High Days are like tides; they ebb and flow and exist for much longer than just a day. The mood for Samhain begins with the first leaf fall; a melancholy can be felt in the gentle rains and the whispers of the benevolent dead become more audible. It is a long and slow season, filled with beauty and comfort found in blankets and warm drinks. Sometimes, it is easy to forget that there is a much greater power in the Earth that rises at this time: the power of the Ancestors.
We can find comfort in the presence of those who have passed, of course, as our Ancestors care for our families and the continuation of our lines. But this year I am making a conscious effort to truly see the power of the Dead, and the danger that can come along with it. Since I have a child now, I wish to be far more cautious.
In our home, Samhain proper will take place from October 29 through November 1, with prohibitions and practices surrounding. I will keep the house as clean as possible, and pour offerings at the Ancestor shrine each day. I will cover my hair when I leave the home in honour of my female ancestors, that I may be conscious of their presence with me. I will treat these three days as holy, and conduct myself accordingly in dress and action. I’m hosting family, after all 😉
Tonight, we will begin our celebrations by having our Ancestor Feast. We will set a place for our Ancestors at our table, but not as a dumb supper (with a nine month old, that wouldn’t be possible even if we wished to keep that custom). We will be speaking the prayers from the Samhain chapbook within the structure of our usual household rite. These small prayers begin our season, a season of carefulness and honour as we recognize the power that the Dead hold. The Dead can bring bane or blessings, and it is blessing that we seek.
I do feel that the Samhain season is longer than these three days, but I can commit to deeper practice for this time only this year. On October 31, I will be attending the closing ritual for WITCHfest North in Toronto. Then, from November 1-7, I will be attending the Parliament of the World’s Religions. Some generous friends have kindly donated towards my trip — thank you 🙂 I will be posting some updates about the Parliament both here and on Facebook.