Day of the Dead

As we adorn ourselves with our costumes and feed the children candy, (or not) what would it be like if we adorn ourselves with the cloak of tender, loving, grace and deepen our commitment to connect with ourselves, our source, our breath, at the heart?

For Halloween, amongst other things, I want to BE connected to myself, and quiet- to hear the messages from beyond.

Halloween has been celebrated since ancient times as Samhain (Sah-win). This time was believed to be when the veil was thin between the world of the living and the world of the dead.

Our ancestors return to visit us, give us advice and help. People set out lights in hallowed-out turnips to guide the spirits of the dead, and put out food as an offering.

These customs live on today. The lights have become jack-o-lanterns we carve from pumpkins. The food offerings have become candy we give to children.

The spirits of the dead are the scary costumes and decorations.

We need not fear the dead. The dead are our ancestors, our friends, our families. They are those who gave us life. Death is a natural part of life.

In Pagan traditions, Samhain is also New Year’s Day. Death and birth are two sides of the same thing, so when we think most about death at this time of year, it is also natural to think about new beginnings, our hopes and what we’d like to birth anew in the next year.

Persephone is the Goddess who lived in the underworld. She ate pomegranate, that ruby-hearted fruit, that appears in markets around Samhain.

After eating this fruit, Persephone understood that the dark, far from being the place of death and endings, was instead a rich place full of change and hope.

The journey into the dark, into winter, is the time we restore ourselves, replenish, and tend to our creativity.

Just as Persephone embraced her journey to the underworld, we share her embrace by peeling the pomegranates, decorating our Samhain altars and sharing her fruit on Samhain eve.

So, however you choose to celebrate this day, or whether you choose to celebrate or not, perhaps you will be inspired to view this thinly veiled time as an opening, an invitation, to honor your ancestors, forgive, release the past and relish in the dark night as a time of renewal. Let us traverse the dark side, so we arrive newly in the dawn of spring with fresh gifts to bear.

In honor of you, and your darkness, in honor of the inevitability of returning light, in honor of all who came before and birthed you to the here and now, I give thanks.

So precious, you are.

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