Contemplating Halloween or Samhain and The Celtic New Year

samhain CollageLook.  Maybe it’s because our family has experienced a recent death and a few close calls or maybe it’s the leaves blowing off the trees this time of year…. evidence of death and transition everywhere.

And today being All Hallows Eve as I write this,  it seems to me more-so this year than any previous, that what we’re really doing by dressing up our kids and making pumpkin faces and putting pictures of ghouls in library windows (a recent experience of mine) is really all about this subconscious cry into the darkness, “Death we do not fear you!”  We make fun of you and laugh at you and gorge on sweets to help ourselves feel better about it all!  

The more serious minded and religious will call this time All Saints [Souls] Day time and honor those who have… well, all the ‘faithful departed’.

‘…. may the faithful departed, through the mercy of god rest in peace. amen’ –– part of the religious liturgy.

And then on the other hand, and I’m knowingly repeating myself now, without the liturgical point-of-view we use humor and ridicule to confront the power of death and subconsciously teach our children to do the same.  Its just fun holiday we may say and that’s most of us–we do things just because the neighbors do and without really looking more deeply into the reason why.

I’ll never forget the irony of seeing all these Baptist Christian mom’s out walking the town streets in the dark dressed up for trick or treating in the attire of the costumed Halloween witch. “Give their kids some candy and maybe the scary Christian witches will go away!”  LOL

I think Halloween might just be the twisted joke of some who refocused the holiday to  make light of the Gaelic festival Samhain in which cleansing and protection rituals were/are performed as well as divination. The word Samhain (pronounced “sow-en”) comes from the Gaelic “Samhuin”.  It is said that at sunset on Samhain is the beginning of the Celtic New Year. The meaning being that the old year has passed, the harvest has been gathered, cattle and sheep have been brought in from the fields, and the leaves have fallen from the trees. The earth slowly begins to die around us.

If you’ve had a loved one die in the past year, this is the perfect night to celebrate their memory and/or to do divination or message work.

Anyway, my point is that it feels so much like a time to go within and be quiet this time of year and all the noise and chaos of trick or treating and the partying is such like a disassociation.  Sort of like people watching TV or texting on exercise equipment.  We’re so good at that–denying what is really happening by unplugging from it and doing something else entirely and completely.

“I’m not really going to pay attention to my body when I exercise, I’m going to try to forget that and text.”  And, “I’m not going to honor the ancestors or contemplate the ending of the year and look squarely at death and the transitional nature of life, I’m doing to dress up in a costume, go to a party and pretend death doesn’t happen.”

Right?  You see the point that I am making?  Oh, I didn’t give it a 2nd thought either when I was a young mother with little ones–you are in Rome in a way and do as the Romans.  But when the noise of the world and the chaos of the kids quiet in the reflective years of maturity, you contemplate these things. And even blog about them!

Yeah, unfortunately,  I live in proverbial Rome and if I have to, will hand out candy;  but would prefer to spend the evening very quietly as have been my Halloweens of the past.

It was such that in the mountains the kids and parents trick or treated in the main street of town.  Homes there were few and far between.

And here where I reside now, until this summer, my back facing apartment location didn’t entice kids to knock on the door. And I could meditate and do divination in quiet.

This year may be different because the apartment that I rent with my sister is front-facing and the kids will definitely come around.

HalloweenCollageBakersvilleI am remembering the mountains today as I often do and in doing so must say that in the ole mountain town where I used to live,  the effigies of departed ancestors hanging from the street poles were awesome!   If that didn’t have ya’ contemplating the transitions of life, nothing else would!

Hanging on the poles that way would remind me of “the burning days”–all kids of stuff those effigies trigger within.

BOTTOM LINE:  I say, eat candy, dress up, have fun but don’t fully disassociate from the old Celtic/Gaelic meanings in favor of a more commercialized and secularized celebration.

That’s all I’m sayen’. Meditate on the meaning; be aware of what you’re really doing! Death is not to be feared, it’s a part of life.  And as I said to my daughter earlier this week, quoting the Jedi Code, “There is no death.  There is the Force.”  And to the Celtic among us, “Happy New Year!”

 

Wesak (Vesak), Beltane, Full Moon in Scorpio and Pluto Calls!

The Buddha’s Life is celebrated on Wesak (aka Vesak) at the Full Moon of May (this weekend)

PLUTO is so prominent on my mind lately— Pluto rules Scorpio — Full Moon in Scorpio — when Sun is in Taurus/Full Moon Scorpio we have the celebration of Nature and fertility (Beltane) and Wesak celebrating the Buddha.  Scorpio/Pluto relates to sexual bonding, healing and of course the depths, dealing with the dark.  My basement/cellar (Scorpio) area has been calling my attention to it for a while; interesting symbolism all in all since I have Scorpio at the bottom of my chart, the depth, the nadir, the 4th house.   

There has just been a physical cleansing there—some structure (an old closet) had to be removed and junk had to be hauled out and a powerful cleaner used to destroy anything that shouldn’t be growing down there.  Exactly. 

It feels good to me – the timing of all this; the symbolism. 

I’d like to think I’ve cleaned out old junk from the bottom of my soul like the workers cleaned out the junk from the basement.  It wasn’t even my junk mind you—it came from previous tenants or owners of the house.  Maybe some of the emotional and mental junk removal that I’ve done was from previous lifetimes, not this one.  That happened a while back however; it wasn’t recent. 

It takes time for the physical changes to occur once the mental/emotional/spiritual one’s happen; so that part makes sense to me.   

I’d like to think that the basement clean-up is the physical demonstration or manifestation or the symbolism which validates that I have done some important clean-up work on a soul  level. 

I’m sort of concerned about Sam though—the resident toad.  I don’t know if he’ll make it through the cleaning fluid fumes down there.  If I never see him again, may he attain the highest level on his little toad path.  Sure, I realize that it sounds crazy; but I can’t help but be concerned for all life forms… all sentient beings (living beings) wish to avoid suffering and seek happiness.  As a matter of fact, speaking of Sam the toad and this being the time we celebrate Wesak (or Vesak) and the life, teachings and enlightenment of The Buddha, this was in my Facebook timeline today and it is good to share:

 If a person does not harm any living being and does not kill or cause others to kill – that person is a true spiritual practitioner. — Siddhārtha Gautama

As the Sun squares my natal Pluto today, energy is culminating in a Pluto kind of way on a Pluto kind of day!  What else rhymes is Sam the salamander.  I asked the worker guys who went down there that there was a little toad dude down there—may he not get stepped upon.  They said they did not see him but did see a salamander.  Yep, I’ve seen him too.  So I think I should name the salamander Sam; after all the two s’s sound right.  I will re-name the toad if I see him again.  I’m thinking Terence would be a good name. 

I name inanimate objects often.  I called my old car “baby” (because it was a very small car)—well, an old boyfriend started that one.  My car was his baby’s car but even after he was history, it stuck.  In my old house rental, I called the propane gas wall heater Margaret and the furnace Ralph.  In this house the furnace is much bigger and I call him Buford.  I am rambling—I know;  don’t tell me.

I’m avoiding the lawn mowing and other chores and stalling while I see if a client is going to call—her appointment is up in the air for today (we agreed today or Monday but her schedule is uncertain). 

But, I can wait and ramble no longer.  I’m tempted to see if Terence the Toad (I’ll call him Terry for short) made it through the night with the fumes down there.  I had a hard time doing so myself and there’s a floor between us—lordie knows the stomach and nose knows!   

I can’t go down there for a few more days until the energy settles down and the fumes subside; time will tell. 

I’m off to mow the lawn while weather and time permit.   I’d better go.

If you’re of the Celtic persuasion, may it be a Blessed Beltane! for you and if you resonate with the Eastern teachers, Happy Wesak !   I have visions of my spirit dancing sky clad under the full moon with flowers woven in my hair while singing praises to the Buddha!  Who needs easter and christmas?! –which are spin off’s from the Buddhists and the Pagans anyway! 😉

THE YULE FARIES ~ A WINTER SOLSTICE STORY

A group of little Faeries huddled in their home deep under the roots of a giant oak tree. They were safe and snug in their tiny underground cave lined with dandelion fluff, bird feathers, and dried moss.

Outside, the wind blew cold and the snow fell softly down to cover the ground. “I saw the Sun King today,” the faerie named Rose said as she pulled her mossy cloak tighter about her. “He looked so old and tired as

He walked off through the forest. What is wrong with him? The great oak said he’s dying” answered Daffodil. Dying? Oh, what will we do now?” Little Meadow Grass started to cry “If the sun King dies, our

Little plant friends will not grow. The Birds will not come and sing again.Everything will be winter for ever!” Lilac, Dandelion and Elder Blossom tried to comfort their friend, but they were all very sad. As

They huddled together, there was a knock on the tiny door.

“Open up, Faeries,” called out a loud voice. “Why are you hiding instead of joining us in our Solstice celebration?” Rose opened the door and the little gnome Brown Knobby pushed inside, shaking the glistening snowflakes off his brown coat and hat.

“We are too sad to celebrate,” Daffodil said wiping her eyes, “the Sun King is dying, haven’t you heard?”

“He is dead you silly Faeries.” Brown Knobby’s round dark eyes sparkled with laughter. “now hurry, or we’ll be late for the celebration!”

“How can you be happy and laughing?!” Elder Blossom stamped her little foot and frowned at the gnome. “If the Sun King IS dead, it will be winter always. We will never see the Sun again!”

“Silly little child-Faeries.” Brown Knobby grabbed Dandelion by the hand and pulled her to her feet. “There is a secret to the Winter Solstice. Don’t you want to know what it is?”

The Faeries looked at him in surprise. “Secret?” they all said. “What secret? We are only new little Faeries, you silly gnome. We’ve never been to a Solstice celebration before.”

“Come and see. Come and see. Get your capes and come with me.” Brown Knobby danced and jigged around the room. “Hurry, Hurry, don’t be slow! To the sacred oak grove through the snow!”

He danced out of the door and disappeared.

“What did that gnome mean?” Rose asked as she gathered up her cloak of dried rose petals held together with cobwebs and lined with goose down.

“I don’t know, but the Lady lives in the sacred grove.” Meadow Grass pulled on her hat.

“Perhaps if we go to see the Goddess, She can explain what Brown Knobby was talking about”.

The Faeries left their snug little home and trudged off through the snow toward the sacred oak grove. The forest was dark with only the light of the Moon shining down through the thick fir branches and bare limbs of maple and hawthorn. It was very difficult for them to get through the snow because they were very, very small. As they waded through the wet snow and shivered in the cold wind, they met a fox.

“Where are you going, Faeries?” the fox asked.

“To the sacred grove,” they answered, they were cold and shivering.

“Climb on my back and I will take you there swiftly.”

The fox knelt down so the Faeries could climb up. Then he raced off through the dark.

“Listen!” Lilac said as they neared the grove of sacred trees. “Someone is singing happy songs. A LOT of someones.”

The beautiful music carried over the cold, still, moonlit air. It was the most beautiful music the Faeries had ever heard. The fox carried the Faeries right to the edge of the stone altar in the center of the grove, Then knelt down.

“Look!” said Elder Blossom as they slid to the snow covered ground. “There is the Maiden and the Mother and the OLD Wise One, And many other Little People.”

“They are all smiling and happy,” said Lilac as she looked around at all the creatures.

“All the animals are here too,” whispered Dandelion. “why are they all looking at the Mother?”

The Faeries moved closer to the three Ladies seated on the altar stone. The Mother held a bundle close in Her arms, smiling down at it. The Maiden reached down and took the Faeries gently in her Hands. She held them close to the Mother so they could see what She held.

“A Baby!” the Faeries cried. ” A new little Baby! Look how he glows!”

“He is the newborn Sun King,” said the Maiden smiling.

“But Brown Knobby and the old oak tree said the Sun King was dead,” the Faeries answered her. “How can this little baby be the Sun King?”

“That is the secret of the Winter Solstice.” The Old Wise One touched the baby’s cheek with her wrinkled hand. “Every year the Sun King must come to the sacred grove during the darkest days of winter where he dies. I take his spirit to the Mother who gives him new life again. This is the way for all creatures, not just the Sun King.”

” You mean everything lives and dies and lives again? the Faeries looked down in wonder at the baby Sun King, nestled in the arms of the Mother.

” Yes Little Ones,” answered the Old Wise One. “There is never an end to life. This is the great mystical secret of the Winter Solstice.”

The Faeries laughed because they were so happy.

“I think the little Sun King should have gifts,” said Rose. “I will show him where the wild roses bloom in the early summer.”

“And, I will teach him to call the birds and listen to the songs of the wind,” exclaimed Dandelion.

“When he is older and stronger, ” said the Mother, “then the flowers will bloom at his touch, the birds will return to sing their songs, and the air will be warm from his breath, and winter will be gone for a time. Then the Sun King will run and play with you in the forest.”

The little Faeries sang to the Baby Sun King, songs of the coming spring, the sweet smelling flowers, the bumbling bees, and all the secrets of the forest. And all the creatures within the sacred grove sang with them. Then the fox took them back to their snug home under the roots of the giant oak tree where they dreamed wonderful dreams, waiting for the warmth of spring and the fun they would have with the little Sun King. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

PS— a little teaching gift: it is said that written even in christian texts that Jesus was born in the Spring; it’s no accident that the patriarchal church fathers chose to move his official birthday to the time of the Winter Solstice – for it is indeed a time when the Light enters the darkness of the World, and we see again the building of christanity  on the foundations of yet another ancient Druid Celtic ritual. ॐ Om ॐ  Despite that, Happy Holidays to you no matter which one you celebrate and a very Happy New Year!