Samhain Blessings

A wet restless wind came in with the dawn, window rattling, leaf scattering, whispering under the edge of hearing. Clouds rolled along the sky all day, threatening, but the rain stayed in them, the wind damp with promise. As the sun slid toward the horizon and the sky began to relinquish its light, the rain finally came, thick and heavy with the weight of the day, the weight on the year’s hinge.

When the rain had washed away the remainder of the light, I sat down at my shrine to celebrate the eve. Bread, fresh-baked and sweet scented incense and oils for the spirits at my shrine: my ancestors, the spirits of this place and the Otherworld, the gods who have called me to their work. Praise for those who stand on the hinge of Here and There, Oirbsen Mac Alloth, son of the sea and Anu Buanan, the rich queen of many crops. Wine for the cup of blessing and prayers for those who have gone before, including my grandfather, just started on that journey. An omen of three names to guide me on my way and thanks, and thanks, and thanks for all that has been given me, including the work before me.

Then sleep, the wine warm in my belly, the incense sweet in my lungs, the wind and its riders rattling the trees, and a visit with my grandmother, many years gone to the grave, who whispered to me small secrets she has learned, reminding me that she is always present, even when the veils lie heavy between us.

A blessing on the day, and all who mark it.


Stories in Our Hearts

Oirbsen’s mother fed me pie,
apple from her orchards, ever-renewing,
her son’s shoulders too broad for her low-roofed cottage
“We are real,” she said, “though no tale
names us, and no tale
tells the truth, though they are all true.
Tales, like apples, grow from the ground they know.
Transplanted, they grow crooked, their fruit
less sweet, their true beauty
lost in translation. You see?”
I nodded, the sweet syrup melting on my tongue.
“We see what we see. But what we know
depends on the soil holding our roots.
My perfect fruit is an apple,
not a pomegranate. It makes a difference.”
She nodded and Oirbsen smiled.
“The heart of an apple understands – we
have stories in our hearts, fruit, leaf, and bud.”

To Know Manannán

To know Manannán, you must know the sea:
The mist that rises from the waves’ caress,
The bounding rocks, the endless tidal press
That wanes and waxes, curling in the lee
Of boulders, crushing trees to dust
When they fall into the ocean’s grasp.
Holding a fallen leaf, gently clasped
To bear it shoreward. To know the sea you must
Throw wide your heart to darkness deep beneath
The sparkling crest, to light that burns the eye,
To deafening waves, and you must not deny
The dolphin’s play or the storm’s devouring teeth.
If you would know Manánnan’s secret ways
Then know he changes, and always remains.