The Transformative Time of Samhain / Halloween

October is the time when we enter the season of the dark in the Northern hemisphere. According to the Celtic calendars, the year was divided into two parts: the Bright part and the Dark part, and the quarters and cross quarters were important points for seasonal traditions, agricultural milestones, and household rituals. As people were more attuned to the natural world and its rhythm than we culturally are now, these passages were important, and they were observed and honored.

When we are connected to the natural world, we can find a lot of meaning in honoring these times of transition between seasons. It helps us be more grounded and focused, and when we pay more attention to the external rhythms around us, we naturally pay more attention to our internal rhythms. The shifts between seasons allow us to take inventory of what we need and understand that change is a natural process.
Do you feel the transformative power of this time of year?
Do you need to shift your activities as the season changes?

Maybe you need more rest - or rest at different times. Maybe you feel a need to change what you drink or eat. It can be as simple as warm nourishing beverages, wellness teas, or spicy cacao to share and sip. Notice what you are naturally drawn to and allow yourself the space for the shift.

Historically this time of the year was associated with deep transformation.
For the Celts (the people who lived in most of Central and Western ancient Europe), it was the period of Samhain, or New Year. This coincides with the end of Summer and harvest time, and marks the entrance into the Dark Half, associated with letting go and death. Samhain was celebrated on October 31st. It was a time when the veil between the dead and the living was thinner, and communication between the two worlds was easier.
For the Romans, who conquered Celtic territories, the end of October was also associated with death, the commemoration of those who passed, and it was also a time to celebrate Pomona, the goddess of fruits and trees. Later, when Christianity spread over Europe, November 1st was declared All Saints Day (All Hallow's in Middle English), which is still observed in most European countries today, where people traditionally visit their beloved dead in cemeteries. All Hallow's Eve, on October 31st, became what we know as Halloween.

All these traditions include making bonfires, honoring the dead, and gathering in community. While we culturally celebrate Halloween with costumes and candies now, we can still observe Earth-based traditions and honor the turning of the season by:

- Creating an altar for our ancestors with pictures, flowers, their favorite food and objects, candles and crystals.
- Reflecting on what it means to enter the Dark half of the year and what we want to change and/or adjust during this new season.
- Having a bonfire outside, maybe with friends/family, writing prayers on little papers and throwing them in the fire. This can be done during a quiet night or while children come into the streets dressed as witches and cartoon characters.

These sacred days are meant to make us aware of the transformation that is taking place in nature and in each of us. There is always a meaningful way to honor ancient traditions in our modern life. It can be very simple, like taking time to journal or just sitting outside and acknowledging the changes we see in the trees, parks, and gardens.

"We are not separate from this Earth; we are a part of it, whether we fully feel it in our bodies yet or not" - Sharon Blackie.

We are, indeed, a part of this Earth.
Halloween/Samhain is an opportunity to experience it.