Samhain: the festival of the ancestors, the time to face the shadows
The veil thins, the earth recedes, and we celebrate our ancestors.
The festival of the ancestors, also called Samhain or Halloween, comes at the turn of October and November.
In this season we celebrate the last harvest.
The agricultural season has come to an end.
Traditionally, the contracts of farm laborers expire.
This means relocation and life changes for many.
As the days grow darker, the woods are tinged with yellow, orange and red, warm colors that warm our hearts.
Pumpkins paint the gardens.
Like all seasonal transitions we close a chapter and let go of what no longer serves us.
Season of shadows
In the season of Samhain, the periods of solitude get longer.
We spend more time with ourselves and our inner selves.
This is the season when we face our shadows.
When we face our shadows and truly enter into our darkest emotions, we unleash a strength we didn’t know we had.
We leave behind the victim mentality and become warriors.
Only we can liberate ourselves from the situations we live in.
When we stop pitying and justifying ourselves and take responsibility, we take back our power.
Our power lies in our shadows.
We don’t have to be ashamed of them.
We don’t have to hide them and suppress them.
We must learn to see them and feel them.
We have never been as separated from our emotions as we are today.
To become authentic, we must learn to feel our unpleasant emotions, and get in touch with our shadows.
We must welcome them and treasure the lessons they offer us.
We need to think less and feel more.
When we look at and embrace our shadows, we no longer fear them.
At Halloween, children dress up and play with the theme of fear, they embrace the shadows.
By embracing our shadows, they give us their message.
And we find that they have always been our friends.
By listening to the message of our shadows, we become wiser and warriors.
On the other hand, when we fear our shadows, we remain in the victim mode.
The season of Samhain is the season of the old woman, also called the crone, the wise old woman who has integrated her shadows and learned her lessons.
The season of death
The theme of Samhain is death.
We come from darkness, the womb of our Divine Mother, and return to her at the end of our earthly existence.
On Samhain, we celebrate our loved ones who are on the other side of the veil.
Families of the living and the dead celebrate together.
We reflect with our ancestors on the path ahead.
But the theme of death has a broader meaning; it also means death of what no longer serves us, particularly the death of the ego.
Story of an experience of ego death
During a session with a client, we addressed the topic of death.
My client was anxious about the future.
She felt vulnerable.
She felt fragile.
We went into meditation and I asked her if any images were coming to her.
She told me that she saw herself as a child, crushing fallen leaves from trees.
And she was thinking as a child what it would be like to be in the life of that leaf.
So I told her to go into the life of that leaf.
And to feel what it was like to be crushed by the little girl’s shoes.
She visualized herself breaking into a thousand pieces.
The anguish and vulnerability went away.
She felt at peace.
This is an ego-death experience.
A little step toward her own authenticity.
It is the ego that creates the emotions of anguish for the future.
It is the ego that does not know how to live in the present.
When we take power away from the ego, what is left is peace, presence and eternity all together.
We no longer have interest in clinging to the past or trying to control the future.
There is no more attachment.
It is just flowing, letting go, being.