The month of October lends itself inherently to the theme of Potential. It’s a month of transition: days grow shorter, the air cools, and trees shed their leaves in anticipation of a winter nap. It’s the pause before a new chapter, where we reflect on lessons learned while planning for the future.
Ancient Gaels celebrated this mid-point between the autumnal and winter equinoxes with the festival Samhain, meaning “summer’s end”. It marked their harvest time and honored the birth-death-rebirth cycle of Mother Nature through celebrations and rituals. Samhain was eventually incorporated in to Christian culture to take place at the end of October proceeding All Hallows day (November 1st). We now know it as Halloween!
Looking past the silly costumes and sugary treats, there’s some beautiful lessons rooted in the tradition of Halloween. Let’s find the magic!
Make Peace With the Unknown
Before grocery stores and climate-controlled houses, the months before winter were a time of huge uncertainty: Was there enough food to last the winter? How long would the cold last? What if the provisions run out?
Lucky for us, most of our basic survival needs can be met with a short drive in the car or by the click of a button. The lesson to be learned here is to let go of the “What If?” thoughts. Focus on anticipating to the best of your abilities and plan accordingly.
View the Unknown as a walk through a “haunted” house: You know you’ll be surprised…and that’s the fun part!
Celebrate the Challenges
When preparing for harvest in ancient times, it was all hands on deck. There was food to be preserved, wood to be cut, and herbs to be gathered. It was a time of hustle and bustle, where even warring tribes put aside their weapons and focused their energy on providing for the community as a whole; clashing clans would even join together for a feast celebrating a plentiful harvest (Thanksgiving, anyone?).
This spirit of generosity carried over in to the Halloween tradition of passing out candy!
Halloween is a great time to show gratitude for circumstances and relationships which may have challenged you this year. Thank others for allowing you to consider a new perspective, and appreciate the growth catalyzed by difficult situations.
Connect to the Divine
It wouldn’t be Halloween if we didn’t mention the Spirits, right?
The tradition of jack-o-lanterns and costumes stems from the belief that the veil between the spirit world and ours is the thinnest on the night between October 31st and November 1st. The belief was that dressing up and being spooky was protection from unwelcome Spirits who wandered over to the living side.
Take time to connect to whatever “Spirit World” you personally believe in, through means that make you feel—well—divine! It could be a simple nature walk, a moonlit dance party, meditation, or even a long soak in a bath full of essential oils. The goal is to tap in to a higher-consciousness and let the worries of the world slip away, even if just for a few glorious hours.
Incorporate Past Lessons in to Future Plans
In many cultures, this time of year is for honoring the dead. Those who’ve passed on are celebrated with festivals, altars of food and mementos, and through fond storytelling.
What “deaths” did you experience this year? Maybe you saw the end of a relationship, the loss of a job, or even released a long-held idea. Celebrate the memory of these things and honor the new energy that has been welcomed in to your life.
Conduct your own ceremony to “bless and release” any lingering grief and clean the proverbial slate for the New Year!
The Importance of Rituals
The act of preforming rituals has forever been a part of human history and is an essential component to building a sense of community and connection. Our ancestors used celebration and ritual to create a sense of kinship that was necessary for survival in more difficult times. Symbols, ceremonies and traditions serve today to motivate us, charge us emotionally, and help secure important dates in our memory.
If you’re interested in the scientific and spiritual aspects of ceremony, manifestation and intuition, consider the following classes available here at Southwest Institute of Healing Arts:
SP 415-OL – Creating Ceremony & Sacred Space
Learn the elements of ritual and the tools for creating your own ceremonies, then weave these together to create transformational and cherished experiences.
SP 155-OL – Spiritual Traditions
The great questions of life from the perspective of Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and of nature religions are posed and pondered.
SP 161-OL – Mysticism & Universal Laws
In this course you will explore art, poetry, music and common practices of mystics from different cultures and times, which have deep implications for how we express our spirituality today.
TP 140-OL – The Science of Energetics and Intuition
Bring the study of energy and intuition out of the esoteric realm and examine the progression of the understanding of energy and contemporary scientific studies and theories that support energetic healing.