Samhain is the ancient Celtic festival welcoming the dark half of the year, which was always celebrated at the end of October. It was a commemoration of the dying year and the beginning of a spiritual new year. Its name has evolved over the centuries, and so has its meaning, but October 31 remains a night of deep darkness when we revel in the mystery, with a more tangible connection with spirits on the other side. Even before I ‘knew’ or learned that Samhain was the Celtic New Year, I always had this feeling right around November 1 that the planet was rebirthing itself. Something seems new, fresh, and available on the morning after Samhain, or Halloween. And it is. In this blog, I’ll share some of The Mystery of Samhain and the Wisdom of Death.
Samhain is when we welcome the thinning of the veil and harness our intuitive power through the magic and mystery of the shadow. It aligns to the Lower World of bones, crystals, and creepy crawlers who teach us how to navigate tight, dark, shadowy spaces and the cobwebs of our past in service of our growth and ascension. Samhain is a time when we call upon Hecate, the Greek goddess of the night, moon, crossing over, witchcraft, magic, and the unseen, to see beyond the veil and for support through times of letting go, change, and deep soul shifting. The veil isn’t just the doorway to our ancestors and the spirit world – but a proverbial divider between our former and present selves. The mirror of our shadow. And the closer we get to Samhain, the thinner that veil gets.
Our shadow is the collective part of us that we repress – those behaviors, patterns, and tendencies that take us toward the darkness, and we all have them. Shadow work helps you bring all parts of yourself into the light for more healing and wholeness. When you acknowledge your shadow and the importance of its existence, you achieve an all-new level of spiritual understanding. Plus, some of your greatest gifts and sexy magic are hiding there, just waiting to be realized. No matter how terrifying or uncomfortable it is for you to look at the darker aspects of yourself, you must do it. You must walk beyond the curtain and hug those creatures. Cradle them. Love them. Integrate them into your being. Because you are your darkness and your guiding light. Honor and remember all that you are, were, and will be, and release whatever doesn’t serve you this Samhain. It’s time to let what is already dead, die. This is necessary to keep on living and growing.
In the Northern Hemisphere, the turning of the Wheel toward Samhain is a turn toward darkness; the cycle of the world is finally aligning with the events of this year. The nights are growing longer, and time is catching up with us. Our trees no longer bear living fruit – all we see now are dried figs, dried grapes, things once living now dying, to remind us of the stages of alchemy. There’s a quiet about death, a permanence, that terrifies us, and yet, it’s so completely unavoidable and in that sense, beautiful and significant. As my shaman says, “We have to figure out how to die well. But if we never speak of dying, that is not possible.” And so at Samhain, we speak of it. We can play with death because it comes to us now in a state of suspended illusion. We can peek through and spread a hand across the veil of consciousness and then withdraw that hand on November 1, no harm done. Or can we? That is always the question. Does some little part of us die every Samhain, and is that okay?
The ancient Celts didn’t resist this death dance, this portal to the other side, because they understood how to harvest wisdom in the process of facing their mortality. They understood that when you bury something with intention, it can feed future crops and nourish them from within. And yet, the word itself – Samhain – means nothing more than summer’s end. The end of growth. This Sabbat reminds us that death is just a natural stage of life. We can’t have life without death any more than we can have light without dark, truth without lies, or good without evil. They are all two sides of the same coin, forever entangled and inseparable. So, go. Retreat into your darkness. I’ll see you on the other side.
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