I’m excited. I always am this time of year. The days are getting colder, so I can curl up in the evening cocooned in a snuggly blanket. The nights are getting darker, so evenings lit up by side lights and lamps add to the cosiness.
And Samhain is almost here.
I love the whole atmosphere, from the solemn, but not sad, remembrance of those who have gone before to the celebration of this last of the harvests with friends, and even to listening to the excitement of children as they knock at my door. (I am fully aware that they are not celebrating the same meaning of the day as I am, but I love their terrified squeals as they dare each other to tap on my door.)
Today I have decorated my window with a headless lady holding a skull aloft, while a skeleton dog shelters in her skirt. This is in black against coloured tissue and will be lit from indoors so that it shines into the night. At the weekend there will be sweets available for the youngsters. One year, I surprised parents by giving them a sachet of coffee and a chocolate bar to reward them for trailing round after their kids.
I will also be hanging a wreath on the front door. It’s not round, but in the shape of a pentagram; pieces of wood to make the star trimmed with greenery and baubles. I would like to be able to say that I made it myself, but I haven’t. It came from the shop. I think it would be quite easy to replicate, if anyone fancies a go.
Friends and family will be visiting on Sunday. In the afternoon, we will be catching up with those we haven’t seen for a while. There will be tables set up where those who wish can take a look at types of divination – tarot, crystal ball and dowsing.
As darkness falls, we will be holding a ritual. This will be in my back garden. We will be surrounded by the trees in the country park that the garden backs on to, and neighbours either side. I can think of more lovely wilderness settings, but as we all know, it’s the intention that makes a place suitable.
As always, there will be an altar set up to remember those who have gone before. Each year I add more people to the sum of family who have passed. My husband of course will have a place there. This is the second Samhain without him. This year I will also add my sister who left us earlier this year, and, very recently, my sister-in-law whom we have not yet buried.
I suppose this is the downside of getting older. Samhain is a reminder of what is yet to come. A prompt to get your priorities right, to do the things that you’ve always put off doing, to say the things you’ve always meant to say, but didn’t know how to start.
However you are celebrating Samhain, I hope it brings you comfort and motivation.
Brightest of blessings.
Portland Jones, Pagan Federation Disability Liaison for the Midlands