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Portals of Grief and Heart

To many of our ancient ancestors, including my Celtic ones, this time of year was known for when The Otherworld drew near. (Watch my video all about Samhain here).

Meaning the thin sheath between death and life is more noticeable. The boundary between the spiritual and the material planes becomes more permeable.

It is a time when ancestral reverence amplifies globally, because we can hear and feel their presence more easily now.

This is not some mental concept, but a felt sense, an embodied experience of this seasonal passageway in the ongoing conversation between Earth and Sun.

Can you feel it?

Liminality approaches. Nostalgia fills the air. An eerie etherealness penetrates our psyches and our days.

Because the veils are thin now, we can communicate more easily with the spiritual forces of life who live alongside our world: the plant spirits, the ancestors, the fae, the elementals.

It is also believed that the spirits of those who’ve died this year (the newly dead) can cross over more easily now.

It is common practice in Celtic Pagan traditions to offer ceremony for those who’ve passed over the course of the year, and pray for their safe crossing.

With so much devastation filling the air right now across the globe, and far too many bodies piling up from the Mediterranean to Maine, Azerbaijan to Mexico, Sudan to Ukraine, now is a really important time to offer ceremony to honor, grieve and pray for the dead (of course alongside actions for the living here and here).

Ceremony and prayer is far from an empty gesture. Honoring the newly dead brings remembrance to them and their lives, and lets them know their lives mattered. We feed the dead with our ritual, our prayers, and our grief.

Grief is a portal.

A portal to feeling. Grief rips open all that guards and hides our truest love, our greatest ability to hold this world dear.

It opens us to the wider, vulnerable experience of life itself.

Grief brings us through a rite of passage. And like all rites of passage, the pain is both the medicine and the doorway to a new configuration of being.

The times I’ve grieved the hardest, I’ve felt my heart break open wider than it’s ever been.

My heart shatters. And in the aftermath, my heart feels somehow bigger, has more capacity to feel, to love, to open, to receive and to give.

The heart is a portal too. To the felt world. The unseen world. The Otherworld.

The magical realm that is right alongside us at all times that can be perceived by our hearts and our felt sense.

Grief opens wide the portal of our hearts to perceive the mystery of life itself that brings depth and breadth to our experience to our short time here on Earth.

When we grieve, we honor life by offering more of our hearts to this world, fed by the Otherworld.

If it feels difficult for you to grieve, or you feel alone in your grief, take it to nature. Bring your grief to the land, the forest, a sturdy tree, or a moving waterway.

Let yourself be held, let your grief be cradled. Let yourself unravel and break open. Let yourself feel your love for this world expand.

May your heart widen open to claim this life of yours.


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