Samhain feels different this year. Maybe it’s because I’m more focused on the depth of this holiday and less interested in the festivities—not that I don’t love pumpkin carving, costumes, and the revelry that accompanies cooler weather. I enjoy all of those things, and by now, my house would normally be a visual tribute to autumn splendor…except it isn’t.
I picked up the colorful gourds in the produce section, the mini pumpkins in white and orange, the Indian corn, and the small sheaves of wheat. I looked them over, appreciated their significance and symbolism of the harvest, and then I put them all back. Decorating just seemed like one more thing to do, more items to occupy our small condo…and then what does one do with a shellacked gourd when the season is over? I didn’t want to buy something just to see it rot and be forced to throw it out, although that is part of the lesson that comes with Samhain. Everything transforms.
My coven celebrates this cross-quarter Sabbat when the sun reaches 15° Scorpio, the true halfway point between the Autumn Equinox (Mabon) and Winter Solstice (Yule). Astrologically, the sign of Scorpio is ruled by Pluto, that frustrating little snowball of a planet that brings about transformation and profound change. If we think of Samhain as being the eighth spoke on the Wheel of the Year, then it also ties in nicely with the eighth house of the Zodiac, which governs…you guessed it…death. So we have an ending at this time of year, which is really the beginning, just like an infinity sign. Crops die, but we know that seeds are produced to generate new life in the spring. Our loved ones pass on, but we know that their energy and their love only shine brighter and truer on a higher plane of existence.
Giving an extra boost to this focus on death and rebirth is the movement of Saturn into Scorpio where he’ll stay for the next two years. Ever the taskmaster, Saturn is telling us that we must deal with our emotional baggage, no matter how long we’ve carried it or how attached we might be to our own wacky little hang-ups. The process of letting go is often painful, difficult, and lonely, but our efforts do not go unrewarded. When all that is unnecessary falls away, we are left with something more refined and durable than what we had before.
Life is constantly asking us to step up to the plate, to stop playing small, and to get over ourselves enough to make a difference in the world. It’s why we’re here, after all. Those who have walked this road before us are now standing on the other side of the veil and asking, “What will you do with this time you’ve been given?”
My advice? Make it count. That is the message of this Samhain. Do the deep inner work, and reap the harvest of self-actualization.