It is a time of change of the seasons. We have reached the midway point between the fall equinox and the winter solstice, the end of the harvest, the time of the planting of seeds to protect underground through the winter. Today we reflect on the end of the harvest, on the fall of the leaves.
The seasons of the year are part of a cycle. They are visible in the inside world. They are visible in the outside world. We are part of the whole. We circle the cycle of our days. We circle the cycle of the year.
We have reached the time of Samhain. This is the name given in traditional Celtic culture to the midway point between the fall equinox and the winter solstice, the mid-way point between a time of length of day and night that are equal – “equinox” – and the point in winter of the longest night of the year, the winter solstice.
The midway point between these two was considered celebration of the end of the harvest. It celebrates the beginning of winter, a time of season’s change.
The sap of the trees has pulled away from the leaves. It is a time in eastern Canada of magnificent color. The sap goes inside the trees where it will be protected under wrap for the winter. The leaves fall.
The growing period of the year is complete. The skies are going grey. Traditionally, it is the time to bring cows or sheep in from the pasture, a time of the end of the harvest.
It is celebrated as a season. The season can include a celebration between October 31 and November 1, which coincides with the modern celebration of Halloween. Halloween connects to this time of celebration, the end of the harvest. This is why, in part, Halloween knows skeletons, cemeteries, goblins and ghosts at this time of the end of the growing in the year.
The astrological timing between the fall equinox and the winter solstice is somewhat later, near November 6 or November 7. So Samhain is celebrated in this season in the northern hemisphere. In the southern hemisphere, it is celebrated in early May. It marks the end of one cycle of planting.
Where I live in North America, it is a time to plant flower bulbs that will remain underground for the winter. They will be among the first flowers to come in the spring.
We celebrate the end of one harvest. At the same time, we plant seeds in preparation for the next.
It is a time for reflection. What are the seeds that we planted through this past growing season in our outside world? What are the seeds that we planted through this past growing season in the inside world?
What are we harvesting? What do we celebrate? What do we adjust as necessary? What seeds will we plant now, protect through the winter and prepare for the next growing season that comes in the spring?
If you wish, bring a pumpkin into the house. If you wish, spend time out of doors. Feel the chill in the air. Notice the nights are coming earlier. Warm a hot mug of cider.
Traditionally, it is a time to give honor to our ancestors, to think about people in our family – to think about people in our lives – who have passed away. Give pause and reflect. You may wish to bring out some photos or heirlooms at this season of change, a conclusion of this time of the year, the end of the harvest.
Particularly if this person had a strong impact on your life, think about the seeds and the harvest. What seeds did that person plant for you? What do you harvest from that planting? What seeds will you give for others in the cycle of the generations?
If you wish, light a candle, have some cider, enjoy the pumpkin and reflect. Time is round. Seasons come and they go. We shift, and change, and grow with them, moving from one into the next.
At this season of Samhain, as the skies grow grey, as the leaves fall from the trees, what will I let go? What will I release? What will I harvest? What will I let fall away? What seeds will I carry with me, protect through the winter, preparing for the spring to come?
Copyright © 2018, Adela Sandness