Last night was stormy, with lightning and thunder scaring away any trick-or-treaters who were still on the streets. We didn’t see many at our door, just two small spidermen and one slightly taller angel. There’s still a whole basket full of Kit-Kat bars, and I’m going to have to distribute them fast before I start eating them.
Mercury went retrograde last night, and this puts me in a haze of nostalgia. I find myself reading old notes and journals, browsing through lists I kept through the years. Why have I always kept so many lists? Clearly because I didn’t want anything to get away from me – not information, not time, not memory. Time has definitely gotten away from me, and memory hides in the corners of my mind too often. But what’s left is emotion. Reading a long list of memorable dates in my life, I remember how it felt when those things happened. I see names of people I loved who are gone now.
This morning my wife was telling me the difference between All Saint’s Day (today) and All Soul’s Day (tomorrow). Apparently today you’re supposed to waft good thoughts to the saints up in heaven, while tomorrow you do the same for your beloved dead, your family members. I wasn’t raised Catholic and have never thought much about the saints, but I do believe in benevolent spirits, so I’m willing to put them in the same category. I’ve frequently seen St. Anthony do his thing when people in my wife’s family have mislaid something, and I’m sure the others have similar skills. So, hey, saints. Thanks for any help with this complicated material world.
When it comes to my beloved dead, I do believe they maintain a relationship with us. We connect to each other in the same way that one breeze will greet another. Nobody can see it happen, but it does. We can’t see them, but we can feel them, because we know these people, and we recognize them even when they’re gone.
I believe that when we become spirit, we are distilled into our essential selves – all love, all joy, all glow - but I don’t think we lose any of our personality in this process. So when I think of friends and family that are gone, they are still themselves, with the same quirky expressions, the same vocal timbres, the same preferences. What’s gone are all the fears, insecurities, hungers and dreads that we earthlings carry around with us. Without all that, who are we? Pure creative energy, freely dancing through all time and space, and through the absence of time and space as well.
So Mercury retrograde and All Soul’s Day combine to bring me closer to my beloved dead. And this month, the Scorpio emphasis also encourages me to go deeper into the emotional plane. I can visit people I’ve loved, and find healing and support there. But I can also go into the inner caverns of my psyche, and visit with less comfortable figures. With respect and caution, I can approach the archetypal Wise Woman, the Crone. She may give me hard knowledge, knowledge that I’ve sought but also avoided. She tells me what I most need to know.
This inner work takes energy, time, and attention. But Mercury retrograde tends to make time by putting obstacles in the way of all the new things we try to do. We succeed best when we do things that are remedial, when we go back and learn from the past, when we correct the mistakes we’ve been living with. (That’s why it’s a great month for impeachment proceedings.)
However, just because it’s a meditative month, that doesn’t mean that it’s a calm or stable one. The new moon of October 27 was very volatile, and this influences us until the next new moon on November 26. With the sun and moon opposite Uranus, it seems clear that there will be a big shift during this lunar cycle - a rebellion, an overturning of the usual order. This is one of the months in which the wheel turns, and people will be dislodged from their comfortable positions and moved somewhere much less familiar.
Your ancestors and your spirit guides can’t protect you from the wear and tear of earthly existence. But it may be that the nurturing you feel from them, and the advice you receive, can make a difference. Just listening can make a difference, because it reminds you that there are many, many worlds besides this one. We can hear sounds from them, we can see shadows from the forms that move there, and sometimes we can visit. For me, as I traverse the margin between All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day, I am grateful to all the saints and all the souls who guide us through these worlds and beyond. Confronted with change, I want to learn from them how to be sure-footed and clear-hearted on this journey.