I just posted this on my beliefnet blog and decided to post it here too! Hope to see you on the 31st!
Halloween has long been one of my favorite holidays. When I was little I loved dressing up to go trick or treating and bringing home lots of candy. My mom always made my Halloween costumes. One year she made me look like a monkey from the Wizard of Oz. The tail had a wire in it and as soon as I stepped out of the front door the neighborhood’s dogs took off in pursuit. She said I grabbed my tail and ran as fast as I could while she laughed hysterically.
As do most holidays Halloween has its roots in several different traditions. In the Celtic tradition it was called Samhain (pronounced sow-in) and it was the celebration of the harvest and the end of a year. Traditionally all the fires were extinguished and the hearths cleaned to honor the changing of the seasons. Then torches would be light from one great fire and all the hearths would be relight and kept burning until the next year.
It was believed that the veil between the worlds was at its thinnest and it became a time to honor the ancestors and the souls of loved ones that had died. Eventually fear crept in and people began to create rituals to protect themselves. Men would light a torch and run around the boundary of their fields to ward off fairies and other beings that might cause mischief. Since the spiritual boundary is thinner angels are also better able to reach out and touch our lives, so it can also be viewed as a time of love and healing.
Somewhere around the birth of Jesus the Romans conquered the Celtic people. Slowly their celebration of the goddess Pomona replaced or blended with the Celtic tradition. Pomona was often depicted as a nymph, a goddess of orchards, particularly apples and nut orchards. Later as Christianity overtook the land the Catholics added All Saint’s day and Soul Day or the Day of the Dead.
The word Halloween comes from middle English and refers to All Hallow Eves, or the holy evening before All Saints Day. Stories of witches and evil beings proliferated when the Catholic Church tried to stop the ancient practices of Samhain and encourage people to celebrate Christian martyrs and saints instead.Stories of witches and black magic began to grow and the original sacred nature of the celebration faded into history.
Halloween is a mixture of many beliefs and many traditions. I prefer to believe that the only thing that is real is love. I believe that only the pure unconditional love of God is real and that fear is an illusion created by our belief that we are some how separate from God. From that perspective I see Halloween as a wonderful opportunity to let go of any limiting or fear based beliefs and renew our connection to our spirit.
Next Thursday I will be talking more about the mythology and symbolism of Halloween. On Halloween night I will be doing a beautiful ceremony/prayer/meditation designed to honor our ancestors, help our loved ones move on, assist us in letting go of any fear or limitations and deepen our connection with the angelic realms. I invite you to attend.
With love and aloha,