The Final Harvest
Hail to the Dead
Who we honour at The Final Harvest
That which is remembered never truly dies.
Hail to the Beloved Dead
Those we kept close during life
Those who filled our hearts with love.
Hail to the Lost Dead
Those we never knew
Those we will never know due to the distance of Time and Place.
Hail to the Forgotten Dead
Those who have been lost and forgotten
Those whose names we do not know due to treachery and loss.
Hail to the Glorious Dead
Those who fell in combat
Those who survived and lived with the scars to pass later.
Hail to the Innocent Dead
Lost children and babes
Those who did not take a breath, or very few.
Hail to all those who have gone before us
The Veil is all but gone this night
We hear you and remember you.
-Angela Kurkiewicz, Samhain 2016
I made sure to do little things throughout the day so as not to drain my batteries all at once. I paced myself well but still have after effects to deal with; This is due to mundane activities as well as spiritual. Cleaning and resetting of my main altar. I have homemade turkey soup from the Thanksgiving bird my Mother in Law made. Great for when you are feeling under the weather and apparently the Dead love the stuff too. I had some for lunch and left a cup on the altar for the Dead. My spouse decorated the front of our place, making sure to have an offering spot for me. He’s a good man and I am blessed to have him. I left a half smoked herbal cigarette and moved the soup out there. Before bed I left a special offering to the Spirits, those in my Family and those without family, and for the Good Folk. Local raw honey, whipping cream, and a splash of Canadian whiskey. They were quite pleased. I left a chocolate and almond candy on the altar. I will respectfully enjoy it later. The Gods and Spirits that I find myself surrounded by are much happier when I enjoy the offerings I give Them after letting it sit for a time. Some items are exempt, like the soup; Basically anything that can be safely left outside will be (liquids, food, etc), things that might cause health issues with the local critters isn’t, like chocolate. I picked some of my beautiful orange ‘mums and left them on the altar. My Mother in Law recently told me they are a “funeral flower” which makes me love them all the more. I also leave a tea light lit in the window so the Dead can “find” me. I took my son for a wee bit of trick or treating and did my best to remain present with the Dead.
What did you get up to for Samhain dear readers?
My shrine gets more interesting by the day. There will be more artwork going up over the next couple of days.
Being a Celtic Reconstructionist, Samhain or Oíche Shamhna (Irish Gaelic), is a pretty big deal. It is the time of year when the Veil between the worlds is thinnest, when our Beloved Dead and Ancestors come for a visit and roam the land of the living. It is also the start of the new year, just as we all start in darkness so does the yearly cycle. On a personal level Oíche Shamhna is a very important day. Besides the above mentioned reasons it has always been my favourite day of the year, was ranked up with Christmas on the big holidays in my family. I adore the decorations, the trick or treaters, the pumpkin carving, the smell of the air, the coloured leaves. This is also my husbands’s favourite day of the year. We wanted to get married on October 31st but that year it landed on a Wednesday, as it did this year, not a good day for weddings. So we were married on the 27th instead. As my spiritual journey has progressed this day becomes more and more sacred to me. I still love the secular aspects of it but I have made sure to research the roots of those traditions and I will teach them to my son. The commercialization of this holy day is really starting to bother me, I think I now understand how Christians feel about the commercialization of Christmas.
I had wanted to have a dumb supper this year but between the baby and my health it didn’t happen. I did get to carve a little pentacle pumpkin though and have a small ritual for my Beloved Dead and Ancestors. I lit my altar up fully, burned some white sage and frankincense and myrrh. I had a dish in which I offered local unpasturized honey, whipping cream (from a can, better then milk I thought), 7 pomegranite seeds, a pinch of millet grains and four dried chick peas. I also set a little item for each Beloved Dead in front of the offering dish. The small silver vial with Grandma Laidlaw’s ashes, a small wooden carved bull that was Grandpa Laidlaw’s, a ceramic tiger that was Great Grandma Warner’s, a ceramic figurine if two mice that made me think of Grandma Dickins and a small wooden egg, painted Polish style for Grandma Furgala. I also placed a small silver backed mirror, face up on the blue velvet bag it stays in. It was something I was compelled to do, I think it was meant to represent water since bodies of water were gateways to the Otherworld.
My festivities and rituals will continue until November 11th as they always do. I will praying everyday as well as lighting my altar. I am doing this for my celebrations but also because it is the new year and I want to get into the habit of doing this every day. Starting this year I will also be treating my body as a Temple again, eating better and getting more exercise.