Time for reflection

winter mooring from Ben Ranyard

The clocks have gone back, the sun sets earlier, as we head towards Samhain it’s time for reflection. Here at Country Gate we’ve lit the first log fires of the season, candles accompany our supper time chats and soups and stews have already begun to replace the salads of the summer.

Every season has its pleasures. Winter is a time for looking back and planning forward, for hunkering down with those you love – if you can this year, for going on nature rambles, clearing the clutter from your life and hitting pause.

Samhain itself is a time for all of the above and for thinking fondly of those who have died, whose presence has gone from our lives even though I’m sure our lives are still touched by them.

I was interested to read a little about how Samhain is celebrated traditionally. Here are the seven ideas that were mentioned a lot.

  1. Go on a nature walk. We’ve booked Stourhead on Saturday.
  2. Build an altar using seasonal fruits. Our kitchen windowsill is home to an impromptu collection of windfall quince, squash, conkers and hazelnuts. That will do.
  3. Light candles. An everyday occurrence
  4. Hold a ceremony. Build a goddess figure from garden prunings. Bring it inside and lay a place at the table. That’s a bit too wicker man for me but I will do some garden pruning.
  5. Have a bonfire. Walk around it and make plans for the coming season. The bonfire at least will happen.
  6. Hit pause – meditate, keep a reflective diary. Yes. Yes. Yes. Such a good thing to do.
  7. Connect with your community. Spent a lovely hour with some old friends last night talking about the support the village has mobilised for individuals over the last few months, what more can be done, drinking wine, and tasting quince ice cream made from some of our tree’s bounty this year. Highly recommended.

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