Being in Australia at the turning of the seasons is very unsettling. Social media is showing me how the uk and Europe are swift becoming warmed, bathed in longer days and the promise of better weather. While here the summer is long gone and the days are turning cooler. Everything is relative, of course and even these days are over 20c, bright blue sky over ripe fig trees.
My family have been enjoying surfing lessons. I asked the instructor if anyone is planning a Samhain-esque end of autumn. He looked blankly at me; how can they here have a similar event to our Halloween? Their Halloween is on the same day as in the northern hemisphere and therefore utterly bereft of ritual significance of the Ancestors. May Day means nothing, of course, and it cannot be translated.
So here I sit on Samhain in Australia. Aware of it alone. Nothing is organised on a community level and no cultural significance is given to the ending of their summer months. Winter begins tomorrow and that is important.
One fine day in the middle of the night,
Two dead men got up to fight,
Back to back they faced each-other,
Drew their swords and shot each-other.
For some unknown reason I’ve been reciting this little ditty to the girls. I haven’t known until now why it had popped into my consciousness. But now I see that I have been aware of topsy-turvy reality: it has seeped into my mind and come out as a little kids’ rhyme.
I have wondered these last few days how to ritually communicate this money of transition. I feel that Samhain somehow isn’t quite right here. Offerings, symbols and objects need to be of this world and not of the old. So I have collected a few items while beach-combing:
A real sponge, bleached sea kelp, stones that the girls think are dragons’ scales and a beautiful pine cone.
Let’s see what happens later, when the Awen flows and the inspiration of the land takes these rambling awakenings and turns them into a moment of awareness.