As a child, I loved Halloween. I mean…costumes, candy, scary movies….who wouldn’t love it? I also had an interesting relationship with the unseen world from a very early age. I guess that’s why ghosts have never really scared me like they do other people. I came to just accept that they existed. I also came to accept that, just like living people, there were good ghosts and those with bad intentions.
When I put my foot on the path of Wicca, one of my many reasons for doing so was because of the belief in, not only an after life, but ghosts and reincarnation. It all fit together for me. It made sense.
I quickly learned the connection between ghosts of the departed and the celebration of Halloween. Hallowmas, as it is know in my tradition of Wicca, or Samhain (pronounced Sow-een) by those who follow a more Celtic tradition, is a celebration of the Veil between the worlds becoming so thin that those who have passed through it can easily return again to be with us. Hallowmas, is a day to honor the departed – whether friends, relatives or ancestors.
I’m not going to take the time to explain the origins of the day or how it is celebrated, instead, I want to talk about why it is special to me. There’s already plenty of information on its history and methods of celebration. All you have to do is “google” Samhain or Hallowmas to find out.
For me, as a Wiccan, it’s a time to ritually celebrate the lives that have touched mine and are now departed from me. At the age of 70, the number continues to grow as now not just my parents, but friends and fellow Wiccans have crossed the Bridge of Light to await their return in another incarnation where their spiritual journey of enlightenment will continue. They are missed and, at this time of year, within a consecrated Circle, they can be invited back to join in our celebration, if only for a short time. It’s a very moving and sacred time.
There’s more to this than that though. Within this ritual is also the passing of “power” from the High Priestess, representing the Goddess, and the High Priest, representing the God. Living in the Northern Hemisphere, we recognize that we are at a time when growing ceases. It’s a time of rest, for the Earth and for us. It’s a time of introspection when we direct our thoughts inward to review the past year – what we’ve accomplished, what we could have done differently, etc. All this is in preparation for the coming of Spring so that we can then plant “seeds” that will help us grow both as human beings and in our spiritual evolution. So the Goddess, who represents growth and abundance, now takes Her rest and the God, who represents both death and resurrection, becomes the prominent power. “For all that dies is reborn once more.” So, in many traditions of Wicca, ours being one of them, we see this as the beginning of a new year.
There’s one other thing about this holy day that has great meaning to me. Remember those costumes we all wanted to dress up in? Well, as I learned more and more about the nature of this reality, it dawned on me that most of us wear masks every day of the year. Instead of allowing who we really are inside to present itself to the outside world, we wear a mask of what we believe will be acceptable and approved of by those we live and work with. So, for me, Hallowmas because a holiday (holy day) to take off my “mask.” If I could do this one day during the year, maybe I could do it every day. This is my coming “naked” to ritual. I come with no pretense. What you see is what you get. I’ve left my costume and mask at the door. I have come “naked” to this rite.
I was born in the Spring and love that time of the year for all the growth and color along with its long daylight hours, but, as you can see, Hallowmas has so much spiritual meaning to me. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I still love the costumes, candy, and scary movies of Halloween. After all, the Goddess and God tell us “let there be mirth and reverence among you.” We shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously!
As I close this, to begin preparations for the Hallowmas ritual tonight, I wish you both a joyous and mystical Halloween. May you find many answers in the coming time of introspection and may those answers lead you to some wonderful seeds to plant in the coming Spring!