Shadows and sunsets

This time of the year is known as Samhain. The clocks have changed and brought us bright, low, sharp light this week. We've had day time, evening and night time sessions in the woods to acknowledge, recognise and celebrate this time of year. We've gathered with people familiar with the woodland and new to the space. We've collected, created, shared ideas and stories and reflections and revelled in the low sunlight, or our own lights, creating lanterns, artwork and fires to illuminate the encompassing darkness.

Samhain is a harvest festival and stretches back to Dark Ages. It is celebrated from the night of 31st October to the following evening, running from sunset to sunset. Samhain may come from an Irish word meaning ‘Summer’s End’. It marks the return of winter and a thinning of the veil between this world and the next, and is a time to remember our ancestors.

The Ancestors; a Poem by Jackie Willis


The Ancestors

are having a summit –

they chase around the garden

disturbing hens.

Silver birches shake,

light shudders

in the branches.

The ancestors try on dresses

delivered by the centuries

they roam through like bandits.

When they speak

it’s with the yellow eyes

of a fox and clicks of an orca.

They wrestle, naked,

on the grass

for the best shoes.

Tomorrow they’re having a banquet

of possets and pears.

They sit on the table,

whistling Happy birthday,

promise to leave white dishes

at your door.