“Anyone could see that the wind was a special wind this night, and the darkness took on a special feel because it was All Hallows’ Eve”
- Ray Bradbury
The nights are drawing darker sooner, the air carries a crisp chill, and the trees are showing us in all the colours of Autumn, how good it feels to ‘let go.’
As we celebrate the turning of the wheel with pies, mushy peas, toffee apples, and cinder toffee, we draw closer to the bonfire and each other, in surety that we have gathered enough during the harvest to sustain us.
It is a time of gratitude tinged with sadness as we bid farewell to the summer months that were filled with light, warmth and abundance and welcome the dying down of everything that has flourished. Deciduous trees shed their leaves in the most beautiful way as we seek out our scarves and gloves and set to the business of preserving the fruits that we have collected.
In many cultures, the turning of the wheel at this time of year signifies a celebration of the death/rebirth cycle that is evident all around us. We acknowledge that without death, there can be no new life or growth. That letting go of that which is no longer ours is the way forward in creating space for that which is coming to us.
Mexico hosts the ‘Day of the Dead Festival’ on the first two days of November, coinciding with the Christian ‘All Hallows Eve’ and pagan Samhain. It is a time, across cultures, when the veil between the living and the dead is widely believed to be at its thinnest.
In our villages, there are carved pumpkins and ghoulish costumes, themed party games like’ apple bobbing’ and candy and ‘trick or treating.’ It is an exciting time for children and adults alike.
Unfortunately, in some households, Halloween can be interpreted negatively. Some see it as a nod towards evil and wrongdoing, but as with everything in life, Halloween is an opportunity to reflect.
What does the Halloween tradition allow us to reflect upon?
We can reflect with gratitude upon the year so far. The first coming out of the darkness and returning of the light, the hope filled green shoots of spring, the glorious summer in full bloom, and every experience and lesson filled with joy or otherwise are all waning. We can say ‘thank you’ to every one of them. We can take stock of what remains. Our happy memories, the lessons we learned and our resulting intentions for the future.
We can gently examine those things to which we are attached that no longer serve us, and ask ourselves whether we can emulate the plant world by joyfully ‘letting go.’ How to Let go
We can celebrate the coming darkness. Winter is a time to rest and recuperate. To rejuvenate our spirits, to tend to our wounds and to gather our energy. It is also a time of coming together of family and friends around the hearth to celebrate community and kinship.
In the fading light we can take the opportunity to become acquainted with our Shadow and love and approve of ourselves more wholly than we ever have before. Love Your Shadow
We can take the opportunity to remember those who have passed before us, our loved ones or the ones who taught us our most far-reaching lessons. We can do this with gratitude for their presence in our lives and for everything that they brought that helped to shape us. How to Handle Loss
We can temporarily suspend the pressures of work, let loose and have fun, dress up and party, trick and treat each other and spend time in the joyful company of friends and family.
With the scents of bonfires and candy, the taste of the harvest fruit and sumptuous celebratory foods, the sight of brightly terrifying costumes, fireworks and decorations, this time of year is a festival for the senses. It is therefore a perfect time to practice presence or mindfulness.
Whatever the pressures of life, set the intention this season to take time to press pause:
Choose an appropriate moment when you are immersed in the activities of the season. Perhaps you are hanging decorations, dressing up, buying candy, lighting a bonfire, or making mead. Maybe you are eating a toffee apple or toiling with the contents of a pumpkin. If a moment does not avail itself – create one!
Take your awareness to your breathing
Allow your breath to become slow and deep
As you do this
The world will temporarily slow with you
You will be able to become truly present
Put away all thoughts of the past
For the moment
And immerse yourself
In the now
Take your awareness to your five senses
Of the season
Take your time
Absorb them all
One at a time
Allow each one to be truly felt in its own right
Let yourself be filled with the moment
You are at the exact point
Between letting go of your past
And welcoming your future
On the cusp
But for now
You are here
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