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Samhain, also known as the Witches New Year, is always held on October 31st. A time when the veil thins. Samhain is a cross quarter day, marking the mid point of Autumn. Falling between Fall Equinox and Winter Solstice.
Samhain is also known as Halloween, or Hallowmas. It is an ancestor holiday in North America. It is a time to welcome the darkness of winter and shadow. it is believed the barriers that normally hold steadfast between our world and the other world thin, letting us walk with spirits and ancestors long passed.
Sense of Wonder © Sue Tyler Design 2017
Solstices are the extreme points as Earth’s axis tilts toward or away from the sun—when days and nights are longest or shortest. On equinoxes, days and nights are equal in all parts of the world. Four cross-quarter days roughly mark the midpoints in between solstices and equinoxes.
We commemorate these natural turning points in the Earth’s cycle. Seasonal celebrations of most cultures cluster around these same natural turning points.
October 31 Samhain/Mid-Fall: underworld journey, ancestor spirits—Hallowmas/Halloween (Euro-American), All Souls Day (Christian), Sukkoth (Jewish Harvest). Goddess Festivals: Baba Yaga (Russian), Inanna (Sumer), Hecate (Greek).
I am You © Qutress 2018
Organizing our lives around the seasons and cycles and honouring the Holy Days is not a luxury extra, it is a radical necessity. The Earth urgently needs all of humanity to slow down and come back into intimate affiliation and rhythm with her.
The global climate crisis cannot be solved by external fixes, three day working weeks, artificial intelligence or new technologies. Solutions need to be led by the Earth on her own terms.
The holy days are our soul’s watering holes where we ritually recalibrate ourselves, express our full palette of colours, our innate wholeness, delight and reverence through self-styled ceremonies and celebrations.
They infuse our energy with joy and sublime gratitude, make our chosen actions more potent. They are how we open the weave, bring in all the tender ways of the sacred, give unbroken ancestral connection back to ourselves.
Winter's gate. The deepest in, the darkest moon, the fertile void, the waiting womb.
Silence roots, trees unleaf, the land is stripped back to bone, bone-fires on hills, wood smoke at dusk, wet leaves in layers stuck to our boots, the spider, the web, the ancestor bread, a purple candle in the heavy-hung window for our beloved dead returning home.
The night of the shore left behind, the exposed root, the vulnerable wound. The night to be soft with our hearts, protect our scars, gather in close to the welcoming hearth.
With the land electrified, familiar landmarks resemble ancient sites. We untie from the loom, let the pattern to be lost, slow to stone to speak the truth as hollow bone:
On a bigger arc than our lives will witness, beyond the sideways growing rhizomes of Patriarchy's fake news, beyond faith, deep space, the witches broom nebula, (where wise women have always gone for a brew, always will) is the Unchanging where nothing can stop the final word being Love.
—Debra Hall © Mother Tongue Ink 2021
Seven Sisters of the Moon © Diana Denslow 1991
There is no “veil” between the worlds. We are always in multiple dimensions, and the veils, when there are any, are all in our heads!
What is sacred today on Samhain is our communal decision to come together and venture beyond our imagined fail-safe points. Take your mother’s, sister’s, daughter’s, lover’s hand and walk bravely up to Death. Introduce yourself. Say hello.
Death is just a doorway between particle and wave, and every particle of our being dissolves into wave every nanosecond of our existence—and then collapses back into the same old, same old who we think we are.
NOT if we pay attention! Not if we think who we are is pure consciousness and out of that mystery decide to shapeshift ourselves into beings with great wings, beings shining with internal light, beings who dance an open spiral around the limits of death and life.
Miriam Dyak © Mother Tongue Ink 2015
Embrace the bareness of the world with bringing in warmth and love into your home. Samhain has been long associated with death and the Underworld. To honor this day, creating an altar to your loved ones who have passed can bring both much needed warmth and fond memories of those who no longer walk on this side of the veil. An ancestor altar can be dedicated to friends, family or beloved pets.
Once your altar is made, you can honor your ancestors with a ritual. This can be a guided meditation or a simple ceremony of lighting the candles.
It's important to remember your ancestors during this time. Sing their favorite songs, and tell stories that live close to your heart.
Storytelling is a long held tradition and Samhain draws our minds farther back in time. Celebrate Samhain by doing some historical digging into your local area, are there any famous ghosts or haunted houses?
This is also a good time to remember who's land this was before you. Learn the native history of your land, retell their stories and those who cultivated your town. Remembering those who have paved the way for you is is a ceremony in and of itself.
Look back at your own families history? Who were the ancient matriarchs of your family and what are their stories?
Visit and tend the gravesites of loved ones or strangers. Bring gifts such as stones, flowers, or keepsakes to adorn the cemetery site. Offerings to the dead is upheld in many cultures across time, especially on Samhain!
Halloween (Euro-American): Celebrated in many countries around the world, it often involves dressing up as other creatures or things and galavanting around the neighborhoods. Costume parties are prevalent along with feasts celebrating community and ancestors.
All Souls Day (Christian): Known as the Day of the Dead, traditionally celebrating the day after Samhain on November 1st. It is a day of prayer and remembrance for souls who have passed.
Baba Yaga (Russian): Crone forest witch famous for living in her hut on chicken legs as support. A matriarchal figure, often seen as a grandmother forest witch. She is known as many things, a villian, a gatekeeper to the underworld and guide through the forest. She has
Inanna (Sumer): An ancient mesopotamian goddess of war and love. One of Inanna's heroic stories is that of her travels to the underworld to meet her sister Ereshkigal. She passes through the seven gates of the underworld, leaving one physical item she is wearing off, arriving clad at the final gate. Her sister kills her in the underworld, though her friend above sends two ungendered beings in to speak to Ereshkigal and mourn with her. Ereshkigal revives Inanna, though unable to return to Earth the way she came, a substitute had to be found. Inanna and her husband each spend half the year in the underworld, one marking the Springtime the other heralding in the Fall. The poem of Inanna traveling to the underworld is one of the oldest poems in the world dating back to 3500 B.C. and 1900 B.C.
Hecate (Greek): Goddess of Magic, witchcraft, the moon and guardian of the crossroads. She is also a gatekeeper to the spirit world.
—¤ Brandi Woolf 2017
Resurrection by Vulture
Imagine a world whose creation myth begins not with Light, nor even with Darkness, but with a vulture picking clean the bones of a dream we finally admitted was dead.
Our own magic destroyed us in the end. Humanity couldn't rule after all; our own bodies betrayed us. But for the vulture with her naked head, her naked face, the comforting tent of her black wings discreetly enfolding our dying, there is no shame in an body, no shame in our mistakes.
Every sinew, every organ, is sacred in its undoing. She scented out our grief. She traveled down from the highest pinnacles of the sky to alight upon our bare, helpless bones. Her body is a crucible that destroys every foul pathogen; she comes to cleanse the earth of its suffering. She comes to ingest our unfinished stories, the sweet intentions in our lies, the meat of our devouring, the wounds of our losses, our shapes that once cast shadows.
She comes to recycle them into muscle and wing, and yet remind us they belong to the universe.
Yes, this is our time of belonging.
Imagine a world whose creation myth begins with letting go.
Letting the ugly vulture unbind our beauty, letting the form unwind, letting her prepare us to become the earth. From her nest on the highest cliffs, she digests us and watches the release of our remains now available for new nourishment.
She's going to live a long, long time, as vultures do, because they eat truth every day.
And for all the thousand ways we resurrect into new lives, new worlds, our of the green heedless fronds of the earth, we are also living up there in her wings, forever, in the absolute stillness of her flight on the skies of forgiveness.
— ¤ Mindi Meltz 2019
Brandi Woolf (Crawford, CO) is a mama, witch and wild heart devoted to the Path of Priestess. A weaver of ceremony and words, she believes that courage and vulnerability are necessary and that the stories of women can heal the world. thewildsoul.net
Danielle Helen Ray Dickson (BC) considers art to have the power to heal people, change lives and shed light on the world in a new way. She infuses this into her work with each intentional brush stroke.
Hrana Janto has long been inspired by mythology, history, fantasy, the natural world and the sacred. Works include: The Goddess Oracle (US Games), book covers, Goddess calendars, children’s books and more.
Maeanna Welti (OR—unceded Chinook land) is a writer, astrologer and witch. She is the author of the Healing Wheel Samhain to Samhain workbook. Maeanna offers readings, coaching, support for ancestral and personal healing, and teaches astrology and the fundamentals of witchcraft.
Mindi Meltz (NC) is the author of two novels, Beauty and Lonely in the Heart of the World, and an upcoming fairy-tale trilogy. She creates personal Animal Wisdom Card decks customized for individuals’ power animals and life journeys.
Miriam Dyak All my life is poetry; 50 plus years of writing poems and I don’t plan to stop. I am a social artist, Voice Dialogue teacher and facilitator, dream weaver.
Qutress (Chicago, IL) a Chicago artist with an afrofuturist touch to bruja realms.
Pat Malcolm (Albuquerque, NM) My work has been focued on the understanding that we humans are an intrinstic part of the natural world. I began painting wildlife in the early 1990's and they evolved into "Icons of Nature," using egg tempera paints on traditional gesso boards to capture the essence of the animals I met both in the outer world and my own inner world.
Qutress (Chicago, IL) a Chicago artist with an afrofuturist touch to bruja realms.
Sue Tyler Design (ID) Western artist, teacher and Earth advocate, Sue has lived in the West her entire life. Her experiences in the mountains and with animals fuel her inspiration. She has spent 30 years exploring, teaching and sharing inspiration with others
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