Dear Little One,
I’d like to tell you about this time of year
It’s probably the word used the most at the moment, have you heard it?
Do you know what it’s all about?
Well, the word itself comes from the name “All Hallows Eve”. It starts at sunset on 31st October and lasts all the way to midnight on 1st November. The Celtic name for this festival is Samhain – you may see this spelled many ways – Samhuinn is another way. It’s pronounced Sow-ane.
This is my favourite time of year and when your mum mentioned to me that she wanted to find out more about the deeper meaning of this festival, I felt called to help. You see, as with many festivals throughout the year, the people that run the shops like to try and make as much money as possible from it. That’s okay, I guess, as long as the deeper meaning isn’t lost. Sometimes I feel it might be. But I feel a lot better when people, like your mum, start seeking and asking questions.
So, Samhain, falls very closely to the Feast of All Saints and All Souls, this is a Christian festival that takes place on 1st November. The two share many similarities.
This festival marks the beginning of winter, it is both an ending and a beginning. There can sometimes be a lot of sadness around this time of year, we remember those we have lost, but we also celebrate the beautiful lives they lived. It has been said that the veil or the boundary between the worlds is thin. The living world, the world you see before you and the shadow world, the world of spirit you can feel around you are very close to each other and on this festival, the energy that separates them thins out. One thing I love to do is to light a candle on 31st and on 1st, to light a way for the spirits, so they can find their way home, if they want to. Some people also set an extra place at their dinner table, to remember the people that may have once sat with them.
Whilst the candle is lit, you may want to look back over the year you’ve just had and also look forwards to the year ahead. Have a think about all your achievements – your harvest. Now you can start thinking about the ways you can use them to enrich your life. Some people also light a bonfire and whilst sat in the warmth, write down all the things they would like to let go of. They then throw the piece of paper in the fire and those things are released.
We are entering into the darker part of the year, but without this there can be no light. Without winter there can be no spring. Without death there can be no life. With every end there is a beginning. This is a time for planning and preparation, quiet contemplation and meditation. This will prepare us for what comes our way in the future, when the time is right.
Some of your friends, or the older children you know, might be going trick or treating, or generally being mischievous. This is the time of year for mischief, thats for sure! A long time ago, the poor children of the villages would go around the houses begging for money or food to take back to their family, winter was a hard time of year and food was often in short supply. This was called “Souling” and the children would be given “Soul cakes”. Nowadays, lots of children go trick or treating and its not so much about needing the treats, but wanting them. If children come to your door, you could make them some soul cakes, or something else seasonal, like pumpkin biscuits.
You may see lots of scary figures around, monsters and Witches. On Witches, I think your mum may have taught you about them before. I’d listen to her. She’s got it right. At this time of year the earth has wound down and is at the ‘end’ of its life, harvest has been brought in and it is resting. In the same way, the Goddess is approaching the end of her life, ready for rebirth.
We say she is in her ‘Crone’ aspect. Imagine a wise, older woman, with long silver hair, weathered features and a wide, knowing smile. This woman, the crone, is a very powerful woman. She uses her power, only for good. As with many powerful people, we have been taught to fear them. So, the image of this warm friendly wise woman was changed, so she looked scary and ugly. Teaching us to fear witches. Let me say one thing. You will one day grow up to be a strong, wise, powerful young woman, you’ve already started. I see the fire in your eyes. People may fear you, but they are more likely to try and make you fear yourself. Don’t let them. For you will meet wise, powerful women such as your mum and many of her friends and they will stand beside you, walk with you, as your sisters, as your good witches. They will be there, doing good, trying not to scare anyone! Growing old together!
At this time of year there is an abundance on pumpkins and apples. You could carve a face into a pumpkin, or simply turn it into a lantern. Apples, you’ve probably seen them cut vertically. There’s a certain type of magic that happens when you instead, halve them horizontally. Try it. You’ll see a five pointed star in the middle. Carefully pick the seeds out and count them. Each seed can represent a choice or a pathway you will be presented with over the coming year. There may only be one, or several or none. If there is one, you might be focussing your attention on one big project, if there are several you might have to split your time and energy between each of them. If your apple doesn’t have any seeds in it, it might mean that there is a project from the previous year, that still needs focus.
You’ve probably noticed the leaves are changing colour and falling to the ground, isn’t it beautiful! This can be quite symbolic too. What do you think it symbolises?
The following are songs I like to listen to and books I like to read at this time of year.
“The Wheel of the Wiccan Year” [Gail Duff]
“The Earth’s Cycle of Celebration” [Glennie Kindred]
“Elements of Change” [Glennie Kindred]
I’ve also, over the years written extensively in my journal, so some things I pull from that too! Maybe I will read you a snippet one day.
So Little One
I hope you feel a little bit more connected to our heritage. I know writing this has helped me too! Now….
“I’m going to celebrate this new year with all the good witches, little chocolate bars are for little kids, I want a cauldron and the nourishment that comes with it.”
All my love