Happy Halloween and Blessed Samhain to One and All
Well, it’s that season again. Halloween, also known as Samhain. Yes, it is my favorite day of the year. Yule and Christmas come close, but for me, Halloween tops all.
A lot of folk think Halloween is overrated, boring, or silly. Not me. I love it. You can decorate your home in all sorts of spooky manners. Ghosts, goblins, rats, bats. Pumpkins, colored lights. Apothecary jars full of interesting herbs, sticks, dried flowers. (Kind of like my office is decorated all year long.)
But you can also take this one day of the year to dress up as anything or anyone. You can be a fairy, a hobo, a princess, Darth Vader, Han Solo, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump. You can be anyone or anything. How great is that?
You can binge watch scary movies about ghosts, vampires, or chainsaw killers (Ugh. I hate scary movies.) You can binge shows like Buffy and Supernatural without people thinking you’re weird. It’s a time of freedom, to celebrate your love of things that go bump in the night.
For me, an eclectic-Wiccan witch, Halloween is the ancient Celtic celebration of the end of the harvest season and the start of the long, dark winter. It is Samhain. (Pronounced either, sam-hain, sow- wen, or sow ween, depending on your origin and location.)
Samhain is the night when it was believed that the veil between the world of the living, and the world of the dead is thinnest. The time when the dead’s spirits return to earth. It is considered the best time to contact those who have passed on.
On Samhain, Celts and druids dressed in costumes, told each other’s fortunes and created enormous bonfires. Dinner tables would be set with an empty plate for those who had passed. This is not unlike the military dinners held for fallen soldiers. The empty plate is a sign of welcome and appreciation. It was also believed that inviting spirits in, and offering sustenance, prevented any unruly ghosts from performing mischief on the living who came behind them.
On Halloween night Druids and Celts made sacrifices to the Gods for good crops, a short winter, and good year to come. In ancient times, these sacrifices may well have been animals. In modern times they likely consist of a glass of mulled wine or beer, a few nuts, grains and seeds.
Witches, pagans and witches are wiser now. We no longer fear the gods, instead we work with them to bring about change and improve our lives, and the lives of others.
When the evening festivities were over, the ancients used embers or lit branches from the ceremonial bonfires to re-light the hearth fires they had extinguished earlier. It was believed this ritual would keep them warm and protect them from the long, cold winter.
You are, of course, familiar with the modern tradition of dressing up, attending parties and having a grand time. I love how this is so similar to the ancient rituals which have morphed and carried forward to today. Don’t let this be all you think of Halloween. Spend a moment or two and research the full history, the monsters, stories and traditions that came before us.
I feel that Halloween, Samhain, connects me to my ancestors, the past, and even, in some respects to the future. Besides that, I can run around in a floaty black dress, wearing a crazy pointy hat, and waving a wand, and nobody things I’m nuts.
Happy Halloween, Blessed Samhain, to you and yours. May the coming winter find you warm, well fed, and happy. No go, get your spook on. Dress up. Celebrate.
Three Moon Falls: This is my magic-based romance series. It is a light-paranormal series which features the magical Hawk sisters and their fight to defeat a rival magician as he attempts to resurrect an ancient evil in an attempt to bring his deceased wife back to life. Books one and two are complete and available on Amazon. Book three, Earth Magic, Hyacinth and Earl’s story releases in the fall of 2022. Be sure to start reading the series now, so you’re ready for Earth Magic.