Samhain 31st October to 1st November
This time of year offers us time to pause between the seasons, to acknowledge what we have achieved/harvested from our endeavours in the year thus far and release and let go of what we no longer need. This is the time of year when our ancestors took stock, celebrated the harvest and cleared away any excess in readiness for the stillness and silence of winter.
Our ancestors acknowledged Samhain as a time when the veil between worlds was at its thinnest allowing us to communicate more readily with the spirit world and those who had gone before us.
In feng shui we associate this energy of family ancestors and the past with the east, with wood or tree energy representing rooted growth, renewal, awakening and connection to our first teachers in life and our parental influence. The I ching symbol associated with this energy is Chen – thunder. Like the thunder which precedes a storm, our elders ancestors preceded us.
When this energy in our lives is out of balance we can feel overextended, untethered and unfocused with too many things going on at once. When in balance we feel spontaneous, creative, optimistic, and full of ideas.
The colour associated with this energy is green. In studies on our human response to colour, it has been found that those of us who favour the colour green tend to be more community oriented, reaching out and connecting with others in clubs and associations, preferring to live in “the great forest of humanity”, whereas those of us who show a dislike for green tend to resist connection and lead a more isolated or anxious existence.
We can tap into the rhythm and balance of nature by taking our ques from what is happening in the natural world around us. Do a clean sweep, just like Mother Nature shedding her leaves and fruit. Taking time to shed anything we are ready to let go of makes room for the possibility of planting the seeds for something new.
At this time of year, bonfires called “Samhnagan”were lit on the hilltops at burial grounds and sacred sites (*”Sacred Celebrations” – Glennie Kindred). All other fires in the community were put out and rekindled from these fires. Later each village would light their own bonfire. Thus our ancestors rekindled their connection with their community, celebrating their sense of belonging to something bigger than themselves.
Traditional festivals like Samhain remind us that connection to our family/community/chosen tribe is necessary for our health and well-being. We heal best in community. For thousands of years people lived in community, it is only in recent times that we have shut ourselves off from this very necessary connection, striving to do it all on our own.
Acknowledging our connection to our ancestors is essential to feeling rooted into our sense of belonging in the here and now. We are a culmination of all of the experiences of our ancestors, all of the knowledge they gathered, their traumas and triumphs is contained within our being, in our DNA and we reap the benefit of this cumulative experience.
This is a perfect time of the year to take some time in quiet reflection. Review and assimilate what you have learned in the active phase of this year, prepare yourself for the new year ahead by releasing what you are ready to release and nurturing the seeds for your visions, dreams and ideas so that they can incubate in the dark winter months in anticipation for when the active phase begins again.
Honour your ancestors by taking time to make a small altar in your home, gathering photos, inherited things, elements from nature which remind you of connection to the past. Light a candle in honour of those who have gone before. Spend some time in meditation asking if they have any wisdom to impart to you as you move into winter, sowing the seeds for next years growth.
We can create a ceremony to heal whatever needs to be healed in our ancestral line. In doing this healing work for ourselves we can heal the collective ancestral unconscious. Like a viral story sweeping through the internet shifting ways of thinking, this healing will ripple through the ancestral web of connection – like a Kaleidoscope, one shift affects the whole. The work of the individual realigning and benefitting the greater being.
Make a list of patterns and experiences that need to be released and healed in your family line. Make a small fire (safely) and transform this energy with fire, releasing it into the ether.
Make a gratitude list for all of the blessings that being part of this lineage has brought to you, and blessings you wish to generate in your family line going forward. Bury this in the earth (even in a planter or pot)allowing the seeds of your intentions to germinate in the darkness.
Leave an offering of food outside – something connected to your lineage. (Apples cut across their middle reveal the hidden pentacle, a sign of the mysteries of the goddess and protection.)
Blessing your connection to our ancestors at Samhain enables us to feel rooted in this place and time, acknowledging our place in our lineage.