“On October 31st, we will officially enter into the dark half of the year. The Celts ― an ancient people that spread across Europe most associated with modern-day Scotland, England, Wales, and Ireland ― celebrated their “new year”, Samhain, on this eve. Literally translating in Gaelic to “Summer’s End”, Samhain marks the time when the sun ― or, the Son of the Goddess ― dies and rests in peace until his rebirth during the Winter Solstice. The seeds of the harvest lie dormant and hidden deep within the earth. The leaves on the trees shrivel, the dark nights grow longer, and the earth freezes and falls into a somber slumber. What’s more, Samhain was also the night when the veil between this world and the Otherworld was lifted, allowing humans to reunite with their lost loved ones and ancestors. 🎃👻
As the border between summer and winter, and lightness and darkness, Samhain is a celebration of Death. It was a festival of completion to show gratitude for both the labour sewn and the bounty reaped throughout the year. Simultaneously, it is a festival which acknowledges the very valuable time of rest, darkness, and silence that Mother Earth needs in order to revitalize herself for next year’s harvest ― a reality that we, as humans, so often forget. While celebrating Death may seem sinister to some, it is a stark reminder that we live in a never-ending world of cycles. Life, death, and rebirth are seen in the natural world everywhere we look from the moon, to the animals, to the feminine body itself. Whether we like it or not, Death is a force we must not only be willing to come face to face with, but a force we must welcome and revere. 💀🍂
The fear that humanity as a collective holds about Death shows up in many areas of our lives, often to our own detriment. We cling tightly to relationships and people who were supposed to walk out of our lives months or even years ago. We hold onto jobs or careers that no longer fulfill us and drain our energy. We keep items around our homes that we never use, causing unnecessary clutter. We hold fast to parts of our self-identity that are false, because the known ― although destructive ― feels safer than the unknown and admitting that we do not really know who we are.
So, this Samhain, in honour of all that this sacred Sabbat represents and aims to teach us, I challenge you to embrace endings in as many ways possible. Instead of seeing Death and the ending of relationships, careers, things, definitions of Self, etc. as losses, seek to view them as a process of purification. Think of their removal and cleansing as the same process that the Phoenix must endure when it bursts into flames, burns to ashes, and is reborn anew.” 🦇🌖✨
Shared Art and Words by Cheyenne Zárate
Art available through artist 👆