September 24, 2017 3 Comments
AUTUMN makes me giggle for no reason, and it is my absolute favorite time of the year. Why? Well, it seems to hold such promise in its air and a bit of a rumbling danger underfoot, as if to say, “You there! You are bound for a wonderful adventure!” The natural elements give me a bit of a squish, an Earth hug if you will, telling me that no matter what, everything is going to be all right.
Most of my summer is spent in an idealistic state, but autumn steps in and brings forth a kind of realistic boundary to the future. It reminds me not to get ahead of myself in an unhealthy way. Goals are meant to be set, kept, and scored. But the season obliges us to click our heels a little down the alleyway, non? [Enter] SAMHAIN!!! *slaps table repeatedly* Hear, Hear!
Still reeling from Mabon (Thoth is such a character, right?!), this article focuses on the further descent of goddess, on her way to the rich stillness of the underworld. I reflect on gratitude and connect to spirit's life-giving truths.
By way of definition, and to explore the abc's a bit: Two thousand years of après-harvesting and raucous festivities pass down to us, to respectfully honor and continue the spooky glory. How great is that?
1888, from Irish samhain (Gaelic samhuinn), from Old Irish samain, literally "summer's end," from Old Irish sam "summer" (see summer (n.1)) + fuin"end." (pronounced Sah-ween) Nov. 1, the Celtic festival of the start of winter and of the new year.
© 2001-2017 Douglas Harper
Samhain originally showed in pre-Christian history as a new-year post-harvest festival, and the communities would build winter housing for their returning warriors and meandering shamans. Given the light shone increasingly weaker, I suspect the shamans of the tribe expected the looming darkness to bring its goodies-in-hoodies, as only darkness can bring, thereby naturally repeating the ancient traditions of honoring the dead.The locals buried apples on the threshold of the house as offerings; built bonfires to light the way for the deceased; ate silent "dumb" suppers and, originally they carved turnips, each a personalized offering. Yes, the dead received passage with a low bow and utter respect. Now that's treatment.
We mark All Hallows' Evening today as an echo of BC history. The commercial side to Halloween complements the great fun of dressing up (I do love some of the props!). In addition, every handful of pumpkin goop and packaged costume or piece of candy corn has Halloweens dense history within them, so strong were the practices.
For our Paganism student readers, you might have already found the documented belief that a membrane-like veil separates the world of spirit from the physical world. Late autumn is the time when it thins the most, so spirits, fairies, and departed ones we wish so much to see again can pass through this veil. Naturally, this also makes Samhain an ideal season for magic and divination. The costumes and social activity grew from the same traditional roots, and Halloween releases our wild side.
Many pagans revere both agricultural cycles and the process of nature; this dichotomy manifests in this sometimes two-sided celebration both the reverend and silly have their place on October 31. Just don't lift that membranous veil too high!
Out of curiosity, what do you do for Samhain? If I could only return to my Irish soil in a time machine and get me a Rowan tree bonfire!
Meh, my Hibachi will do… easier to leap over, that's for sure :)
Photo by Jake Thacker
Lineage is paramount in these celebrations. Try to get your elders involved, even in some small way. If you can raise your veil to meet the familial numinous blend, if only for a moment, gather the sacredness of life and surrender it for the benefit of all. And without being too precious about your incantations, remember who's in charge and bow in gratitude for your lives. That is Samhain. That is the gist of living…
I don't know about you, but my head is a bit clearer in the fall, less full of mind-chatter and slightly more at ease with itself. Less judgmental and endearing, I can walk around in a generally open way, relatively free from the expectations I tend to put on others or myself. My body remembers that as a youth autumn meant the school year had already gotten underway, so practical preparations would fill the time slot of an otherwise overactive imagination. Simpler facts would guide me by the needs of a formal education. But that didn't keep me from sneaking out to watch my buddies Pow-Wow from a distance. As a non-native I had to keep my distance from the formal ceremonies, but you cannot take the wild origins out of the body, they're ever at the ready, no matter which practices you groove on.
One keen autumn memory sticks out for me. I think it was just around the time I had already been in school for a month or so, right at that tender age of seven. I was leaving fairies and dwarves to their forests and inviting the reality of a mature world. I grew up at the base of a mountain with an inlet of the Pacific Ocean rolling just below it.
The weather always invited a good time, yet it would shift and shimmy with impressive downpours. We were lucky to have the ravines for drainage (a shout out to the flood victims, hang in there beautiful people!). Regular and true throughout the year, water unforgivably doused the land, making it evergreen beyond compare. The best playground on Earth, I think.
Thrashing about in large wet piles of recently fallen leaves was something I had always done and this one day the leaves were present but only a part of me wanted to roll around in them. The other more "mature" part of me kept the act from happening. I remember a glad sadness that I would not engage in such childlike action. No aftermath bath or succumbing to the fated flu that I always had caught a week later. Death to a part of me? or the sneaky common sense of a young adult… I don't know which and perhaps the answer is both. Swiftly, the fall from innocence relaxed into its knowledge just as the fire-red maple leaf turns itself over to the ground below—and so the "splitting" had begun.
These days, I effortlessly return to innocence, to get back into the autumn leaves and Halloween fun. I have Nature to cruise with, and she constantly provides me with great company, inclusive of the dead!
This article is dedicated to your and my ancestors. I am the matriarch to my three girls :)
Spell to Heal Grief
Samhain is the most sacred and often the most celebrated of the sabbats. In its sanctity comes a part that's difficult to celebrate: remembrance. When we remember, we feel. When we feel we often grieve. Sometimes it's grief for someone dead; other times it's grief for what once was, for what never was, and for our own failures. These are all natural parts of the season, just as much as the joy and mystique.
Grief has its place in all of this, but sometimes mourning takes too much of our energy and instead of acting as a way to teach us what we value, it completely colors our worldview. This spell puts grief in its proper place—informing us of what we've lost, so that we know what in life to cherish.
For this spell gather one glass of water, one piece amethyst, rose quartz, and hematite. Soak the stones in the glass overnight. Using each stone one at a time, shake a little fluid over your head each morning, saying each time:
Have a safe and love-filled celebration. Oíche Shamhna Shona Daoibh!
Written by Sherrill Layton of Studio iO Metaphysics a media ecologist in love with stars and decent brews—coffee, potions, words, storms—the recipe does not matter, the decency does.
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September 30, 2022
Kicking off a new month, we transition out of September and welcome the first brisk and chilly month of autumn into our lives. Known as the most intuitive month of all, October is also a time of honoring your light and dark in equal balance as we move into a more calm, slow, and steady place within ourselves. It is also known to be a powerful month of connecting deeper with your shadow self as well as your intuition and invites many powerful spiritual changes and new perspectives into our life as a result.
But aside from the spiritual associations linked with this brisk fall month, the planets are also going to be quite active around us this month, with some notable influences from Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Mars that are likely to influence us.
With that said, Mercury will enter Libra around the 10th of the month, which is likely to bring changes to your communication and way of thinking, and could have you undergoing some changes in balance in your life. On the 23rd, we enter the season of the Scorpio, invoking more energy and intensity into our lives that could have our emotions feeling a little strained. This coincides with both Saturn direct in Aquarius and Venus in Scorpio on the same day, which could allow you to become more open in love and in your life in general and could help reenergize you moving forward.
On the 28th, Jupiter moves into retrograde in the sign of Pisces, which is likely to encourage some changes in personal growth, and could have us focusing on processing any repressed emotions we may be holding onto. Then, on the 30th, Mars goes retrograde in the sign of Gemini, which could make life a little chaotic and unpredictable for a while. Lastly, we also celebrate our final harvest sabbat of the season, Samhain, on the 31st of the month, bringing forth energies focused on family, roots, and spiritual connection, which could have the signs connecting deeper with those around them, doing some inner reflection and focusing more on spiritual practices.
As you can see, October is packed full of many different energies that are likely to direct our focus towards stillness and growth within ourselves as we delve deeper into ourselves than we have all year. But, to give you a better idea of some energies that may be present around you this month, today, we're going to go over what energies and changes each Zodiac sign can expect throughout October and how you can adjust your life to make the most of it.
August 31, 2022
Kicking off a new month, we transition out of the remaining summer days and welcome a brisk new coolness into our life. September marks the start of the harvest season and welcomes in many new energies aligned with property and abundance. With its powerful energies of focus, success, and motivation guiding the way, this is likely to be a good month for signs to reflect and reevaluate things in their life and channel more inspiration and ideas towards their endeavors. However, with the slowness of a new season also creeping in, this is likely to bring some restful energies into your life that are likely to encourage a more stable and steady flow towards creating a joyous life that is meant to nurture you.
With that said, for the first half of the month, we will be led by the Virgo sign, pushing energies of hard work and focus into our space. This is likely to have us focusing more on making progress on any important goals in our lives and help to bring a more grounded and open perspective to life. This could also inspire new ideas, new creativity, and an overall more fun-loving look at life. Virgo could even help us to tie up any loose ends in our lives and bring a close to previous chapters to help us move forward.
As from this, some key influences happening from Mercury and Venus this month are also likely to affect us in a number of ways. To start, on the 5th, Venus will enter the focused sign of Virgo, which could bring a practical tone to our love life and boost our ability to manifest new things in love. This could have us more willing to go out of our way for those we care for and also have us seeking some gentle love and care in our own life. To follow, on the 9th, Mercury retrograde in the Libra sign begins and could cause some friction with the balance in our life. All signs will need to be careful not to lash out or fall into toxic patterns of the past. Work to maintain balance and keep your eyes forward. Then, on September 22nd, we welcome the Autumn Equinox, pushing us to find balance within ourselves and focus our energy. This is a time to focus on gratitude, rebirth within ourselves, and quiet, contemplative ease into new beginnings. And lastly, on the 23rd, we also transition into the season of the Libra, pushing us to renew our energy, find balance, and focus more on personal expression.
As you can see, September is likely to be full of many different energies that are likely to offer us a chance to focus more on bettering ourselves.
July 31, 2022
The hot august nights are just around the corner as we move into the start of a new month. The month of August is all about abundance, healing, and completion. It is a time when we get ready to transition out of the summer season and prepare for the cooler months just beyond the horizon, helping us to slow down and tie up any loose ends we may be holding onto.
With that said, we will be kicking off the month in the Leo sign, who is sure to guide signs with confidence into a season all about leveling themselves up. With Leo’s fun, sun-child nature, this could also have the signs focusing more on their creative endeavors and their self-care routine, as well as help them channel a more fun-loving and optimistic outlook towards life in general. Lughnasadh, the first harvest celebration also kicks off on August 1st, and encourages us to slow down and be grateful for the blessings in our life. This energy is sure to remind the signs of the importance of gratitude, appreciating what you have, and never taking anything for granted.
To go along with this, the planets will also bring their own influence this month that is sure to take the signs for a ride. For starters, Mercury will enter Virgo near the beginning of the month, setting the tone for a more grounded and practical approach to our life with increased communication skills. Then, Venus in Leo will make its way into our space near the second week of the month, bringing a more confident and affectionate approach to your love life. We then enter Virgo’s birthday season on August 23rd, bringing a more practical, hard-working influence to our life that could have us picking up the pace on our goals with a logical and independent new attitude. And finally, a retrograde in Uranus in the Taurus begins on the 24th, directing our focus toward building more stability within ourselves and making the necessary changes to do so, even if it’s not easy.
As you can see, August is likely to bring many unique energies to our lives that are sure to help us heal and transform like no other. But, to give you some deeper insight into what you can expect this month, today, we're going to share our August horoscope and touch on what energies and changes each Zodiac sign can expect throughout the month, and how you can adjust your life to make the most of it.