When the North Bay Samhain ritual was over, we wished everyone a happy new year. Maybe a fresh start. Maybe a new page.
And then we broke down the altars, put things away, and cleaned up the space, sweeping up any lingering pieces and energies.
Another priestess and I thanked the space before we left, we thanked the ghosts of those who came before and who would come after before we locked the door, the gate, and before we drove away.
The ritual was days before October 31. When that day came, I was down. Maybe it was exhaustion. Maybe it was the unwinding that happens when I release magick that’s been in the works for months.
Maybe it was okay to just be tired. But it didn’t feel okay.
Grief can be a hungry ghost.
To be fair, I’m also the person who is never happy on their birthday. I have all of these things that I think it should look like, and when it’s over, I’m disappointed. It’s no one’s fault. I just think things should be…different. Better?
Samhain felt joyful to me this year — until it wasn’t. It felt like it was going to be the time when I would somehow integrate all the healing work I’ve done, all the family work I’ve done, and all the spiritual work I’ve done.
All signs were pointing to ‘mystical magickal transformational’ moment on Samhain proper.
Instead, it was mostly a day of wandering. As the day went on, the day was heavier and weightier.
I cried. I paced. I ate chocolate.
I was supposed to do a ritual for my dead.
I turned off the porch light when trick or treaters came up to the door.
I felt like a failure. A perfectly human failure.
But my dead are not the hungry ghosts.
They are forgiving and patient. They are outside of time and worry. While my dead certainly have things to say and input, they have more words of comfort than criticism.
At a ritual after the public ritual, I went to the land of the dead and met my mom. While last year, she was new to the whole ‘dead’ thing and gave me some sharp words, this year, she simply said one thing, “Don’t be so afraid.”
So while I believe it’s important to honor my dead well, I bring into the new year the goal of doing a little something every day rather something BIG one day.
- Sing/play a song they liked.
- Make their recipes.
- Dust off their picture frames.
- Whisper to them.
And I will remember that my grief is hungry still.
It needs my time and attention. It is not broken or in need of fixing or covering up.
It still needs my attention. My careful witnessing.