HALLOWEEN - October 31st, 2009
I just picked my middle child up from her friends house after an evening of trick or treating with a group of friends. As I listened to her excited tales of the best haunted house and the biggest candy she got, I was reminded of all the things I love about this time of year.
Halloween is by far my favourite time of year. It's the most beautiful time of year, everything around you is red and orange(My favourite colors). Leaves crunch under your feet and the air is crisp and refreshing. Excitement is in the air because of all the celebrations occurring in and around this time of year, thanksgiving and Christmas. Getting caught up in the kids ideas and excitement over their well thought out costumes. Seeing the houses decorated so hauntingly and people parading around the streets, not afraid to stand out and be noticed. Halloween seems to be the only holiday not completely lost after childhood, if nothing else it gets more exciting as we get older. The costumes get more elaborate, the houses get decorated for a party!
For me however Halloween goes even deeper then that. In the olden days, way, way back. This was the time of year when crops are harvested, livestock are slaughtered and families came together to all pitch in. All in preparation for the long winter months ahead. Back then we honoured the natural rhythm of life, the ebb and flow of the seasons. In the spring we planted seeds, in the summer we tended those plants, in the fall we harvested our food and in the winter we rested and planned for our spring. We respected the land. What she gave to us we were grateful for and never took it for granted. We created rituals to show our gratefulness as well to honour and encourage continued blessings from our Lovely mother earth. Halloween (or called Samhain back then) was one of these celebrations. When we began to move into the cities this became lost on us, as we were able to buy our food and no longer needed to respect the seasons for our lively hood. We now have super markets to take care of us, and winter is nothing more then a dreaded season we must get through in order to get to summer again.
Oh, but for me, this one day, Samhain allows me to remember and to revel in the symbols of the past. The Cauldron is the symbol of endless food and drink. Used in the old days to ensure ones survival through the long winter months. The Jack-o-Lantern was created as a source of protection for a home, to scare away ghosts and goblins that would roam free at this time of the year. It is believed that the veil between the worlds is thinnest this night of the year, and at midnight on Samhian you can actually dine with your ancestors that have passed on. Skeletons are a representation of the dead and those gone before us. They remind us that we are all the same and will all return to the earth. Spider webs are a great symbol of how we are all connected. And how we weave our own lives. But my favourite symbol at Halloween is the mask. Masks were worn as a sign of transformation. We can become anything we want at Halloween. It's like new years resolutions objectified. Some people spend the entire year creating that persona they want to display just for that day. In those moments you are some one else. Ask me again in a few moments about my favourite Halloween persona I had. I want to take the topic deeper for a moment.
Samhain is considered the witches new year. Everything in the old days before the church, was based on the seasons. The year started with winter. Winter is time for us to contemplate and reflect on the past success's of our harvest season. And to plan our next years gardens. To figure out what we needed for the coming year and how to make it all happen. Symbolically we can use that today. Winter is the time of year for us to go within and reflect on where we are at in life. To see if this is where we want to be. To Empty out the old to allow room for the new. To take a look at what we want to create for ourselves the coming year. Spring was the time of year to put those plans that we worked on over winter into play. To work the soils and plant the seeds. Spring in our own lives is to put into action the desires we created over the long cold winter months.. And to be honest living in the northern country we should all have well thought out desires! Summer was time to work tirelessly on our crops to ensure our survival in the winter. It meant long days and hard work. For us today that is when the sun gives us the most energy to really work hard on those dreams you planted the seeds for a few months back. Coming into fall was where we reaped all the benefits of our hard work and it was the end. Death. Symbolically this is the time of the year to dump all the stuff not working in your life. Empty out and let die the stuff holding you back. Once that is done, the wheel begins all over again.
As I look at my life today, I am amazed at the perfect time of the year for all the doors to shut in all the area's of my life. You could say I was doing a major dumping in my life as we speak. And I am sure if you looked at your life, you could see where things have changed for you just recently as well. Maybe not as dramatic as mine, or maybe nothing the outside world would notice. Maybe something within you. But change is in the air. I stumbled coincidentally upon this story today and I could not stop crying while I was reading it and well after reading it. I wanted to share it with you.
The Descent of the Goddess
The Goddess is Maiden, Mother, and Crone
Her children surround her; she is never alone.
She lives in the moment, she knows no grief or uproar,
'till harvest rolls 'round and brings death to her door.
Then her bright colors fade and her glitter glows dim,
for her son lives no longer; she's mourning for him.
He's fallen upon her body of earth-
oh, how can it be deadly, which once gave him birth?
She buries him gently, and follows him down,
and she casts off in grief all her robes, jewels, and crown.
There is no need of finery where she now sets foot,
down in the darkness of loam and root.
Her heart is bound tightly, no peace stills her mind.
She is cold and bereft: she is angry and blind.
She stumbles and staggers, ever weaker she grows,
but then hears a voice she is certain she knows!
"My mother, my Lady, why have you come here?"
Tis the voice of her lover, Her son, in her ear.
"Why have you left me?" She cries out in grief.
"Why must I bear you to be my joys thief?"
He has come here before, but she does not recall,
and he touches her hand, to explain again, all:
"It's age and fate, there's naught I can do,
save promise by rebirth I shall join you.
You are every my Lady, my Mother, my Dear
and I swear that in death there is nothing to fear"
Now she remembers: the graves but a womb
And a promise of rebirth brings light to the gloom.
There's peace and reunion to follow each death,
as a moment of stillness will follow each breath.
And the goddess emerges each time she withdraws,
And the wheel turns to freedom, and rolls without pause.
I sit here now again in tears. For I too had everything once. I longed for nothing. I had a great career that I put my blood sweat and tears into, an incredible family I loved and people admired, Children running at my feet and teenagers cranking their tunes. And then harvest rolled in and all was gone. Ripped away from me violently and suddenly. My glitter and sparkle gone. The fire in my eyes snuffed out. I feel like I am blind with pain most days and others I have begged for the cool soil to take me. I scream at my apartment as my joys thief. But alas I breath and as I read this I am given hope. Hope that all will be well again soon. Belief that I will emerge again, because this is life and on it will roll without pause. And in this glimmer of hope I am currently experiencing, I am yet again reminded of the most transforming Halloween I had during the early part of my weight loss phase.
I was 50 lbs lighter and I remember thinking, I could be anything I wanted to be. I was skinny enough to pull off any costume. This was the first time in my adult years that I had this much options on a costume! As I sat and contemplated what to go out as... only one thought kept popping into my mind. I always longed to dress like her. When I seen the movie, at an obese size I longed to have a body like hers. Cat woman! Hello? What is more sexier then the uber confident and cocky cat woman? Yup that's what I want to be for Halloween. That's the transformation I had been working on for months and this is exactly how I want to display her. I remember walking into the bar that night. Strutting and purring as cat woman would. I really did feel like her, powerful, confident and in complete control of who and what I gave my attention to. Guys eye's were on me all night and I loved every minute of it. I could feel my poweress over them and it was magical. I never want to be the fat dead bride again, or the house wife in a housecoat and hair rollers or sadly that silly clown costume. No I want to be something that liberates me and creates magic in my world.
What do you want to create this year? Sit and think of what needs to go and what you want to plant. I am not sure what I want to plant yet... But I will by the end of winter.