Nos Calan Gaeaf
Find yourself a comfortable position, you may wish to sit or lie down. For a few moments, we are going to sit and notice our breath. That life-giving action that we barely pay mind to as we go about our daily lives.
Bring your attention to the very tip of your nose, breathe by breath notice the vital air around you, cooling the tip of your nose as it travels in through your nostrils, feel the moisture settle here, as the cool air floats up through your nasal passages and down your throat, feel too how your chest expands as life-sustaining oxygen fills every tiny alveolus. Simply and quietly notice breath by breath the air moving into your nostrils past the tip of your nose. You may find moments when your focus, your attention drifts away from your breath; if this happens simply acknowledge the thoughts or distractions that appear and let you focus gently return to your breath.
Breath in gently one more time and let your attention move freely away from your breath.
Imagine now if you will a ripened field of wheat, golden and replete in the glow of the morning sun. Picture yourself seated in the centre of field, comfortably positioned in a small circle of wheat that has been rolled flat, the stalks of the wheat feel crisp beneath your body and the rising sun brings warmth to your face, feel how the cool breeze rushes through your hair and see how the wheat stalks dances to its playful music.
This circle of wheat is a warm place of sanctuary, a place of repose. Let the warm morning sun refresh you, energize you, as you sit here, basking in the glow of gentle warmth. After a few moments you feel the desire to look more closely at your surroundings, as you do so, you notice a slight change in the pattern of the wheat field. Your eyes are drawn to a pathway cutting through the field of golden grain, a wide winding trail leading off into the West. Curious you move onto your feet and begin to walk towards the path.
Down the pathway you travel, the wheat stalks crunch beneath your feet and you cannot resist the urge to run your hands over the ripened seed heads of the wheat as you walk with buoyant airy steps.
You hear the faint yapping of a dog in the distance, you continue to walk further and further down the pathway, and you begin to realize that the skies illumination is becoming more and more muted the further you travel, and you see that the sun ahead of you is transforming into the vibrant colours of sunset. Suddenly a hare darts in front of your feet and stops you in your tracks, you smile as it stares wide-eyed at you for the briefest of moments before bolting back into the cloaking stalks of the grain field around you.
You begin to hear the bubbling of water emanating from in the distance ahead of you, and through the darkening cloak of dusk has carpeted the horizon, a generous moon lifts its radiant gaze up into the twilight sky to guide your way.
You meander further down the pathway and quickly you find yourself approaching the banks of an ancient watercourse, nonchalantly it travels slowly in front of you, on its way in search of the ocean. Hung on its banks between two imposing and ancient yew trees is a large opaque gossamer curtain,
These two cathedral trees, appear to grip the curtain so securely that it hangs completely still and unwavering, paying no mind to the breeze rising from the surface of the water, that swirls and teases at its edges. Across the surface of the water to the left of the curtain, ripples circle out from where a salmon plunged back into the water after a daring leap, and an otter makes haste in pursuit.
In the stillness of the night air, you detect the faint whisper of voices, many voices echoing as if they are rising up from a mountain canyon many miles into the far distance. You focus your attention directly upon the voices and you slowly begin to realize that they originate from behind the gossamer veil. You look intently at the opaque curtain before you, and as you do, the curtain, the veil begins to thin, slowly becoming translucent and responsive to the rushing eddies of air surrounding it. For now, you realize begins the Holy day of Calan Gaeaf, a day out of time when the worlds of the living and mighty dead find no separation.
Through the translucent veil you see the joyful faces of the beloved dead, throngs of loved ones, ancestors, gathered together for they too are aware that the veil between the worlds has thinned, become permeable.
You raise your voice and joyfully call to the loved one that you wish to commune with, you wish to see, and they step forward, full of happiness and joy to see you.
This is your time, take this time to listen, feel, sense and learn. Share your stories, for it is from the wisdom and understanding of those who have walked this sacred realm before us that we can come to understand more of how to live authentic, compassionate fulfilling lives.
You sense that this precious time with your beloved ancestors is growing to a close, the wheel of time turns once more, you offer your loved ones a fond farewell, and you remind them that they are forever alive in your heart, for what is remembered lives. The beloved dead step back through the veil between the worlds and as they do so, the curtain begins to shimmer and as the moments pass the transparent veil becomes once more a rich opaque black curtain.
The moon is high in the sky now, and it casts long shadows over the still waters of the river. You turn to face the East and walk back down the pathway amongst the stalks of wheat, illuminated by the moon in full splendor.
Further and further you travel into the East and as you do so a bright iridescent sky unfolds before you, the morning sun is rising once again, a faint sound catches your attention and you hear the call of a hawk above you, you look up and notice the elegant bird swooping towards a fleeing crow.
With an invigorated spring in your step, you walk towards the circle of flattened wheat just as the sun is ascending high into the morning sky the air smells of the warm dew, that rises, like misty vapors from the ears of the ripened wheat.
You position yourself back down in the centre of the flattened wheat circle, just as a little black hen sounds her approach. She steps into the circle of flattened wheat and full of purpose pecks hungrily at the ground.
You close your eyes and let go of the image of the wheat field, you let it floats away like the cooling embers of a fire. In its place, you see in your mind’s eye, the room in which you began your journey.
Now once more bring your attention to the tip of your nose, where the cool moist air flows into your nasal passages. Breath gently with your awareness focused here for a few moment more, And now open your eyes.