You can’t fail to miss the obvious signs of this time of year, the commercialized costumes, pumpkins and masks are displayed with ever increasing gaudiness each year. Nearly everyone buys a pumpkin to carve, without even knowing why. If you are not sure, look out for an old Halloween story called ‘Stingy Jack’, it will answer your questions.

There is however a much deeper celebration going on in Nature herself. Trees and plants are withdrawing back into themselves, ready for the dormant time, or time of death, ready to be reborn in Spring. 

Nature strips itself of all unnecessary decoration and leaves only the skeleton behind. This was also a time when humans also rid themselves of anything that was unused or unnecessary at this time of year. Traditionally animals were sold or killed and only the needed amount was taken into winter. At the time this was both practical and frugal.

In today’s more modern world, a lot of us have become hoarders and only really think about ‘having a clear out’ in Spring. But if you try to live in tune with the seasons, you will see that Samhain is a natural time of the year to go through your belongings and see if you are a hoarder or just a sentimentalist.

Another thing we also do at Samhain is remember those who have gone on to the next stage of life after the physical. The veils between the worlds begin to thin about a week before the actual date of Samhain and remain thin for a week after. At this time it is possible for your thoughts and love to reach your departed in the other realms and if you are sensitive yourself you can commune with them. It is also traditional to have a ‘dumb supper’, where you set an extra plate for your spiritual relatives and ancestors, so that they know they still have a place in your life. The plate would be placed outside after the meal and left overnight.

This applies to all our loved ones, even pets, you may often sense them around you in the days before Samhain. If you go out into the woods you can feel the energies of the trees starting to slow down and prepare for their big sleep during the cold weather. They may look and feel dormant but they are not, they are merely resting before the busy springtime returns. Certain species of animals also ‘hibernate’ at this time of year, retreating from the everyday world to renew themselves in the Spring when nature is waking up again.

A good thing that we can do, similar to animals and nature is to withdraw from the outside world a little and spend the time learning something new, that you can add to your existing knowledge and bring to light the following Springtime.  Make plans for what the following year will be like for you. How are you going to improve your life and the lives of those you love? If it feels right to you, spring clean your house and all your storage areas, remove all the things you haven’t touched for the last year so that new things can come into your life.

If you are single at this time of year and want a partner, there are a few ways that you can look into the future and see if one is coming to you. Here are a few suggestions:-

Take an apple and peel it in one go, so that you are left with a long piece of unbroken peel. Throw it over your left shoulder and ask to be shown the initial of your future partners name, when you turn around and look at the peel on the floor it should be quite obvious what the letter is and you can look out for someone with that initial coming into your life.

Another way, for the more daring amongst you is to have an apple, a candle and a mirror. Place the mirror stood up where you can see your reflection in it and light the candle next to you. As it approaches midnight, you should start to eat the apple focusing on the flame from the candle reflected in the mirror. Try to let your eyes relax and not blink, soon you will start to see the shape of your future partners face appear in the mirror. If you turn away to look at it behind you, it will vanish but if you keep your eyes on the reflection you should get a clear image. Once you have seen it, blow out the candle, finish your apple and look forward to meeting this person sometime before the year is out.

Another thing you could do would be to celebrate Samhain in ritual form and make a vow to promise to do the same for all the Pagan festivals in the next year ,if you don’t do so already, it is a good time to start new practices and reconnect with the magic inside us.

These are just a few of the ways we can work at this time of year to help us make the most of the energies available. There are lots of other things you can do. Meditations on what Samhain means to you being a very good one! It would also be a good time to learn more about the pathways that interest you, take the winter to delve deeper and look at what you can introduce into your life.

Try to plan some quiet time and see what your inner self is urging at the moment. Often we get so caught up in day to day living that it is easy to overlook our inner guide and neglect our own spiritual needs. 

by Black Sheep Druid

The name Black Sheep Druid came about as a tongue in cheek reference to being called the black sheep of the family. Always up to mischief and having fun. She followed the footsteps of her older brother another black sheep and started painting and writing in her early 20s. At the same time as working as a Spiritualist medium and psychic artist. She ran many spiritual development circles in the midlands, UK before moving to live in Ireland 11years ago.

In 1992 she became a member of OBOD and worked her way through all the levels to become a Druid in the early 2000s, a practise that she continues to this day. She used to work for Prediction magazine writing book and Tarot reviews and has designed her own oracle for readings that she does today in addition to Tarot.

These days she lives with her husband and many animals in Co. Limerick, Ireland, working as a full-time artist and assistant horse trainer. They both have a passion for the countryside and animals play a big part in their lives. Her husband is a horse trainer working with the principal of Natural horsemanship which allows the horse to learn in its own way rather than the old fashioned method of forcing them to do as they are told.

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