Samhain & Compassionate Communities Memorial gathering

October 31st 2021

The tempest blew, met weather checked, lunch postphoned, on the track up Jo (finally with umbrella) disuaded people from not coming until after 1.

The gusty wind left, the sun shone, and the hardy began to gather. Roast butternut squash soup, Baron Bigod cheese and Penny Bun bread their reward, infused with fire smoke, laughter and music from Pete and Vicky.

Philip Carr Gomm led the ceremony, calling the north, south, east and west, reminding us we were trees, and like trees connected with mycelium, collaborating and rooted. Salt, honey, bread and wine were offered to the fire, our ancestors – human and animal – were welcomed in.

We invited our ancestors to share cake with us. Our ancestors could have included those we’ve lost or are no longer with us, they could be our family ancestors or people we have known. Animals were welcomed, mostly dogs came, we missed Mike and his parrot. The fiddle played, the smoke rose, conversation between strangers and friends connected.

We broke into our ‘carousel’. Weaving, leaf letting go, story telling, memory tree, conversations or just hanging out.

Kally invited us to weave a tapestry in the loom, at the same time weaving conversations as well as Spindle into the weft.

Shona led us on a walk, around our mother tree, rich with honey fungi blossoming, before sitting int he bath bomb and writing on leaves what we wanted to let go, and give to the fire or the earth.

A little way away, towards the ponds and old hornbeam, Guy held compassionate conversations in the warmth of the cabin and near by Mell and Dianne crafted glass jars to carry later in our procession and many hung names of our ancestors who had gone before us on the memory tree, a pollarded hornbeam looking south.

Meanwhile back at the fire, Su told us a story, a story of a people that sought to keep death away by building a wall, that grew and grew (sounds familiar Mr Trump).

Finally we gathered together, and pooled our reflections. in the gentle darkening dusk, after the sun went over our earth horizon, we lit the fire becons , and led by Philip we walked through the wood, via earth, under the astral belt, passed Jupiter, and down to Neptune by the pond. Here we gathered around the memory tree. Some added more memories. Su read us a poem, which she’d found to write that morning. Here it is:

We Remember You

We remember you
Beloved sister, brother, father, mother
Daughter, Son
Elder, friend, ancestor 
Two-legged and four-legged companions 
Furred and feathered

We remember you 
And all that we shared together 
Moments in time held gently forever
In the places and spaces
Where we carefully stow our precious treasure 
Our memories of you

We remember you 
As the year turns 
Marking birthdays and anniversaries 
With small rituals to draw you close
To bring comfort to tender hearts

We remember you 
As the year turns
In the sweet smell of spring blossom
The warmth of summer sun upon our faces
The golden leaves of autumn 
And the shining silver of winter frost

We remember you
In the light reflected on the water 
In the breeze that shakes the leaves to sing
In the warm glow of the fire
And the smell of the rich soil
Reminding us that all that once was returns to the earth 
And that tender green shoots of re-birth will emerge in time 

We remember you 
In the stories shared 
By those of us left behind
Each tale filling in the gaps 
With our tears and our laughter 

We remember you in the things you loved…
That piece of music
Your signature dish 
The poem you knew by heart
The flowers in your garden 

We remember you in too many of the small things of life to mention
We remember you in the quiet times
And the unexpected moments 
We remember you

Su Squire
Samhain 2021

Under an arch of fire, we all walked thourgh back up the track back to our circle. Here we said farewell our ancestors – until another year at least.

Philip let us choose a card – each one with an animal. Mine was a playful otter, immediately reminding me of my father – a man I never knew for I was 4 when he died – and I feel his playfulness in my self.

Our cups full, but still a space for a final Samhain celebration. After Michael’s unexpected encounter with a hedge, extracted with wire cutters, unharmed, we set off to end our day at the Rumburgh Buck, where Old Glory danced for the first time in 2 years.

Sweet to find now, days later, this from Philip – Tea with Druids 195 – in which he talks of his visit to Suffolk to our wood.