My former coven used to do a Yule ritual that involved keening.  It was extremely powerful and emotionally intimate.  We are at our most vulnerable and unhidden when we are keening, because once it starts it’s uncontrollable.  As soon as one deeply buried emotion makes its way to the surface to be released there is no way of knowing what will follow it.  Unresolved, unhelpful, and unhealthy thoughts and feelings tend to travel in flocks, and there is no way to sugar coat or disguise them in front of others when they’re pouring from us in waves.  We are raw.  We are authentic.  We are healing in one of the most violent and explicit ways possible.

So yes, this is much more of a Yule lesson for cleansing and renewal than it is a Samhain lesson, but after years of repeating this ritual at Yule I felt it begin to build as the veils thinned and the dark half of the Wheel of the Year began its final turn.  It seems that around this time of year many lives change in very eruptive ways, and by the time the light returns at Yule we either release the residue from this change or find it very hard to feel the sun.

I’ve chosen to write this now because I’ve noticed an unusual density around me.  Several people in my life are experiencing this painful change all at once, including myself.  Some of us are coming through it embracing new opportunities, and some of us have simply stopped trying to move forward.  I fall somewhere in the middle, but deep inside I know I can’t just stop where I am and give up.

Here is a very short meditation for your consideration as it came to me in this time of change:

You’re on a path that you believe is The path.  It’s been the only path you’ve followed and believed could lead you to fulfillment.  Maybe for months, maybe for years, or maybe for your entire life you have struggled with the obstacles and setbacks that come with any journey.  Then one day the path ends with no divergent path and no way to go back.  Everything you’ve invested, all the time and energy you’ve spent, and all the sacrifices you’ve made on this path are gone.  The only way to go is forward, and in front of you is a cliff into a dark abyss.  Your only choices are to sit and stop moving forward or jump and have faith that you will survive the fall.  You may fall to a new path, or you may have to seek one out once you’ve landed and put yourself back together. 

Your decision in this case is not for me to judge or push one way or another.  In some cases you may be perfectly content to climb a tree and make a life here at the end of this path.  You may not feel like the risk of facing another cliff is worth seeking a new path.  You may also get to the tree, sit there for a while, and decide you have to move forward to feel like the path you were on wasn’t for nothing.  I wish I could say the risk was always worth the fall, but that’s for you to decide.

For me the fall isn’t what scares me, it’s the possibility of not finding a new path at all.  My choice to move on was made because I have a lot of journey left before me.  There is no way of knowing what will come next, but I want to see what could come next.  The only way for me to do that is to shed the excess weight and grime left behind by the obstacles of a path that just…ended.  I don’t want to sit in a tree with only my emotional baggage for company.  I don’t want to spent my entire life resenting the cliff.  I want to be rid of the hurt and blame that I have collected on this dead-end path.  I want to feel my mortality and know what it feels like to come out of it alive.  I want to be able to know that the abyss did not claim me.

So, the keening.  It took me a long time to be able to let go enough to actually let it all go.  In order for it to be keening, rather than your run of the mill wailing and carrying on in front of a bonfire in the cold in the middle of the night, you must be willing and able to let it all go.  It was a fall that taught me how, a fall that taught me to stop holding on to old pain for fear of what future pain might entail.  My lesson?  Don’t fear the fall because of what you might lose on the way down.  Embrace it.  Sometimes you need the fall to be able to walk away from a path that is obviously no longer leading you anywhere.  Sometimes you need the fall to find the path in the abyss.  Sometimes you need the fall to keen and release all the things that are holding you back.  Go ahead.  Fall, scream, cry, face your demons, and let it all go.  Then find the path that gives you a new purpose, or even just a new way to get to your original purpose.

Cliff house Giant Camera



Go now, fall or stand still.