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Happy Halloween, Samhain and Diwali

By Curtis Lang with Jane Sherry on Oct 31, 2017

Endings and New Beginnings

Dear Friends,

This is the season of Scorpionic holidays, celebrating the time of yearly transformation when the veil between the worlds thins and all things normally repressed or hidden from sight erupt into the everyday world.

Scorpio traditionally rules the process of alchemical transformation, and the evolutionary processes of death and rebirth. Be sure to read our article on Lactofermentation, Putrefaction and Scorpionic Transformation for a quick look at Scorpionic magic as it manifests in the spiritual and material worlds, including the home-brewing of seasonal sauerkraut, an autumn ritual in many areas of the Northern Hemisphere.

This is the time of the seasonal festival of Samhain, also known as Halloween, in the West and of Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, in the East.

May we all connect this season in the Twilight of the Year with our Divine Selves and with the Immortal energy stream of Divine Love.

As we approach the American holiday of Halloween on October 31, Madison avenue's imps of marketing materialism are working overtime to spread the message of continuous consumption. Children will buy costumes and put on scary faces resembling ugly witches, ghosts & whatever television heroes are popular this year. 

As children go door to door in our neighborhoods, in a harmless quest for sugary treats, the media and our government pursue a seemingly endless campaign spreading fear, paranoia and their agenda of mindless materialism.

Parents will be warned away from homemade foods, in fear of razor blades and poison they may contain, and consumption of individually wrapped corporate white sugar and corn syrup candies will be encouraged instead of healthful treats. If you are lucky enough to gather in your community this weekend, and share healthy foods, then you are standing up for values which are not part of the status quo.

Halloween, known as Samhain in the Celtic and pagan traditions, is one of the high & holy cross quarter days marking the seasonal turning points in our earth's journey around the sun. Samhain is the point in the year between the Autumnal Equinox and the Winter Solstice and is an excellent occasion to honor the young and the old. Samhain is the Celtic New Year festival, a time of endings and beginnings. At this sacred time of transition, the most powerful, numinous twilight of the year marks the opening of a portal between the earthly and spiritual worlds.

Ancient Celtic people contacted deities and ancestors at this highly charged moment of enhanced clairvoyance, and out of this evolved the Anglo-Saxon Halloween tradition of ghosts, goblins, witches and other shape shifting beings.

According to Starhawk, in her ground breaking book The Spiral Dance, medieval Celtic witch covens preserved the "knowledge of the subtle forces" inherited from earlier, pagan Goddess-worshiping cultures extending far back into pre-history.

The covens "were called Wicca or Wicce, from the Anglo-Saxon root word meaning "to bend or shape". Wiccans were those who could shape the unseen to their will. Healers, teachers, poets and midwives, they were central figures in every community."

Pagan, earth-centered religions see the Divine manifest in Nature and all of Creation, believe in the concept of immanence (the Goddess/God within), believe in the spirit which resides in all things seen and unseen and in unending cycles of birth, growth, death and renewal.

As Starhawk writes so beautifully in an essay on BeliefNet, "Samhain--pronounced sow-(rhymes with now)-in--more popularly known as Halloween, is the Witches' New Year, Wicca's most solemn and festive holiday. In my book The Spiral Dance, I describe it as "the night when the veil is thin that divides the worlds...when the harvest is gathered and the fields lie fallow. The gates of life and death are opened and to the living is revealed the Mystery: that every ending is but a new beginning."

According to Z. Budapest, the custom of going trick or treating, collecting sweet cakes, comes from a British tradition of begging by the poor on Halloween. She says that giving poison or bad gifts to children on this night will bring bad luck. Z. Budapest also says Samhain is the time to honor our Grandparents. We bring good luck to the future by appeasing the spirits of the past, who provided us with the culture we enjoy today. Giving to the poor on this day, is a wonderful way to give gifts to the spirits in any culture.

We see this tradition in the ancient celebration of the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) on November 1 in Mexico, where families honor the children and the dead with the offering of sweet treats. This holiday can be traced back to many Mesoamerican traditions such as the Aztec month of Miccailhuitontli, which means 'Little Feast of The Dead', a holiday also honoring both small children and the dead.

This is a good time to connect with inner guidance, to honor your ancestors and the children in your lives and communities and to open to the invisible world. If ever you thought perhaps there are fairies, devas, and nature spirits, now would be the time to welcome them into your life and your home, offering gifts and your love.

Now would be an excellent time to approach the tempestuous elementals with offerings of love and honor for the power of Nature in all of her forms. Ask the Divine Mother to show us our mistaken ways and help us to live in partnership with the earth. Ask Her to show us better ways to work in harmony with the elemental forces for all of our highest good, and not just for the benefit of the few.

Many Christian holidays closely follow the pagan celebrations which marked seasonal changes, agricultural festivities and ancestor worship as well as appropriate times for visions and divination.

In the Christian tradition, November 1 marks All Saints Day, honoring those who martyred themselves for the faith. The night before was called "Holy Evening" or " All Hallows Even", or "Halloween". 
 

 On November 2, All Souls Day, Christian tradition honored all the dead, and in some Catholic churches the names of each family's dead were placed on altars for one month of prayerful remembrances during Daily Mass. On that day, we also honor our ancestors and all the dead who have crossed the threshold. 

On All Saints Day we commune with those who have gone beyond the veil, and who have bequeathed their visions, blessings and writings for their followers over the centuries.

Now is the time for honoring one's ancestors as well as one's living family, and to extend the concept of family to include our spirit guides, saints, nature spirits and loved ones. This is a potent time to simply go inward and find silence and your own source of spirit.

In this autumnal time of holiday celebrations, it can be difficult to observe all the suffering the world around us and feel like throwing one party after another for the next couple of months.

Many of us are exhausted by earthly upheavals, by extreme weather events, endless wars, too many dead.  With the global economy poised for yet another year of potential crisis, those of us  who are feeling financially challenged may feel exhausted by widespread and deep feelings of loss.

It's very difficult to have to manage financial problems that we can see could be managed by a society that is more caring, and believes in more sharing. Instead we see our leaders drunk with demonic delusions, infused with greed, and oblivious to the vast human suffering caused by mismanaged economies, mismanaged natural resources, political power-trips, religious wars, etcetera ad nauseum all around the world.

This week, I would suggest that we pause and take a moment to review our own role and complicity in the way things are. To truly search ourselves and recognize the places where we act out of our own greed, our own grasping for more, be it from fear or ignorance.

For our own healing, and for the healing of the community, we need to recognize our own part in maintaining the status quo, for sustaining "business as usual". We need to understand what it means when we buy things we don't need, or waste things we already have. We need to understand how 65% of the world is impoverished and supports 35% of us who consume the majority of the world's resources.

Now is a good time to take stock of what is important in our lives, to make our voices heard. We must speak up if we want a different life, one where natural resources are not wasted, where the poorest of the poor are not made to suffer so that we in the so called wealthiest nations on the planet can buy our cars, clothes, extra cars, extra clothes, big macs, perfumes, mahogany knick knacks, and so much useless junk that ends up in landfills. How much waste America creates, how much of the world's resources do we steal?

We need to insist that our dollars stop going overseas to engage in more military misadventures. We must learn to spend our wealth wisely on research for alternative sources of energy, on ways to make our seaside cities safe from storms and storm surges, on ways to make food systems local, serving regional populations so that we spend less money on shipping and transporting foods. We must learn to change the nature of our cities so that vacant lots can be reclaimed for neighborhood gardens.

Let us teach children how to grow food locally, to work in partnership with nature. We need to define a new kind of city, one that will begin to live more lightly on the land. We need to take this time, in the dark of the year, to find within ourselves, the ways in which we can be working in partnership with our world, in our community and the very land on which we live. We need to ask Mother Earth on these holy days, as we send our children out for trick or treating, for forgiveness for our folly, to accept us as responsible stewards who want to work co-creating a peaceful future for our children, one which gives back more than it takes.

It is my sincerest wish that we will each light up the skies, in each home, in our own way with hope and new visions for the new year as we close out the old.

This year, October 19. 2017 is the start of the Indian New Year, called Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, celebrating the lifting of spiritual darkness and the coming of the light.

This holiday is celebrated for 5 days with the lighting of candles or ghee lamps throughout the home and garden.

It is my hope that on this weekend, and in the days to come, we can look within, find the light inside of each of us and illuminate our place in this world, give thanks for the young and for the old, for the living and the dead; give thanks for the way in which our loved ones have helped to shape who we are, and within that lighted place, to honor our only home, the blue green planet, Mother Earth.

Wishing you all a peaceful and blessed time in the days ahead. With sincerest condolences for those lost this year, and wishes that their souls may be brought to the light, and that we may be granted wisdom, peace and inspiration in our celebration and honoring of all who have come before us.

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Please also see Curtis Lang's article called "Traveling Between Two Worlds". A perfect article to read at the twiiight of the year, it is Curtis' tarot card reading for all of us who are moving forward in these tumultous times in changing ways and circumstance:

"We are now being given the opportunity to achieve greater awareness through self-transformation. The Universe is gently bringing us face to face with our control issues, our fears, our anger, and our other "sore spots" so we can relinquish our identification with these bad habits, which are not part of our essential nature in any way."