Samhain – Northern Hemisphere


Astrocelt musings on Samhain

For me Samhain is a busy time preparing for the darker days ahead. As a temporary guardian to a small piece of the countryside it is a time of activity and acknowledgement of the seasonal changes. One of the first signs is the deciduous trees leaf colour changing, as they too are busy drawing in nourishment to survive the season of cold. Many seeds are dropping, whilst the red berries of the rowan and Hawthorne continue to shine. The alder leaves wither and fall, but tiny tightly closed green cones are appearing ready for the next cycle. All these processes have been noticeably later this year.

The Sun continues to slide towards the south west along the western horizon finding a familiar point to set behind, closely followed by the darkness as it chasses the dimming light, ready to display a panorama of star studded heavens. Samhain approaches, sky signed by the helical rising of Plaedies, the original marker for the dark festival perhaps.

Growing vegetables is hard work, but harvesting is heaven! – This year runner beans are still being picked in October – A strange change has been experienced during the wheels turn. Nonetheless work continues, preparing the soil and planting of hardy seeds for next year’s early crop, and the return on the Sun from the Southern Hemisphere. In past years there was livestock to manage, and a hay crop stored, the fox still patrols at dusk, hopeful of a meal. Now the live stock kept is bees, their hives have the weight gauged to ensure each colony is well stocked for winter. The final harvest is the fallen leaves for the three year rotation of compost. No evidence yet of Hedgehogs hibernating, although the hares are returning to the higher ground.

Samhain celebrations are often in focus, friends, fire and feasting, a time to remember what the spinning of the seasons can teach us. To honour the ancestors who have brought this time to date, an acknowledgement of our own mortality. All is changing into another expression of beauty, and the future holds an invitation to attend.

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Nigel - I love what you've

Nigel - I love what you've written about Samhuin in the Northern Hemisphere. It really helps me to tune in to the place - and helps me with the Ogam too, as you talk about the rowan, hawthorn and alder. You probably don't realize how helpful this is to those of us in the Southern Hemisphere. Keep it coming, I say!