The coolness of Autumn has come to many of us. We find ourselves drawing close to yet another year. The wheel has come full circle and once again we prepare ourselves for the coming of a new year.
It is a time when the old God dies, returning once more to the earth; Only to be reborn when Yule comes later in the year. The time of the Goddess represented as mother is over. The long days of sun filled days of vibrant life and color have come to an end. It is now the time of the Crone. A time for self reflection. As the year ends and death comes, we turn ourselves inward. We seek wisdom and good counsel for the time ahead, the coming new year. It is a chance for new beginnings and a time to once again plant and grow in hopes of a future good harvest. This is considered not only in a rational sense yet also in a fugitive sense.
Yet before we can start our journey into a new year, we prepare ourselves to celebrate the Celtic Festival of the Dead or Samhain as many know it. To many this is the most important of all festivals celebrated throughout the year. This is a time when the veil which stands between the world as most know it and the Otherworld is said to be at its thinnest. It is a time when the spirits of those passed on come and walk among us. It is a time when we pay homage to those who have led us, taught us, and loved us in times before. It is a time of remembrance of those passed on.
Extra place settings are set at evening meal tables for those who may be expected to join the celebration even though they have not been physically among us for some time. Candles are placed in the windows to show such visitors where to come and where they will be welcomed. Alters are arranged with photos and memorabilia of those passed showing respect and also acknowledging their presence as well as their welcomed participation in the evening festivities. The feasting table is lined with special dishes prepared especially with the taste of those passed in mind.
This time always holds a special dearness to my heart as the spirits of the those who have come is always so strong. It is as festive as any time of family and friends gathering can be. As well as the presence of those passed on, this is also a keen time to pay respect to the wee folk if that be something that you believe in. The Fae (or fairy as many call them) are among us at all times yet always quite difficult to catch a glimpse of. On Samhain when the veil is thin, it is also a good time to catch a glimpse of the delicate folk. For those of you who tend a garden like myself, a small treat of cream, fresh butter, and some honey will tempt any fairy folk you may have to come out and spend a bit of time. Although a mischievous lot, they can also be quite helpful and beneficial if befriended. I give much of the credit to my wild garden near the woods to the Fae I know live just within the woods. I have made it a point to acknowledge their presence and to make sure that I remember them at such times of the year. They in turn help me to see that my garden is nurtured and bountiful.
As you prepare yourself for the closing of this wheels cycle, I wish you peace and calmness. May your Samhain be filled with the presence of those who mean most to you, both near and already passed. And may the coming year bring you new and eventful opportunities that will bring you closer to knowing yourself as well as being the fulfillment of what it is you are meant to be.