Song of Avalon

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October, Samhain and The Thinning of the Veil

Posted on September 30, 2015 at 3:45 PM

Most Pagans say that after Mabon, and especially in October, the veil between the worlds is thinning. It is easier for those in the Summerlands, or Otherworld, to make their presence known and to communicate with the living. The reason for this is that Samhain (which begins at sundown on October 31st) is the Celtic New Year. It marks the end of summer and beginning of winter for those following a Celtic tradition. Times such as these are seen as liminal - neither this nor that, not one or the other, yet a bit of both. A time between time. There are many such periods in daily life - dawn, noon, twilight, midnight. In addition, there are certain times of the year that this type of energy is prevalent. There is something about this particular liminal event, however, that stirs the ancient blood.

 

As the summer faded into winter and the land prepared to slumber, our ancestors saw the cycle of death and rebirth play itself out. It was a natural time to honour those that went before and who now resided in the land of the dead. Most cultures have formal acknowledgments of the deceased. The most famous are the Mexican Day of the Dead (dia de los muertos) and the New Orleans parade. The Christian calendar adapted the Pagan feast of Samhain and call it All Souls Day.

 

For modern Celtic Pagans, Samhain is a very solemn and sacred day. We reconnect with our Ancestors in a very real way. It is believed that the Ancestors are still around us - guiding us, lending strength and available for sharing wisdom. It is also the third and final harvest - the last chance to make provisions for what may be a harsh winter season. It stands in contrast to the almost giddy energy of Beltane. Stories around the bonfire tell of the descent of the Lord into the Underworld until his rebirth at Yule. It is a time of reserve and introspection.

 

Many Pagans will leave food out for the Ancestors. They will tell stories of their loved ones and remember them. Many have Ancestral Altars set up as part of or in addition to their usual altar. On the Eve of Samhain, fires are lit and candles are set in windows to guide the Spirits to the hearth. These Spirits are welcomed as honoured guests. The Ancestral connection is felt to the very core of our DNA. If you do not know who your ancestors were, such as in the case of adoption, meditate on the connection. Research the cultures and traditions that call to you. If there is a particular area that fascinates you, follow that thread. Also, remember that family is not always about blood. The Ancestors of an adopted family can be just as connected as blood relatives - or more so. Connect to those of a spiritual ancestry - Ascended Masters and the like.

 

Whether one is Pagan or not, the energy at this time of the year cannot be denied. It has an ancient feel to it. It sings to us as wind through the pines, calling across the centuries. It connects us. Take some time during this season to connect to that ancient energy. Listen to the call. Reach out and feel for the energy of loved ones (human and non human). They are there and are waiting.

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