The Magic of Halloween

October 28, 2017

A feast of the third harvest and Pagan New Year, the holiday of Halloween, or Samhain, is one of the biggest feasts of the Wheel of the year. Its association with winter, darkness and unknown makes it slightly different from a traditional “celebration” style. It is better to call it a threshold, or gate, or any other term which will render its special spirit and meaningful  message.

Halloween’s magic is enhanced by nature itself, when cold wind with its first frosty breath tears away the last leaves from lonely trees, and the flocks of cawing crows announce the close arrival of long winter. No jack-o-lanterns or noisy tricks will make us forget about melancholic and nostalgic mood Halloween brings. When spring is looking into the future, summer lives the moment of present, this autumn period turns back into the past. Our memories, sweet and painful, hard and happy, they stand before our inner vision, and call back to live thme again. Feel that Halloween drive, don’t be afraid to turn back, perhaps, the events lived and word told will appear from another perspective. Maybe it will be easier to let go the stones of offenses or grief, and let them stay in the past, where they belong to. Maybe you will find something useful to take with you into the new cycle, so enjoy the harvest.

It is a rewarding practice to keep diary and regularly check the events and personal reflection at certain stages and periods. Having checked my records, I revealed how powerful, yet not always pleasant my Halloween transitions were. There were confrontations with parents, arguments with relationships, despair and failures in career. However, the more severe this darkness was, the more clear enlightenment came; just as a physical pain motivates us to prioritize the visit to a doctor, emotional pain makes us accentuate the mind blocks and fears to understand them and heal. With time I learned to use the opportunity to purify and expand my understanding, and reach the spiritual comfort of those I love and my own. It is interesting how even the physical events can correspond to the Halloween topics. Some years ago I was doing a blood test during those days, and recently my genealogy and origin occupied my mind just before the Halloween period. Reflecting upon blood as a bearer of DNA, or generation memory, is a deeper level of understanding the purpose of the feast and avoiding a bit primitive bloody horrors movies and books.

It is really sensible that the symbols of the feast are the owl and black cat. Perhaps, it’s their ability to see at night remaining invisible and hidden, which pushes us to make a pause, stop running, open our eyes wide and look through the darkness and mysteries veils of our lives. Who knows what insights it will bring. We often get so stuck in the hectic rhythms of daily routine that each stop seems a tragedy for us. Calling us to regression and depths of inner life, Halloween energies challenge the modern idea of progress, success and development, as well as extravert living.

The most common link of Halloween is one with death. Feared by most of people it is still the core and inevitable part of human life. Even our bodies regularly die as new cells appear so we are constantly born. We end up schools and jobs, relations and hobbies; we set the cycle of the ends and beginnings. We forget that death is only the beginning, without it no progress is possible, no life has chances to appear. In Tarot there is a Death Arcana, which has a perfect title to render the spirit of Halloween: Transformation. Instead of seeing death as a deadlock and nothingness, this term allows thinking about it as a change which is usually a strong indication of continuous life.

To offer you a very atmospheric source to create a relevant mood needed for the rituals, remembering, or just autumn reflections, I would like to point your attention to the classic novel by Charles Dickens The Curiosity Shop. Powerful and touching as all his writings, this one impresses by such clear Tarot Arcana topics, that I cannot help mentioning it. Regarding the Halloween theme of death, I would recommend referring to the scenes of the death of small Nell, who wouldn’t touch just a stony heart. It is described in several chapters, as a transformation process, as a transition to angelic state, as a transcendental experience.

Where were the traces of her early cares, her sufferings, and fatigues? All gone. Sorrow was dead indeed in her, but peace and perfect happiness were born; imaged in her tranquil beauty and profound repose (Chapter 71).

Waking, she never wandered in her mind but once, and that was of beautiful music which she said was in the air. God knows. It may have been (Chapter 72).

Where were the traces of her early cares, her sufferings, and fatigues? All gone. Sorrow was dead indeed in her, but peace and perfect happiness were born; imaged in her tranquil beauty and profound repose (Chapter 71).

There is not an angel added to the Host of Heaven but does its blessed work on earth in those that loved it here. Forgotten! oh, if the good deeds of human creatures could be traced to their source, how beautiful would even death appear; for how much charity, mercy, and purified affection, would be seen to have their growth in dusty graves!’ (Chapter 54).

There are just a few quotes yet they may refocus our death perception towards understanding it as releasing, inspiring for some bigger and meaningful deeds, at least for the sake of those whom we loved and respect. As we accept the daily sleep, a “small death” as a necessary, even pleasant activity, it is beneficial to accept Halloween spirit with gratefulness, as a necessary “winter sleep of the soul”, after which a new dawn will come.

Halloween is the time, when the Sun is passing the sign of Scorpio, so paradoxically, it brings not only meditative state but deep passions as well, and it is good to keep the temper under control. It is good to direct the energy to a profound cleansing, either at home and kitchen, or in the office, contacts, personal computer, links and files. Paying attention to the smallest details may grant with a sudden idea or a brilliant thought.

Through the Ancient Egyptian connection it is possible to interpret the feast as a holiday of decisions. The after death Judgement, where the heart of the deceased was weighed on the scales, has as central the idea of defining balance or misbalance between the heart of man and feather of the goddess Maat, a representation of Truth and Order. In Tarot there is Justice card

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