Updated: Nov 1, 2022
“ The magic of Samhain is that of endless possibility. Since we return to the beginning, we can begin anew in any way we wish.”
Michael Furie in Supermarket Sabbats
“Samhain is considered by some to be the most important sabbat. This is because it represents the core experiences: of travelling between the worlds, of experiencing death and rebirth, and of ultimately transcending both in the process; of not being afraid to face the darkness, or to think about that which we have lost; of not being afraid of the changes in our lives; of turning negative experiences into opportunities for learning.”
Jennifer Hunter in 21st Century Wicca
Well here we are, at Nature's New Year, following the rhythm of nature & according to the ancestors of this land. Samhain(pronounced sow-in or sow-een), All Hallows, Hallowe'en, All Saints (Christian) all fall at this time.
It is a time of endings & beginnings, a clear theme of death & rebirth, remembering the dead, connecting with ancestors, and bringing light into the darkness.
We also reflect on the cycle of death and rebirth as a metaphor for personal & spiritual growth.
Enter the Time of Night not Light
It marks the end of the year & the start of a new cycle.
It is considered the time when the veil between the living and the dead is very thin, a time when we can more easily communicate with the spirit of the ancestors & the recently departed - hence the roots of the hallowe'en traditions we see today.
Samhain/Hallowe'en is also the time of the Crone, the wise woman; of Hecate (Greek), Kali (India), Cerridwyn (Wales) Spider Grandmother (Wales) & many more.
It is a time to honour the ancestors; Light a candle, put a photo (photos) in a special place; I placed photos & lit a candle for Dad earlier, give prayers for departed ones & express gratitude to the ancestors, for without them we would not be where we are now.
Our ancestors can be powerful allies, understanding & connecting to them, their lives, their challenges, their joy, opens us to understand ourselves more deeply, inviting the healing trauma in ourselves & down our blood line.
It is also a time to release old patterns & habits; you can write them down on slips of paper & burn them symbolically in a purifying fire.
Looking out into nature (such a great teacher!), we see that it is a time of winding down, of great surrender, some birds migrate, many leaves fall, other animals get ready to hibernate. Nature knows we cannot always be full, we need time to connect within, nourish our roots,
This is the natural rhythm of things, it is actually coded deep within us.
“Samhain marks the end of the Celtic year and, after a three-day observance, the beginning of the next agricultural cycle. Just as a seed begins its existence in the dark of the soil, so does the new year begin in the dark of winter, which is the time to rest, take stock of the past year’s accomplishments, and dream of future goals.”
~ Ellen Evert Hopman in The Sacred Herbs of Samhain: Plants to Contact the Spirits of the Dead
TREES & ELEMENTS
The trees associated with this time of year are the Yew & the Elder.
Some yews in the UK are over 5000 years old. They have the ability to grow a new tree from a decaying trunk, hence their symbology as the tree of Eternal Life, of Transformation & Rebirth, and a key reason you will find them in churchyards.Additionally the Elder is considered the tree of Regeneration & Beginnings.
The Elements of Samhain (literally it means "summer's end") are
Water & Earth.
The quality of water embodied at Samhain is one of emotional balance & quiet manifestation while Earth displays a quiet strength & resolve.
Tune into the inner dimension of you through the lens of these aspects
REFLECTIONS for Your Practice on the mat
Take these ponderings to your meditation or yoga mat.
Keep a journal at hand to see what comes up.
These are the final days of harvest as we go into the darkness, Winter begins, the light will only start to return at the Winter Solstice.
What am I willing to let go of?
What might it look like to slow down?
How can I embody the quality of water (emotional balance) & earth (quiet strength & resolve) in my daily life?
What wisdom of the Summer can I take through to gestate in the darkness?
What goals & ambitions do I have for the coming year that would be served by some incubation time?
Samhain is traditionally celebrated from sunset on October 31 until sunset on November 2, however the astrological point of Samhain is when the sun is 15 degrees Scorpio which occurs on Monday, November 7 so there is still time for ritual and reflection.
In case you are wondering.......I have spent the last year & a bit studying some Earth-based Wisdom with two beautiful, humble teachers; Nicola & Jason Smalley at The Way of the Buzzard www.thebuzzardtribe.com