Long before I knew about Samhain, Halloween was my favorite holiday. It trumped even Christmas in my young mind, and it wasn’t just because of the candy and costumes. There was something different about Halloween night. Something seemed magical about the end of October, with its cool, crisp days and early darkness. I always sensed excitement in the air. Years later, when I began to discover my personal path to the Divine, I learned about Samhain.
Summer’s End, the last harvest, was – and still is – a very significant time in the wheel of the year. For many, it was a time to make sure there was enough food to last through the dark days of winter. It is a time when the veil between our world and the spirit world is so thin that our ancestors could return for a visit. It is a time to celebrate many things – the season of introspection, the end of the year, the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth, and the harvest of the earth’s bounty.
It’s at this time of year that we most feel the presence of those who have gone before us. For days or weeks before Samhain, the very air seems to change. In my house, sometimes strange things happen. These little occurrences make me think that the spirits are trying to communicate.
Unfortunately, Samhain sneaks up on me most years. I have plans, and then I get really busy with work and don't get a chance to do much. This year, however, Samhain comes at the end of the week, and I can devote the weekend to celebrating.
Some of the things I'd like to do is to hold a mute supper, but that plan is for when I actually have more space. I can't even see my kitchen table, much less use it. It's become a catch-all for crap, just like every other flat surface in this place. SOOOOOO...this year, my Samhain plans involve cleaning and decluttering the joint. Before Samhain arrives, I will have donated clothes and other unused items to Goodwill. I'll also hopefully have given the place a good scrub and smudge.
As for the actual remembering of the ancestors, I intend to do what we started last year. Since I don't have a lot of photos here, I am going to get a piece of poster board and write down the names of family members and friends who have passed to the other side of the veil. The act of writing their names will bring remembrance. I will also make the rosemary remembrance cookies I like to make but haven't in a while. I have a spiffy new pomegranate-shaped cookie cutter to use for this. I have also made a wreath.
Another idea that might be nice is the Ancestors' Toast. It's simple enough - just grab a cup of your favorite libation, toast your ancestors, and share stories about them or advice they've given you over the years. Drink and repeat. If you're using an alcoholic libation, you might want to use small cups or shot glasses so you don't end up joining the ancestors due to alcohol poisoning...
What are some of your ideas? Do you have a menu planned yet? I might use the same menu as last year.
Last year, I made:
Crock pot cabbage rolls
Brussels sprout gratin
Rye bread with caraway seeds
Green Man Cake - a chocolate-hazelnut torte