Do you wake up on October 1st with a sense of delight, with a layer of trepidation? Is the month exciting, as well as overwhelming? Too much to do, no time to do it all, fear of missing out, with a rapidly-filling calendar? Fear not, witches. We can do this.
I’ve noticed this phenomenon taking hold these last few years. With the popularity of witches and celebrating Halloween on the rise, October is turning out to be another December. You know December: too much to do, people grouchy, the Christmas music blaring non-stop? The time when you wonder, “Why do people do this to themselves? It’s supposed to be festive, and everyone is cranky.” October is turning out to be similar.
The difference is: we’ve got this. The one beauty about Samhain is that it remains a season of growing inward. While the rest of the world descends on craft and Halloween stores like a zombie horde, and goes into a frenzy of decorating, we know we have work to do. And it’s work we relish doing. Not that we don’t celebrate, we DO, but there is also a foundation of bringing it back to the basics. Deep breaths, and read on…
We honor our ancestors. Growing up European, my ancestors were honored daily,as if they were still with us. Of course they are, and remain so, but October is different. More care is taken, and ancestor altars are set up, honoring many or just a few. Honoring those we may not know and feel close to, with candles, offerings, food, and flowers. It connects us to those who have come before us, and circles us with love. Remember that, in your harried mornings. Take a moment to light a candle, and spend time with your ancestors, offering thanks for those who came before you. You are the result of some amazing people. The not so amazing ones? We all have them. Take this moment to acknowledge the tapestry of your family, whether it is a rich blanket of love, or a frayed remnant. You are here, and you are surviving. Pour a libation for your ancestor, and feel their smiles. I often do, and it’s a lovely feeling.
We celebrate our uniqueness. Whatever your path or tradition, this is the time to gather the scattered pieces of it after a busy summer, and really focus on your spiritual practice. If it feels foreign and far away to you, it’s worth the time to get up early or stay up a bit later and spend some time pondering on what is important to you. Daily meditation? Weekly ritual? More community or less community? Reading more? Working on your grimoire? Now is the time to focus on what feeds you spiritually. Don’t neglect it any longer. We have a long winter ahead. Stockpile your supplies, and your books, and be prepared.
We go back to nature. Even if the fall temperatures haven’t quite hit your area, you know winter is inevitable. Get out in nature when you can, whether it is a walk in the woods or a local park. Get a plant for your windowsill if all else fails. Decorate your home with pumpkins, gourds and flowers. Plan a camping trip, or a hike. Hug those trees, and walk barefoot in the grass. Soak up the vitamin D from the sun to store in your bones for the cold days ahead. Really connect with the earth. Order seed catalogs if you have a garden yen for the Spring. Learn to identify plants in your neighborhood. Connect with the earth and ground yourself. It will be needed in the days ahead.
We celebrate kitchen witchery. Someone posted a meme about all the different soups they were looking forward to this season. Whether it’s soup, stews, Thanksgiving dinner, a potluck or a hearty favorite meal, all of us are in the kitchen, no matter our cooking level. Set up a kitchen altar for the days ahead. It doesn’t have to be fancy. A candle, a small dish of salt, a crystal or spoon from your childhood. Be creative. Explore different flavors this season, or invest in a cookbook. Nourish your body as well as your soul. Discover different additions for oatmeal or your coffee. Celebrate the bounty of the season, and while you’re shopping, pick up a few non-perishable items for your local food pantry.
We celebrate each other. Whether online or in person, ’tis the season to celebrate witches. I just got an invitation to a witches’ tea, and while my calendar is groaning with a variety of events (yes, it literally groans, as I have a dramatic calendar), I gleefully added it. While you’re at it, dust off your favorite witches’ hat or get some temporary hair dye and dazzle up your look. Can’t be too dramatic or don’t like that much pizazz? Get some jewelry, subtle or dramatic, and add it to your wardrobe.
We celebrate variety. There is a plethora of activities to participate in, but it takes research. See what’s going on in your area, and celebrate. Really look at what’s around you, see what is available. Go to the Meet Up app and see what groups are in your area, and discover what is happening. It could be a movie night, or field trip to a place you didn’t know existed. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard, “I have lived in this area my whole life, and I never knew this was here.” Or gather friends to plan an event or two. A Witches’ tea can be in your kitchen, with treats and everyone dressed to the nines. Or a scary movie night. Or wine under the stars. Apple picking. Go out and do it. Celebrate.
Whatever you do, enjoy this season! Samhain is a wonderful invitation to go within, and with a little bit of focus and determination, can be an enriching and fulfilling time. Let me know what you have planned, so we can inspire each other as well.