• Sara McFarland

Samhain - on moving house and re-weaving my belonging

Updated: Nov 24

Through the days and over the threshold of Samhain and the Day of the Dead, I moved house. This Celtic new year time, the blood moon of the time of slaughter and ritual killing to feed the Holy and the people through the winter. This new year that begins with death and sacred offerings and gratitude and re-membering ourselves into the ancestral fabric. In this time, we moved house. Rather than crossing the threshold to the deeps within, we crossed it to outside and away. Perhaps my ancient, nomadic ancestors moved at this time to their winter quarters, after the harvest of hazelnuts and the hunting of the deer. Traveling between worlds in a physical way, we drove 6 hours north-north east and have arrived in the Lake District of the German state called Mecklenburg Vorpommern - between the Baltic Sea, Berlin, Poland and Hamburg. Here, there are 100s of lakes, pine forest, maple and oak and beech trees, Osprey and White-tailed Eagles, Heron, Cranes, Geese, Fox, Boar, Deer… and Wolves.


As a child of four, I had a recurring dream, in which I as an eight year old, stood on a hill in the dark moonless night, the sky filled with the cold gleaming stars of Winter, burning. Below me, only just far enough away to not feel the heat of it, my house stood, burning. I could see the windows and doors through the flames, the entire house encased in a cocoon of flame. I knew this was the end of not only my family, but also of my membership in human civilisation. Out of the pine woods next to me, their needles thick on the earth below my bare feet, their smell mixed with the smoke of the house and the crisp crack of the cold, a huge, light coloured grey wolf, silently walked towards me. He stood next to me, and I could feel the warmth of his body on the right side of my body, entering into me as a kind of weaving together of our dna. After a time, perhaps once I belonged to him fully, he knelt down and I climbed upon his back. He carried me off into the forest to live with his pack. I know it sounds cliche, but ever since, I have belonged to them. Yellowstone has captivated me, called to me since I was a young adult, and I read the story of their reintroduction with fervor and joy… This last August, I finally visited Yellowstone and was gifted with the sight of a lone black female wolf. I tell you, seeing her made sense of my life in a way I have always ached for and never known. In the moment of that encounter, I sensed a sea change, a transformation of my life so complete, that there is no going back to who I was before. I belong to the wolves, you see. And now, now, I tell you, and perhaps you might understand, I live a few kilometres from several wolf packs in the Mueritz National Park. Wild wolves, who have crossed the border from Poland, the land of my matrilineal ancestors, and rewilded, reclaimed, returned to these forests. It takes my breath away, when I let that land in my body. In my own animal body knowing, I sense there is some conversation that the wolves of these two lands want to have with one another. The wolves who came freely to this over-domesticated country, and those who, living in a wild land, are descendants of transplanted wolves, like I, like I. In some way, I am now in service to this conversation, that is beyond any human needs or civilisation profit margins. This is wholly outside the realm of the human, except that it is happening within this human, whose body can fly from this land to that land. This body that is perhaps of neither place, or both places. This queer shapeshifting transforming listening feeling seeing body making a bridge.


During the course of the last 41 years, I have kept myself distant from the full truth of my belonging to the wolves, or from acting on the knowledge when it did shock me breathless with its intensity. Beyond reading books, watching documentaries and, once, going on a weekend wolf tracking course, I didn’t speak of it. Like the wolves, I felt misunderstood, feared for my wild intensity and bigness. I was overwhelmed by my sensitivity and the intensity with which I experienced life. So, I refused to know, to hear, to see. Like wolves who are hunted by humans, I quieted myself with numbness and a shapeshifting invisibility, sensing danger and trusting almost no one. I followed inner guidance and direct knowing, but I kept quiet about it, so quiet, that I could barely hear the voice amidst the human noise, until I didn’t hear it anymore and forgot I belonged to them. I forgot the voice of the Holy, even though I was born a mystic and seer. So many things have kept me quiet and invisible. Some fathomless deep kind of shame of revealing my deepest desires, belongings and knowings. Plus, isn’t it so cliche? 8 years ago, when I began to lean in and listen, ancient fears arose within me: of visibility, of discovery, of ostracisation, of death, if I spoke the whispers I hear from Earth, from Mystery, from the Holy Dark, the wild wolves and the unseen ones. Oh, the grief that I was not born into an Earth-based culture and the inability to ever really find my way in this insane modern paradigm. Not ever. It always made me sick. Maybe you know this as well? Never understanding this human world. Always feeling out of place in the modern paradigm and dazed in its glare and noise, into inaction and the biting crush of feeling like a failure and under-achiever.

These last years of re-membering led up to the moment of seeing her in Yellowstone and the weeks of shapeshifting that followed, until this move. I have come to where the wolves live. I have come to say yes to my belonging with my life and my body, to be a bridge. Earth and the wolves are beckoning me to listen and to speak. Yes, very slowly, step by step, yes. And so, I tell you this story, to make visible that which has been invisible within my heart. I tell you about my following this thread that weaves the wolves and I together into a web of belonging. I tell you of my path through my aloneness and lostness and confusion, to soothe your own. I tell you my deepest desires and invite you into your own. And I tell you this story, like a howl, to those that might hear it, weaving us into the wild world again, to know our belonging and to speak and howl back, raising our voice in the song of life.