Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Samhain



"Traditionally, Samhain marked the end of the bright, bountiful summer season and the beginning of the dark, difficult winter season. (The ancient Celtic year was split into two seasons.)

On Samhain, Celts would often feast on weak livestock or set this meat aside for later meals, since these animals weren’t expected to live through the winter. Death became associated with the festival, and perhaps most important, Celts believed that the “wall” between the world of the living and the world of the dead thinned on Samhain, so the spirits of the dead roamed streets and homes. Some Celts would dress in costume to scare or appease the spirits; others would leave out food; and still others would carve faces into turnips to ward off evil spirits.
 

Today, some Wiccans still invite the spirits of the dead to attend festivities, taking the time to honor ancestors and those who have passed on. The traditional colors of orange, black and silver are worn by many Pagans and Wiccans, and feasts of pork, gourds, apples and mulled wines fill devotees’ tables."
from http://www.readthespirit.com/religious-holidays-festivals/pagan
In Catholic countries its 'All Saints Day'... and 'All Souls Day' ...honouring dead martyrs, and the departed, respectively,  and in Mexico its a full blown 'Day of the Dead' with parades and ceremonies full of skeletons and ghosts and offerings of food meant to remember those who have passed.
All over the world there are also festivals of light at this time of year. From Michaelmas in late September, where lamps are carried in procession to call in Archangel Michael to protect us from the  dark forces, to the bonfires of Samhain (which has transposed into bonfire night in the UK) , the lights and fires (and fireworks) are there to ward off the approaching darkness. The  colder, shorter days can bring deep melancholy and inwardness, and it is natural that as everything dies off, we remember those who have passed on. Creating your own ritual or ceremony may be helpful as  way to acknowledge this time of year. Make a toast the those who have passed on.
With Venus (our way of relating) retrograde in Scorpio (pychological depth, life and death), inwardness is emphasized even more strongly, so its a good time to retreat in some way to process any old issues that may be coming to the surface. We all have inner demons or shadows or unfinished business with others, whether we acknowledge them or not...and some introspection and inner work may be fruitful now at this juncture of light and dark. I love the dressing up.... as demons...and monsters... witches.... (I saw a lot of vampires and zombies) as we externalize those aspects of our psyche. Whether it is to scare off real spirits or to exorcize our own hidden aspects, its deeply symbolic of a need to face the dark. And don't worry... down the road, spring will come again as the cycle of life is repeated.
So while all is dying, there is hope. Rudolf Steiner, a spiritual scientist, and founder of Anthroposophy,  said that, although in winter everything is outwardly dying and seemingly inactive, on a deep level the underground life forces are doing their most intense work as they build up the energies that will later burst force as new life in the spring.   We can take this symbolism personally, to know that whatever is finishing in our life, something new will arise out of the ashes. The Phoenix, symbol of Scorpio, the current sign, rises again and again. 
So as we enter this time of transition to winter, take the time to slow down and look within. You never know what treasures you may find there.
                                                                  

No comments:

Post a Comment