In my first article I wrote about some of the customs and traditions of Halloween, originally called Samhain (which is a Gaelic word pronounced “sow-win”), an ancient pagan, Celtic festival celebrating the harvest and honoring the upcoming dark part of the year. In this article I want to focus more on the spirituality of Halloween. Yes, this festival was about giving thanks for the harvest and being able to have enough food for the coming winter months, but it is also a day of honoring the dead. By dead I do not just mean physical death. Samhain, like the winter season, invites us to turn inward to the quiet within us. We are invited to contemplate and reflect on that which may no longer serve us – maybe it is a limiting belief, a habit, or something else. Allow that which is no longer needed, maybe it has served its purpose, to be released, allow it to die. Give thanks for the purpose it served at one time, bless it, and let it go. After the period of darkness is over the Light will re-appear. Nature and the seasons are proof of this truth.
Death is given a bad rap in my mind. It is not failure or something to be feared. Uncertainty of the unknown can be unsettling and anxiety producing. Death is an ending allowing for a new beginning. The inner journey is sacred, can be filled with ritual and ceremony if we so choose. Any ritual or ceremony can be simple or as elaborate as we choose or desire. We are invited, even encouraged I believe, to spend the next few months in quiet solitude, reflection, and self-discovery. What is it that wants to be re-birthed- a new beginning, a new adventure to be experienced? Try not to rush the process and allow the Divine however you define the Divine, to express through and as you. Embrace a quality you wish to experience more of in your life.
As you contemplate your life, choices, dreams, and goals spend some time reflecting on any changes you may feel you want to make. Self-care is important. Self-care is more than having a cup of tea in the evening, a bubble bath, or a mani-pedi. Self-care is also nurturing yourself, spending time in nature, allowing enough quiet time to be with you, getting to know who you are. When it is busy around us, our schedules full, its easy to become distracted and forgot who we are inside. The colder weather outside encourages us to be inside where it is warmer. Go inside to your heart space. Use this time to re-discover who you are. To be clear I do not mean nor do I intend to even hint at, that allowing ourselves to re-discover who we are means that we release everything in our lives- jobs, relationships, etc. Making a commitment to yourself is a sacred practice. What if we spent this time in the quiet to re-commit to that which we hold dear? It can be a subtle, nothing overly dramatic, experience.
In the darkness, may we honor ourselves with self-reflection. During this time please be loving and kind, practice self-compassion towards yourself. Maybe something you used to believe, or a habit, or something else served you at one time and you have simply overgrown it now. Let it go with thoughts of blessing, or forgiveness, of gratitude for the purpose it did serve at some point in your past. Self-talk that is gentle, loving, and encouraging is so important. Maybe after reflection you do feel guided to release a job or a relationship honor those feelings – give thanks for whatever gifts you were given during the time at the job or relationship – possibly increased skills or experience, or in a relationship you learned more of what you don’t want in a relationship in order to embrace and seek out that which you do want. I do believe that everything we experience in life is an opportunity to get to know ourselves on a deeper level. Maybe it encourages us to feel safe and vulnerable with another person in order to experience intimacy. Being intimate does not always mean sex or sexuality. One definition of intimacy is “close familiarity or friendship; closeness” (source: Google definition) This time of year encourages us to set aside this time to be more intimate with ourselves – re-connect, re-discover, and re-commit to that which we believe in and wish to experience more of in our lives. I intend to use this time to turn within, experience clarity in that which I believe and hold sacred. Vulnerability to ourselves or another person can be uncomfortable and down right scary. I encourage us to work through those feelings and re-discover who we are inside. I believe we are beings of Love, Light, and are a blessing to others and are blessed by others. Our world is evolving, each season, each holiday (pagan or otherwise) represents something different. Right now we are in the midst of experiencing Halloween. We will be celebrating Thanksgiving in a few weeks. May we turn within and prepare to give thanks for not only what we enjoy and embrace but also what we release with love. Blessed Be