here we can see the Christian tendency to overlay pagan festivals with
their own – in the early days this was a quite common practise, for in
reforming areas it was not unusual for the community to celebrate the
Christian rites in public (by going to church) and then acknowledge the
pagan rites more quietly.
Because, on Samhain, the veils are
thin between the worlds, it becomes much easier to reach for the echoes
of souls gone before. This is not so much to say “Contact their
ghosts” as it is to say “Touch their very essence.” The
natural defensive barriers begin to collapse in on themselves on this
night, even for the least receptive. At Samhain we can
contact what many faiths call “the ancestors”. We can also
call to mind those loved ones who have gone on before us, walking the
path into the light. I do not see this so much as calling these
souls back from their allotted journey in life and death (after all
many of them may already have reincarnated) so much as I see it as a
clear remembering, aided by the gods.
There are two aspects that
our group observes here. The first is that of descending,
once and for all, into Winter. Here, year on year we die,
as does Nature. Here we surrender to the inevitable cycle
of abundance and lack; of light, and darkness; of warmth and
chill. Here we throw ourselves upon the mercy of the Lords and
Ladies who move in shadows, those whose forms we can only barely
We make no reference here to the budding life which
works in silence within the seed. We recognise that now,
more than at any other time, we are exposed. Though all of us are
ordinarily careful of our defences in life, from now on, we become
extraordinarily watchful, aware of our vulnerability. [More...]
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