Into Darkness: Samhain Reflections

img_2295It’s the 31st October. The day we know as Halloween or All Hallows’ Eve. However, it’s also called Samhain. This title relates back into Celtic times and possibly before. So why does it matter now?

The tradition observed on Samhain relates to celebrating the end of the harvest. It’s the time of stopping the work on the land and settling in for the Winter months. It’s a time of hearth and home with the hope of enough harvest goodness to sustain the family through the fallow months. Animals are gathered in close. Preparations are being made for the coming Spring planting. But the bulk of the year’s work has stopped. It is a time of growing darkness. I love this sense of rest and reflection. The idea that I collect my harvest from my work with time to plan for my next year. It’s also part of the tradition that at this time the divisions between this and the other worlds are thin.

Two of our key human questions seem to be where did we come from and where do we go. I am often asked to explain about the life we live between human lives. Samhain is one of the times when those questions can be explored a little more. I know that the energy barriers between the dimensions (to put it in the terminology of my time) are ‘thinner’ than normal. If I choose to, I can step in a little closer to the other worlds and explore. What I am exploring relates to the eternal cycle of life and death and rebirth. Our ancestors knew and understood that cycle. After all it was played out for them every year in their connection to the land and growing things.

When we recognise that there is this underlying process going on I know that what we achieve becomes more significant. What legacy do we leave behind for others? Or even ourselves when we are reborn?

That’s where I feel that the celebration of Samhain can remind us to think of a differnt approach to life. Not one where time is linear and events are fixed. But where there is a state of potential, of fluid time and that anything is possible. For if I access the edges of other dimensions then my reality is not the only one. My parents aren’t dead and gone forever. There are other energy flows that are available to me. The world of the Spirits can come close and send back it’s messages of love and comfort. No wonder we have the Greek myth of Persephone as a way of explaining the interconnection between two worlds as well. When I connect into these other energies what do I receive?

I believe that Samhain is a time when greater amounts of love and healing can be transferred into this world. The Spirits who meet us at the border between the worlds remind us that love is an eternal energy. It doesn’t fade or diminish. Our loved ones in Spirit can join us by the fire and share in our achievements, our losses and our reflections. They can encourage us to look forward to the return of the light. To new days full of opportunities. Their quiet comfort can bring us healing. Have I been working myself too hard? Did all my planting bring me a good crop? Have I done enough to provide for those I care for? Their answer is always yes.

If I recognise that I have done well in some things I can forgive myself for having done less well in others. I can use the dark days to review and revise what I do next.

The darkness is a welcome break. Because it’s not completely dark during the day. I also have the gift of firelight (electricity nowadays) to show me fresh possibilities. I love gazing into the fire. That’s because my mind conjures up wonderful pictures. I can create as I will. The pressure to hurry up and get on with things is gone. I can be fruitfully idle. What a wonderful moment to have. This day of celebration is opening my mind to all sorts of things. How amazing that my ancestors knew all of this. And how appropriate that I share the dark and light of this day with them.

Day 351 of my blogging challenge.

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