October and November have always been my favorite months. As a Scorpio, I’m strongly connected to the sun’s return to the constellation Scorpius. Hey – who doesn’t like celebrating her birthday!? But as I transitioned from Mother to Crone, I felt something other than the anticipation of Halloween, my birthday and Thanksgiving (all a time for Family – my favorite thing!). October and November have grown into power months for me. It’s the time in my year when things “happen” in my life. For the past few years, October has brought new relationships, new business ventures, new ideas, new projects, and generally a feeling of renewed vigor and of a strength approaching invulnerability. Oh, and a new season of Bruins hockey. But also of purging things that are no longer necessary, such as unhealthy relationships and negative thoughts and emotions.
One of my most cherished discoveries from these times is the power that comes from inaction, patience and stillness. There is so much strength in letting go of the need to control our surroundings, our experiences and, especially, the actions and reactions of others. Acceptance of the many things we can’t change is the first step toward understanding our purpose… which leads to peace. I’m not saying that I’m good at this yet! But I’m learning. And the older I get, the easier it is.
So what has any of this got to do with me wishing you a Happy New Year (a few months too early for many of you)? Halloween night is known as Samhain to Pagans. It’s perhaps the most important of the four seasonal “high holidays” (to borrow a phrase from my Catholic upbringing), and signifies the end of the Pagan year, culminating in “New Year’s Day” on November 1. The Celtic day was marked from sunset to sunset, and the two are seen as connected, as there can be no new beginning without the end of the old.
The time from Samhain to Imbolc (February 1-2) is the “dark half” of the year. The time when the light begins to wane, and the nights begin to turn longer and colder. It’s a quiet time, to reflect and to dream. It’s a time to take stock of how things are going, and make changes if necessary. It’s also a time to remember, and sometimes to grieve. To some, scary things happen in the dark. To others, wonderful things. Samhain (“Halloween,” shortened from “All Hallows Eve,” so named after being co-opted by Christians who made November 1 “All Saints’ (Hallowed Ones) Day” and November 2 “All Souls’ Day” – for those of us who weren’t quite so saintly) is the day when the Spirits of those who have passed may, if they choose, pierce the veil and move between worlds…. And we may, if we are able, communicate with them and spend some time in the comfort of the wisdom they gained through their passage.
So how do we pierce the veil? How do we communicate with loved ones who have passed over? How do we learn what they have to tell us? By making a conscious effort. Get yourself into the proper frame of mind by clearing your head. A regular meditation practice aids in the ability to find stillness at will, but if you aren’t quite there yet, do a simple exercise to help ground you and enhance your receptivity.
Go to a quiet place – leave your phone somewhere far, far away and be sure it’s turned off so you don’t hear it if it rings, buzzes, tweets or whatever it does to get your attention. Turn off anything distracting – tv, radio, music. Dim the lights, make sure you’re warm enough and sit or lie comfortably. Now breathe. Slowly and deeply. Try to make your outbreaths twice as long as your inhalations – In….1… 2… 3… 4…. Out … 1…2…3…4….5…6…7…8. If you’re distracted by a thought (inevitable, and not a failure), just observe it, and let it go. Like dropping a leaf into a flowing stream – just watch it float on its way. Once you’re still and calm, think of your departed loved one. Get your senses involved by remembering what the person looked like, smelled like (this one is powerful) and what his or her arms around you or hand in yours felt like. Remember his or her voice, and especially their laugh. If you can’t remember those things, or never really met the person (someone who passed before you had a chance to interact, such as a grandparent or unborn child), just go with your instincts and imagine what you feel they were like.
Once you have immersed yourself in the person’s presence, and are living in the moment with them, talk to them. Talk as if you would if they were right there with you (they are). In-your-head talking is fine if talking out loud would break the moment for you. Tell them anything you want them to know. Then ask if there is anything they would like to tell you. Don’t be surprised if they tell you that they watch over you, that they are proud of you, that they always and still love you. Don’t be afraid to cry if you need to. Once you’ve had all the time you need with your beloved, acknowledge that you will look for messages from them in the waking world, and that you will try to remember to connect with them more often. Say what you need to say to end the conversation, and then slowly and gently bring yourself back to full consciousness. Don’t get up right away and jump back into your day – just sit with the moment for a while and allow yourself to feel and experience the transition time. Don’t forget to breathe.
This, this connection, is what Halloween was and is all about. Not jack-o-lanterns, not costumes, not peanut butter cups, but remembering that no one ever really goes anywhere but here in our shared consciousness, despite what happens to our bodies. There is power in this connection. And peace in letting go. You may not find it the first time you try, or even the second or third. But keep trying. Eventually you will find what you’re seeking.
The world is often a crazy place, and things are happening, especially in the United States, that are testing our ability to stay focused and faithful to our purpose here. When the world seems to be tearing itself apart, and there is so much fear and anger and pain and confusion, there is temptation to just give up and join the mob. Resist. Resist the urge to jump into the fray and try to exert some sort of control over a situation that feels overwhelming and threatening. Peace is Power… and Power is Peace. Abandon hope… abandon fear, and remember that the only control you have to make change is that within your own mind, body and soul. This, too, shall pass, and Power October will give way to SUPERPOWER November, and you’ll realize that All is Well. Blessed be.