I am not a big fan of ‘Halloween’. I’m a big scaredy cat at heart (no wonder I have Sekhmet, Egyptian Cat Goddess. as a Higher Guide!), and I really don’t like things that go bump in the dark.
I have never liked gore, and will happily watch a thriller, holding someone’s hand. Or as a teenager scrunched up next to mum on the sofa and both of us needing to leave a light on when we went to bed.
But I adore this time of year. The Harvest Festival, from which our modern Halloween takes many traditions, is a many splendid thing.
All those oranges and reds, crunching newly fallen leaves, eating the rewards of months of hard work (or scrumping apples and picking blackberries as is the tradition in this house). Pumpkin pie and apple n blackberry crumble is all we eat here at the moment. Bulking up for a cold winter? Maybe if we’d been sat here a couple of hundred years ago.
And that time difference is the point. In this world of plenty, we forget how we used to work with the seasons and the Earth, how important it was to work hard so that there was food to get you through the Winter.
We didn’t have freezers, and tin cans, and food shipped in from warmer climates until well into the 20th century. So for 99.999999999999999% of human existence we have lived and loved this season and respected the planet in doing so.
Now, I’m not suggesting we go back to old ways of ploughing by hand. But it seems right for us to truly embrace the Harvest Festival. And the act of giving to the food bank is a good one (we tend to do it monthly, letting the kids choose a meal and dessert for another family). Although you could just as easily donate time to a local soup kitchen, or helping those in other countries who still have to live with an environment who’s weather they struggle to control. In having so much at hand, no matter the season, we have forgotten what it is like to have nothing, that winter is cold and hard, and that sometimes the crops failed. That if the planet wasn’t happy, we weren’t happy. So respecting the planet was important, as was respecting your fellow man. If there was drought, the farmer up the road closer to the well, may well need to be called on. The next village may need to be asked for a supply of wheat, when disease had rotted your plants.
And so you wouldn’t let your pride and ego get out of hand over minor stuff. Puts arguing over the parking spot outside or the fence boundaries into perspective doesn’t it?
So this was a time of praise, celebration and thanks. And let’s not forget that in giving thanks to the planet, who physically bears us, you would at the same time be giving thanks to the heavens, who spiritually supported and created us.
Originally All-Hallows was the Celtic festival of Samhain. An important festival in the year, where bonfires would be lit to cleanse out the old, and welcome in the coming Winter. A tradition which moves over onto the (very anti-Catholic 😉 ) celebration of Bonfire Night; Guy Fawkes Night in this country. Although a celebration of the Protestant Government outwitting a Catholic plot against parliament, it has taken on board many of the traditions we would have associated with Samhain, or All Hallows.
I know many feel that to celebrate All Hallows, or Halloween, is to take on board New World, or US traditions, But they aren’t. These are our traditions too; it’s just that the traditions in England have moved onto a new celebration; a new festival.
And so this is how we’ve worked for thousands of years. Adding the new into the old and vice versa. So in accepting that Bonfire night is only a few hundred years old (412 to be exact), we can accept that this new version of All Hallows, or Samhain is coming back into our culture with gusto, bringing even more of the lost traditions with it.
The belief was that at this time of year ‘the air was thin’. The gateway between this world and the next was easy to reach through. A belief echoed across Europe, seen in the Romans ‘Festival of the Dead’. Just before the Earth itself dies for another year. We give thanks to our ancestors and those gone before, by sitting at the fire and celebrating their health, sharing stories to pass on the history and using it as an opportunity to come together as a community. Something we fail to do as much as we should do nowadays.
The tradition of dressing up coming from the belief that any mischievous spirits using the opportunity to come across, would move onto the next home to cause pranks if they saw your home was already occupied. Candles being lit and Jack O Lanterns (originally made from turnips in these Isles) also serving to move those little imps on their way. And so if those little so-n-so’s came knocking at your door, paying them off with sweet treats was probably a good idea. You can see where this one goes . . .
When the Roman Christian church moved across, the Roman’s did what they do best, a firm hand and assimilate local tradition into new ones. It’ll keep the locals happy if they can still have a good time when they always used to. Clever Romans ey? No wonder they had a firm hold over most of Europe (God bless the wildest reaches of Britain and Northern Europe from preventing complete assimilation).
And so it made sense to bring an official church celebration over this period to maintain order. And so you have a 3 day festival of All Saints and All Souls, the start of any good festival, just like Christmas, starting the Eve Before. All, Hallowed, Eve. The Eve of the Festival of All the Holy Souls.
So no matter which tradition you adhere to, All Holy Souls, Samhain, Halloween, or Bonfire Night use this time of year to benefit you for the best.
Take a moment to look back at the year and be grateful for everything that you can be. Use the fire to burn away the old that is no longer needed, knowing you will have a Winter to recoup and heal from it all. Know that your loved ones in Spirit are close, including your ancestral line whether you have any Earthly links to it or not. They are in your DNA, in your very essence, and will always protect their own (the amount of times I have ancestors of no known origin, come to talk about the history of a family of a sitter, and/or current issues about the family, is proof to me and the sitter, that they will always look after you, even if they were last here 300 years ago).
Use this time for what it was always intended for Spiritually.
Fire Release Exercise:
The fire is an old way of releasing old energy. We know fire kills disease, and how many times have you burnt (or felt like burning) something?
Whether you have a fire pit, an open fire, a BBQ or a flame retardant container, light a fire. You can change the colour of the flame if you so wish with salt, by adding spices, seeds, which will pop and give a beautiful sent will add to the cleansing process (just like incense in a church).
Write down either a single word, a string of words, or a whole letter, which signifies a period in your life or words which cannot be said to another. Bless through prayer, rites or calling in an Angel or Deity of your choice to sanctify the process (any of you who know me, will be aware of my belief that what the Christian, Jewish and Islamic churches recognise as Angels, are in fact recognised as ‘Gods’ or ‘Deities’ by other religions, all of whom tend to have an overarching One God like energy. Don’t be surprised that all three religions have the same origin and therefore the same Archangels generally).
Throw the piece of paper onto the fire and repeat three times ‘I release this for my Highest and Greatest Good. So be it’. Even better, do it with a group of friends.
Within a month you will have had an experience which will confirm that you have released it. You may find that you cross paths with someone and it holds no emotional attachment. You may find yourself faced with a situation where you would ordinarily react in fear or anger and you will react from a place of love and rationality. You may find that a situation changes around you; that you or another person feel differently about something that has been blocking both of you from opposite ends. You may find that the seeds which a person or life experience taught you, are no longer true for you, that belief or lesson no longer lives in you; an incident which is unrelated to that person or that event will show you the change in yourself. Either way, you will know it when it happens.
And when it does, smile and say ‘thanks’.
Love as always