The wheel of the year turns so rapidly…and now we find ourselves already at All Hallow’s Eve, Halloween, Samhain, a festival marking the end of harvest and the coming of the dark, of winter. This is the pagan new year, and falls approximately halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice. In Gaelic and Celtic cultures, cattle were brought in from their pastures for the winter slaughter. Bonfires were lit, for protection and cleansing, and the observation of rituals such as divination. During this liminal time, the veil between the living and the dead is thinnest, and communion with spirits can more easily happen in our world. To ensure survival through the winter, offerings of food and drink are traditionally left for these spirits – as is Mexican tradition in honoring the departed on Dia de los Muertos. The souls of the dead may also revisit their homes. Places are set for them at the table, and the souls beckoned to attend the feast.
I was hoping to have our pumpkins carved and pickled, everything in order to finish our crops and prepare for next year’s planting. Alas, due to the hectic nature of work and life in general, it was not to be. Fortunately, the pumpkins will keep until we can attend to them. Let this be a time not only to remember our loved ones and lift the veil between life and death, but also to celebrate the joy of living.