Samhain Journey

There’s a lot going on tonight. There’s handing out candy to trick or treaters and walking your own trick or treaters around the neighborhood. There’s remembering our beloved dead and honoring our ancestors. There’s celebrating the end of Summer and letting go of the things that no longer serve our True Will. It’s a time for divination, through Tarot, Ogham, runes or scrying.

But after you do all that, I hope you’ll take a few moments to gaze through the thinning Veil Between the Worlds, and if you can, to part the Veil ever so slightly and look into the Otherworld.

Our mainstream society likes to pretend death doesn’t exist. The line between the medical and the cosmetics industries has become increasingly blurred, all with the intent of selling products and services designed to prolong the appearance of youth and deny the inevitability of death. When someone does die, they’re whisked away to a funeral home where their body is pumped full of chemicals to make them look like they’re sleeping. If the person is a close relative you may get three days of “bereavement leave.” If they’re not a close relative you’ll be lucky to get a couple hours off to attend the funeral.

This isn’t just an obsession with work and “being productive” – it’s also a refusal to deal honestly with death. But accept it or deny it, fear it or embrace it, death is a certainty for all of us.

Our denial of death is directly tied to our fear of it. And our fear of it is not because death is terrible but because what lies beyond death is unknown.

So I encourage you to spend a few moments peering behind the Veil. What do you see?

Do you see the Land of the Gods and Ancestors, where there is reunion with loved ones who have already crossed over, and where there is neither hunger nor want nor loss?

Do you see Cerridwen’s Cauldron, waiting for you to plunge into its depths and be reborn?

Do you see the Great Mother with her arms open wide, ready to welcome you into union with her?

Perhaps you see clearly beyond the Veil. But perhaps the mists are heavy, or your senses are so used to this world they only give you glimpses and impressions of the next world. Do not worry – with practice that will improve. We live in this world and we work, learn and grow in this world, but by occasionally visiting the Otherworld our fear of the unknown gradually fades away.

Then when death does come, we are not afraid, because we remember this night and all the nights when we made the journey beyond the Veil.

May blessings of our goddesses and gods, our ancestors, and this season of Samhain be upon us and our Great Work, now and in the times to come.

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About John Beckett

I grew up in Tennessee with the woods right outside my back door. Wandering through them gave me a sense of connection to Nature and to a certain Forest God. I’m a Druid graduate of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, the Coordinating Officer of the Denton Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans and a former Vice President of CUUPS Continental. I’ve been writing, speaking, teaching, and leading public rituals for the past eleven years. I live in the Dallas – Fort Worth area and I earn my keep as an engineer.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15875521021308111036 Steve Thomas

    Great post. You are so right about our not wanting to look at death. Our culture wants to ignore it, pretend it doesn't happen, and yet, our media is constantly showing us that it does exist. Is that a paradox or what?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15875521021308111036 Steve Thomas

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