DANCE OF SAMHAIN
This class was way too much fun to teach… Its witchy, it’s dark, it’s empowering and celebratory. Slow song: Baltica by Lycia
Fast song: Deadly Walkers by Glen Porter
Samhain is best known for the Season of the Witch as it falls on Halloween, when everyone including their familiars and even their elders come out to play on the magical side. The main purpose of Samhain is to celebrate the natural cycle of death and rebirth, with it’s name coming from the Gaelic word for “summers end.” It marks the point at which we enter the darker part of the solar year and sits as the polar opposite to Beltane on the wheel of the year, while also marking the midway point between Mabon (Fall Equinox) and the Winter Solstice. Samhain is one of the ‘Greater Sabbats’ or ‘cross-quarter days’ in the Wheel of the Year. The Greater Sabbats are fire festivals that were often celebrated at the time of the new or full moon, with communities coming together to celebrate around a great fire. At the altar of Samhain we celebrate and honor the dead, our ancestors and the spirits.
With the veil between their realm and ours at its thinnest, this is the time that we can most easily communicate with them.
Samhain falls within Scorpio season and is also known as the Witches New Year for it encompasses potent opportunities for renewal.
Little known fact ~ Scorpio has 3 symbolic forms: The Scorpion, the Eagle and the Phoenix for it is within the season of Scorpio that we are granted the power and support to be alchemized within the fires of transformation and renewal to become more evolved versions of ourselves. With so much death in the air ~ so too can we follow the prompts of nature, shed our old skins, dysfunctional tendencies, old selves, personal and ancestral trauma ~ allow them to die and offer them to the underworld so that we may be reborn into the adventurous philosophical fires of Sagittarius.
Samhain is a time for introspection and going within to reflect on everything that has happened in the past year.
At Samhain, we see decay and death in the nature around us – the leaves on the trees are dying and falling to the ground, and the vibrant floral displays of summer have either already disappeared or are now fading.
As winter approaches and darkness descends, this is a time of silence and stillness. A pause in the year where an ending is taking place, making way for a new beginning. We can now take the time to think back on the last twelve months and consider what we have learned over this time, what may have run its course in our lives, and what we wish to take forward with us into the coming year.
This is also the ideal time of year to bring light to anything that is lurking in the shadows… anything that you may not have fully admitted or expressed, even to yourself. Be gentle with this; if issues reveal themselves, you don’t need to make any dramatic changes right away; bringing your awareness to these things and voicing them out loud to yourself is enough to start with.
Honoring Samhain as a time renewal – when nature begins to bed down, ready to rest over the winter months, so too do we retreat indoors and begin to slow down our activities, in favor of rest, recuperation, and quiet contemplation.
And while the warmth and revelry of summer may now feel very far away, nature reminds us that everything is part of a cycle, and that this half of the year, when we and all of life go within, is just as important for our growth as the light that the warmer days will bring. As we honor this part of the year, we can now shed the old, and allow for new life, new ideas and new energy to begin to germinate, ready to burst through when the moment is right.
Samhain is one of three nights during the year when the veil between the spirit world and ours is said to be at its thinnest; the other two are Beltane and the Summer Solstice.
Some teachers I have worked with speak of the importance of connecting to our ancestors as a first step to communing with the unseen spiritual world. A first step to begin connecting to spirit.
Samhain was truly the night of the ancestors in the Celtic tradition, whereas in Mexico you see the most elaborate veneration of the ancestors and the dead on the following day with Dia de los Muertos. Connecting with and honoring your ancestors is one of the most powerful things that you can do at this time of the year.
I find it very healing to spend time every Samhain remembering the stories I have learned about my own ancestors, honoring their spirits and sending them healing.
In Celtic lore, October 31st is Samhain (All Hallow’s Eve, or Halloween): the night when Arawn, lord of the Dead, rides the hills with his ghostly white hounds, and the Faery Court rides forth in stately procession across the land. In ancient times, hearth fires were smothered while bonfires blazed upon the hills, surrounded by circular trenches to protect all mortals from the faery host and the wandering spirits of the dead. In later centuries, Halloween turned into a night of revels for witches and gouls, eventually tamed into the modern holiday of costumes, tricks and treats.