|Posted on November 1, 2016 at 2:20 PM|
Samhain (pronounced saow-in) is a gaelic festival that marks the end of the harvest. In Wicca and other contemporary systems it occupies a "spoke" on what is called the "wheel" of the year, of which there are eight spokes in all. The year, seen as cyclic (although moving forward) reasons that the eight festivals (or sabbats) occur in the same fashion, and move from one "spoke" to the next, in the cycle.
Samhain is seen as a time when darkness is "dominant", that is, when the sun's tilt causes the days to become shorter and the nights longer. On the calender that's the time between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice. At the time when Samhain is upon us, the major harvests have been reaped from the year, historically a time where animals would be slaughtered and salted for the harsh cold season, and all prepare for the oncoming winter. It is a time of celebration both of the abundance and prosperity yeilded from the natural world and the celebrants' hard work put in to that yeild! It is a time of remembering the deceased and blessed/beloved dead; a time of communication with ancestral spirits. It is said that the "veil between the worlds is thinnest" on Samhain, and subsequently is a time full of ritual observances and spirituality.
Even from a non-pagan perspective and merely as seasonal celebrations, if one understands enough about the natural processes upon Earth, a reflection and celebration of those seasonal hallmarks and phenomena can be worthy of respect and a party! It's not just in a mystical sense.
The altar loaded with offerings~
My Samhain celebrations began at midnight, in the morning-of halloween in the darkness. The altar was adorned with a bounty of offerings - the witches don't have bland communion wafers, but delicious platters of mouth-watering, stomach-rumbling foods! Pomegranates and walnuts (both seasonal and local staples), Apples and walnuts drizzled in honey, cakes iced in the shape of the eight-spoked wheel, and beer filling the chalice. Incense heavy in the air and candles burning tall and bright, the ritual sabbat went well. The wheel has turned once again~
On the night-of, I went "robe and bell" walking around town in the rain. I had donned a black mantle that semi-kept out the sprinkling rain. I had no pre-destined route but wandered around aimlessly, ringing my bell solemnly. I felt like I was leading some sort of spiritual procession, like as I was ringing my bell spirits and nearby entities, goblins and fairies would follow behind me in my walk. I could feel as if I was the leader in some sort of invisible procession.
Categories: Sabbats & Esbats