Samhain is approaching.
Halloween has always been a favorite time of year for me. The days are cooler, the nights are longer, and the very earth seems to be settling down for a long rest. I’m more of an introvert, and a quieter time that allows for and encourages introspection appeals to me.
Samhain celebrates the thinning of the veil and the time of the dead. As a child, growing up Catholic, the importance of remembering the dead at that time always stuck in my mind. It’s an appropriate time to concern yourself with death: the plants are going dormant, leaves falling and decaying, animals hiding away or perishing in the cold. The natural world dies and declines. It is a time of loss, of enduring loss, and surviving to reemerge in yet another cycle of growth.
And this time of the year has always been personal to me. Halloween is the day before my birthday. As a child, and even as a younger adult, I relished that sinister association. And as I developed my magical and religious practices, I started to explore the relevance of this liminal time and of my association with it. I’ve never been one to talk to the dead very much, but I do relatively well at handling other associations with the liminality of the Veil. What have you lost? What could have been? What might be but won’t? What resides in the Land of Birth Starved Babes and torments you from the depths of Da’ath?
Would you like help with that? Would you like me to hold on to your regret while you reach across the Abyss to seek communion with the dead? Yeah, I can do that.
I should really charge more.
In the past year I’ve struggled with being alone and having a lack of direction. I’ve found some pretty good direction, but the absence of a partner stabs at my Cancer Moon. And that fear of dying alone becomes more pertinent as I cruise toward 40.
Cue mid-life existential crisis.
The thing is I’m pondering my own mortality in a very real and immediate way. I’m about half-way done with this life (if I’m lucky), I don’t feel too happy with the results I’ve gotten, and I’m becoming less convinced that there is anything beyond to look forward to.
This, combined with my empathic nature, makes guiding other people through the Veil a complicated venture. I don’t really want to focus on death and the dead right now.
It’s going to be my birthday. I’d like to have someone to celebrate that with. I’d like to have a day that’s about me and my life and my impact on people and what I’ve done good. But so far, my birthday has always been about Halloween, about Samhain, about loss and decay and death. Friends and family will mingle my celebration with theirs, inviting me to Samhain rituals and Halloween parties, but being to busy or tired to do much beyond a text or a Facebook message. (The really close friends call me. There aren’t many.) And sure, a cake with a few candles is a nice gesture when you’re about to undergo a Samhain pathworking. But I spend a lot of my life and energy supporting other people, and maybe just once I want things to be genuinely about me.
I don’t know if I’m going to do Samhain this year. And that is disappointing, because I’m good at it and I could probably benefit from a good ritual experience. But I’m just not sure if I can take another year of spending my birthday helping other people deal with death — especially when I’m spending so much energy starting to face the inevitability of my own.