Samhain or the Celtic new year…and beginnings

Do you by any chance remember my saying last year that we would be following the change in seasons and nature as a way of celebration instead of the more “popular” ways of celebrating? Well, this is the first real attempt we will be making of this as a family.

The shops are currently all filling up with Halloween and Christmas decorations.

Yes, both.

At the same time.

Often in the same shop.

I know!!

I suppose as we become a more consumerist based world, it’s only apt that all the holidays merge to make it easier to get your money, and that’s alright for some.

so, hello Hallowmas, nice to meet you…Not!

Hell, I know I want to get all my chocolates and biscuits sorted now for my December holidays so I’m not elbowing and fighting little ol’ ladies closer to date, but even I am disgusted with how early it’s starting this year.

Look, I digress.

So, what I was going to start saying was that winter is nearly here!

And for the first time, I’m actually getting excited.

Roz and I were in the phoenix park last weekend and oh! the trees are just beautiful. There was a chill in the air and the smell of rain all around and we were fortunate enough to be breastfeeding in a secluded spot when a stag walked out in front of us. It was just amazing. I’ll try to put up a picture tomorrow.

We were there a few hours and were frozen by the time we got home, so the moment we got home we jumped into the bath then into our pyjamas and had hot chocolate wrapped in a blanket on the sofa. And I thought, this is what I have been waiting for. The moment when my daughter would start being old enough to understand and be aware of things around her.

So as the Celtic new year is now upon us: that midpoint between the autumn equinox of 21st September and the winter solstice of 21st December and nature and its magic are beginning to fill the air.

The 31st October, known in this part of teh world as All Hallow’s eve or Hallowe’en or in Celtic tradition, Samhain: the Celtic new year’s eve which was believed to be the most magical night of the year when the veil that separates our world with the Otherworld is at it’s thinnest. 1st November of course being the day of the dead, feast of all souls etcetera etcetera.

Our pumpkin with just teh top sliced off.

Of course I don’t believe in all that stuff, but I do have an imagination. Just cos one is atheist doesn’t mean one stops being imaginative or wanting to believe in magic. And what can be more magical than thinking goblins and ghouls, zombies and ghosts can slip through that veil into our world? Not much really.

 As a lover of fantasy, horror zombies and vampires, where else is better to be in the world than the birthplace of this tradition? Nowhere, that’s where.

The seeds taken out and the innards scooped out.

We carved out first pumpkin last night and I roasted the seeds and will be making pumpkin bread this weekend and hopefully find an environmentally friendly way of disposing of our jack o’ lantern once he’s done.

But on the natural front, what a feast  we have. The trees begin to shed their summer blankets in earnest, harvest begins around the northern hemisphere and animals begin to prepare to hibernate, the earth is turned and getting ready to sleep under blankets of snow, leaves and emptiness and the whole natural world is groggy with sleep. Even the humans get a little quieter and crankier, waiting for teh sun to reach it’s zenith and teh earth to begin it’s slow return into the sun.

Roz making sure we haven’t left any bits in

So yes, I am looking forward to watching the season change and ushering in a new Celtic year.

Like last year, I will be collecting autumn leaves to make into a project of sorts with Roz for the winter solstice. We are currently at six leaves and I’m hoping to build this up to at least thirty.

I actually found myself scouring the city streets last week for leaves and yes, I did pick four of those six in the city. Who cares about what people think of some crazy woman picking leaves off the ground?

Not me.

If it’s beautiful, I’m picking it up!

Happy new year!

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