Enter the mystery of Samhain, when the veil between the worlds is thin.
Samhain, October 31, is the cross quarter day between the fall equinox and the winter solstice. It ushers in the darkest period of the year in the northern hemisphere. November 1 marked the new year in the twelve month Celtic calendar which added one intercalculary day, October 31, to stay in sync with the sun. This out of bounds day was a time when fairies and spirits of the departed could walk on earth. Today, beyond being a holiday for trick or treating and costume parties, Samhain, or Halloween, is a time to remember family members and friends who have died, leaving this world for the Other World beyond.
At Samhain I create an ancestor altar. I set out photos of my family members who have died–an increasing number as the years pass. It is comforting to gather their beloved faces around me. They will accompany me through the whole month of November until I replace them with Yuletide evergreens. I get to share my daily life with them once again. My husband would have been thrilled that the Red Sox are in the Series. My mother would be delighted that her third grandchild is getting married this November. Samhain reminds us that our souls are wide and deep and can reach across death with love for those who once were living and helped us create the world of our memory.
Ritual for Samhain: Dancing Soul to Soul
Find a quiet place where you can spend some time alone. Put aside the preoccupations of the day, and slip into a rhythm that is in tune with your soul. Play music that your departed beloved enjoyed or that reminds you of him or her. Light a candle, burn incense, create an environment in which your inner essence can expand and become aware of the loving presence of one who is missed. Dance as if this person were in your arms or you in theirs. Or sit quietly together. Let memories you shared fill your heart and mind. When you are ready, bid your beloved farewell.
Blow out the candle, turn on the light, and feast on foods that you once enjoyed together. Set a place at the table for the dearly remembered one.
Record, if you wish, any impressions you received in your journal or create a poem, drawing, or collage that was inspired by your experience of dancing soul to soul.
author Becoming Women of Wisdom
“Your soul is the priestess of memory, selecting, sifting, and ultimately gathering your vanishing days toward” death when you will know “the presence of your deepest self, which is waiting to meet and embrace you.” (O’Donohue, Anam Cara)