Honey crisp apples, pomegranates, NHL hockey, fallen leaves, pumpkin pie and Samhain…the season of the witch is fully underway.
Lately I’ve been having a lot of trouble making time for spiritual practice, so early on before school began in September, I decided that I would spend the whole day of October 31st concentrating on Samhain- the turning of the wheel, my ancestors, different myths surrounding the holiday, the physical beauty of mid-autumn, meditating, writing ritual and mentally preparing for winter.
But as you’ll no doubt recall, Samhain fell on a Monday this year.
Ok, no problem, I had resolved to skip class (sorry, Ma and Pa).
But wait, apparently there was an Italian quiz to take.
Which meant not merely that I had to carve 2 measly hours out of un otherwise spiritual day, but that until 4:30 in the afternoon, almost every proactive thought was geared towards conjugating verbs and remembering the difference between sapere and conosco. (Try asking someone at Whole Foods if they have any pumpkin pie spice around without accidentally slipping in some Italian words while all that’s swimming around in your head- if my experience is any kind of indication, some hippie is going to give you a pretty weirded-out/slightly concerned look.)
So by the time I finally escaped academia in the late afternoon, I was rushing to get back to my apartment to begin cooking for a group of friends who were coming over in TWO HOURS for a feast, circle, and general “hey, our God is dying” frivolity. (Sorry if that last statement offended any readers without a sense of humor- I suppose I should be more sensitive to the handicapped [sorry again].)
Oh-ho, but wait! Cooking was not all that was left to do! I still hadn’t written up our ritual (because any time I thought I had for that over the weekend was, of course, was eaten up by Italian verbs in need of conjugating….and drinking….because that’s just what college students do on Halloween weekend). AND, because I am just never prepared for anything, I still had to run to Alchemy Arts, the occult store on the north side of the city I frequent, for some forgotten supplies. (If you live in the Chicago area, you should definitely check them out. Here’s their website: http://alchemy-arts.com)
But as hectic as it all was, somehow I felt peaceful the whole afternoon. Probably something about the nature of the holiday. I was lost in memory the hole time I was on the train, thinking about last year’s Samhain…
I had no plans last year. I was just starting to discover the Pagan stirrings beneath my Catholic roots and supposed I’d spend that sunday meditating, getting back to practicing tarot, or just doing some more reading on the spiritual path that was quickly occupying most of my thoughts. But my new friend Bridget invited me to her place for some good food, company and Circle Casting.
It was the first Pagan holiday I ever knowingly observed, the first ritual I was ever involved in, and the first time I ever felt so completely…magical. I felt a part of something greater than myself that night. That was the day I was set on my path. I didn’t exactly condiser myself a full-blown Pagan or Witch at the time, but that’s definitely when my curiosity solidified into a purpose. After that night, when thinking of my spirituality, I would refer to myself as “Goddess-inclined.”
So this year was a kind of anniversary for me. And I couldn’t have picked a better way to spend it. I was running a little late with the food, so Dylan helped puree the pumpkin for our pie (which we never got around to eating, but my room mates later told me was delicious), we made runes out of pumpkin seeds and burned away the things that were holding us back. The only thing that was missing was Bridget, who’s graduated and off in India.
I won’t go into detail about our Circle, because that wouldn’t be fair to those who participated. But a few pretty cool things happened that should be okay to share. When we lit the tapers representing the God and Goddess, they crackled with such an intense energy, almost snapping. I can’t really explain it, but it definitely just felt like there was a lot of focussed presence during that summoning. And even though we agreed not to open a portal that night because we didn’t really know what we were doing, there was still some interaction with a spirit.
Apparently, according to one of my friends who can sometimes see spirits, there’s the spirit of an 8 year old girl in a yellow dress that hangs around my apartment. She lived here with ehr family when the apartment was new, so probably sometime in the mid to late 1800s. She doesn’t know how she died or what her name is, but she thinks it starts with an “S” because apparently her sister used to make a snake sound, like “ssssssss” before saying her name. I’ve already started calling her Cissy in my head (like short for Cecilia or something. Not an “S” name, but the same sound). The building has been in my landlord’s family since it was built, so I’m hoping I can get some records and figure out who this little girl is.
Is it weired that I’m kind of excited about a spirit being here with us?
Anyway, Samhain’s over and I’m already thinking about Yule. Hopefully between now and then I’ll get better at not only making time for spiritual practice, but blogging about it
With love, peace and respect,