A lovely reader asks:
I have a very hard time during the season between Samhain and Yule. I get that Samhain is about death, and Yule is about rebirth, but what about the six weeks between death and rebirth? This time seems like a void to me, especially in the increasing cold and darkness.
AW, from CT
Seeds need time in the ground before they’re ready to sprout. Eggs need time under the hen before they hatch. In the Celtic bardic tradition, bards-in-training had to spend nine months wrapped in blankets working on their poetry in near-darkness — a kind of womb of words.
Part of the tradition of Wicca is a recognition that patience is a necessary part of bringing forth anything to fruition. Something has to die, and experience the breakdown of its form and structure, before it can take on new shape. Consider the way that we look on the Goddess in her three-fold form: maiden, mother and crone. We know that mortal humans go through this aging process one day at a time, and yet we separate them into three distinct identities.
In the same way, just because something dies does not mean it decomposes and decays all at once. A dead ancestor does not immediately become a powerful presence in our lives, as one of the honored ancestors: the spirit has to re-acclimate to existence beyond the Veil; just as we who remain in life have to go through our own grieving process.
The short answer is that change requires both activity and stillness, both growth and withering, to achieve results. And this season between Samhain and Yule is about recognizing that power, in both our faith and our magic.