MOOD | WARMTH
I will be making soup. Maybe some bread too. I’ll light my candles and add some items to my altar—tiny pumpkins, bones, autumn leaves. I want to be warm and snuggled up in my home for Samhain next Saturday. But I’m going to step out at midnight to bid hello to the full blue moon—hello moon!
Samhain has such a rich history and marks the beginning of a new year in the Wheel of the Year. I’m including some of that history here for you to explore, along with a ritual of remembrance. May it bring you warmth.
All my love, always.
SAMHAIN | A CHRONICLE
Pronounced Sow-an, and from the Old Irish word samuin, it is a word unto its own. It is a name created specifically for the festival day. Irish mythology was always a spoken tradition, which means there are a few different variations of its spelling.
Celebrated for the entire day, it marked the beginning of winter in Gaelic Ireland. The earliest known writings about the festival first appear in the 10th century. However the Coligny calendar, a bronze tablet engraved partially in Gaulish, the language of very early Celts used during the Roman Empire, marks three nights of Samonios.
The Coligny was a type of ancient almanac and Samonios occurred for the Celts at the end of summer. Historians differ on what this imposes on the origins of the word Samhain, as the Roman calendar contained just ten months, not the twelve we are used to now.
In the spiritual world, this is a liminal time. Our hearts may cross the threshold from the living realm into the realm of the dead. Now is the time to gather with family and friends to hold rituals honoring the beloved humans and creatures in your lives who you have lost.
RITUAL OF REMEMBRANCE
This can be simple, or you can take more time with it. Its purpose is to recall all the good things you can about those you have loved, who are now gone. Think of great meals shared, funny road trips, holidays, vacations, and all the little things they did which made you smile.
Collect these items to prepare: Your candle. A pencil or pen or markers. A sheet of paper. Photos of ancestors & beloved others who have left this world. Other art or collage supplies.
First, draw a very basic tree with several branches. Leave space around the branches to write in names. You can print out a tree illustration, or clipart to make this part easier.
Without much thought, feel your way through the tree and begin penciling in names along the branches, along the trunk and roots, wherever it feels to you that they belong. Start with those closest to you, most recently lost. Continue with names of ancestors, as many as you can think of. Add the names of creatures who you loved and lost.
Next, add embellishments to flesh out your tree. Think stickers, doodles, paint, glitter, or other collage elements. Allow yourself to play as you remember. Once completed, sit back to look upon the names. Recall the love, the joyous moments, and how each contributed to who you have become. Notice the location of some names in relation to others.
Know that the love you shared with your dearest humans and creatures is still with you. You may wish to place your tree upon your altar to dwell upon your memories over many days or months.