Popular Pagan Holidays
Autumn: The Croning Time
Daily Goddess Awareness
Well, You Don’t Celebrate Christmas...
It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Chri... Yuletide!
Samhain: A Time for Introspection---and Activism
For A Religion So Opposed to Paganism, You Sure Stole a Lot of Our Stuff!
The Dark Half of the Year
The Halloween Witch: Sense of Humor or Sense of Ire
Ah...To Be A Witch...
Winter Solstice By Any Other Name
Anti-Witch Bigotry: Still As Popular and Deadly As Ever
Spiritual Aspects of Yule
The Beltaine Storm
Winter Holiday Intentions and Food Magik
Ostara...It's Not Just For Kiddies Anymore!
Autumn Equinox: A Point of Balance on the Wheel of the Year
Lughnasadh: The Deeper Meaning
Alicia Meets Grandmother Autumn: A Children’s Story
A Meditation on Samhain: How Lucky You Are.
The Solstice Flame: A Yule Story
Imbolc: Traditional Celebrations for a Modern Time
Traditional Yule: Make your Own Homebrewed Mead
Supermoms’ and Superdads’ Defense Against “Holiday Kryptonite”
A Story For Autumn
A Celtic View of Samhain
Samhain: Learning to Release
Ostara: Enter the Light!
A Summer Solstice Primer
The Oak King and the Holly King Revisited
The Best Thing About Death
Winter: A Joyous Holiday Season
Witches Lost in Halloween
The Babylonian Ghost Festival
The Sacredness of Halloween
Imbolc...or As The Wheel Turns
The Celtic Origins of Samhain
The Theme of Mabon
Dealing with the Darkness, Post-Samhain
The Tale of the Holly King and the Oak King
Don’t Waste That Pumpkin!
The Samhain Experience
Lughnasa: Festival of the Harvest (A Druid's Perspective)
First Thanksgiving... in China
Love Lives On: A Samhain Reflection on Death, Rebirth, and the Afterlife
A White Christmas in Fuyang
Solstice of the Soul
Solstice Swim at Beach 69, Puako, Hawaii
A Samhain Dance
Imbolg - A Lesson of Positive Change
Beltane Beyond Sex
The Story of Ostara
Planning A Good Death: A Samhain Process
Yule and the New Year
The First Yule
Unity During Samhain
Season of the Blues
Yule...and Saturnalia Smurf Hats
A Yule Story for Children ~ The Tiniest Fairy ~
Mabon..Balance and Reflection
Easter is Pagan
Bealtine: Blessing the Summer In
Ghosts, Omens, and Fact-Finding: Wandering In Today's Eco-Interface
Yuletide Thoughts, Life and Death
The Blood is in the Land
Groundhog's Day is American for Imbolc
Preparing for Summerland During Samhain
Thanksgiving Memories of a Native American Witch
Sandy Was The Name Of the Dark Goddess This Samhain
When The Crone Pays A Visit, You'd Better Pay Attention
Yules Lessons from Days of Yore: Perfect Love, Perfect Trust
Brighid's Healing Sword: Imbolc
The Promise of the Harvest
A Midsummer Labyrinth Walk…Winding the Way Back Home
The Summer Solstice: A Time for Awakening
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Samhain: Learning to Release
Article Specs |
Article ID: 12853
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,504
Times Read: 5,236
RSS Views: 17,160
Author: Gray Lady
Posted: October 25th. 2009
Times Viewed: 5,236
Samhain is felt by most witches to be an especially sacred time of the year. There is something in the air that suddenly makes us crave witchy activities and the company of like-minded people. It’s easy to attribute this to being cultural indoctrination to believe that witches and pumpkins go together like peanut butter and jelly. We are taught from an early age that Halloween is the only time that witches roam free, so it’s natural that our psyche would feel a deep connection to this time of year. But perhaps there’s more to it than that…
Our witchy ancestors may have also held an affinity for the energies at this time. Much like the question of the chicken and the egg, it may have been their yearly activities that gave rise to the witch being a common symbol of late October. Seeing as modern witches feel a palpable change at this time of year, it really doesn’t matter which came first, only that we recognize and respond to the energies that arise around us.
The main theme of Halloween is once again moving away from costumed children eating candy to embrace it’s much more macabre nature. Our subconscious is craving a modernized rendition of the nights of All Hallo’s Eve past where people believed the dead could roam the earth. But instead of old superstitions, our scientific minds spend millions of entertainment dollars to be scared out of our wits by ghosts and ghouls. It seems like no matter how much we indulge our brains in costumes and haunted houses, we end up still feeling spiritually unfulfilled.
In order to nurture our spiritual center during Samhain, we must ask ourselves: what is it that we are craving? What subconscious yearnings drive a whole society to want to wear fangs and scare the heck out of their friends? And why do I feel like that should be holy and sacred?
As the Celtic New Year, Samhain represents the end of the last year. But as the last year ends, it does not yet actually “start” the year. We tend to think of Samhain in terms of the secular “New Year” on January 1 where we all make resolutions and start new projects, but the energy of the sun doesn’t exactly match. Samhain is the start of the in between of the old year dying away and the incubating new year being birthed at the Yule. This time in between years can be likened to the time in between lives, a time of reflection and exploration before committing to the coming year.
This special holiday is poised right at the cusp of very two important concepts: death and renewal. The subconscious craving that our psyche yearns for can be found in the psychological impact of these two ideas. As mortals, whether we are aware of it or not, we deal with the concept of death on a daily basis. Western culture is lacking when it comes to dealing with death.
Dead bodies are painted to look alive and only specially trained people ever get to regularly be around the dying process. Generally speaking, families encourage each other not to talk about it. Even in life threatening diseases, our culture usually offers non-comforting words like “We don’t need to talk about that yet.” or “That’s not going to happen for a long time”. Family and friends of people on hospice will sit and talk about everything but death for fear of upsetting someone, but in reality what we do by not talking is to repress the fear and leave the subconscious to play out the emotion in isolation.
One of the many treasures that modern psychology has brought to Witchcraft is the understanding that the subconscious affects us more than we are ever aware of.
As our fear of death rides the ups and downs of our emotions in the shadows, we begin to desire experiences and ideas that bring us closer to the mystery of death. As if answering a prayer, built right into the Wheel of the Year, we find a secular holiday that gives society at large a chance to play out and toy with these ideas that we are encouraged to keep silent. Only on Halloween can we openly toy with the ideas of evil, murder, gruesome death, and paranormal activity… and that’s just walking down the isle at the grocery story. And the more money we throw at the toys, the more exciting the experience becomes.
Halloween has become a huge moneymaker for the industry, but all the glue-on-vampire-fangs at the year round Halloween stores will not fill the void that is still left. What the subconscious really craves is not to joke about axe murders, but for our conscious mind to think about and mull over the death our own of the ego, the end of our dreams, and the end of our loving relationships.
Halloween traditions give us the ability to try on costumes as alter egos, confront shadow selves in the open, and possibly even feel what it would be like to live as someone else in the next life, but only through a spiritual process can we really deal with these concepts. This is what makes Samhain a sabbat, and not a just a secular holiday.
The sacred lesson of Samhain is that death is not just something for our subconscious to play out, but death is something to be celebrated as the portal to renewal. The teachings of Witchcraft shows us that the rhythms and cycles of the natural world are also the rhythms and cycles of our energy and power.
As witches, we recognize that we go through the same cycle that nature does. We can clearly see that nature dies off every fall so that it can be renewed in the spring. It’s a cycle that gives fertility to the soil, strengthens the species in nature, and allows for creativity and growth in the spring. For humans, we recognize this same process, both on the physical plane and on a metaphorical plane.
Physical death releases us from this existence to move on to what ever is beyond. Although many lives have seemed to end before they have learned enough, without death, our spirits would eventually reach a place where we were stagnant. At Samhain, we recognize and celebrate this process as a means of growth.
Metaphorical death is something different and not quite as easy to understand. Practicing witches have long known that we do not need to just accept what comes our way. We have the ability to effect and change our environment, our situation, and most importantly- ourselves. The closer we come to living in harmony with the Wheel of the Year, the more things seem to just fall into place in our lives. But as we Walk the Wheel of the Year, we often focus so much on manifesting change that we overlook an deeper lesson of the Wheel: acceptance.
We get so involved in what we think we want, we begin to believe that we are settling for second best when we just accept what we have. This causes us to overlook, or sometimes downright throw out, our own gifts and talents from the Goddess. The wisdom of the natural world tells us that there is a time to grow and build, but there is also a time to let the periphery die away. Samhain is that time, the time to “let’ things die.
Learning to ride with the flow of energy around us is truly internalizing the old axiom that ‘everything happens for a reason’. Often, we litter our brains with ideas of what could have been or what we should have done differently. Although it is important to self evaluate how we affect our surrounding with our behavior, it is equally important to remember that everything that happened was supposed to happen and nothing else could have happened. With each action we take, we learn and grow, so even one hour after we made a decision, we are a changed person.
We cannot impose our new learning onto our old selves and expect us to have behaved any differently. When we try to, we create havoc in our psyche and lock up our magick powers trying to move them backward. This is an important lesson of the Devil tarot card that comes out at Samhain: we need to learn to let those anxieties die away before we can fully move into the gifts of the coming year.
Anxiety is an internal reaction that occurs when things do not happen or do not respond in the way that we expect them to. When we are anxious, we dampen our ability to receive energy and guidance because we are focusing on the perceived consequences of what is going to occur. Anxiety and fear hinder our abilities to be a part of the energies around us. As egotistical little beings, it is hard to give up our anxieties over what we don’t want to happen. But, perpetually we experience times where the Divine steps in and we do not get exactly what our ego wants because it against the goals of our higher selves.
Witchcraft is just as much about accepting change as it is about creating change. In accepting change, we let our anxiety die away and experience the beautiful energy of the world. In creating change, we knowingly interact and push around those exact same energies.
Samhain, the celebration of Death, is also about accepting and celebrating the beauty of the natural energies of the Universe and ourselves. This is the time where we ritually let the anxieties, the expectations, the desires for change, and the thoughts of how things “should be” die away so that we can see and appreciate the way things are.
With our ego released, we embark upon a period of self-discovery, acceptance, and listening that will prepare us for the full appreciation of the mystery of rebirth at Yule.
Location: Beaverton, Oregon
Other Articles: Gray Lady has posted 1 additional articles- View them?
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email Gray Lady... (No, I have NOT opted to receive Pagan Invites! Please do NOT send me anonymous invites to groups, sales and events.)
Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2013 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.
Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.
Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wrenâ€™s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witchesâ€™ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.
Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.
Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
of The World
NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.
All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).