Today is the Celtic festival of Samhain, which we now more commonly refer to as Halloween. I’ve recently been reflecting on the deep respect that our ancestors had for Nature, and how the gifts of Nature were never taken for granted. This was particularly reflected in the many different rituals associated with Samhain.
Marking the end of the harvest and beginning of winter, traditionally, Samhain was a time to take stock of the herds and food supplies. Cattle were brought down to the winter pastures after six months in the higher summer pastures. It was also the time to choose which animals would need to be slaughtered for the winter. Samhain was seen as a liminal time, when the boundary between this world and the spirit world could more easily be crossed. This meant the ‘spirits’ or ‘fairies’ (who many scholars say were actually nature spirits), could more easily come into our world. At Samhain, it was believed that the nature spirits needed to be honoured to ensure that the people and their livestock survived the winter. As such, offerings of food and drink would be left outside for them, and portions of crops were also be left in the ground for them.
Now it seems that we do take the gifts of Nature for granted, and certainly we seem to be less connected to Nature in our every-day lives, replacing ancient festivals with commercial holidays.
It also seems that we can take our partners for granted, and can just go about our day to day lives without really stopping and making the time to connect with each other.
And I believe that these two are connected – because as part of Nature, to disconnect from it is to disconnect from ourselves. And if we disconnect from ourselves, it’s not surprising that it becomes more difficult to connect with others!
But now the clocks have changed and the nights have drawn in, Nature has given us the gift of more time to nest down with our partners. And acknowledging the ancient beliefs and practices associated with Samhain can be the perfect way of addressing the disconnect in your relationship:-
- Find a way of honouring or expressing gratitude to you partner by giving them an offering – make them something they’ll love, such as their favourite food, or a sketch or a painting, or go for a walk and bring them back a gift from Nature.
- Recreate the idea of “crossing over” into another world by stepping over into your partner’s world for a while. Try to see things from their perspective, in a quest to really understand them and demonstrate empathy.
- Create a ritual that brings you closer together – carve out some uninterrupted time together where you light some candles and run a bath, or read stories to each other, or play each other your favourite song.
Making the most of the gifts that Nature has to offer you can reap huge rewards in your relationship, if you take the time to realise how important it is.
P.S. If you want to honour your relationship and improve your ability to empathise with each other, then my Oak Tree Coaching Package for Couples could be exactly what you need! Designed for couples who are in established, committed relationships, the Oak Tree Package is a 6-phase coaching programme which helps you and your partner to review and celebrate your relationship, honouring any significant milestones or challenges that you have faced, and imagine what the future might hold. Comprised of modules based on 3 roots and 3 branches essential to healthy relationships, you will learn how to create or renew your relationship vision, plant the seeds for the vision to grow roots, and how to tend to your relationship so that it can grow as healthy and strong as any Great Oak. And it can take place online or in person!
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Deepening your connection with Nature 🙂