Saille Fearn on her personal Samhain experience

6th November 2020.

Dear Precious Beings,

Last Saturday night we had storm Aidan, and because of this, I decided that I would not light my Samhain fire. At 11.45pm, I was about to go to bed when I had this deep desire to go our and light my little fire, especially as the wind had died down. I put on my coat and went looking for my hat and to my surprise, there was my mother’s headscarf, that I had never worn before. I had taken it from a pile of her clothes, after her death, eighteen years ago. It felt good around my head, and I wondered if I could smell her on it.

I lit my Samhain fire in the fire circle in the garden and brought out a mug of hot tea and a ginger nut biscuit. I waited for the fire to light, which did not take very long at all. I gazed into the flames; the black cat startled me as he ran out from under the nearby bushes. The wind chimes and the sounds of the night added an eerie feeling at midnight. It felt like the veil between the worlds was like gauze.

I though about my mother, my father, my grandmothers, and other lovely beings that had shared my life, and I felt grateful for being alive. I watched the breeze play with the flames and was smudged by the smoke that rose into the night. I picked some sage and put it on the fire, in the hope I could smell its cleansing fragrance on the night air.

Then the fire called me, and I moved around it, enjoying the heat, and the sound of crackling timber. I allowed my feet to take on a life of their own, and I was the observer. I watched this elderly woman in a big blue headscarf, and a red raincoat begin to dance like an ancient medicine woman, stomping her feet, making her mark, and then lightly skipping, as if kissing the holy ground. It felt like a celebration of life, of having made it to the next fire festival.  I sensed a deep connection between flesh and soil, and I began to hum. Then I began to sing a new song.

Éist leis an gaoth, tá sí ag seideadh,

Éist leis an talamh, tá sí ag caonadh,

Éist leis an uisce, tá sí ag canadh,

Éist leis an tine, tá sí ag damhsadh.

Even if my Gaeilge was not perfect, I felt the vibration in my bones and I laughed and cried. I cried for my loved ones and called their names out loud. I laughed at the magic of the dark night, as I celebrated my ancestors, the storytellers, the singers, the dancers, the healers, the fire keepers.

Soon it was time to go back into my comfortable nest, and to the body that was warming my bed.

It was a great Samhain.

by Saille Fearn






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