How Very Samhain


I stepped out onto the road outside my house this morning at 4:30 am, only to find that most of it had become invisible. Most unusually for this time of year, we were blanketed in a thick mist – verging on fog.
How very Samhain, I think sourly.

Most of my Samhain preparations this year have been taking place on a sub- or un- conscious level. I only remembered yesterday that I had no black candles -shock, horror – and I’ll only start on the seasonal incense tomorrow. Well, I’ve taken 3 days off work, so there should be plenty of time. But it’s pretty unlike me to be so externally unprepared. Nice symbolism by this morning’s fog, I guess.

From my partner making a deep, deep firepit in the back yard and insisting on baking a chocolate cake, to being handed a German flag to fly on our bakkie yesterday, all has however conspired on the inside to get me ready for this most wonderful time of year.

I have been observing smoke-black curlicues playing in the corner of the room while sitting at my altar, and have put out my hands behind me to urge along the shadow forms which have been dogging my steps the past three days.

For unlike most of my compatriots, I wait to observe Samhain – wait until the sun is at the halfway mark between Solstice and Equinox, by which time just about all the Ancestors have been called, all the pushings-aside of the Veil been achieved. And the land is redolent with the feel of old and new hauntings.

This year, a new evocation of memory has come to call upon my collective. He was my grandfather von Banning while he was alive, and he died when I was 5 years old, to the traumatic grief of my normally self-contained and calm mother.
He was also, just like me, an alcoholic.

I can clearly see the possible dangers to myself, here – the absorption of one whose darkside was so like my own. But a wonderful teacher he could be, especially if he and I agree that the vehicle of my Shamanic Dismemberment holds nothing more than toxins for my body, now – there is nothing more to be gained from it, but an abiding and far-reaching lesson.

Yet still my inner cauldron balks, a little, at accepting this Ancestor in particular. And so I start to weave the protections around me:

Hecate, guard Thou my Spirit. Anubis, guard Thou the other side of my Spirit.

John Ramsay Anderson Senior, guard Thou my Soul. Yvonne Mavis Banning, guard Thou the other side of my Soul.

Pied Crow, guard Thou my Body. Black Panther, guard Thou the other side of my Body.

And so, Welcome, Ernst von Banning, this Samhain tide; this time of the Great Exhalation. At last.

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3 responses to “How Very Samhain

  1. I'd like to comment on something that you touched on only briefly, that is, celebrating the holiday on the astronomical, not the calendar holiday.I once, just for the heck of it, celebrated a holiday at the actual astrological moment of its occurrence, while I was at work (long story not germane). I was quite amazed at the kick of power the timing gave me.Being a curious sort and wondering how much my expectations determined that experience, I celebrated "at the moment" a few more times, and once or twice I celebrated both the day everyone else did, and the astrological moment as well. There really was no comparison. The power available on the "moment of" blew everything else out of the water.In the United States, where I live, it isn't common for groups to hold ritual at the precise moment. Granted that we are an abysmally ignorant country, I wonder why that is? The timing is not hard information to access, given the Internet. And "convenience," so far as I can see, is not an answer that has much weight.I'm grateful, however, that there are ways and times to celebrate even when I am work, or otherwise surrounded by dolts.May your courage bear fruit at this Samhein.

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