The In-Between Time of Samhain

The In-Between

Certain times in our lives are filled with potency and magic. Twilight is such a time, as is dawn. These are magical moments when it is neither day nor night. Birth is another potent in-between time, along with death. These special times mark borders and transition zones. The in-between is a sacred time when magic is afoot.

Here in the northern hemisphere, we find ourselves on the boundary between autumn and winter. The light is slowly fading away as our Sun drops lower and lower in the sky and our nights grow longer. This is another potent in-between time. The ancient Celtic people would celebrate Samhain (Sow-in) at this time.  Some tribes chose to celebrate at the 1st new moon after late harvest (October 19th this year). Other tribes celebrated at the 1st full moon after harvest (November 3rd this year). The celebration of Samhain was a beautiful way to honor the seasonal  transition out of the light and into the dark.

The veils between the worlds grow very thin during this sacred in-between time.  Loved ones who have departed this Earth are believed to be nearby. Many people in Mexico honor this by celebrating Dia de los Muertos  (Day of the Dead) at this time.

Samhain is the perfect time to acknowledge and celebrate the sacred cycles of birth – growth – death – rebirth that are an integral part of Nature.

Some suggestions for acknowledging and honoring the magical in-between time of Samhain:

Take a few moments to honor everything you have “harvested” this year.

Bow to your ancestors and thank them for giving you this life.

Offer love and prayers to loved ones who have transitioned.

Thank the brilliant light of summer and embrace the deep dark of winter.

Listen for spiritual guidance to help you in the coming year.

Celebrate the Magic of Samhain.

The Dark Half of the Year

Samhain - Wheel of the Year

As the days grow short and the nights lengthen in the northern hemisphere, the ancient Celtic tribes of Europe used to hold a celebration they called Samhain (sow-in).  The Celts celebrated Samhain to mark the turning of the Wheel of the Year. At Samhain, the entire northern hemisphere officially enters into the dark half of the solar year. This is the time of year when the sun seems to turn away, and night lasts longer and longer. The dark half of our solar year officially begins on November 6th this year.

Samhain actually marked the beginning of the Celtic New Year in times past. At Samhain, the Celts paused and took time to reflect on the past and plan for the new year. They also believed Samhain was a time to connect with and honor loved ones who have crossed over into the land of the dead. And halfway across the world, the people of Mexico and Central America still celebrate Dia de los Metros (Day of the Dead) at this time of year.

Celtic Samhain is not just about celebrating death and those who have passed beyond. It is about celebrating life. The last of the year’s harvest is being gathered up in the fields and orchards now. Samhain is the perfect time to express gratitude to sacred Mother Earth for  all the blessings and bounty she has provided for you and your loved ones.

Celebrating Samhain does not have to be complicated. Just take a few moments to pause and offer up a prayer of love and gratitude to those who have died. Go outside and offer gratitude to Mother Earth. Express thanks for everything you have harvested in your life. Simply pause and take a few moments to appreciate all the good that has come your way in the past year.

May the Spirit of peace
bring peace to your house
this Samhain night
and all nights to come.

Autumn Samhain

Samhain

As the shadows lengthen and the days grow short in early November, many of our European ancestors actually celebrated the start of their year.  Depending on which source you believe, this celebration happened on November 1st… OR was celebrated at the time of the new moon in late October or early November. The Celts named their celebration Samhain. In other cultures it is known as the Day of the Dead.

This special time marks the entrance into the dark half of the solar year, when night lasts longer than day in the northern hemisphere. Many still view the Day of the Dead or Samhain as a time to connect with and honor loved ones who have died and crossed over into the place beyond. And with harvest ending at this time of year, it is also the perfect time to acknowledge all the blessings and bounty received in the past year.

Celebrating Samhain does not have to be complicated. Just take a few moments to pause and light a candle in the dark. Send love to those who have passed. Offer thanks for all the good in your life.

In the spirit of Samhain and honoring our Earth, Irish bard John O’Donohue offers you the blessings of elemental earth, air, fire, water and spirit:

“May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.”

~John O’Donohue, Anam Cara