The ancient Celts divided the world into two seasons, the light half took place at the April/May lunation, Beltane, and the dark half began at the October/November lunation, Samhain. The seasons of light and darkness have been celebrated in a thousand forms throughout history. As winter loomed, the survival of each individual was bound to the group and villagers extinguished their fires to feed the central bonfire, then took the fire back to their hearths. Sometimes a ritual of purification took place, walking between bonfires to prepare for the meditative time of winter.
We celebrate Samhain as Halloween.
Samhain was the beginning of hibernation, time to take stock of food and supplies, to cast the bones of slaughtered cattle upon the fire and seek portents of the future. As the sun retreated, the earth was plunged into darkness, days grew short, nights long— tree sap receded, leaves brightened and fell and wildlife burrowed into the earth to sleep. As stillness spread across the land, the veil separating life and death thinned, the dead were remembered and evil spirits placated through masks and disguises.
In our modern world, with its new traditions, packaged candy and costumes, it’s important to feel the history of Halloween, to mind the gap between the living and the dead and honor the connection between ourselves and the community that sustains us.
Generosity to others insures our own abundance.
Although Samhain marks the receding of the light, it is in hibernation that we often make break-throughs. Just as silence returns us to the source, darkness often cocoons the spark of our creative transformation. Respecting the seasons physically is a way of reminding ourselves about the seasons of our lives, sometimes we are in a season of growth and sometimes withdrawal. If summer is a time of action, winter is a time of meditation.
Disguises make us consider our identity, our fears and our hopes. Has your current identity crystallized? Does it still serve you or is it time to release the old and cultivate a rebirth?
Who will emerge in spring?