Today is the 31st October, Halloween, Samhain. OK, so Samhain can be considered more of a season than a day, but as we all know, in modern life (as in all time periods in history), unless you’re very privileged, it’s difficult to allow spiritual practice centre stage in life all the time. ( I do have another post on Brigid and Samhain if you’re interested!) And Samhain is part of the annual cycle of fire festivals in Ireland
In my own case, right now, I’m writing this on my phone, while snuggled up on the couch, looking at the Level Orange Rain Warning through the window. Oh and a hot water bottle on one ear & some happy Netflix romcom on in the background. Yup, that lurgy I mentioned last week still isn’t shaking, despite a week in bed! But it means that I will be limiting my my Samhain observances this yea. An extra place set at the table tonight. Walking the bounds & grounds at some point in the next week when the rain lets up a bit. I mean, it’ll be November in Ireland – hoping for a fully dry day might get pushing it a bit!
But also, once my Samhain cycle activities are over, I start preparing for Imbolc. Last year, I ran a course that people seemed to really enjoy, called Preparation for Imbolc. I’ll be running the same course again this year. (If you want to sign up for more info on that, please click here). It’s an almost three month course taking you through my framework for preparing for Imbolc.
So, today, I’m sitting down with my planning (Bank Holiday here in Ireland) and working out what I need to do in the next three or so months. Cos it’s a busy season. Samhain probably heralds one of my busiest cycles in the year, in direct contrast to that of agricultural folk. But here we go – there are observations I do around November in relation to ancestor work and the Catholic stuff. December is solstice and Christmas of course. January is the final run in to Imbolc. I find things get even more intense around then!
Just to be clear, this isn’t me moaning by the way. Being in tune with the cycles of the year, however that looks for me and acknowledging that I have a busy season coming up, means I’m aware of what’s coming. All of the above is voluntary. By planning I can fit it into my life sensibly, instead of running myself into the ground by trying to get everything done at the last minute. And while Samhain is a major festival, it’s also the signal to start getting things in order for the next three months as well. We forget the cycle runs through the year. Taking it easy for one of the fire festivals isn’t the end of the world!
So, wishing people a happy Samhain always seems a bit strange to me, but I hope you get to celebrate or acknowledge the season in a way that’s meaningful to you. For this part of the cycle anyway. And that everything you want to do works out well. If you have to cut your cloth a bit, as I’m doing this year, focus on what’s truly important to you. I’ve explained above what this looks like for me. Spare plate at the dinner. Walking the bounds and grounds. Bit of divination. Visiting a graveyard and remembering my loved ones who are dead during November. Short post today, but given I can’t move off the couch yet , I don’t think I did too badly, did I? All prayers and well wishes for helping shake off this bloody thing are welcome!