The Witchiest Day of the Year
Samhain, All Hallow's Eve, Hallowe'en
All Hallow's Eve. Dia de los Muertos, Dia de los Brujos, All Saint's Day,
All Soul's Day, Hallowe'en, All Soul's Night, Feast of the Dead
Mexico, artist unknown
Hallowe’en is originally a pagan holy day.
It has long been observed, celebrated and marked by ritual,
as well as a little bit of fear.
“Where there’s fear, there is power.”
Art by foundfables on ig
The observed patterns of light and dark, day vs night, as found around
the wheel of the year, are infused with great meaning.
Cross quarter days and their preceding nights,
have long been observed and felt
by humans to be gateways, portals calling for ritual and celebration.
Each one tells the story of that annual time and place of the year, through an archetypal and mythological lens. They can also be used for the psychological understanding of life.
Hallowe’en is one of them, and arguably the most intense.
Its Celtic name is Samhain (sow-when)
and it's the gateway into winter in the north.
It is the time where the veils between the worlds are the thinnest and we can communicate with our ancestors, who come and walk among us.
"The veil between the seen
world of matter
and the unseen world
of spirit becomes thin,
especially at dawn and dusk,
a crack in the fabric of space time.
It is a time for divination, omens,
and seeking the mysteries.
It is a time for inner journeys
and connecting to the wisdom
inside of yourself."
Mexico, artist unknown
The original reason to dress up in costume
was to allow the ancestor spirits to feel free and protected
because who could tell who was costumed and who was spirit?
The pumpkins we now carve are a tradition that heralds
from before the time of Jesus.
In Ireland, where Halloween originated,
any root vegetable such as a turnip was carved
and lit on this night, as protection against
the darkness and the spirits running free.
The big orange gourds are what the Celtic people found growing
in the New World, to continue their Old World traditions.
La Soffitta delle Streghe
An ancestral survival fear comes up
in our bones at this time of the year.
The forces of life and death are a part of everyone’s journey
here on Earth but we can distance ourselves from that fact
while the great goddess
Demeter holds sway and everything is growing
and flowering, while the life force is so strong.
But once her daughter Persephone makes her descent,
and the light begins to wane,
we recall our ancestors
and those who walked this land before us.
We reach out to them in remembrance,
as well as in a plea to help us survive the coming winter.
When everything that was growing either dies or goes dormant,
including the Sun,
it takes some work to keep the faith.
That’s the origin of many of the rituals performed at this time.
La Soffitta delle Streghe
"In Mexico, Latin America and Spain,
in the villages, parades are held.
People dress as skeletons and dance in the streets.
Often, a live person is placed inside a coffin
which is then paraded through the streets while vendors
toss fruit, flowers and candies into the casket.
The whole celebration is about life
from beginning to end."
Dia de los Muertos dress made from recycled cups, plates and utensils, artist unknown
Our earliest ancestors
had to reckon with this massive, annual,
dip of vitality and energy in a way that we do not,
with our luxurious electricity
and incandescent lights.
But their experience of this part of the journey
that we still share in common,
is still passed down through myth and tradition.
The veil between the worlds becomes very thin at this time,
and we can still feel it.
La Soffitte delle Streghe
Life, death and rebirth
are the territory of Scorpio/Pluto
and that is indeed who holds court at this time.
Sex, death, our shadow, difficult and dark events,
power and powerlessness, jealousy and control issues
are all governed by Scorpio.
As you can see, some of the toughest, inevitable material
that we tangle with is found here.
Yet Scorpio, more than any other sign,
also contains the potential for complete redemption and rebirth,
a phoenix rising from its ash.
"Most of us are looking for ourselves in the light. You won't find what you're looking for. You need to get on all fours. (Where sometimes there's a scary darkness), And discover wonderful things about yourself." -Leo Buscaglia
la soffitta delle streghe
photo by fowijoerg on ig
To honor this holy day and night, build an ancestors altar.
Use whatever dark and spooky things,
mixed with brightly colored seasonal
things that inspire you.
Add all your favorite photos of your
loved ones who have passed.
Family, pets, friends, rock stars
who have crossed over…
Then feed them.
If you know of their favorite foods and drink,
offer them those,
and if not, then everyone always likes
a good glass of red wine,
some chocolate, some tobacco,
some salt, some honey….
Use your creativity, make it beautiful.
Safely light some candles and incense,
place a bowl of water
with flowers floating in it.
Say some prayers, tell some stories,
ask for some blessings,
and offer some right back.
“Pagans see the good in honoring the generations before them,
the deeds and misdeeds that have added up to this moment.
We are the accumulation of everything that has ever happened.
This is the season of coming to terms with that sacred burden,
choosing what to leave behind, and what to carry forward.”
This night is called the Witches' New Year
as we pass through the darkness,
honor the chaos and call in the rebirth.
We are the descendants of the witches
they couldn't burn,
as well as the witches being reborn after
having been killed in a long genocide
that is rarely spoken of
in those terms.
"It is estimated that the early modern witch trials claimed the lives
of nine million Europeans, 80-90% of whom were women."
Kayla Theresa Natrella