Blessed Samhain and Happy Halloween everyone! I apologize for this being brief and late, but you know how it is with kids.
Last month I asked my hubby to read over the site and give me his thoughts and the thing that he noted as lacking the most was ME! He told me he loved the information, but there wasn’t enough of me present to make it personal. So this month I am making it extra personal. I am going to tell you about our Samhain (sow-in or sow-ween).
Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year. It always has been. As a kid I loved the decorations, the costumes, the scary movies, and of course the candy. I have vivid memories of trick or treating as a child, especially the year that we got like 8 inches of snow and my brother, my father and I were practically the only ones out. I was a witch that year and I had these super thin boots that were soaked through in minutes, but we soldiered on, and boy was it worth it! Oh the candy! Everyone had too much and gave it away freely. Such a glorious year it was.
As an adult I have really come to appreciate the agricultural aspects of Samhain and what they mean for the year and my family. Irish-Gaelic for “summers end,” Samhain truly does bring a sense of finality to the year in a way that we often don’t perceive. For most folks The New Year begins in mid-winter-January for most, unless you follow the Chinese or Jewish calendars. But Samhain is the final spoke on the Wheel of the Year and represents the end of the harvest and the end of the agricultural year. We will not celebrate another holiday until Yule in almost 2 months time and at Samhain we are in our highest hopes that we have done enough to carry us through the winter.
For me Samhain is a beginning as well as an end. In both pagan and christian religions, the time between October 31st and November 2nd are when the veil between life and the afterlife is at its thinnest and this awareness allows me to feel even closer to my family, my communities, and my earth. Around this time of year I plant my garlic, a small beginning at the end of a season. I harvest the last of my summer garden, which in many ways is sad, but it opens many doors for winter deliciousness that we grew ourselves, as we reincarnate the last of the harvest as pantry staples, canned goods, delicious comforting meals and Christmas gifts. Here in Pennsylvania, Halloween is generally the beginning of our cold season, often giving us the first flurries of snow. It is the end of the farmer’s markets, which is very sad, but offers a great opportunity for stocking the root cellar.
In our family, Halloween is a fairly ritualistic day. In the morning the boys go to school. I attend the class party, provide a healthy snack (yes, I’m THAT mom…I know…at least it is usually applesauce,) and read a story. After school the kids and I go to our local nursery and farmer’s market and buy as many pumpkins, potatoes, winter squashes, onions, peppers, cabbages, gourds and Indian corn as I can stuff into my car. When we get home we stock the pantry, the root cellar and the fridge with all of our goodies. They spend the afternoon playing outside or raiding their treat bags from school, just waiting for it to be dinner and then time to head out. I spend the afternoon carving pumpkins and decorating the house with our newly acquired fall decor. I love carving pumpkins. They make me so happy as their glowing faces smile out at me from the dark.
For dinner, we always eat something very nutritious, usually vegetarian, made from the bounty of the harvest. This year it was butternut squash and toasted sage soup. Warm, creamy, and oh so comforting, it is just what the Goddess ordered for a night of hiking in the cold for free insanity in bucket. This year it was my turn to stay home and hand out candy and what a treat it was. I donned my witches’ hat (a la Fleur Delacour,) poured myself a large hot toddy in my favorite mug, wrapped myself in my favorite wool blanket and settled in to watch the happiness of the holiday as it poured down the road from every direction in the form of princesses and superheros, demons and witches. And as the sun set and the night came on, I sat there and smiled at my happy little pumpkins with their glowing grins smiling back.
When the kids come home they watch Halloween specials as they sort through their buckets and when the sugar high burns out and the cold has exhausted their bones we settle in by the fireplace and fall asleep together.
This is one of my all time favorites 😉
Samhain is a great time to thank your gods, your earth, and your family for all they have given to you over the year and for all the hard work they will continue to do for you in their afterlife. The plants may die, but in their afterlife they become the soil for next year’s planting, and like our ancestors before us, the spirit carries on and continues to work great miracles everyday in this life.
Blessed Samhain everyone, and Happy Halloween!!!