Samhain (pronounced SAH-win or SOW-in) is a Gaelic-Celtic pagan festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter, beginning the “darker half” of the year. We are encouraged to turn our efforts inward to examine our Shadow places. As the old year passes and the new begins, we can see this time of darkness as the conception of new life hidden deep away from the light.
At Samhain we clear the fields, leaving them fallow and empty. Although it can seem bleak on the surface, beneath the emptiness things are stirring. This emptiness allows the field to become fertile again. In the same way, we humans must clear from within ourselves whatever unfinished work remains from from the passing year to become fertile with new creations in stillness and darkness. It is time to reignite the sacred fires at our own Hearths—to find warmth within ourselves. Winter, not summer, is perhaps the time of our greatest creative potential.
Traditionally, Samhain is celebrated from 31 October to 1 November, as the Celtic day began and ended at sunset. This day opens the Samhain portal, begun at the full moon in Taurus and remaining open until November 18 when the moon goes dark. Special bonfires are lit with protective and cleansing powers. Samhain is seen as a liminal time, when the boundary between this world and the Otherworld can more easily be crossed.
We invite you to join us for the season of personal retreat—take time this of Samhain (from Oct 31 to Nov 18 2017) to create a ritual for yourself. Using a reflection journal or aloud by a sacred fire, take time to gather and name the wisdom harvested from this year, since last Samhain. Identify what is unfinished and clear it by cutting cords or giving to the fire any old ideas and patterns. Allow these entities to be transmuted like compost to support new growth. When you have cleansed the field of your mind, let the Emptiness speak. Darkness and silence have wisdom of their own, and our ancestors and spirits are awake and loud during this time. With the protection of the sacred fire, it is safe to learn from their wisdom.
As with all sacred fires, please call on your guides and ancestors in alignment with Love and your highest purpose to guard and protect you, and stay with the fire until it is completely extinguished. This is not purely for our own safety—it is also to show respect to the Fire itself, its spirit and strength. Blessed be and happy Ssssssamhain!