Well, the time of trick or treating is upon us. This year, the day falls on a weekend (A Sunday), so my local area communities have been shifting the time frame to tonight (Saturday). Plus, its not being called “Halloween” but carries colorful names such as ‘Trunk or Treat” or “Autumn Fest” or “Fall Fest”. Yeah, the right-wing Christian community has that typical knee-jerk reaction to this time of year. The Chick tracts start reappearing. The darker time of the Wheel is starting to approach. Which leads me to a small side thought…do we have to view the Year in terms of a Wheel? I’ll come back to that in another post soon.
Samhain is that time of the year where I take a deep dive into where I am at this point in my journey. I take stock in where everything has gone over the last year, look at what needs to be addressed for the coming year, and make my plans accordingly. For me, this time of year is about putting things back on course – navigational corrections, if you will allow me the descriptive.
The last year didn’t go well for me. COVID-19 played a huge role in driving me to avoding people as a whole. A huge life change turned out to be something completely different from what I envisioned. Another year being unemployed and working one-off gigs has placed a lot of the mundane life on shaky ground. Much of what I had hoped to accomplish was placed into the background for the time being. Thus, this time seems to be a good place to bring everything back into focus, re-group, and determine what needs to be handled and how.
Probably the best way I can describe what this time of the year is for me is to compare it to a Project Management overview meeting. I have done my share of these kinds of meetings in my professional life, particularly in the Air Force. Essentially, a Project Manager, who is responsible for a project’s forward progress towards completion, will have scheduled “update” sessions with team and shift leaders at certain points. The point is to have discussions about where each part of the project is at, what obstacles have been encountered, and what resources/assistance is needed to accomplish tasks. Not every project stays on track, and occasionally its necessary to nudge it back into the correct path. I have found this process to be very helpful, even in my daily existence. After all, none of us are perfect, and things don’t always go as planned.
Samhain is also about more than sitting down and re-planning the course of my daily existence. There is a point of comparison that I can make as well. How much have I changed over the year? Not physically, but mentally and spiritually. What I look at is where my mindset is at. Last year, I decided to make a more concentrated effort to place local, state, national, and world politics as far back as I possibly could. Politics has an effect on all of us, whether we want to believe it or not. Its important to keep up with what is going on, so we can be informed citizens. However, it doesn’t need to be something that swarms our every waking moment, unless we want it to do so. Me? Not so much. I hold a dim view of political parties, especially when their actions seem to be geared more towards their needs rather than those of the citizenry. So, I made the decision to step away from politics, and concentrate my daily time and effort on to other things that held a higher importance to my daily life. For the most part, I feel I have done far better than I have in the past. I spent far less time railing about the inefficiencies and delusion of people hood-winked by President Trump. I spent far more time reading, learning, and getting outside. I found my mental health felt far better than before. That’s one – somewhat extreme – example of what I have done in this process.
So, delving deeper into what this time of year means to me – rather than the process of it. Samhain is a point of acknowledging transformation that has occurred, and planning for future changes. The weather is getting colder, so staying indoors is becoming more and more commonplace. The time of the year is getting darker and darker as well, as the days shorten. The ability to turn inwards is much easier. The seeds of transformation will grow in these deeper, darker times. The need to turn inward is becoming more and more insistent. Thus, this process is logical for me. For others, some of this might not seem to be so.
I have always acknowledged that I don’t approach my Paganism or Druidry or Spirituality as others do. My mindset is my own. I don’t always travel the commonly traveled paths. I don’t see the points of the Year in the same manner as many others. So, some of what I write here will be at odds with what others feel or point out. Honestly, for me, I am more than “ok” with that. I have a different view than others. I also don’t make claims to have the “right” or “correct” view on Paganism, Druidry, or personal Spirituality. No one has to do a single part of those in the same manner as me. I don’t create holy writs or claim to be an authority on Druidry, Paganism, or Spirituality…except where it pertains to me. I know there are those that rail against people doing their Spirituality, Paganism or Druidry on their own. I’m not one of those people. I think that you can do your own thing in your own way, so long as you don’t claim to have the “absolute truth” that everyone else MUST follow. So, I just ask that you remember that what I write here is my own approach, not some “gospel truth” for the masses.
Samhain is also a good timeframe for gathering with others. Just because I do much of my personal Spirituality alone doesn’t mean I don’t like the company of others or eschew group ritual or workings. I’m a human being. I am a social creature. Plus, I enjoy the company of other people. I’m not some moody, Gollum-like creature that sits in the shadows grumbling to itself about its hatred of others. While I have my own reservations about the hardcore revelry of Samhain and Beltane (a blog post for another time in the near future), I do acknowledge that this is a good time to build up the reserves of social interaction that I need to get through my solo times. Honestly, this is one of the reasons I enjoy giving out candy to the trick or treaters. Not only do I get to see the excitement in the faces of the costumed kids, I also get a few moments to acknowledge the trailing parents who are escorting the little ghouls and goblins on their candy retrieval quest. Samhain is a great time for brief social interaction. Or if you are attending some kind of adult costume party…a much longer time frame of social interaction.
There are a lot of things that Samhain can be. For me, it’s a period of time that lets me take a few moments to nudge my desired approach to Life back onto the rails. For others, it’s a time to revel in spooky-themed interaction with others. For others, there are a larger collection of reasons and needs during this time of the year – some of which I cannot even imagine or come to think of. We’re all individuals. We all have different needs and desires. My idea of a spooky time is to put Mercyful Fate, Exodus, King Diamond, and Slayer on the headphones, turn off the lights, and light a single candle. Listening to the music, I look at the candle’s flame and let the music move me to thoughts that come to life in the candle’s background. For others, they may turn off the lights, light a few candles in the room, and watch a marathon of the Halloween movies back-to-back. The possibilities are completely endless. It all depends on the individuals involved and the desired activity. How you spend your Samhain is solely up to you. There is no wrong way to do so. Make it meaningful in the way you need it to be. Whatever and however that looks.