Embracing the Darkness of Samhain

“Yet, no matter how deeply I go down into myself, my God is dark, and like a webbing made of a hundred roots that drink in silence.”

 ~ Rainer Maria Rilke


Halloween has passed, the trees are almost bare, dark comes earlier and earlier in the day. We cuddle by the stove feeling less inclined to head out after dinner. Instead of trying to push through it, forging ahead to the next thing, I’d like to take some time to embrace this rich darkness.


They say that Samhain was the start of the New Year in the Celtic calendar. Only from this time of hibernation, this cave, this fallow field could life begin again. Before we can begin again we must let the old die.


This is the time to shed, like the trees, that which is no longer necessary. This is the time to journey back to the womb, to curl in the dark of our own simplicity. To acknowledge those items, tasks, relationships or habits that no longer serve us. To simply breathe.


Without so many external distractions, we may become more aware of our internal darkness. We all have times where the not-so-pleasant sides of ourselves come to the fore; we’re all human after all. Try as we might, these basic instincts come to the surface and bubble over, sometimes when we least expect them, whether it’s losing the temper, a jealous thought, a stubborn fit or childish reaction.


Carl Jung referred to these dark sides of our personalities as our shadow selves. It can be hard to love those parts, we all wish they’d just disappear but of course the best way to help them is to love and accept ourselves, warts and all. If we reject them, they might just shout louder to be heard!


It’s a delicate balance of self -awareness and self- forgiveness, looking at ourselves with honesty, trying to avoid criticism, being kind and forgiving when we mess up. Similar to how we try to raise our children. After all, it’s often the child inside ourselves who clamors to be heard, who stamps a foot instead of staying calm. Can we treat ourselves as we would treat a child, -with respect, with firm-ness. With a hug when it all goes wrong?


Once these old habits are met with kindness and compassion, it’s easier to let them go. It’s easier to sink into the dark and shed what's no longer useful. As the nights close in this Samhain season, I’m taking the time to be still, to let go and to sit in the heart of darkness.


Siobhán is a natural wellness practitioner working with women's health for hormonal & emotional wellbeing. She is also a poet and writer of fiction, articles and short stories.