Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Samhain, Halloween, Day of the Dead, All Saints/Souls Days

What a lot of names there are for this time between the autumn equinox and winter solstice. It is the time in the northern hemisphere when we gather in the harvest, say goodby to growth and prepare for winter's rest, the time when the barriers between the worlds of the living and dead become momentarily thinner, and we remember friends and relatives no longer with us. It is a time of bittersweet celebration, as the days grow shorter and colder before the great turn back towards the light.

Agriculturally and for gardeners, the old year closes when the harvest is gathered in, and for the old Celts and neopagans, the new year begins. My instincts have always gone with the idea that spring is the time of new beginnings, as I wrote in Sandhill Cranes and Spring Resolutions. Each of these holidays are like buoys in time's flood, not really a beginning or end, but a marker of beginnings and endings that have no real fixed points, that blend, that submerge and emerge ceaselessly as the tides. So we pick days for remembrance, to mark and celebrate the turn of the seasons, the progress of our lives.

4 comments:

Elephant's Eye said...

For us the year turns when the rain comes, and the garden has survived the summer.

megan said...

Love samhein, and loved your post!

Thanks,
Megan

Adrian Ayres Fisher said...

Hi EE, So you must be glad when that happens. Do you have a rainy season, with constant rains?


Thanks, Megan

margaretart said...

Love your "buoys in time's river" image. What a charming little essay on the season.