A time of completion, gathering, honouring, and releasing when the veil between realms is thin.
Happy Samhain. The observance of change when the old year has passed, the harvest has been gathered, animals brought in from the fields and the leaves have fallen from the trees. The earth slowly begins to die around us and the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest, allowing the spirits of the dead to travel again among the living and we welcome the dark part of the year. Beautiful!
Autumn is my favourite Season, (it all starts at Mabon for me) with nature dazzling us at every turn, showing us how beautiful change and letting go can be, and Samhain the Sabbat I connect with most (okay okay, I’m likely going to say the same thing on my Winter Solstice post). But Samhain, Spirit Night, and it’s tangible Magickal energy that calls for completion, acceptance, gratitude, and release while we walk with less of a barrier between the realms, alongside our ancestors and particularly active (and mischievous) nature spirits just makes me warm and fuzzy and more than a little sparkly with anticipation and fresh energy.
One of the four Greater Sabbats and fire festivals in the Pagan year, and the last of the harvest celebrations, it marks the beginning of a new year in some traditions. A cross-quarter day, the midpoint between Autumn Equinox and Winter Solstice when the Sun God completes his descent into the underworld and the arms of the Goddess where new seeds will be planted so he may be born again.
Samhain (pronounced Sowen), Summer’s End, Winter’s Night, Feast of the Dead, Hallowtide, All Hallows’ Eve, Halloween, names and celebrations ranging from October 31st to November 2nd (and some a little later) this is certainly a colourful tradition of interesting influence. It’s said that at a time when the only way the preachers of the New Religion could overrule the inconvertible locals was by placing a holiday/celebration at the same time, the 1st November was eventually declared by the church as All Hallows’ Day (All Saints Day, for honouring those that didn't have their own day). The night before then became All Hallows' Eve, then Hallowe'en, and eventually, simply Halloween, pretty much now a combination of a few different traditions! (with the addition of All Soul’s Day on 2nd Nov, all three days became All Hallowtide/Hallowmas season)
Walking with Spirit
It's believed that the veil between the spirit world and the living world is thin at this time making it easier for spirit to visit with the living.
A time of connecting with and honouring our ancestors, setting out lights to guide them home. Traditionally this was turnips with bonfire embers brought to the hearth from the main fire which eventually became pumpkins with candles (scary faces were also carved to ward off unfriendly spirits) The handing out of sweets was about making offerings in the form of giving food to children, bringing the vitality of life into the underworld, energising the gift that is the cycle of birth, growth, death and rebirth (as the dead are also the unborn) giving the spirits and souls of loved ones more power to visit us.
There are many different traditions all over the world. My Mexican friend made a wonderful post on social media today mentioning this is also her favourite time of year, celebrating The Day of The Dead, an occasion for her to honour her losses and notice what is dying inside of her, as she hopes to set an example for her girls, remembering who and what is no longer in her life and acknowledging what needs to be released, to accept the cycle of life and death as a part of who we are.
Ritual for the Sabbat
This is the perfect time for us to wrap up the old, deal with anything unresolved from the last year, clear out our unfinished 'stuff' and make way for the new. To harness the energy of this cleansing, purifying and renewing Fiery Sabbat and create some change, you don’t have to do much, it’s all about invitation and intention.
Light a candle, some incense, have a soak in a salt bath (maybe add some lavender) and get comfy in a quiet spot and write out all that you are grateful for.
Honour and acknowledge your own journey and all who have been on it with you and the parts of you that need to be shed, along with anything you’re holding onto you can free yourself from. Disappointment, resentment, blame, shame. Any path you were on that didn’t come to fruition, any relationship that didn’t turn out how you’d have liked, bring them to a close. They are waiting for our permission, for loose ends to be tied. When we allow the release, we make way for new seeds to be planted and fresh energy to circulate.
If you need to cry for a part of yourself that you feel you have lost. Cry. It’s okay to feel sad and tears are also cleansing. Know that we cannot transform and transcend without shedding layers, as well as people and situations that hold us back. Sit with what you’ve gathered, honour it, then release it.
Write out what has to go and if you can, burn it. Hold one corner of a piece of paper with a tong and light the opposite over a dish and let it go up in flames watching it all crumble and smoke. Imagine what you're releasing on an inhale and exhale as it dissolves.
Who and what (within you) is going forward? What do you want to invite into your life for the new cycle? Write it out. Vocalise it, welcome it in. Maybe make a herbal tea and with your hands around the cup, fill it with blessings, then sup slowly, invigorating your cells with the vitality of your intentions.
Sit with your eyes closed and palms resting on your lap facing upwards and call upon your ancestors for their wisdom and guidance. Call upon the Fae, the God and Goddess, whoever and whatever resonates with you. Say thank you for the blessings of all that has gone and all that will be.
Happy Halloween. May it be Magickal.