Trick or Treat and the Old Ways

Trick or Treat. What connection can this have to the old ways? Wandering from door to door begging or ‘souling’ for food and fuel in return for a blessing upon those who have crossed over, we pay homage to our ancestors. Embedded in our understanding of life, in times past, we have always been supremely aware of our relationship to our ancestors and to those who have passed before us. An essential part of that remembrance comes in sharing food and sustenance. As life is associated with eating, so we symbolically feed the ancestors. In cultures all over the world throughout history there is a tradition of leaving food for the ancestors, in Japan, China, Egypt, Australia, the Americas. This custom not only links us to those who have gone before, but it is an assurance that when we pass, we too, will be enfolded in the memories and the traditions of our descendants.

Hallowe’en or Samhain (pronounced ‘sow-en’) is the third of the harvest festivals in the Celtic calendar where we salvage the seeds and take them into ourselves by literally eating them and saving some for planting in the Spring. By bringing the concentration of life force distilled in the seed into ourselves, we symbolically draw all that is most precious within while the seeds that we preserve for the next planting are invested in the promise of yet another sowing, another harvest.

As darkness grows and the sun recedes we enter a dangerous time – scarcity, cold and inevitable contraction. Samhain marks the tipping point into the darkening of the year. It is the moment when the veil between the worlds is thinnest offering us an opportunity to connect with the departed and renew our relationship with the dark; an acknowledgement of spiritual immortality and human frailty. During this powerful time of shadows and few definitions, dreaming and surrendering are the tasks that we are charged with.

Reach now for the guidance and support of those who have passed this way before. Prepare mindfully a place at your table for the ‘Gone Befores’.

Blessed Samhain.

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