Did you know that Halloween is a key date in the year for nature worshippers? Some of these call themselves witches, which just means ‘wise person’ in fact. Present-day witches work to preserve the environment and animals, and are usually healers and therapists. However, as the darkness grows and leaves skitter in the chill wind, we are all reminded of magic, mystery and the process of change. Halloween was called Samhain by the Celts (pronounced sa-ween), meaning Summer’s End. This festival was taken over by the church as All Hallow’s Even – hence ‘Halloween’.
In times gone by the sinister ‘feel’ that makes Halloween such delicious fun for us now, would have been real in many ways. Older people and the sick might well not survive the coming winter. Tough decisions had to be made about which cattle to slaughter and how to preserve precious stocks, so no-one starved or froze to death. Because of this there may indeed have been human sacrifices, in order to keep the gods on side! Thankfully we know better now! However, it can be a good idea to reflect on how fortunate we are to be secure and well-fed, and how much we depend on the Earth, despite all our technology, to nourish us.
As always, it is very rewarding to be attuned to the seasons for this can bring you close to nature and the mysticism and inspiration that’s around, within the earth. In times gone by people would have been preparing for the harshness of winter, and making cheer in ways that are still very meaningful for us. Have fun and feel a sense of ‘connection’ with the ‘olden days’, that are still very much with us, subconsciously.
• For the Celts this was the start of the story-telling season. Get friends and family to gather around the fire while you take it in turns to tell a tale, reminisce or even recite poetry! Maybe you can do a round-robin story, where one person starts and talks for a minute (use a timer!) and then the action is passed over to a new ‘bard’. It can be fascinating, and even hilarious, to see where you end up!
• Remember the Ancestors! This was also a Celtic tradition. Recall memories of people who have passed on and even though you may feel sad, relive the funny side, too. This could be a good time to begin research on your family tree.
• Do you enjoy being scared? There are ghost hunts a-plenty that you could sign up for. Somehow the spirit world seems just a heart-beat away. If you’re brave you can do your own research in old buildings and churchyards, but do take the dark side seriously and if you touch on anything disturbing keep well away.
• Hollow out your pumpkin! Even though that particular tradition came quite recently from America, it does arise from much older European customs, of hollowing out root vegetables. The candle within signifies the spark of life that continues under the soil during the cold weather. The pumpkin is also a charm to frighten off evil spirits and it really creates the Halloween mood.
• Have a bonfire. These were traditional well before Guy Fawkes, and in fact the whole idea of the ‘guy’ probably grabs us because it echoes those gruesome echoes of human sacrifice. Subconsciously, as we cuddle a mug of soup and ooh-aah at flames and fireworks, we are feeling very grateful to be safe and secure!
• Dress up – fancy dress parties are great ways for exploring hidden sides to your personality and Halloween is all about secrets. It’s also about mischief, just touching on the darker side and accepting the fact that Nature can be destructive and we can all be less-than-perfect. This doesn’t mean indulging in a meanness-fest, but there’s no harm in a little fun reminder about the villain within!
We can all go through phases when everything gets on top of us. The seasonal cycle, shivers down the spine, ghosts and ghoullies – these can seem a bit too close for comfort if you’re down. So don’t be afraid to ask for help. The right word can turn your world around, so why struggle alone? Call one of our understanding readers at The Circle and start a new phase of inner peace and balance.
PUBLISHED: 20 October 2014