Today is one of the oldest and holiest holidays in the Celtic tradition. Halloween or Samhain (sah-ween) is the time when we honor the harvest, the end of summer. It is this time when the veils between the spirit world and the physical world are thinnest. We decorate our homes with symbols of the harvest, carve faces into pumpkins, inviting in their lively spirits; and don costumes of ghoulish beasts to remind ourselves of death and to make it seem just a little less scary. We remember our dead and give thanks to be alive.
Some seek communion with loved ones, others guidance from the ancient ones, and many quietly memorialize their dead with small remembrances and prayers. We are our great grandmothers and great grandfathers, they are in our bones, our eyes, our DNA. To honour them is to honour our bodies and our lives, to remember that from which we came and to give thanks for the bounty we are blessed with.
This is the night when the gateway between
our world and the spirit world is thinnest.
Tonight is a night to call out those who came before.
Tonight I honor my ancestors.
Spirits of my fathers and mothers, I call to you,
and welcome you to join me for this night.
You watch over me always,
protecting and guiding me,
and tonight I thank you.
Your blood runs in my veins,
your spirit is in my heart,your memories are in my soul.
With the gift of remembrance.
I remember all of you.
You are dead but never forgotten,
and you live on within me,
and within those who are yet to come.
— A Prayer to the Ancestors by Patti Wigington
The end of the summer marks the end of the Celtic year, with November 1 recognized as the traditional Celtic New Year and the start of winter. It is a time for us to move inward to our warm homes, nest with our loved ones and practice gratitude for our many and bountiful blessings. Winter is a time of introspection and slowed growth, when we dwell with our thoughts which will become the seedlings of action that burst forth in the spring.
This year my family lost a dear friend, Jon Curry. Jon was a native of Washington state, a photographer, a Vietnam Veteran, a son, a brother, a sailor and the best friend of my Uncle Llwyd who was like a father to me for the first several years of my life. Uncle Llwyd is gone too, he passed 6 years ago.
I know they are both together somewhere, telling their stories, laughing hard about the hell they are raising and making art out of their experiences. When these great men passed, friends all over held memorials for them, calling up memories and remembering their legacy with respect and fondness.
So tonight, as candy passes hands and treats are traded in lieu of tricks, while my young son is learning about the spooky fun of Halloween, I am remembering my loved ones – my father, uncles, grandparents, my ancestors and all those who have come before me. Tomorrow my kids and I will feast with our dead. I’ll tell my kiddos stories about each of their ancestors and together we will keep their memory alive for another year.
May the ancestors deliver blessings on you and yours…
May the new year bear great fruits for you…
May your granted wishes be as many as the seeds in a pomegranate…
May the slide into darkness bring you light…
May the memories of what has been keep you strong for what is to be…
May this Samhain cleanse your heart, your soul, and your mind!
— Traditional Samhain Blessing
Thank you for taking the time to read my sharing. Blessed Samhain, Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again.