The Autumn leaves are changing color
and transforming into a sensual palette
of fire orange, red, gold, and yellow. They
fall off the tree branches to the ground
withering and dying off as the Wheel of the
Year turns. The dried leaves crunch
beneath our feet as we walk in the crisp
breezes of darkening October. They give
off a sweet, musky, damp earth scent along
with the seasonal aroma of wood burning fires
and spiced apple cider.
The last of the years harvest of pumpkins, squash,
and apples are abundant and fill our homes with
delicious tastes in our baking, food, and hot
October and Autumn is abundant and alive in all
our senses filling us with life before death and the
entering darkness of the Winters chill and barren land.
On October 31 in the United States we celebrate
Halloween which has its origins in the Celtic pagan
tradition Samhain. This celebrated the Summers End
and to the ancient Celts this marked the last day
of the year and the beginning of the new year.
This was believed to be a day when the Otherworld
and the veil between this world was thinnest. You
could connect and honor your ancestors and also
protect yourself from negative spirits by wearing
masks and costumes.
The Irish brought the traditions of what we now
know as the current holiday Halloween over
to the United States. During Halloween we embrace
death as part of life and also face fears real or
imagined. We dress up in costume and carve
Jack O'Lanterns to light our way home and
scare away negative spirits. We dance with
the night of spirits and tell ghost stories
in candlelight. We visit bat filled haunted houses
with witches on brooms with black cats flying above.
It is a really fun, magical, scary celebration for
children and adults.
Modern pagans also celebrate Samhain on October
31st. This celebrates and honors our ancestors
and loved ones who have passed on. This can be
as simple as lighting a candle for them on this
night or creating a dinner leaving an empty chair
in honor of them. Some create ancestor altars
with photos and offerings to loved ones and ancestors
who have died.
Since the veil between the spirit world and the living
is believed to be thinnest this is also a great time
to talk to those who have passed on to the spirit
world and ask for guidance.
Since this is also the Celtic new year it is
also a good time to reflect on the blessings
received this year as well as what has ended,
died, or has been let go and released and what
new beginnings, projects, dreams, goals you
would like to start.
Samhain honors and celebrates the cycle of death
and life as the seasons cycle.
The Earth is going soon into a Winter slumber
when the leaves have all fallen and nothing
grows until Spring. The snow will begin to
blanket the land and we move into the darkest
more introspective time of year. How will you
spend this holiday and this coming season?
May you have a very Happy Halloween
and Blessed Samhain!