Here we are hurtling forth, in descent, into darkness, into chaos and into the unknown of the underworld of long nights. There is no turning back, the harvest is gathered…the crops are in and the herds have been culled. Time now to examine our inner resources, to account for the growth of this last cycle and decide what we will sacrifice, let go of and what we will gather within to carry us through until the new growth of Spring reveals it’s possibilities. We cling to notions of who we are and what we do in the world as though they were the truth. In the news much of what we see or hear about is the crumbling decay of many of our institutions, public figures and our environment. We are seemingly on a collision course with the end-times. Given that so much energy is devoted to tending our bodies, staving off the inevitable, feeding our various appetites…paying taxes, organizing, striving, how do we succeed in NOT succumbing to despair and hopelessness?
Samhain or Halloween is the third of the harvest festivals in the Celtic calendar, it is a time when fears are made conscious; when the physical world is muted and the we are invited to glimpse beyond the veil. Contrary to popular belief it is NOT a celebration of death. In this feasting of the ancestors we have our opportunity not only to remember those who have ventured before us, but also a time for us to be reminded of the door between this human incarnation and a much larger experience of life. As with each of the holidays we consciously take ‘time out’ to release our grip on this imagined reality and glimpse something far bigger, this is the sacrifice that is demanded of us in this harvest…
Traditionally Samhain is where we ‘meet and greet’ our beloved ones who have passed away. We honour and remember them with stories and food – a welcome chair at our table. It is not just about celebration and remembrance that we gather though, it is a time to remember our own (im)mortality. The darkness is upon us and we in the northern hemisphere are certainly experiencing decline in light and warmth – a drawing in. Our awareness of our intangible and immortal spirit through the links we have forged and maintained with our ‘Gone Befores’ as we sit, feast, remember and commune with them is strengthened; we can, at this time, reach across and know the truth of endless spirit by the one true portal – that of loving connection. This festival provides us with an quiet space in which to reflect on what is real and what is imagined and that which abides.