Though I have never been one for haunted houses, scary movies and the other horror related aspects of Halloween, it has always been a favorite time of year for me. Growing up, this time of year was about the fun of dressing up, touring the neighborhood and of course loading up on sweets. The simple joy of spending a couple hours dressed up as my favorite super hero, real-life or fictional character bagging a sack full of candy was enough to have me looking forward to Halloween all year long.
As I got older, the lure of costumes and candy waned but I still loved the season and the endings and new beginnings that came with it. In the world of farming and living off of the Earth, October is a time of ending for the harvest season and celebrating the bounty that will hopefully last throughout the winter. It is the ending of another season of growth and the beginning of a season of withering and introspection. Throughout the winter, we are driven to spend more time not only in our homes but also in our heads. This is a time of year that we are given the opportunity to look back on what we have been able to accomplish throughout the past 10 months and begin to plan for what we want to get done in the following year. Though we as a society have managed to fill much of the last two months of the year with commercialism and greed, with the proper mindset there is still time to reflect on the spirit behind the fall holidays.
Here in the northern hemisphere, we are in the midst of Samhain. As I have been exploring and developing my understanding of this holiday, I have been able to better understand the roots of our modern celebrations of Halloween. The fascination with ghosts and monsters. The concept of why we go house to house asking for treats. It all started to make much more sense to me as I discovered the history and development of Samhain. One of the things that really struck me was the ancient Celtic tradition of dressing up in costumes mimicking malevolent spirits to ward them off for the upcoming winter. Our fascination with spirits, death and forces greater than us has been a common thread since the beginning of recorded time. The idea of dressing up in the image of a spirit crosses into aspects of almost every culture as a way to pay homage to those forces that support us or to ward off those forces that hinder our growth or intentions. This practice, though adapted and often obscured, is still alive and well today in our modern Halloween traditions.
As I look back on the costumes that I wore as a child, most of them had something to do with aspects of my own spirit. Whether it was an aspect that I wanted to draw into myself or a shadow side that I wanted to expose, my costumes spoke volumes about who I was. The hero costumes made me feel stronger, faster and more powerful than I felt as my shy little self. Instead of monster costumes, I often chose self deprecating costumes such as dressing up as a geek, redneck or hobo. These costumes seemed to speak to shadow sides of myself that I was embarrassed about in my daily life. By exaggerating these aspects and cloaking myself in the most extreme personification of these aspects it helped me to feel more comfortable in who I was in reality. After all, even though I might feel like a geek at times I didn’t dress in the stereotypical fashion and I surely didn’t wear a pocket protector the time so I couldn’t be as much of a geek as I thought. Through my choices of costumed expressions, I was able to harness the power of my own internal superhero as well as ward off the malevolent feelings of inadequacy. Though I wasn’t feeling the possible doom of evil spirits affecting my survival through the winter, I was in effect battling my own inner spirits that threatened the survival of my self esteem and self image.
In Celtic tradition, the celebration of Samhain marked the end of one year and the beginning of the next. This holds a very special place for me in that my birthday is only a few days away and this time of year quite literally marks the end of my solar year and the beginning of my next. My focus tends to shift during these weeks from an active goal seeking motivation to a more and introspective mode. It is during this time that I take time to look back on the year that has past and how many of my goals I was able to accomplish. As you all have hopefully garnered from these segments so far, I am not one for spending time in the past. However, everyone needs to take time here and there to not only reflect on the past, but also to appreciate it. As I prepare to transition into my next year of life, it is important to me to take some time to celebrate the successes and challenges that I have encountered. These opportunities have helped to shape where I am and by evaluating where things went right and where things went wrong, I can build a better future to come.
In losing my focus on candy and costumes, I have replaced it with a desire for growth and transparency. Most of us have this same shift of focus as we grow up and mature. As we experience the shift, it is important to use this annual time to examine yourself and evaluate whether or not you are who you want to be.
I wanted to take this opportunity to share another brief meditation with you all in the spirit of Samhain. In this meditation, we will take a look at what part of our spirit we need to focus on and how that will help us to grow in the coming year. If you are driving, operating machinery or otherwise doing something that requires your alert attention please do not join us a this time, instead I invite you to revisit this meditation in the archives. That being said, I invite you all to close your eyes and begin to breathe slowly.
Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth.
Visualize roots growing out from the soles of your feet into the Earth. Feel your roots growing deeper and deeper into the earth as you allow yourself to become grounded and centered.
Visualize a light shining brightly from the top of your head. Allow this light to travel upward through the roof of your room and into the heavens above you. Feel your connection to Spirit grow as your light travels higher and higher. Upward into the stars connecting directly to Spirit.
Feel the energy flow through you from Mother Earth and Father Sky. You are a channel of divine light and divine love.
Visualize yourself on a pathway leading up to a house. As you examine your surroundings, you notice that you are dressed in a costume. This is a costume of your choice that represents an aspect of your spirit that desires your attention. Take note of your costume and begin to walk toward the house.
As you approach the house you see a kind old woman beckoning you to come closer. When you finally reach her, she hands you a small gift and tells you that what is inside holds the key to understanding the power of your costume.
Open your gift and view what is inside. It may be a message, a symbol or a tangible item that holds a special meaning for you. Spend a moment with your gift and incorporate it into your understanding. See how it relates to and interacts with your costume.
Thank the woman for the gift and send her your blessings.
As you turn to leave the house and walk down the path, feel the satisfaction of gaining your gift and feel the blessings of Spirit around you.
As you walk away, begin to draw your light back to your crown from Spirit.
With each step, feel your roots begin to draw back up from the Earth into your feet.
As you feel your energy centered back into your body, feel the peace and understanding of your gift and how it relates to your spirit and your costume.
Slowly return to the room and open your eyes when you are ready.
You can return to this house anytime that you wish for further investigation into aspects of your spirit that need your attention. I invite you to share any experiences that you may have had with this meditation in the comment section below.
Samhain blessings to you all!