So in my own “Gemini-split-personality” way, I’ve split this holiday into two distinct and separate things.
Halloween, as I’ve already explained is more about the kids, the costumes, the candy.
Samhain, however, is more about the unseen, the unexplained.
I was asked this year if I was going to be doing a public ritual to celebrate the holiday. I told the ones asking that I keep Samhain as a “family” night, and that it is a private celebration. I normally do the “kids, kandy and kostume” thing early on in the evening, but once that is over, and the kids are all tucked safely in their beds, this is when the real Spirit of Samhain takes over for me.
Samhain is, for me, a quiet celebration. It’s a night when the veil between the worlds is so thin, that you can almost, but not quite, see through to the other side. Spirits of loved ones passed over can cross back and share space with you, sometimes talking, sometimes simply being together again.
It’s a time to sit in the dark, in the quiet stillness, and gaze into the flickering candlelight, letting yourself go, stretching your spirit out, communing with the Goddess and God. It’s a turning point on the Wheel of the Year, signaling a return to darkness and introspection.
It’s a night to take stock of what you’ve accomplished over the year, “count the harvest”, so to speak, and prepare for the winter to come. Time to plan, to accomplish that which can be accomplished, to set aside that which must wait, and to dream of what can be.
And it’s a time to be silent. As though Nature holds its breath, just for a moment, and all is suspended, poised for the Wheel to begin turning again, when dawn breaks.
I like the idea of quiet and stillness to take stock. Thanks for continuing to share this stuff.
I agree with you that Halloween and Samhain are two different celebrations. I, too, will hand out candy early and then retreat to my backyard tonight for a quiet celebration.
I love the way you write! Your words really resonated with me. Happy Halloween to you, and I hope your Samhain is blessed.
Aw, thank you so much for the nice words! May you Samhain be filled with sweet blessings – and your Halloween be cavity-free!
Really agree with your Samhain approach. I found doing something similar, and taking that quiet time led to something wonderful. I’m the only pagan in my family, and most of them are conservative Christian. My favorite aunt in law and I still found some common ground when she asked me about Samhain once. She wanted to know if I found the commercial Halloween madness offensive, considering the importance of the day spiritually. “Not at all!” I replied–“I think of it as something that I take time for and then take quiet time to mark Samhain–just like you do with the santa claus hype versus the Birth of Christ.”…which I could do because I had had my time to step to one side and think.
Absolutely. Especially having kids, and still being something of a kid-at-heart myself, I love celebrating the “noisier” aspects of the holiday, and then take the quiet time later – to remember the other side of the holiday.
I do celebrate but these days without much visible outward show: a few candles, some time remembering. I lived near a friend once who took her kids out(of school) for the whole 3days and kept a bonfire lit the whole time; it was fun but again, too much became about showing what she was doing and not so much about the doing.