Halloween is my favorite ‘holiday’ of the entire year. For me, Halloween is the only pagan holiday left nearly intact by new age religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, etc.) It remains untainted by religious reinterpretation but continues to be celebrated as a spiritual holiday by many. Its roots lie in the Gaelic festival called Samhain, held October 31-November 1. Translated from Old Irish, Samhain means “summer’s end” and is a Celtic harvest festival with ancient roots in polytheism.
In the Pagan calendar year, November 1st marked the first day of winter, and the beginning of the cold, dark season as well as the start of the new year. Animals were brought down from their summer grazing fields and either slaughtered or stabled. The harvest was finished and safely stored for winter; any crops left in the field were considered taboo and left as offerings for the spirits of the other world.
November Eve, October 31st, was understood to be a magically potent time, when the thin veil between this world and the other was temporarily lifted. Both worlds existed side by side and communication with ancestors and other spirits was effortless from sundown to sundown. Great bonfires were lit as part of the festival as people celebrated new beginnings, new dreams and new hope for the future.
It seems fitting that this time of the year, when we say goodbye to summer and hunker down for winter that we meditate and plan for next year. The future is full of possibilities. May this November Eve be your best ever. Slàinte!