The season of Samhain has come and with it, the final breath of the warm season has gone. Of all the pagan sabbats, Samhain is probably the most well known aside from Beltaine. It is also the most widely celebrated around the world in a variety of forms as the Day of the Dead. We also celebrate the Witch’s New Year around this time, as many believe the ancient Celts celebrated their new year around this time.
And generally this is what I celebrate, the Day of the Dead, and New Year. I honor my loved ones who have passed on and celebrate that I am alive still.
But this year, I’ve been doing some thinking. Ever since Beltaine, when I went to the ritual in Tacoma put on by the Terra group, I’ve been rethinking a lot of things. Beltaine and Samhain are connected through life and death. Beltaine being light and life, and Samhain being darkness and death. However, we see in each its opposite. We celebrate the light and life of Beltaine, knowing that in life there is the seed of death, for all things are born to die. We celebrate the darkness and death of Samhain, knowing that all things die to be reborn again. Samhain is a time of grieving as well as celebration. We grieve for our lost ones, but are comforted by the knowledge that one day, somewhere, we will be reunited with them.
The Beltaine ritual in Tacoma invoked the goddess Lilith, and was a ritual of reclaiming power. Particularly the Power of Womanhood. Many participants were victims of domestic violence or even simply as having very low self esteem. I remember during the ritual, feeling the power of Lilith as She was invoked and feeling the energy of the circle as the ritual was performed. It was an amazing day. This year, I went to Terra’s Samhain Witch’s Ball. And like Beltaine, Lilith was once more invoked.
I have to say, it was NOT what I was expecting. I am used to Samhain focusing just on the Death aspect, we honor our lost ones, say happy new year and that is that. This ritual was different. The energy was different. Samhain always has potent energy, the veils are thin and spirits are restless and moving about. This year… my Samhain was about facing Fear. Funny how this pops up so often on my path. Years ago, we had to write a paper on Fear for one of the witchcraft classes I was taking. It’s been a long time since then, and I’ve learned and grown. And I’ve also sat in fear.
Fear of change. Fear of the unknown. This Samhain, I was asked to face my fear and overcome it. I had a wonderful tarot reading given to me at the event, and lots of things to ponder.
Samhain is DEFINITELY a time to face our fears. It was almost a “duh!” moment for me when it connected in my head. We dress ourselves to look like the monsters and creatures of fantasy that we fear as a way to face them while still being in a level of comfort. At Samhaintide, we actively seek out what we fear as a way to face them. We go to “haunted houses” to “scare” ourselves, we take our children trick or treating dressed as ghosts, vampires, witches and more to show we are not afraid.
Since the veils between the worlds are so thin at this time of year, we also make an effort to honor our beloved dead. We lay flowers at graveyards and think of them. We remember them fondly and with love in our hearts. We listen with our hearts for the messages our beloved dead whisper to us during this time.
Beyond the gates I see my father
Beyond the gates I see my mother
There I see the line of my people
Going back to the dawn of time
Beyond the gates I see my sister
Beyond the gates I see my brother
There I see my beloved kin
Going back to the dawn of time
I will take my place among them
I will drink of life everlasting
I will live in the Halls of the Mighty
Until the end of time
~ Beyond the Gates – Songs for the Waning Year by Sharon Knight and T. Thorn Coyle
Turn your eyes to the western skies
Away from dust of dreams gone by
A thousand flames on a vast dark sea
To light your way to eternity
~ Prayer for the Dead – Songs for the Waning Year by Sharon Knight and T. Thorn Coyle
This year, Samhain was about me facing my deepest fear… change. Moving out of my comfort zone and stepping in to the unknown. I’m still afraid. I think I might always be on some level or another. But I’m making the effort to face that fear and to change for the better. It’s a long process, but I’ll get there.
And as per my norm, the ones that I honor this year are:
- Tora Wilhelmina
- Lyle Leroy
- Lexie Leroy
- Richard Jewell
- James Levi Kelly
- Lina Sugano/Bailey
I miss you all, so very much. But I am comforted by the fact that one day, we will merry meet again in another lifetime. Love you guys.
Listen for free! Songs for the Waning Year – Sharon Knight and T. Thorn Coyle
Lyrics found Here