Halloween Isn't Spooky At All- Its Beautiful
Halloweens association with blood has been carried on through the years evolving into horror movies and gore. But the true origin of all of that blood comes from something far larger then Hollywood imagination and nightmares. Historically October is the season of the final harvest and hunt. This is the time when the hunters would go out and hunt more animals then they normally would throughout the summer season (a lot of blood was spilt). This was in preparation for the winter months ahead, but also as a means of killing off the weak in the heard. Leaving the limited food resources to the strong to ensure survival. The God of the Hunt was saluted at this time of year. He is also known as the Lord of the Dead, there to greet our loved ones as they passed from this word to the next. And so, Halloween is thought to be the time when the veil between this world and its next is at its thinnest. But that doesn’t mean that it was a time to fear. It was a time to celebrate and honour the ancestors who came before us. The day was marked as a blessed but dark time of the year. It was used to revel in the memories of loved ones lost.
As part of the celebration during this time, one of many rituals included people putting the home fires out. They would then gather at a local town festival. In the heart of this festival was a bon-fire. As the towns people arrived the fire would be stoked by the items brought. This was a time of ‘out with the old’. It was the Celtic New Year. And so, people would fuel the bon-fire with the old items cleared out of their homes, making room for the new. Animals were frequently added to the fire as ritual. This was a method of giving the Gods and Goddess their share of the previous years heard or crops. Hence Halloweens relationship to blood, fires, sacrifice and worship of the Lord of the Dead. But at the conclusion of the evening celebration, the people would return home with a torch lit by the bon-fire. They would re-lite the home fires from this torch and keep them lit until spring. This was a sign of unification among the towns people. So among the pagan’s, this day marked a day to celebrate moving on from the old, honouring those who came before us and making way for the new that lied ahead.
As history moves forward, we come the eighth century. Paganism remained the dominating religion, but things were shifting towards Catholicism. In an effort to make the shift as smooth as possible, the Catholic Church used many Pagan celebration dates as their own. In fact, the Catholic Church decided to use November 01 as All Saints Day. With the pagan culture already celebrating Halloween (or then, referred to as Samhain- with celebrations beginning on Oct 31, but the full day celebration occurring on Nov 01) the Catholic Church placed the All Saints festival on November 01. This day is marked by Catholics as a day to honour all of the Saints who did not already have a specific day of remembrance. The mass, which was said on All Saints was called Allhallowmas – the mass of those that are hallowed. The night before naturally became known as All Hallows Eve.
The Pagan culture believes that the Goddess has entered her Crone phase during the fall season. She is the Old One. The earth mother, the wise one we turn to when we need advice. She teaches us that sometimes we must let go to move on. She is our inner wise women.
So Halloween doesn’t need to be about candy and costumes. We can choose to look further then that during this season. Set an intention to clean out the old and make room for the new. To give thanks for what the previous year has provided. Take the good and the still required with you in to the winter, leave the rest behind. Take time to thank mother earth for all she has provided. To remember. Remember family, ancestors and friends passed. Become fully aware of the wheel of life and present moment.
This is the time of year where we move into the third and final harvest. And while we no longer sow the field and hunt for our meat we are still capable of harvest. Surround yourself with acorns and squash. Symbols of life (a white candle or flowers) and death (a skull).
Rosemary lays dormant in the winter, presenting new sprigs of life in the spring. It is the herb of remembrance.
Black represents the time of darkness after death, orange represents the awaiting of the dawn when we emerge from the darkness.
Yes, Halloween is a pretty amazing time of year, but maybe not for the reasons that you had originally thought. Be thankful for what the year has provided and remember those who have passed.
Dana Smith Manual Osteopath DO(MP)
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