Our second moot attracted yet more interested parties – gathering to talk about the craft’s most famous festival, Samhain. What was said…
Samhain is a time for many things.
As the third harvest – the meat harvest, it has a raw and real connection with death and the necessity of it for life to go on. It is in direct opposition to the festival of Beltane, the year’s biggest celebration of sex, death’s opposite, the perfect balance of the two that is needed to keep things in equilibrium. Accepting death is part of celebrating life fully, and death, like its tarot card is also the ultimate metaphor for change – and accepting change as progress. Regaining purpose in the face of loss.
Samhain is also the time of folklore, where the veil between the world of reality and the world of spirits is at its thinnest – a liminal time, a time for divination (a good time to incorporate this into magical work, perhaps? Setting up and planning over the winter for the hopes of what will emerge from its hibernation). A time to look back on the past and those that have gone before. For those traditions or individuals attaching particular importance to ancestors, whether personal or as a unified concept, it is a time of honour and tribute, valuing what we can learn from elders.
The end of a cycle. Many think of Samhain as the Pagan New Year – it is certainly the last sabbat before Yule, the festival of rebirth. At Samhain death comes, and we welcome it with Jack-O’-lanterns, lighting its way and grasping it with both hands as a crucial part of the cycle.