. I could hear her screaming as the fear of what was going on around her frightened her.
The full moon. The hurricane. The energy was gigantic. I used it. I took it in. I brought it in and I controlled what one Witch could.
In 48 hours it would also be Samhain.
There were no means of transportation for many days and especially the days right after the storm. It was a good thing that we had not planned on meeting until a few days later. Saturday.
I continued to clean, knowing that my city would rise faster than we all could plan on, believing that Witches would brave any element to have Samhain! Hoping I would be able to change things!
Marathon was cancelled.
I still kept on. Cleaning and marinating meat in special herbs, finding ways to buy liquors we would drink and fruits for the dead and sweets for us to remind us of the sweetness of living. By Friday my neighborhood was up and running and rumors of trains and electricity coming back on Saturday were everywhere.
Saturday came and yes there was power and yes there were trains!
My group had not been sure of getting together after the storm. Some were dealing with family obligations and some were too tired or depressed to think of coming. In the end it was cancelled.
I was told NO one wanted to come.
I did so because I was holding hope and using the energy of the storm and the power I raised to move, to clean, to honor, to prepare. I wept for my dead waiting to be honored, for the loss of those who were here in this city before the storm and now gone. I wept for the broken trees and the lost homes.
I did my own silent ritual but held my energy for the group.
When the final decision to not get together came down from the High Priestess I was broken-hearted I had been sure that Pagans would rise up over adversity. That somehow we who live with nature and her powers would understand how to use that power of destruction in a Samhain ritual to heal ourselves and rise. The Dark Goddess was named Sandy this year and Goddess Sandy made herself known on Samhain! How could we not know that? How could we let it happen that we did not come together for that purpose. To honor the face of the dark Goddess as she swept her self over our region. Right over our heads? Many in my group were depressed as well dealing with survivor guilt and lack of money from lost revenue.
Was it an accident that we were over looked by the storm? I think not. I think that the Pagans here…which includes the entire Eastern US were given both a gift and a warning and a lesson as well.
I was working to protect people and my world. I was telling the Goddess I was here. I am here. She knows I am here.
In the end the feast was shared with my family and my cats. It was good. We had a great time eating it and realizing that the celebration need not have been more than the three of us.
There were and are so many that the Goddess did not over look this Samhain. She took what she wanted and warned us all that she is alive and magic and destruction if she so chooses…is most certainly afoot.
I now feel more alive than I have in a long time. I experienced a rebirth during this past week. I have come to realize that I must honor the Goddess and her ways more and more fully. I am engaged in studying medical herbalism and exploring ways to help with natural medicine in the face of disaster and using that knowledge to heal myself as well. I am preparing for more disasters as well. I felt the Goddess of destruction in that storm. The Morrigan flew over NYC and took with her what she wanted.
I intend to survive. So many, unprepared began to panic and look to others for help. I think Witches are the helpers. We are the medicine people, the healers, the Shamans. I intend to survive to teach and to add my voice to the voices now rising up to end the destruction of our Mother Earth.
Time to Walk the Walk.
I am hoping many will come with me.
Blessed Samhain to all. May the Goddess fill you with her energy and bless and protect you.