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I attended the public high day of Samhain with my local Grove on November 5th and it was tremendously powerful.
Our Samhain ritual was a Roman influenced Ancestor ritual that focused on both honoring the Ancestors of heart, blood, and spirit in respectful ways but also dealt with confronting those dead that we carry with us as demons clawing at our hearts and expelling them so that we can move on to the new year stronger. I had the interactive role in this ritual in calling on the Nature Spirits and hallowing the Tree portal, these are the kindred I have the strongest connection too so it was genuine and heartfelt. To honor the Ancestors I offered my preserved floral wreath from Beltane as a symbol of beauty and of my love to the dead.
For the tragic, jarring Dead, I represented the tragic death of suicide by dressing in black in front of our guests and it stirred up a lot of relatable emotion with both myself and with the community. Together, united, we faced the Dead/demons of Child Death, Suicide, and those Murdered. It was powerful, for both myself and everyone else who wanted these dead to move on to their resting place in the underworld.
It is not a ritual I will soon forget. It was tremendously healing for so many who needed to feel the support, energy and love of a room full of people. Many final words were released and I feel everyone left much stronger than they had been when they arrived.
Fall Equinox is the time when the day and night are of equal length opposite of Spring Equinox. There is not much known about how the Irish Celtic/Gaelic peoples celebrated this time of year but it is very likely similar to other Indo-European practices that center around agriculture and harvest activities. Many pagans today celebrate the neo-pagan holiday of Mabon that focuses on Autumn earth elements and the crops, (apples and corn in particular), that are ripe for the picking. Following the summer celebration of Lughnassadh this is the time to start preparing for the dark half of the year and the coming cold of winter, by harvesting the last of the year's crops. Grain, wheat, blackberries (and other fruits), making corn dolls and the colors of autumn (Orange, Red, Brown and Green) are very popular symbols of the harvest and many events take place outside around the fire with offerings.
Despite the fact that there is little known about the celebration practices in Irish Celtic times I can imagine this was a time to pause to celebrate and honor the abundance of the growing season and the last of the harvests. This would be an understandable time to thank and honor the Gods of agriculture, weather (favorable weather especially), and abundance, as well as the Earth for providing through the hard work of people who's lives centered around the agricultural cycles of the year.