The Hedgewitch Diaries
As autumn is now upon us I decided to reflect on some of the things that makes this time of year so special. As I walked around the shops and absorbed the array of Halloween images from pumpkins to costumes I started to think about the true origins of Samhain (pronounced Sow -in) and wondered weather we had lost something, a part of ourselves, in the evolution and translation of this remarkable and somewhat misunderstood Sabbat.
The first thing to note is that Halloween marks the end of the year, so is the Celtic equivalent of the western new year ( May 1st in the southern hemisphere). It dates back thousands of years pre-dating Christianity to a time when nature was at the forefront of daily life. A time and place where people had the utmost respect for and understanding of their natural surroundings on both a physical and esoteric level.
It is believed that Samhain marks the time of year when the the veil between our world and the other world is at it's thinnest, when the ancient peoples of Europe celebrated their ancestors. Particular attention was shown to those dead who had passed on that previous year...and so began a tradition that has endured ...a deep connection with the other world. But as with most traditions and myth it has mutated and become rife with misunderstanding, fear and trouble making. It's sad to see how Halloween is used today as an excuse to scare people particularly when the Celts used it as a time of reflection and of planning for the year ahead. It was a time to clear out the old and the ancients would turn to their ancestors for guidance and inspiration for the future.
It is no surprise however that many people today still use this connections with the other world and seek advice from beyond the grave whether it be to find out who they will marry or to gain some personal insight from a tarot reading.
But Autumn or Fall is so much more than this...
Home And Hearth :- It is a time of great abundance not only through experience of the past year but from the wealth of food that had been gathered during the harvest...and our ancestors certainly knew how to celebrate with not only one but two Sabbats, Lammas in August and Mabon in September when day and night are equal.
They prepared for winter in very much the same way as we do for Christmas stocking up on the grains and fruit that would have sustained them through the cold winter months...
but why wait until Christmas to celebrate with food...
I often use this time of year to not only prepare the garden for next year but to catch up with friends and family. It's a great time for celebrating food - to cook up a feast and invite people into your home, try new recipes or make preserves.
With such an array of colour and food it's sometimes hard to imagine how we allow ourselves to dwell on the oncoming winter and deepening gloom. I find that it's therapeutic to fill my house with food, candles and laughter, start a new course or take long walks on crisp autumn days... so don't wait for Christmas, eat and be merry and have a very happy Halloween. )0(
Sources for Blog :-
Witch - A Magical Journey - Fiona Horne
Everything Witchcraft - Marian Singer
The World Atlas Of Divination - John Matthews
The Living Wisdom Of Trees - Fred Hageneder
The Encyclopedia Of Magic And Witchcraft - Greenwood
Celtic Wisdom - Andy Baggot
Natural Magic - Pamela J Ball