I originally wrote this article for Samhain in 2014. It’s timeless and rooting, so I’m updating it freshly for November 2017.
Nowadays, with so much wisdom forgotten, many people think of Samhain or the cross-quarters as evidence of pagan ancestors or ‘ancestor worship’.
Or, among those who self-describe as more learned or intellectual, such seasonal festivals might be seen as holdovers from more ‘primitive’ or ‘superstitious’ times.
That’s all so much inaccurate thinky-thinky blah-blah that, caught up in the fog of self-righteousness, misses the point entirely.
Starting October 31st on the calendar, and/or when the Sun reaches mid-Scorpio (15 degrees) in the Northern Hemisphere’s Autumn Season, we note the Samhain, or All Hallow’s, All Souls, or All Saints festival. The ‘Hallow’een’ of modern times.
This year, 2017, the solar or astrological cross-quarter midpoint occurs over November 7th at 12:44 a.m (Eastern Standard time), so you can find your local time using The Time Now’s converter.
This All Hallow’s week — if you go from the calendar Samhain or Hallow’een on October 31st through the solar Samhain that non-clock-time ancestors would have used — begins on the 30th and goes through November 7th week.
So it’s a liminal-zone week … a ‘thin time’ … perfect for visioning, spirit work, and perhaps more easily accessing liminal gifts like intuition, inner guidance, ‘seeing’, and energy work.
In elder-times, and even now for the reverently-inclined, this seasonal sacred time or festival would have celebrated the end of the harvest and the year, and heralded the coming of Winter and the beginning of a new year for those who were more in sync with the cycles and rhythms of the Earth.
In observing Samhain or All Hallow’s (by whatever name) and other seasonal holidays, our ancestors were celebrating the turn of the year, the turning in of the harvest; or an appreciation of the return of longer, warmer days after harsh, cold winters.
They were honoring rather than ‘worshipping’ those who came before them, knowing full well they existed and carried what wisdom they carried because of those very ancestors.
That strong foundation — the knowledge and sense of deep, deep roots — held them solid and guided them through many a season and storm.
With these seasonal celebrations, they were expressing gratitude for their survival of the hardships and joys, losses and gains, another season or another year, literally.
Samhain and other cross-quarter, equinox, and solstice holidays marked the wheel of the year, and observing them rooted them in the strengths, gifts, and wisdom of their lineage, and also in a deep, reverent connection with Life, and Earth, themselves.
My grandmother might have said that, “They knew well which side their bread was buttered on.” 1
Rather than primitive, superstitious folk — though superstition did exist, and does still in the unlikeliest quarters — many in these elder-times had a richness of wisdom and knowledge about Life, the connection with and reliance upon the Earth that is our home, and their strong connection with their roots, their neighbors, and Nature that far surpasses our own.
We’re called to remember that wisdom and the rich awareness of deep roots and deep interconnection now, because the imbalances of our times require the remembrance of that which can restore wholeness, wellbeing, and balance — just a few of the things our ancestors knew well.
But as we remember, we’re enriched and strengthened, too, by a deepened awareness of meaning, deeply rooted values, and the taproot that nourishes and holds us solid no matter what.
For more inspiration about Samhain and the archetypal and deep-rooted energies of this time and season, visit:
• My Healers of the Family Tree article, and
• If you’re feeling rootless or unmoored from your deeper Wisdom and its inner-wealth, stir your inspiration with this ‘evergreen’ Growing New Roots post from the Sophia’s Children archives.
• And for the ‘Transformationistas‘ among you — walkers of the Persephone initiation-path, here is Persephone’s Underworld Journey: Deep-Feminine Initiation.
All appropriate to the transformative Scorpio Mysteries zone on this spiral path we travel.
You’ll find much more Soul Food for Inspiration by browing the ‘reader favorites’ (you’ll see it on the nav bar above) or following the links.
Wishing you a happy Samhain and All Hallow’s week, and well-remembered Wisdom and true-wealth that lives in your roots.
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Labyrinth image credit: Green labyrinth in Luxembourg City. PD image from Lode Van de Velde, PDpictures.net.