Happy Fall Y’all! October is one of my favorite months of the whole year!!!
…Maybe it’s the crispness in the air, still having nice warm days that transition easily from Summer time.
…Maybe it’s the beautiful fall colors of reds, oranges and yellows in the trees that we get up here in the San Bernardino Mountains. I live up at 7,000 ft. and I love having four seasons in Southern California! And yes, we’ve already have had snow, just last week!
…Maybe it’s the mysterious spooky October nights that bring magic and wonder… Last year, I taught my nephew Tiernan about the traditions of Halloween – now he is so excited that it’s here again, with pumpkin decorations everywhere and falling leaves to play in, scary stories of ghosties and costumed fun. Tiernan has designated that he is dressing up as “Popeye the Sailor Man” and we will be his Gang.
…Maybe it’s because I love to play dress-up (everyday!) and appease my many different personalities…
Whatever it is about this season, Autumn is here!
When Witches go riding
And Black Cats are seen
The Moon Laughs and Whispers, tis Halloween!
A little history about Halloween
Halloween was originally called the festival of Samhain (pronounced SAH-win), which means “Summer’s End”. Samhain was the New Year in the ancient traditional ways. It holds the energies of the “Veils between the Worlds”, meaning that the doorway between this world we live in, and the invisible world of our ancestors, is thin. There is a mystery in the air at this time of the year. We tell scary ghost stories and strange encounters of Fairy Queens who would steal away human beings for their lovers, Wicked Witches who made strange concoctions and magical potions. Wearing costumes or masks were once thought to ward off the evil spirits or fairies by tricking them with disguises. That tradition is lost and we now don wild costumes and revel in joyous festivities, “trick or treating” from door to door for sweets.
At the beginning of time, people honored the cycles of the Earth and Nature and the changing times of the year. Festivals commemorated the dying time and celebrated our ancestors. This time of the year is about letting go of the old, like the vibrant colored leaves that are falling to the ground. The “harvest of the fields” is ripe for the picking. As we move into the cold times and the dark of winter, we are preparing to retreat into a time of hibernation.
The symbol of the Witch was originally the faces of the Goddess… Maid, Mother and Crone. At this time of the year, Autumn, she was the Crone, the Wise One, and the Elder who knew about the mysteries and the cycles of life, death and rebirth. Having experienced the journey of the Maid and the Mother through the year, she now carries her lessons within and transforms them into deeper wisdom. As time passed, people began to follow doctors and hospitals; they didn’t understand the “Old Ways” of “The Healer” or “Old Herb Lady”, who lived in the woods alone. The Crone became feared and renamed “The Witch” and “The Hag” of Halloween today.
Day of the Dead
At Samhain, the veil between this world and the afterlife is at its thinnest point of the whole year, making it easier to communicate with those who have left this world. It is a time when your ancestors can come close in spirit to the Earth and their loved ones. Many cultures have ceremonies to honor their dead. The days after Halloween are considered the “Days of the Dead” and many people go out to cemeteries to have family picnics and honor their ancestors.
Shadows of a thousand years…
Rise again unseen.
Voices whisper in the Trees,
Tonight is Halloween.
Titanya’s Samhain Ceremony
This is one of the most magical connections to the other side of life, and a time to remember those who have passed before us… sending our love and gratitude to them.
In your own life, Halloween can be a renewal of dying to the old and a clearing of past energies to move forward into the next phase in our lives. In so doing, you keep in line with a harmony of nature, as we enter into the cycle of darkness for the upcoming year. It is a time to tie up old loose ends. Light candles for yourself. As the candles burn down, remember the year and see all you’ve accomplished. Visualize letting go of the things in your life that don’t fit anymore. Write out what you need to let go of while getting all your emotions out and then burn the writings. Allow the candles to burn through the night, representing parts of the whole year, until they are melted, like the Wicked Witch of Oz, herself.
Make an ancestor altar: Decorate your table with Pomegranates (the food of the dead), Marigolds (flowers of the dead), a photo of your loved one, and something they liked – this could be anything from jewelry to chocolate to beer. Find special colored candles to light for them, to help them find their way back home. For you, the candles represent, remembering the light within the darkness as we go through the long winter months ahead.
Place the symbols of the 4 or 5 elements, on your altar… Water – a bowl of water or seashells; Wood – a Palo Santo stick or tree branches; Fire – a candle; Earth – soil, sand or fall foliage; Metal or Air – crystals or incense of some kind.
Set a place at the dinner table for your ancestors and talk of special stories and give thanks for what they brought into your life. You may want to uncover other relatives in your family tree, which you may not have even known existed, by asking living relatives or tracing your roots online.
Halloween has become an over-the-top display of materialism that has disconnected us from its true symbolic meanings. Although dressing up in zany costumes and “trick or treating” is fun, take time, connect with nature and the cycles of the year with your children and yourself. Make this Halloween meaningful, and teach them about their grandparents and loved ones who went before them to the other side. You can still bring back the “spooky”, but in our lives where the traditions are being quickly lost, it is a nice time to re-connect and remember where you’ve come from.