Samhain, is one of the high holidays marking the end of summer. Another turn in the great wheel of the Earth, transitioning from the light to the dark. Indeed, some say it is a celebration of the dark, a time to turn inward. The actual date is October 31st, marking the Celtic New Year on November 1st. I will be part of a sacred circle of women celebrating Samhain in Topanga.
For the evening festivities I am creating a special Samhain unguent. The word unguent comes from the latin unguere, meaning to anoint. It is also known as ointment, balm, solid perfume or in this case an anointing balm.
Samhain celebrates the last harvest and the time of the season where life begins to slow down, as nature hibernates during the cold months. This evening marks a time when the veils between the world are thin, there is magical power in the air and it is said that the spirit world is near. This is where Halloween, also known as All Hallow’s Eve or Old Hallowsmas, gets its name. The Celtics, as in Mexico, refer to it as The Day of the Dead. This is where the idea of communicating and honoring our dead ancestors originates. It is said that the realm of the Fey, fairies, are very active on this evening, which is why people in the past would dress in white or wore guises to fool the nature spirits.
The story of Arthur as he sails his ship Pridwen to the underworld is a good metaphor for this season. He returns from his journey with a cauldron of plenty.
What are your intentions for the season, what will you plant and give birth to in the Spring?
Iconography of Samhain includes:
The cycle from rebirth to death
Acorn and Oak
Fey, faery folk
Seaweed (for those who dwell near the sea)
Deities: Morrigan (the triple Goddess), The Dagda
Pumpkin, sage, apple and turnip
Tarot suit of Pentacles
Colors Black, orange, white, silver and gold
Fruits: Apple & Pomegranate
Animals: Cats & Dragons
What iconography will you use?
Look for essences associated with rebirth and death, deepening psychic powers and the harvest in your part of the world,
My Samhain ungent will include the following in honor of the harvest:
Essences from roots
Apple blossom concrete
For the ancestors some sacred copal infusion as well as an infusion of acorns and Quercus lobata from my beloved oak grove. A magical chord for the fey realm, a drop, or dilution, of choya for the bonfires and something to increase psychic powers.
As I work I will hold the thought of my departed friend Jillian in my minds eye and in my heart. She will be one of the ancestors honored during Samhain celebrations.
“Commutatio” © Greg Spalenka