Post # 64 Happy New Year!

October 29, 2012 at 2:08 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post # 64 Happy New Year!

We’re just a few days away from All Hallow’s Eve, or Halloween.  In the spirituality that I choose to follow, this day is known as Samhain.  It’s pronounced several different ways depending on where you’re from.  I pronounce it Sow-enn.  It’s a celtic term and it designates one of the major days on the calendar.  It marks the beginning of the year.

This is the time of the final harvests.  Nuts and fruits, gourds and squash, these are abundant at this time of year.  Days are noticeably shorter, and moments that were filled with sunshine and warmth are now noted by darkness and cold.  Animals that aren’t thinking about hibernating are starting to show their winter colors.  Metabolisms are changing, even for us, as we start to prepare for the darker times.  Houses seems brighter and more attractive; bonfires are larger and scarier; even weather is a little more dramatic.

This is the time of the earth colors.  Leaves are resplendent in golds, reds, organges, yellows, but they all turn a dusky brown when they fall to the ground.  The leaves which were once so vibrant and green are now starting the other time of their cycle as they die and fall and doing so protect the tree.  The fallen leaves become a natural mulch and help keep cold and frost away from the roots.  Eventually they break down and provide nourishment to the tree.

This time of year, as the season changes, we can see the dark more clearly, and seem to be able to see the things in the dark more clearly.  Images of ghost, ghouls, and monsters are more readily seen and believed.  Naked branches in the moonlight and shadow become fingers reaching for us as though ready to grab our souls given the chance.  At this time of year, everyone loves a good scary story.

We’ve already entered the time of waning daylight, but it’s more pronounced now.  The actual shortening of the day can be seen.  We can start marking the days until warmth appears again and everything that seems dead now renews itself in bright sparkling green.

Apples are a fruit with a secret.  They are harvested at this time, and the freshest apples are the ones you pick yourself.  When I was much younger, we used to drive to Vermont every fall and pick three bushels of apples to keep on the back porch all winter.  Nature’s refrigerator kept them from spoiling until the very end of winter.  The secret of the apple is in the slicing.  Cut it from top to bottom and you can see the vague shape of a heart or woman’s womb.  Cut it across and you can see a five pointed star.  Candied apples were often given as treats at this time of year in less suspicious times.

Pumpkins are everywhere now.  It’s hard to go into a store, or drive past a corner without seeing pumpkins of various sizes for sale.  The pumpkin’s big appeal is hollowing it out and carving various shapes in its thick hull.  Set a light in the center and it shines out creating an image in the pumpkin that can be scary, funny, or delightful, whatever you intend.  The pumpkin itself can be eaten in many ways and is always delicious.  Pumpkin soup is one of my favorites.  Thick and hearty, it stays with you keeping you warm on a cold night.

In celebration of the new year, on ritual I perform as this time is the wish ceremony.  Some people wait until Yule, or the winter solstice since that’s closest to the calendar new year.  I prefer Samhain for various reasons.  Light a fire.  It doesn’t have to be a big fire.  You can choose whatever method of creating the fire you choose.  While the fire is burning, take a small piece of paper of any color you like and concentrate on the spirituality of the Universe.  Allow your consciousness to expand beyond yourself until you can feel the stars moving around you.  Think about what it is that you most want and write that on the paper.  When the time seems right to you, fold the paper tightly and place it in the fire.  As the paper is consumed by the flame, allow your consciousness to return to its normal perception.  Say goodbye to the stars knowing that your communing with them is not the last.  Once the fire has burned out, select the choicest piece of wood that isn’t consumed and save it for the next year’s fire.

I wanted to share this now since Samhain is only two days away and this gives you time to research and prepare anything special you might want to do for that night.

I’ll leave you now with a story from a visit to China I took several years ago.  I was holding a training session with a large group and made it a question and answer session.  We had a rousing two and a half hour session with a lot of questions being asked and most of them being answered.  We were nearing the end of the session and there were no more questions, so I said, “Come on.  This is your time.  You can ask me about anything.”  Of course, I meant anything about the job.  One young lady timidly raised her hand and asked, “Why does America have such a scary holiday as Halloween?”

Luckily, I knew the answer.

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