Halloween – Honoring Death

There is no death without life & no life without death.

In the material world, anyway.

Halloween dates back 2000 years to a time when the Irish Celts celebrated the transition from the summer harvest to the darkness of winter. Associated with nature’s coming darkness was the darkness of human death. The Celts believed that this transition in nature blurred the boundaries between life & death, that the “veil” between the two was very thin at this time. The celebration, called Samhain (pronounced sow-in), was an important one for the Celts, as they believed their Druid priests could better communicate with otherworldly spirits to bring them predictions for the future. The Celts’ existence was entirely dependent on the behavior of Mother Nature &, as such, they were much more deeply attuned to her subtle rhythms & vibrations than we are today.

During the Samhain celebration, the Celts wore costumes made from animal heads & skins as they danced around huge sacred bonfires. They told ghost stories & fortunes & made animal sacrifices in order to give back to Mother Nature the same goodness that she had bestowed upon them during the summer harvest. This brought comfort to them as they entered the dark, cold winter, believing that these sacrifices & their tribute to the spirits created the blessings they would need to bring the summer harvest once again.

How did Samhain become the modern-day Halloween?

Throughout the centuries, our loss of contact with the natural world continues to grow. Technology has brought wonderful advances; it has also served to further disconnect us from the natural world. Not only do we spend many computer hours at our offices & homes, we take them into the sanctity of nature, never looking up to see the beauty that surrounds us – so “connected” that we’re completely disconnected. We are no longer aware of how we fit into the natural world, how to honor Mother Nature & ourselves as part of her, the Divine Feminine.

Nature teaches us how to live & how to die. She teaches us that life & death are integral parts of each other in this material world. Our society has great difficulty accepting death & dying. We don’t want to talk about it – too grim. The loss of ability to honestly look at & honor death, as integral to our living, has brought us the great tragedy of ignoring the elderly as vital contributors to the well-being of our culture, among other things.

Halloween provides an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of seasonal change within the human psyche & experience, a call to revel in the wildness of the unknown, the darkness…the “thin veil” between worlds. Where do we go from here? Spend some time with Spirit; receive answers.

I thought I’d share a story about an encounter with nature & death in this video. I’d love to hear your comments about Halloween, about death & dying, about how you learn from nature. We all learn from each other, so please take a moment to share your voice!