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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ancestral Connections on Lunar Samhain

If you're seeing ghosts today, or feeling just a bit of an unexplained presence around you- it might be because we are creeping up to Halloween.  Or, it might be something else.

According to my We'Moon calender, today is Lunar Samhain.  Lunar Samhain marks the beginning of the Celtic Lunar Year. This is a time when sunlight is absent and the moon is dark because we have just entered a New Moon. On this "darkest of nights" we are encouraged to generate and radiate our light from within.  In this darkness when the light comes from within, there is said to be a thin veil between the worlds allowing us to be close to our ancestors, feeling their influence in our lives.

In Celtic tradition, Samhain was meant to be more sacred than scary. It was a time to honor the old and it's passing in order to make way for the new. This was a time of final harvest when farmers took stock of their herds and grain supplies and made decisions on what had to go so people and livestock could survive the winter. By this time of year meat would freeze and therefore keep and summer grass was gone so free foraging was no longer possible.  A time to make decisions, let go, and move on. Hmm...

The "letting go" part wasn't done lightly.  Decisions were made based on the greater good and once those decisions had been made, the dead were honored and thanked for their sacrifice. So it was a rather "dark time"(especially if you were part of a herd that outweighed the grain supply I suppose!), but it was a darkness for the light and that was what was celebrated.

Later on in history in appears the festival became more of the "festival of the dead" and was a celebration to honor "All Souls" or "All Saints".  Despite when exactly the lunar Samhain occurred, the festival was celebrated on October 31st. It became a Gaelic custom to wear costumes and masks in order to copy or appease the evil spirits that might be lurking around with the good.

This Lunar Samhain occurs with the New Moon in Scorpio. The moon in Scorpio is said to give us an attitude that matches with our primal side.  Sounds like quite an appropriate combination for Lunar Samhain! Under the influence of this moon we don't take much to platitudes, faking it, or "fluff".  Our curiosity to seek the truth is pretty sharp and we really cut to the heart of the matter without fooling around. We dig deep and furious with some intense focus to find the truth.

A New Moon is always a good time to start fresh. But before you do that you have to let go of the old. With the Moon in Scorpio and the decision making powers of the Samhain, it's time to examine what you really need to let go of. Let go of relationships, activities and situations that don't feel good and foster growth.  This is a good time to consider what you might be holding on to just because it has always been with you. If things don't feel light, right, and empower you to be what you want to be,  let them go.

But in the spirit of Samhain you let them go with honor.  You appreciate what those people, events, or situations have contributed to who you are. Create what ever type of festival feels good to you in order to celebrate their past presence and rejoice in the disconnection.

The Celtic culture used bonfires, and the intensity of flames to honor the passing spirits. Perhaps I'm a "fire starter" from a way back because I love a good bonfire, take great satisfaction in my burn barrel and enjoy the process of lighting the wood stove.  However.. with 70km/hour winds out there at the moment, the recently acquired emergency manager in me suggests that might not be the best way to go today!  Perhaps lighting a candle with intention and focus would be a better idea?  The idea of carving a pumpkin and putting a candle in it to ward off the evil spirits and honor  those who have passed on might be a good idea.

During this time of year, perhaps in part because of our focus on the spirit world, or perhaps because of the deep cultural roots in the Samhain festival, it may be easier for spirits to walk among us. Or, we might be more tuned in to their presence. You might just have that feeling that you're not quite alone. I rather appreciate that feeling.  Some really wonderful people in my life, both known and unknown are no longer with me in a physical sense and I appreciate the connection with their spirit. But if you're not having a comforting sense from the spirits around you, you might consider the Bach Flower essence Aspen.

When you're making those honest decisions about what to release from your life, you might benefit from the Bach Flower essence Cerato. It can help you trust yourself and follow your inner knowing.

If your feeling drawn to the past  and having a hard time of letting go, Honeysuckle might be a good Bach flower essence for you right now.

I think there is much we can learn from our ancestors. They seemed to put a lot of ceremony into letting go and moving on.  They didn't hide from the darkness of Lunar Samhain, they celebrated it and used their inner fire to provide protection, strength and light to move forward. I like that idea and I think it's a tradition worth honoring. Enjoy the darkness so you can celebrate the light.

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