Discover more from The Pondering of an Artist
The End of Summer…
Hello Creative Souls, 💜
I hope you enjoy my ‘end of October’ post, where I will share with you my list of 5 ways to celebrate Samhain in a non spooky way. 🧡 Go on, there’s no ghosts or ghouls in this post. 👻
Samhain BY ANNIE FINCH (The Celtic Halloween) In the season leaves should love, since it gives them leave to move through the wind, towards the ground they were watching while they hung, legend says there is a seam stitching darkness like a name. Now when dying grasses veil earth from the sky in one last pale wave, as autumn dies to bring winter back, and then the spring, we who die ourselves can peel back another kind of veil that hangs among us like thick smoke. Tonight at last I feel it shake. I feel the nights stretching away thousands long behind the days till they reach the darkness where all of me is ancestor. I move my hand and feel a touch move with me, and when I brush my own mind across another, I am with my mother's mother. Sure as footsteps in my waiting self, I find her, and she brings arms that carry answers for me, intimate, a waiting bounty. "Carry me." She leaves this trail through a shudder of the veil, and leaves, like amber where she stays, a gift for her perpetual gaze.
Allhallowtide is upon us…
This weekend across the Southwest of England, it was extremely wet and rainy, having spent a lovely week in Cornwall, visiting relatives in Hampshire and then heading home to Dorset, last week I witnessed a harsh change in the weather, driving through torrential downpours and flooded roads. On Saturday there was a full moon and the second eclipse of October 2023.
With the eclipses, full moon and weather change, October has been an intense month. A month of much seasonal change, one that we associate with the harvest, where we give thanks for the food that has been grown and gathered by our hard-working farmers, ready to take us through the winter months. The month where we also celebrate Halloween.
In rural Britain, the year is broken up into segments with the festivals that are celebrated. At the end of October the clocks go back, marking the end of the summer, then comes Halloween, where many celebrate the evening by dressing up, trick or treating, carving pumpkins, apple bobbing and adorning homes with garlands and spooky decorations.
Allhallowtide lasts from 31st October - 2nd November, the festival dates are from pre-Christianity in Britain. The festival includes Halloween, also known as All Saints’ Eve, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. This is a time of feasting to honour the deceased, thought to have its origins in the Celtic festival of Samhain.
Samhain, pronounced Sow-win, (a Gaelic word) is a pagan religious festival that originated from ancient Celtic spiritual tradition. The Celts believed that the barrier between our world and the spirit world was thin during Samhain and so prepared offerings which were left outside of villages, fields and dwellings for the faeries. Samhain and Halloween became merged due to a change in our country's religion and the influences from overseas, particularly America, where the Scottish and Irish made their homes.
This time of year marked the end of summer-time, welcoming the dark half of the year. Huge bonfires were lit, mostly on top of hills, cattle would be sacrificed in order for the feast to take place.
In Cornwall, Halloween is known as Nos Kalyan Gwav, meaning, ‘the eve of the first day of winter,’ and is celebrated with a great harvest feast.
If like me, you don’t resonate with Halloween and its traditions of dressing up and watching spooky films, then here are a few things that you might like to do to mark Samhain, nature and this precious time of year.
Bake - some autumnal cakes using apples, pumpkins and spices. Share them with your friends and family and find gratitude in the connection you have with others.
Walk - Go on a nature walk and collect gifts from nature. Collect fallen leaves, nuts, berries, acorns, and conkers. Take them home and display them on your own Samhain altar. I like to arrange my findings on a pretty plate or tray.
Look for a Rowan tree - Traditionally, rowan trees were planted outside of houses, as they were thought to protect the inhabitants, particularly against witchcraft and enchantment. You can make a rowan branch cross by cutting two branches from the tree and binding the centre of the cross with red twine, reeds, straw, or raffia. The cross can then be hung above your front door or on the porch for protection. I will leave a link at the bottom of this page for Danu’s Irish Herb Garden. She has a YouTube channel where she demonstrates how to make a Rowan cross.
Apples - Apples are seen as sacred to many ancient cultures and have long been incorporated into Samhain rituals. Ancient Celts used to tie apples to evergreen branches to encourage the sun deity to return the following year. Leave apples on tables and in porches as a food offering to the spirits that may pay a visit. I will be leaving one on my Samhain altar. My hedgehog also loves apples, so don’t forget the wildlife.
Light candles - Gather together old photographs of loved ones and pets that have passed over. Share with them any news from the last year and remember the good times you had together. Honour them and give gratitude for the time you spent together in this world.
Samhain is a time of reflection, transformation and connection with nature and the supernatural realms, reminding us of the cycle of nature, the eternal bond and connection we have with the earth and our ancestors. Samhain isn’t about celebrating the macabre and scaring ourselves witless, but about honouring life, death, and nature. Remembering the ones that have been here before that touched our very hearts and souls. To those souls, I give thanks, love and light and I honour the eternal connection that we have.
If you have managed to get this far, then I thank you wholeheartedly for reading my post. My Mum sent me an article this morning about leaving your old pumpkins outside for the wildlife. Last year I noticed that many people were leaving their smashed pumpkins outside, however, the article stated that hedgehogs will happily eat the pumpkins, but sadly it can be dangerous, as eating pumpkins can cause tummy upsets for them which then cause dehydration, so please be aware of our hedgehogs this year. This time of year they are foraging for food and fattening themselves up ready for hibernation. Pumpkins are not good for them. 🎃
Don’t forget to head over to YouTube to check out Danu’s Irish Herb Garden and whilst you are there, please check out my YouTube Channel, Purple Ladybird Art, where you will find a new video. As usual, I am going to nag you to subscribe, like and comment. 🧚🏼♂️
Until next time,
Stay naturally curious,
Clare xx 🙏💜
I have a new range of cosy jumpers, mugs and tote bags, which can be found by clicking this button.
Resources & Books
A Treasury of British Folklore, Maypoles, Mandrakes & Mistletoe - Dee Dee Chainey.
Winters in the World, A Journey through the Anglo-Saxon Year - Eleanor Parker