What is Samhain?
One of the 8 Pagan Sabbats, One of the Four Celtic Fire Festivals, Samhain is a celebration of the cycle of rebirth: of life and death, of ancestors, of the end of harvest and beginning of the darkest part of the year. Sunset on October 31st marks the Celtic New Year.
Pronounced Sah-win or Sow-en from the Old Irish Gaelic word ‘samain‘ or ‘samhuinn‘. Samhain means literally ‘sam‘ meaning ‘summer’ and ‘fuin‘ meaning ‘end’.
In Celtic mythology, Samhain, and its counterpart Beltane (May 1st), as well as Imbolc (February 1st) and Lughnasadh (August 1st) act as transition spaces or gateways between the seasons.
Gateways represent a paradox; because the threshold of a gateway is between two worlds but is in neither and in both at the same time. Therefore, the period between seasons simultaneously belongs to both and to neither; in the case of Samhain, it is neither summer nor winter, but it is in itself both.
Time loses meaning when past, present, and future are one. It follows that Samhain as an ‘in between’ time coincides with its being an ‘in-between’ space. Spiritually, it is considered one of the times of year when the veils between this world and the spirit world are at its thinnest; divine beings, spirits of the dead, and mortals are able to freely move and/or communicate with other worlds.
The other-worlds and the world of the living merge within the paradox. All becomes one thereby creating, a space of infinite possibility.
There are many traditions associated with Samhain: Bonfires, Fortune Telling, Healing and Feasting among others.
Think of Samhain the way you would New Years: an opportunity for reflection; look back on your year and ask yourself what you would like to look back on next year.
Surround yourself with nature and take the time for observation, the changes this time of year brings.
Review and release what no longer serves you; whether they be attachments to things, people, habits, or thoughts, use this opportunity to re-imagine and re-organize your life.
Connect with your roots, connect with your ancestors, your family, with everything that makes you, you; ask for guidance from your roots.
I designed my first Yoga Sequence For Samhain it features some traditional images of the season:
Skulls: Kapalabhati Pranayama ‘Skull Shining Breath’ Beginning with a Pranayama to relax and detoxify. Pranayama helps to clear and center the mind.
In honour of the Halloween Black-Cat: Marjariasana ‘Cat– Stretch Pose’
Pay homage to the Moon: Chandra Namaskar ‘Moon Salutation’ is the ‘yin’ to the ‘yang’ of Surya Namaskar ‘Sun Salutation’; meaning, the moon salutation is a peaceful, restorative and gentle sequence.
The sun setting marks the end of the old year; the moon represents the rise of the new year starting with Indudalasana ‘Standing Crescent Pose’ and harness the power of the moon to balance in Ardha Chandrasana ‘Half Moon Pose’.
For the lifting veils connect with your inner or outer Goddess: Utkata Konasana ‘Goddess Pose’ you might think of Hygeia, the Greek goddess of health who was represented by a pentagram
Pentgrams: Trikonasana ‘Five Pointed Star Pose’ a part from Hygeia the Five Pointed Star is powerful spiritual symbol the world over and often associated with witches, a traditional Halloween favourite.
Creepy Crawlies: Shalabhasana Locust Pose
Think Wizard: Dandasana ‘Staff Pose’, instead of holding the staff you are the staff!
Ancestors: Finally we honour the dead by acting like them in Shavasana Corpse Pose
A Samhain Shaman Music Ritual
While the video my not be the best quality this powerful shamanic singing and drum combination gives me chills! As it progresses I feel a stronger connection to the rituals of spirit