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Calan Gaeaf - Lunar Samhain

First - the technical stuff. What is Calan Gaeaf?

Calan Gaeaf, in the Avalon tradition, is the lunar sister of Samhain.

The solar observance is November 1st, whereas the lunar observance takes place on the first full moon when the sun is in Scorpio. That makes it November 8th in 2022. Like Samhain, Calan Gaeaf is a liminal period as we enter the dark half of the year.

So, what does this actually look like?

Because the Avalon tradition is heavily associated with inner work, we look at Calan Gaeaf as the doorway to a period of inner contemplation. At this point, we decide what we want to bring indoors with us for winter. Kind of like deciding to pull the garden hose in but deciding that it is time to ditch the old patio furniture that is too broken down to serve a purpose anymore. We also need to take an emotional inventory and identify what is no longer serving us and leave that behind. This can be our own reactions, emotions, and behaviors. This can be relationships or even jobs. The dark half of the year brings with it a new perspective, one that looks inward, concentrating on the needs of the hearth and home.

Living in Northern Minnesota, we experience long, cold winters. I used to loath this time of year. I yearned for the sun and the movement that came with summer. But as I've gotten older and found my path straddling eclectic paganism and Druidry within the Avalon traditions, I found a new love and appreciation for winter. Summer is beautiful chaos, but by October I find myself in need of rest. In need of things to slow down. I've found that slow living in the peace of our Minnesota winters. The fireplace going, tea lights lining the ceilings, comfy slippers on, and hot tea in my mug. I suppose in a way I've learned to embrace Hygge. But I found Hygge in the intentional slowdown and reflections triggered by Calan Gaeaf.

Book recommendations to embrace Calan Gaeaf.

*Side note- the image of each book is a link to where you can buy the book. I am not affiliated with any of these recommendations, I just love these businesses. If you prefer e-books and audiobooks, I highly recommend the app Scribd. It is affordable and has a great selection. Otherwise the images will bring you to the website This is a website that supports independent bookstores, while providing you with the convenience of getting books shipped directly to your front door. Bezos doesn't need any more money, your local bookstore does. :)

First and foremost, I recommend Jhenah Telyndru's book Avalon Within. Jhenah is the found of the Sisterhood of Avalon, is a director of the Avalonian Thealogical Seminary, and has degrees in both Celtic studies and archeology.

The second book I'll recommend is Wintering the power of rest and retreat in difficult times by Katherine May. This book exemplifies the need to slow down and listen to your body.

The third book I'll recommend here is Beth Dooley's In Winter's Kitchen. This book is really for us northerners. I'll be honest, this book is really about connecting to food meant for those of us in the northern heartland. But the heavy emphasis on listening to your body and connecting with the land you live on really resonates with my druid heart. Something about it feels so "Hygge" to me.

And finally, because we are talking about inner work and behaviors that no longer serve us, I will recommend The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk.


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