Going into the Dark

For a lot of people this time of year is very hard. I don’t feel quite ready for the change myself this year. Normally, I relish it. The clocks go back. We know that there will be less light, dark mornings before long the sun will have set by late afternoon.  I believe that part of the reason we find all this so hard is because the pace of our lives keeps up the same relentless momentum. In simpler times this would have been when the hunter gathering tasks were done and people would have gathered to tell stories and make music, repaired things, rested and slept. Now our lives run 24/7 and it is hard to hibernate.

This is also the time when many cultures believed the world of the living and the world of the dead came closer together. This is the time of Samhain, All Souls, Dios de los Muertos and many others. Whatever your belief system I believe it is a good moment to just make time to remember, to allow our grief to come to the surface if it needs to and also to celebrate and feel gratitude for all the gifts the person or people we are remembering brought into our lives. At home we always create a special little place with candles and flowers, photographs and beautiful objects, some bought in Mexico.  Yesterday I was with my friend in Oxford helping set up her offrende in the Mexican tradition with skulls and special foods, papercuts and photographs. Today outside Blacklands organics is the most amazing carved pumpkin I have ever seen – made by Mary Carr from Blacklands. I recommend coming over to admire it. These Halloween practises also stem from the same origins as those mentioned earlier and I remember the excitement of my children being out in the magical dark with a fire and sparklers and how special it was for them. Jeanette Winterson wrote a wonderful book celebrating winter which I recommend. It is called Christmas Days and has recipes, stories and pictures. Very heartwarming. There are many gifts in the dark as well as in the light I believe.