This is the season of Samhain (pronounced SOW-en). The leaves are changing color. The air is blowing cooler. The days are getting shorter. The veil between the material and spiritual planes grows thinner. The season of death and darkness has begun.
For many, the thought of death and darkness inspires fear, but that’s not a bad thing. Death has many forms, and, in one way or another, it is always the beginning of a new cycle. That is why Samhain marks the witches’ new year.
It is well known that this is the time when the veil between the worlds is thinnest and “ghosts can walk the earth.” But what does that mean?
The spiritual and the material worlds are never actually separate; they coexist, but when we, as physical beings, are preoccupied with our physical lives, we do not so easily sense the presence of the spiritual.
In spring and summer, we have work to do–planting and growing and harvesting. And even though, for most of us, our work is not tied to the land anymore, the energy of the seasons that influence our lives is the same as it has always been. So in autumn, we put up our harvest and prepare for winter, when the physical world is cold and dark and dead.
As night gets longer and overtakes day, we respond by spending more time inside, literally and figuratively. We naturally become reflective and introspective. This is the time to settle all our debts and our overhanging issues, so that we do not carry them into the new year. We put to rest what needs to be done with.
This is why we might experience “hauntings.” If we have residual energy tied up in issues that will hold us back from growing in the new year, that ghost will come knocking. As scary as it might be to face our ghosts, the fate of locking the door is far worse than answering it. To be free from haunting, we must let the ghost pass through us. We must make peace with our issues, learn our lessons, and lay rest what must die. Then, and only then, can a new life be born.
The days leading up to Samhain are a good time to invite our ghosts to visit us. Perhaps our ancestors have wisdom to share with us to help us along our path. Maybe a previous version of ourselves, from a former life in this incarnation or another, has unfinished business that needs to be settled. Whatever the case may be, we honor the lessons that death has to teach us, individually and collectively, in our Samhain rituals.