Samhain

 

The world as we know it is about to change. On October 31, the night of Samhain, the veil between the worlds will lift for a brief time and allow us to see into the mysteries beyond.

 

In ancient times, Oct. 31 was the last day of the year and the day in which we came face to face with our own mortality. Ruled by the Goddess in her hag persona, Samhain begins the dark half of the year.

 

Unlike today, the ancients say death is just another turn of the wheel of life. We are only passing from one existence to another. There is no hell or purgatory, just a belief in the immortality of the soul and reincarnation.

One sad and often misunderstood aspect of the Samhain night was the Halloween bonfire. The burning of the effigy, usually a witch, seems to have been practiced since the beginning of known history.

 

The witch is not the witch as we know her/him today but was rather the target for people’s fears and prejudices. Ancient peoples believed the witch, shaman, witchdoctor, etc. to be capable of incredible feats.  Bountiful crops, a healthy community and even the weather were the domain of the local “witch”. On the flip side, famine, sickness and disaster were also considered to be the doing of an evil “witch”. As the scapegoat for natural events, many a witch was burned at the Samhain bonfire!

 

Before man understood procreation, there was a basic fear of women. Being able to bleed without dying and give birth, a woman was considered to be knowledgable in the secrets of the universe. As a female, it was she who was a direct descendant of the Great Mother. And as such, was both revered and feared.  More often than not, it was a woman “witch” who was thrown on the Samhain fire rather than a man.

 

How Does This Affect Us?

 

Whenever we project our fears and prejudices onto another, we are in essence “burning them at the stake”. Every time we look outside ourselves and point the finger at another, we’re actually facing our shadow self. The more you dislike something about another the more you should realize you’re turning away from yourself. We can only recognize something in another if we have it within ourselves.

 

So the next time you find yourself grumbling about another person or getting angry with them……stop and ask yourself…..How are they me? Your answer might surprise you.

Celebrate

The Irish have some of the most charming traditions surrounding Samhain. One of my favorite is the Halloween Lantern. In ancient ceremonies, the participants wore masks to disguise themselves from the roaming spirits. To light their way, they carried lit lanterns made from vegetables, even turnips!

 

 

You can make your own lanterns using turnips, squash, apples, oranges and even cabbages. Hollow them out just like you would a pumpkin and carve designs. Place a small candle in each and line up on a windowsill. (Just remember to keep anything flammable at a distance.)


 

If you enjoy looking into the future, you can use a takeoff of the  “scrying mirror” . You’ll need a bowl with a reflective surface or dark base, a candle and natural water. You might want to create a sacred space in which to work by lighting candles, incense and using soothing music.

 

Right before midnight on Samhain, Oct. 31, fill your bowl about half full of the water and light a candle close enough that it’s reflected in the water. Allow yourself to relax and gaze comfortably into the water. Just let the images, shapes or thought to appear in your mind. You can also slightly stir the water if that helps. It’s a good idea to hold a question in mind as well if there is something you’d like help with.

 

Whether you wear a mask, fashion a lantern or scry for the future, remember to Have fun, Keep the Light and Blessed Be!

 

Tip of the Month:

 

If you like to follow the old ways, now is the perfect time to think about what you want to be, do and have in the coming year. Rather that make New Year’s resolution on Jan. 1st, use this time to delve deep into your unconscious and find what you really want. Not what you should do or have but what you sincerely want. Winter is the time of the unconscious and perfect for going within to discover our true desires. Good Hunting!

 

 

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