Ever since I was a child Halloween was my favorite holiday. No not for the candy or costumes, but I have always felt the magic in the air. If you really pay attention, people smile more and it seems that they are open to the impossible actually being possible. Even the questionable person mentions spirits in a more friendly matter. However, it wasn’t until I became an adult and talking to spirits and the ancestors on a daily basis that I learned there is much more to this “Halloween” celebration. Society has dumbed down the actual celebration of the dead because most people fear it…. death that is. It is unknown and uncharted waters, and the unexplained isn’t a highly favorable topic. Not to mention the mighty push of Christianity. So, what is the actual day called? Samhain.
In ancient times people worshiped and celebrated the land. The land provided and thanks were given. Samhain is the celebration of the dark half of the year. You are to harvest the seeds you have sewn, plant the seeds of intentions, and give Mother Earth time to rest, by allowing her to lay in the darkness. On a subconscious level everyone does these very same actions. Popular culture calls it “cuffing season”. People finding people to nest with. Taking a break from outdoor activities to rest at home, sleep later, eat heartier, spend more time with family, reflect on the next stage of your life, and ultimately giving in to the season of change. So, the celebration does happen, but not with the same commercial success as “Halloween.”
Most of us who do celebrate Samhain know it is not popular because of the push of Christianity around the 16th century and now it is very much indoctrinated into our collective society. It is everywhere even if you do not believe, you know everyone else does. It is in the pledge of allegiance, the national anthem, the constitution, even on your dollar bill. The government has made an extraordinarily strong push to make sure everyone feels the same exact way. But some of us still have an astonishingly strong will and can see between the lines. I am totally okay with being an outcast because I know in my solar center the spirit world is very real. Nature provides, and she can take it away at any moment. I know that my ancestors see me, speak to me, and protect me. So, I want to make sure I do my part and give them my gratitude. My gratitude starts with noting that this time of year is incredibly special. October is considered the “Spiritual New Year.” It is the time to clean your soul, rejoice in resting and taking inventory of the lessons you’ve learned so when we do emerge into the glory of the warmer months, what you have planted and harvested will birth a better version of yourself.
October is a month-long celebration for me! Not only do I always host my annual retreat this month, but I also redecorate my home, I repot lots of my plants, I cook noticeably bigger meals, and I spend lots of time outdoors. To make sure I am preparing for the last day of October I try to accomplish a few must dos:
· Go Outside! – I always spend more time outdoors. Taking meditative walks surrounded by nature is a must! Listen to the trees. Feel the wind blow through your spirit. (It’s a cleansing ritual to go outside during a very windy day and visualize the wind passing through you taking away the unwanted with it leaving you new and refreshed) If you cant get out because of the weather, leave a window cracked. Yep, every time you pass that area you’ll be greeted by a chilly hello. Enjoy a bonfire wrapped in a blanket surrounded by your folks. Just get out!
· Watch nature die. Death is inevitable. None of us are making it out of this alive, so why not witness it? Watch the leaves change colors, break, float, and then finally rest. They get to return back to earth with grace. Watch your once bountiful vegetables rot. The season is asking them to also rest from feeding you all summer. Watch the days get shorter and know that your time is very precious and to use it with love and respect.
· Gather! I collect leaves that catch my eye for art of décor. I bring in fallen branches and collect pinecones. Bring them all inside to show spirits that you still care for nature even when it is broken or slowly perishing. People are broken all the time. We fall apart daily and still pick up the pieces to move on, so we can allow nature that same grace. She is you! We are one! We are all connected! Once you acknowledge that nature and spirit are connected you witness growth.
· Journal more. -You could practice reflection journaling or just spending more time just witnessing how you feel. Not questioning it or judging but just being with it allows for releasing to happen and any new year or new phase requires shedding so that the rebirth can take place.
o Journal Prompt questions: Write & reflect about how old habits and folktales influence your modern autumn traditions. If you have none, what traditions would you like to start or leave your family?
· Build an Altar! – By far one of the most important practices of October. Create a space to build your ancestral altar. Create it somewhere it could rest at least until November 1st. Bring in photographs, letters, or any heirloom that represents them. Decorate this area as well. Light the good candles (Black & Purple & Red) bring in fresh flowers and other nature as well. Once it is set up share a moment of gratitude with the ancestors. Cry, yell, or just tell them what they have missed. Talk to them as if they are here because they are. There is a team of ancestral linage standing with you. Even if this seems heavy it is required to move forward. It is called a Spiritual New Year because you are getting deeper to come out brighter. After the sorrow has passed welcome them into the celebration. Tell them to eat and be merry.
· Cook & Eat! – Yes, your ancestors love the smell of food. “HOME COOKED FOOD”. Our ancestors worked hard for a meal. They sowed, planted, watered, watched, protected, picked, cleaned, and then cooked before they could ever enjoy a meal. Find joy in the process of preparing. Mindfully pick your veggies. Sing as you wash the food. Maybe cook your ancestor’s favorites. On October 31st, prepare an extravagant meal. Lay out a bountiful spread. Decorate with more candles (Greens, Yellows, Purples, Reds) bring in more nature, bake with seasonal fruit. Bring the ancestors into the kitchen to cook with you. Tell stories of them to the younger ones, stories that will live with them forever, stories they will share to the next generation. And always always sing and dance! Dance while you cook! Sing while you chop! Music and rhythm are in our souls. Sometimes some ancestors need a wake-up call, and nothing works better than a beat. Stomp, clap, sing and groove. It is a celebration! Share life with the spirit world. They are protecting you; always make sure to recognize them with honor and happiness. Don’t forget to leave a yummy plate out for spirit. Make it a good one! Do not skimp. I leave crystals and a little note with mine as well (and since my dad enjoyed a drink or two, I always leave him a little shot of whisky too!)
One of the bonuses of 2020 is that this year Samhain (Halloween) lands on a Full Moon! How awesome! So not only is it a spiritual time, it is also graced with the powerful blessing of Mother Moon in all her glory and light. Because it is the second full moon of the month it is called a Blue Moon or Hunters Moon. Full Moons are closures of a cycle; it is watching the seed you planted with the New Moon actually taking root, and maybe blossoming. You can witness the abundance entering your vibrational force. We get to dance under the moo