Samhain is a complicated festival; there is much going on. It's the final harvest: the fields are barren of grain and fruit and the animals that cannot be sustained through the winter are slaughtered for their meat. This is considered the New Year by many Wiccans. It is one of two times a year when the veil between the world of the living and the world of spirits is the thinnest. Both can cross over it easily during this time. In the nature symbolism, the Lord has reached the end of his time and dies. Without his light, the winter days are cold and short.
Since the veil between worlds is thin, communication with spirits of those who have passed in the previous year are common. This also makes it an excellent night for divination.
On this night, with the passing of the previous year, I commune with the people who have left this incarnation before me, and with my guides who may have special messages for me. I also do some form of divination, this year will be tarot cards, to get a feel for the coming year. The last part of my ritual involves giving to the Crone the things that I do not wish to carry with me into the new year.
My Samhain ritual changes only slightly from year to year. I'll tell you all about it starting tomorrow.
(And for those of you in the southern hemisphere, Happy Beltaine to you!)
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