Samhain is next month, and I’m excited! It’s my favorite holiday, both secularly and spiritually. I absolutely intend to wear a costume, even if only a simple one, that Monday evening to class!
Traditionally–as much as anything can be traditional in such a young spiritual community–Samhain has a strong connection to the Ancestors and Death, and is also considered the Wiccan/Pagan New Year; distinction left fuzzy to represent those for whom the line between Wicca and Paganism is fuzzy.
For me, Samhain is one of the more important holy days of the year, but I’ve never really connected with the “New Year” aspect of the holy day. I strongly enjoyed the related activities and workings involved, such as letting go of old habits and patterns no longer needed, and cultivating new ones. But I am a modern Pagan in a modern world, in a culture where New Year’s Day is the beginning of the new year. For me, these kinds of activities feel more appropriate for this day, and that is why I’m incorporating it into the spiritual calendar of Chaos Paganism (the Calendar Chaotica: yes/no? YES???).
For Samhain, I always connected more to the concepts of the thinning of the veil, veneration for and communication with the Ancestors and the Other Side, acknowledging Death . This is what will take the central role in Samhain for me from now on.
I intend to approach this aspect of Samhain in perhaps a different way than most. As someone with goals of eventually becoming a Pagan chaplain, someone who strongly believes in laws allowing the terminally ill to choose the time and place of their deaths, who seeks healthy ways of integrating grief into life, and who is about to embark on a contemplative and perhaps relational journey with several aspects of Death itself, including the Grim Reaper… I intend Samhain to be a holy day of deep reverence and respect for Death, the acknowledgement of the inherent dignity of Death, welcoming Death as a friend that comes to embrace us when we are tired and done, part of Life, the end of this part of our spiritual journey and midwife to the beginning of the next. Death as something not to be feared, but accepted and cherished.
Samhain–in a somewhat traditional manner–will also begin what will be called the Season of Contemplation. Samhain leads to the winter months, and regardless of the weather where I live, I always think of winter as cold, snowy, and inhospitable. (And it still is here in Louisiana; it might not snow, but it gets too cold for my comfort, and rainy to boot.) This is the perfect time for contemplation and to seek inner wisdom.
The season of Contemplation will end with Yule, leading to a short, ten day period outside the calendar that does not yet have a name. Then, New Year’s Day begins the Season of Sparks, that ends with the creative holy day, Inspire. Thus begins the Season of Creation, ending with Narcissus, the day of self-care. From Narcissus to Rapport (the day of service) is the Season of Foundation, and from Rapport back to Samhain is the Season of Activist.
These Seasons are new, the result of some contemplation I did just earlier this evening. This means I have a general idea of what they are and mean, but do not yet know any specifics. I plan to write a post about them, and probably individual posts about each as I really delve into what they mean.
All of the names may change, if I feel inspired with names I feel are better.
This Samhain, I will also try out a new concept for ritual space I’ve created. We’ll see how it goes, and if it goes well, I’ll share it.
Hoping you’re all looking forward to Samhain as much as I am!