Samhain (sow-win) is a Pagan festival celebrating the end of the harvest and ushering in the beginning of the dark months. The Celts believed that the veil between worlds was at it’s thinnest during this time, allowing us to commune with loved ones lost.
When you think about the inherent danger of Winter passed, it makes sense to me that this would be held as an important time to reflect and connect with our ancestors. Remembering them, yes, but also maybe reminding them of us. Ensuring that our connection isn’t lost and that if we don’t survive the harsh Winter season, someone will surely be waiting to guide us beyond.
There’s also the creativity of The Autumn People. The magic that floats on the changing leaves, or rides on the cool breeze. How many Autumn people do you know that love a good ghost story, or dressed as a witch for too many Halloweens as a child. Who is your most pumpkin loving, magic friendly, pointy hat wearing friend? Are they coming alive right now? The energy of this season dances on the stars, tumbles down in the moon beans, rises up from earth. We can taste it in freshly plucked carrots. Hear it in the crunch of leaves under foot. The earthy sent of rain and mud. There’s a yearning for the mysterious old world. Not the idealized recent pat, but an older, wilder, time.
A time of magic. A time when obeah, witches, brujas, mambo, medicine men and women drew strength from the earth, from the trees, from the stars. Harvesting their herbs and collecting their ingredients. Preparing to care for their tribes and clans through the harshest months.
I imagine this was also a great time for the storytellers as well. Darkness fell earlier and cooler nights drove people in and around the fire. This was their time to shine. Passing down the tales, stories, oral histories of their people. The spoken word, the simple tunes, the hum of our humanity can still be found today if you open your ears to it.
There are many traditions that predate our modern Halloween. Lighting candles to guide your lost loved ones home, setting an extra plate at the table for them to let them know they are always welcome, planting an apple in the earth to nourish the souls waiting to be reborn. Maybe that’s not your sort of thing.
Maybe you prefer a more modern Halloween. Costumes and candy and just a bit of mischief. Either way I’m here for it! What do you love about this time of year? Do you have any special traditions you practice around Samhain?