Sunday, November 3, 2013

"Round about the cauldron go..."

As many of you know, last Friday was All Saints Day, a holiday celebrated in many cultures around the globe by many names, that honors the lives of those who have already departed.

It has its roots in the Aztec festival for the Goddess Mictecacihuatl, The Lady of The Dead, as well as (...)  the Celtic and Pagan holiday of Samhain when bonfires are lit to honor the dead and aid them on their journey. In many cultures, this time is a period where the veils between the worlds are the thinnest, so it is a perfect time for us to pause, honor and pay homage to our ancestors and our loved ones who have passed on.
~Mystic Mamma

Although All Saints Day, as a non-official catholic holiday, is mildly solemnized here in Portugal, the roots of it have slowly died throughout the centuries. Except for a few who vow to have some fun, there aren't such traditions as dressing up, trick or treatin', home decorating or pumpkin carving. Personally, I have never, ever, had a pumpkin for Halloween (sadly for me), and gone is the time I got into dressing up for the spooky night. But I do love this time of the year. As Nature falls to sleep and our mood struggles to makes us ready for Winter, it somehow does feel like life itself changes.

Indeed, the Celts did distinguish only two seasons of the year - the dark half of the year and its opposite. Samhain marks the end of Summer and the beginning of Winter, as a midpoint between Autumn Equinox and Winter Solstice, as well as the Celtic New Year's eve. It was a time of celebration of the last harvest and preparation to survive the Winter. The cycle of life was also celebrated, by reflecting on deceased kinfolk, setting out their favorite foods and carving out turnips (the first Jack-o-lanters) to attract desired spirits and scare any other spirits unwanted. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

I can never find a good whole pumpkin around here and, once again, I let my busy life take over my spirituality and personal development (tssk, tssk). So the only thing I managed to do for now was this discrete memorial using some stuff I had at home and a herb-infused candle I bought locally. I know it may sound a little sloppy, but my intentions were there...

Too often, we forget where our traditions came from. I agree with Mystic Mamma when she says that we are all connected in this web of life and we are here as result of the energy of those who came to this Earth before us. So honoring all of those who have visibly or even invisibly touched our life and soul is a simple yet great way to celebrate this festival in our modern days. Still, I missed the carved pumpkin!

Even though Samhain/Halloween/All Saints is celebrated on October 31, this year's actual astrological date hits only November 7 (see here). So maybe we're all still on time to meditate on new beginnings, even if there are no pumpkins nor turnips nor candy apples.

I'll always have my spooky familiar though.

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