Samhain Season; Honoring and Releasing Daily Deaths

All Hallows’ Eve is upon on this weekend and so begins the uniquely American tradition of “being wicked” for an evening (or an entire weekend) as we are allowed to indulge ourselves with high fructose corn syrup, vampire teeth and pregnant nun costumes. I adore Halloween for it’s mischievous revelry, a night that encourages total freedom to become an instrument of terror becoming the “trick” as an ultimate prankster or a “treat” transcending into the fantastical divine. What does your costume say about you this year? Halloween has its roots planted in the ancient Celtic holiday of Samhain that was celebrated as the third and final harvest festival of the year. Traditionally animals were slaughtered and any remaining nuts and crops were gathered before the onslaught of winter. Modern Wiccans celebrate Samhain as a high holiday and a time of year ripe for divination with the veil between the worlds being as thin and fair as a filo pastry sheet. While healthy indulgence, enjoying a bit of danse macabre with friends, is important, a solemn moment for Samhain is something I do every year. For witches like myself, I always put some time aside before the face paint goes on to remember the spirit of Death and accept the energy of the upcoming season. As the sun sets, I create a typical Wiccan altar, adding images of loved ones that have passed on, with apples, pomegranates, pumpkins, marigolds and sugar skulls (borrowed from Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos on Nov. 1st). I also add images of Hecate, the lunar Greek goddess, in her crone aspect, holding two torches and Pomona, the Roman goddess of the orchard for seasonal inspiration and wisdom. Before the altar I start a small bonfire in my trusty cauldron and as the circle is cast, I imagine a purple orb around me, protecting and sealing the circle. I light my candles and charge my bonfire watching the flames rise and then sit in a state with my eyes closed, letting my mind drift off into an unknown place. During meditations I often fly out of my body and see the room below, the fire burning and something odd and funny like, “oh there’s my favorite pajamas that I couldn’t find earlier.” It’s odd but comforting that even when having an out of body experience, humorous moments can be found. I remain steadfast and silent for as long as possible almost as a preparation for the stillness of winter. Oftentimes people try to connect with spirits, doing guided meditations at this time, but another ritual that I’ve done yearly is to say farewell to the little deaths that we experience on a daily basis. Death can be a sudden loss of employment, a friendship that has soured and you don’t why or the devastating realization of a receding hairline. Death is the change right around the corner watching and waiting for you to stop paying attention and then it strikes the match. With truth and courage, I write down whatever has plagued me this year and with each action I throw the slip of paper into the fire saying, “Farewell, you no longer serve me.” It’s a simple but always satisfying ritual that helps me let go before the winter season.

For me, being a witch is simply aiming to be “a wise one,” on a path of listening and learning from other wise ones, revealing, hidden knowledge as they assist on your journey with the Craft. If possible I go into the woods or cemetery and squeal with glee as the leaves crunch under my boots, drinking apple cider or mulled wine and singing to the moon. “I am alive and one day I will be dead, but today I am in between the worlds, the connecting threads weaving in an out. “ Halloween is a great time to honor these solitary magic moments, being alone in your skin. Even if it’s for an hour, honor all that you are and how far you’ve come, knowing that the daily deaths we all experience will be replaced with daily surprises in this ever turning Wheel of the Year.

Originally posted on Slutist

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