Submitted question covered in this blog:
"What does Samhain mean to you?"
Given the time if year (this question was submitted Oct. 30th) it is greatly appriciated!!! And, I hope to post my response by Oct. 31st!
Officially, we enter into the dark half of the year and can really feel it on Samhaim - October 31st. From what I understand, most ancient peoples of Europe associated with modern-day Scotland, England, Wales, and Ireland, also known as The Celts, celebrated their Celtic "new year" on the evening of Samhain, pronounced "sow-win".
As a Pagan myself, to me, this is the time of the wheel (point in each year) when is the midpoint between summer and winter, and lightness and darkness and is considered a time of celebration of death. It is like a festival of completion to show gratitude for both the labour and "seeds sown" and the bounty of "the harvest" rewarded throughout the second half of the summer season. Simultaneously, it is about traditions which acknowledges the very valuable time of rest, silence, and darkness that the Earth seemed to need in order to revitalize for next summer season and the next year's harvest.
While celebrating death may seem somewhat morbid to some, myself as a Seax Wiccan it is a stern reminder that I live in a never-ending world of cycles.
Life - Death - Rebirth.
This cycle is seen in the natural world everywhere we look from the animals, the plants, to the body itself and is popularly symbolised with the phases of the moon, etc.
More information about working with the Moon phases can be found in a previous blog post https://www.askagreywitch.com/post/working-with-the-moon-phases
This celebration helps us to learn to welcome and embrace death, as we must be willing to come face to face with it one day.
From what I've learned, the word "Samhain" literally translates from Gaelic to english as "Summer's End", Samhain marks the time when the sun (or sometimes described within Wicca as the son of the Goddess) dies and rests in peace until his rebirth during the Winter Solstice.
By the end on October, seeds of the harvest lie dormant and hidden deep within the dirt. The leaves on the trees change colour or shrivel and fall, the dark nights grow longer, and the earth starts to freeze and seemingly falls into a deep slumber. Due to this, Samhain was also the night when it was believed that the veil between life and death (this world and the otherworld or spiritworld), was lifted, or is the thinnest, allowing us to connect further with and reunite energetically with our lost loved ones and ancestors.
One way that I like to acknowledge and celebrate the dead is to have a designated party to invite specific spirits of passed loved ones to attend as a gathering.
More information on a "gathering of the dead" celebration that I traditionally host at Samhain each year is available in this previously posted blog entry https://www.askagreywitch.com/post/gathering-of-the-dead
Thank you to whom submited this question and thank you also for reading my blog!
More questions can be submitted at AskaGreyWitch.com