Halloween, Samhain, & The Thinning Veil.

The leaves begin to change colors; beautiful oranges, reds and yellows against some still green foliage left on the trees. The air becomes so crisp and clear with the distant scents of burning wood as the sky turns dark overhead. Autumn, in all of its glory, is upon us. It is the time of Halloween and the thinning of the “Veil Between the Worlds” and contact with the Other Side also known as “The Season Of The Witch”. This is the time of harvest and the beginning of longer darker nights where we only have ourselves as company. Or do we? 

The autumn season brings in a time of introspection and reflection on our lives. We are no longer  distracted by the summer with its outdoor activities, parties, and bright sun. This is the time of the dark mysteries; the time for staring into the light of warm fires and watching the shapes of the flames as they dance on the walls. As a society today, we celebrate Halloween as a children’s holiday. We bring out the dead or creatures from a different world in the form of witches, zombies, vampires, ghosts and werewolves. We dress up in costumes and bob for apples and give out candy all the while making sure that we are having fun and not going too much into that “other world”. 

This is our only holiday with pagan roots that still remains a purely secular holiday. Oh, Christmas and Easter have pagan roots too but The Church took them over long ago. Halloween is different. They tried to take it over too by declaring All Saints Day but somehow they were never really able to erase Halloween’s pagan roots.

Could it be that in the deep recesses of our minds, we didn’t want to let go of the real meaning of Halloween? Could it be that we love the idea of being able to contact a world beyond our own? To know that our loved ones who have crossed over are really “somewhere” and are in fact, still with us? That we love the idea of being in contact with something “supernatural”?

We know that we love being scared-just look at the popularity of horror movies. We also really love Halloween it is the second biggest grossing holiday for retailers next to Christmas!

But what is Halloween really? Where did it come from and why do we love it so much?

The term “Halloween” comes from the church’s attempts at commandeering this pagan holiday into their dogma so that they could make converts feel “at home.” It declared November 1 “All Saints” Day” or “All Hallows’ Day” and so October 31 became “All Hallows’ Eve”. “Een” is an old derivative of “evening” or “eve” and so, “All Hallows’ Eve (or evening) became “Hallows Evening, Hallows Eve, Hallows ‘een”; “Halloween”.

Because Halloween is such a purely pagan holiday, many Christians do not celebrate it at all or celebrate it in a “Christian” way. This usually means that they do not acknowledge the “other world” or dress up as ghosts, vampires, monsters or witches (especially witches). There are no fortune-tellers among their children either. They believe that this part of Halloween-the supernatural part-is “evil”. Many churches have “haunted houses” but their haunted houses don’t contain zombies or Dracula but drug dens and pregnant teenagers and cautions about “this is what happens to you” when you stray from God’s teachings. But, can you really separate that other world from Halloween? Can you take out the “supernatural” from Halloween and still have Halloween?

Halloween was originally a festival celebrating the dead and the world of the supernatural. The Celts used the term (and many pagans still do) “Samhain” which is pronounced “Sow-wen”. It was a time of reverence for and contact with the dead. It was also a time to reap the crops that they had sown in the year prior and to prepare for the “dark night of winter.” It is the New Year for many pagans, especially witches (or Wiccans).

Samhain was and is a time for reflection on the previous year and what you have done with your life. It is a time of great magick and mystery and reverence for the supernatural and the “other side.” It is considered the time when the “veil between the worlds” is at its thinnest and the dead can-and do-walk among us.

In older times, extra places were set at the dinner table or food and drink were set outside on the doorstep for the returning spirits to refresh themselves and honor the home with their presence. Because “the veil” or the energetic and psychic barrier between dimensions was said to be thinner at this time, it allowed the living to have increased intuition and psychic abilities. It was a night for scrying and looking into the future. Many people still perform divination rituals on Samhain for knowledge of the coming year-crystal balls and fires are gazed into, tarot cards are spread and runes are cast and interpreted. It is truly a night for magick and contact with the other side and our spiritual natures. 

I think that Halloween is loved so much by us, not just because it’s a really fun holiday, but because it speaks to something inside of us that we have lost touch with. It speaks to that part of us that desires a re-connection with Spirit; a communion with that which seems hidden from us. We are searching for the mystery of spiritual connection that we have lost.

Halloween is a time to remember and honor our loved ones who have crossed over. We also want to have contact with our loved ones. We miss them and we want to be assured that they are in a good place. We seek to understand that there is something beyond this life, some wonderful place to go, and that we will go there too when we die. We want contact with God and with our Divine Helpers. We want to know that we are not alone. 

Why did a series of stories about a young boy named Harry Potter and his friends and their education as wizards go on to become the best selling series of books of all time (not to mention the phenomenal success of the movies)? Why is our society fascinated now with vampires,  ghosts and werewolves? Twilight, True Blood and Vampire Diaries ring a bell? Witchcraft, crystal healing, and divination has become quite fashionable these days. Where these things can be purchased in major chain retailers like Urban Outfitters.

I believe that we are searching for magick and miracles. We are searching for that connection with the Divine and the things that we believe exist in another realm. I call it The Realm of Spirit. We know deep down that it is not “supernatural.” It is the most natural thing there is and we are yearning to bring that part of our spirit back to us. We have lost it in the “age of reason” that says that these things are just a part of our imagination or in the Church telling us that it is “evil.” It is neither un-reasonable nor evil to reclaim our spiritual self-our psychic self-it is what we must do in order to be whole.

It is true that the veil between the worlds is thin at this time of year and that it is a good time to get started but communion with the other side is not as difficult as you think. It is just getting past the blocks that you have to doing it and re-awakening and remembering the natural ability you have to connect. Once you re-awaken your natural ability-the ability you had as a child-you will be connected all the time.

Connecting to the Higher Realms is simply a re-awakening; a remembrance. When you re-member something you are putting a part that was lost back together with the rest to form the whole. How many of us have had childhood “imaginary” friends? How many of your children?? Look closely at them when they are speaking to or playing with their “friend.” Many times you will find that it is not their “imagination” and that-if you allow it-you too will be able to feel the energy of that being. Children do see and hear other beings. It is natural to them; they have only recently come from the other side themselves. They only lose that ability when “well-meaning” adults tell them that it cannot be so. It is so-it is for them, it was for you and it will be again.

It doesn’t need to be Halloween for you to read, study and learn or to go into nature and feel the energies that are around you. Take a class on channeling, psychic development or contacting a loved one who has crossed over. Find that part of yourself that you have lost; the part that yearns for contact with Spirit. Once you find it, you will never feel lost again.

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