Many cultures, including Jewish and Muslim, begin their day when the sun sets and the moon rises. They honor time as proceeding from dark to light, understanding that in the silent darkness life prepares itself for new beginnings.
To the Celts of ancient Europe the evening was the most important part of the celebration. This was a time to gather the best of the autumn harvest, feast and create a village bonfire. A member of each family would light a torch from the bonfire and bring it to their home to light the hearth that night. This act created a bond within the village that neighbors would help each other get through the winter. Food and drink was set out in front of each home to welcome deceased ancestors with great ceremony as windows, doors, and gates were left unlocked to give them free passage. Apples were eaten in honor of the “Paradise of Apples,” where spirits of the nether world ate the sacred fruit and enjoyed blissful immortality. Celts carved the images of spirit-guardians onto turnips, pumpkins and gourds, which later became known as “jack o’lanterns”, setting them outside their doors to keep away any unwelcome spirits.
With the rise of Christianity, Samhain was changed to Hallowmas, or All Saints’ Day, to commemorate the souls of the blessed dead who had been canonized that year. The eve of Samhain is popularly known as Halloween, or All Hallows Eve, when children dress up in costume and go to neighborhood homes for “trick or treating”. Samhain also celebrates the marriages of Dagda, the Celtic God of Earth with Morrigan, the triple Goddess of Creation, Preservation, and Destruction. They give birth to Brighid the Goddess of Purification who brings the prophecy of light for the coming of Beltane the Goddess of Life and Fertility. Together Samhain and Beltane represent the two great doorways of the year and the cycle of Death, Rebirth, Birth and Life. Samhain marks the beginning of the year as people enter the darkness to listen within and set intentions for the upcoming planting season.
This “Old World” holiday is now one of the most popular Holidays in the United States as children dress in costume going from house to house trick or treating for candy.
As we celebrate the “New World” holiday of Columbus Day on October 10th, let us honor the Native people of the Americas who tended this land with beauty and grace for thousands of years before they were “discovered”. Let us come in harmony with the lessons of their cultures as we all become caretakers of this precious land.
Let us reconnect with our ancestors on Halloween/Samhain October 31st. They hold space for us to honor and learn the lessons and wisdom teachings.
I share with you this chant for Samhain from the Old World to the New World: “A year of beauty. A year of plenty. A year of planting. A year of harvest. A year of forests. A year of healing. A year of vision. A year of passion. A year of rebirth. This year may we renew the earth. Let it begin with each step we take. Let it begin with each change we make. Let it begin with each chain we break. And let it begin every time we awake.”
Quotations on Infinity
“Meditation is the dissolution of thoughts in Eternal awareness or Pure consciousness without objectification, knowing without thinking, merging finitude in infinity.” – Voltaire
“The meaning of life is contained in every single expression of life. It is present in the infinity of forms and phenomena that exist in all of creation.” – Michael Jackson
“To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower Hold infinity in the palms of your hand and eternity in an hour.” – William Blake