Surrounded by vampires, zombies and skeletons this weekend, I felt a wave of sadness for how the significant and powerful festival of Samhain has been so hijacked by commercialism.
In the Halloween hype, we have forgotten it’s deep significant roots and why it was celebrated. And yet, its messages are as important now, as they have ever been.
In all cultures from the beginning of time, there have been festivals honouring the dead!
All Hallows Eve/Samhain/Day of the Dead
Samhain or All Hallows Eve (‘Halloween’), represents the ending of one cycle and the beginning of the new.
As we see the seasons change from Autumn to Winter, and nature preparing for decay and death, we are also reminded of our own mortality, and the inevitability of death.
It is the last festival of the Pagan year, celebrated on 31st October while November 1st is considered the first day of the new year, revered as the Day of the Dead.
Communicating with our Ancestors
Far from being spooky, creepy or scary; this is a potent, auspicious time when the veil between our world and the spirit world dissolves, enabling us to communicate with those who have died so that we can celebrate Death, and honour and acknowledge our Ancestors.
The portals are open for us to walk through if we are ready to meet our dead loved ones, using the tools of divination; tarot, dreaming, visioning and through meditation.
From Grain Mother to Old Crone
We are also reminded that we are entering into winter and time for darkness and barrenness, symbolised by the next rite of passage from Grain Mother of the Harvest, to Ceridwen the old Crone, who is the darker aspect of the Goddess.
She has powers of prophecy, and is the keeper of the cauldron of knowledge and inspiration in the Underworld.
She represents the hidden parts of our unconscious that can be accessed during this hibernation period.
Ceridwen advises us to embrace the encroaching cold and darkness and enjoy the space it creates, integrating all that has happened and is happening.
Take time out to rest and relax and allow the change of season to happen without stress or anxiety. Change always brings the opportunity to start again.
Ritual to Honour Your Ancestors.
Find a quiet place either in nature or the place where you feel most at peace and safe. Light a candle and thank the spirits, the goddess, the angels and spirit guides for their protection and love.
Imagine being surrounded by your ancestors and loved ones that have died, and call each one of them to you. Imagine them sitting opposite you and spend time with them and tell them, one by one, what is in your heart.
Use this ritual to end old feuds and misunderstandings that can no longer be resolved in the physical world and to say goodbye.
Help them to release any attachments they may still have with this earthly plane by finding forgiveness and compassion and letting them go.
Say goodbye to each one and give each one of them a hug to support them on their journey.
If this ritual is done with the right intention and respect you can find a deep inner peace.
Glennie Kindred in ‘The Earths Cycle of Celebration’ suggests a beautiful Samhain ritual. When the moon has set gather with a few friends. Hold hands in a circle. Pour a spiral of salt on the floor and in the centre leave a lighted candle and some nuts.
Each person walks into the centre of the spiral and leaves something from the old year and picks up a nut that represents a new seed to grow. Walk out of the spiral inspired with a new direction for the new year.
Wishing you all a very happy and prosperous New Year!