I write this post two days before Halloween, or Samhain – the date traditionally deemed as witches' new year.
I’ll be honest, this witch is a geek who will happily wax lyrical about this time of year and the witchy roots of many of our current Halloween traditions (and will, in just a moment!).
Yet still, even after years off honouring 31st October as sacred and even longer of connecting with the spirit world, the energy of this week never fails to take me by surprise.
Just this week I had a conversation with a friend in which I said “this week just feels a little slow and ungrounded… almost like things are ticking along around me and I’m not really in it.”
She replied: “Well yes, because the veils are thin.” Doh.
So just in case you’re feeling a little weird right now too, I thought I’d share a bit about those thinning veils that occur at this time of year.
Samhain: What’s it all about?
For a couple of years I co-ran a working coven, one of my favourite parts of which was getting geeky and sharing insights into the Sabbats or witch festivals that we were honouring.
So before I talk about the here and now, let me share a little about Samhain – what Halloween means when you dive past scary movies and trick or treating.
This day of the year, 31st October, is generally considered to be the beginning of winter. Traditionally it’s the end of the working year, the time to bundle up ad tuck in for the winter and, on that particular night, the day when the veils are thinnest…
Just like Dia De Los Muertos in the Mexican tradition and many other similar festivals around the world, in Celtic lore Samhain is the day that our ancestors will come to visit.
In fact, not only is Samhain a great day to carry out any ritual that involves connecting with ancestors or others in the spirit realms, but it’s also said that you should set an extra place at your table for the ancestors, or leave a candle burning (or indeed a lantern) in your windows so they know they’re welcome to visit.
Those thinning veils mean it’s not just our ancestors who can pop over from the spirit world but that during the time between sunset on 31 October and sunset on 1 November, all things otherworldly are able to draw a little closer.
In fact, that’s where the tradition of dressing in scary costumes comes from; people would dress up as demons and various otherworldly creatures so that any actual spirits would mistake them as one of their own and leave them be.
Or, people would leave cakes and other goodies on their doorsteps as a treat for any spirits who did come calling; a little something to placate them from entering the house and playing any naughty tricks. Sound familiar?
Of course we’re talking years ago, in the times when people worked with the land and had no central heating to keep them warm through winter or no electric lights to help them navigate the outdoors once the sun went down.
No wonder the premise of those longer, darker nights inspired ideas of spirit visitors and spookiness eh? But surely those things are just stories, right?
Err… No. As you’ll know if you’re at all energetically sensitive.
The thinning veils this week
How might it be affecting you? Well that’s likely to be different for each and every one of us, but I thought I’d share some of the ways it affects me in case that sheds any light on the impact that may be having on you and your energies.
Time is ALL over the place. At times that feels a bit like I’m plodding through my days super slowly and have to wait a week until I can go to bed; at others it’s as though I blink and three hours have passed. I don’t mind telling you that for the first time ever this week I completely forgot that the clocks had changed here in the UK and showed up almost an hour late to a client session… Doh! (Fortunately my client was very flexible and very lovely) Why? Because time just doesn’t feel real right now.
And it’s not just time but space… earlier this week I closed my eyes for a second and could’ve sworn I was in London, some 300+ miles from where I actually was. Now I have a vivid imagination, but this was another level… and it happened two or three more times over the following days. Why? Because our souls are never limited by time or space, and as the veils between the physical and spiritual realms become thinner our souls might just find it easier to remember that and to do a little dance of a more limitless kind!
Spirit feels closer than ever, because if your soul is feeling that pull to dance between realms then you can guarantee others will be feeling it too, no matter where they currently reside! I say that not to scare anyone but because you might well feel, hear or even see more otherworldly entities around you… Even as I’ve been typing this blog I’ve heard my bed creak loudly as though someone was sitting down on it. I’m in the other room and Kali is asleep on the sofa next to me. Or maybe you’re not noticing actual spirits around you but are spotting more signs and synchronicities than usual as you move through this energy. Personally I’ve seen 1111 at least hourly for the past few days, and have found so many people repeating the words and wisdom of other – totally disconnected people over and over again, especially when those were things I needed to hear. The secret in all this is not necessarily to do anything (except maybe some extra protection – more on that later), but simply to pay attention. Tune into those encounters and experiences as they come up and connect more deeply as and when you want to.
The shallows are NOT enough! I’m always one to dive deep in thought and conversation but right now a combination of Scorpio energies, last weekend’s dark moon and this liminal Samhain energy have my tolerance for surface level activities at an all-time low. Watching TV and talking about shoes? Not this week please, I’d rather journal on the deepest wounds of my Soul and ponder the wider purpose of humanity! (And no, that’s not really a viable long-term plan and I’ve absolutely had to keep reminding myself to come back to the surface whenever possible before I forget how to operate there!)
Emotions may be heightened. When the energies are as high as they are at the moment, our emotions have a real tendency to get carried away with themselves. If we liken that wheel of the year that my ancestors abided by to the cyclical nature of a woman, this would be the point where she moves from pre-menstruation into her period… a point when I for one am often carried away by my emotions! Let your emotions express themselves as they need to and know that’s absolutely natural, but equally remember that this period of transition will be over soon, and you’ll feel less beholden to those emotions when it is.
Ready to retreat? In days gone by Samhain would’ve represented the start of winter… the point at which our ancestors would have finished harvesting their field, tucked away their animals and begun to rest as much as possible for those cold and dark days ahead. So if you’re feeling a real need to turn inwards, connect to something deeper and rest? Well that’s totally and utterly understandable. In our always on world we forget that some times of the year are better suited to work while others… well their energies are much more about the downtime! Wherever you can though, take the cues of this global energy by resting where you can and giving yourself what your energy needs.
Working with this energy
In the face of this slightly weird, liminal energy it an be all too easy to feel like all of these symptoms – and any others you might be facing – are things you need to battle against or power through.
But that’s just not true.
In fact, I’d argue that by working with the energy rather than against it, you’ll find it much easier to move through this time and to regain your footing on the other side.
Of course you must always do what’s right for you, but my top tips for moving through Samhain energy are…
Celebrate and honour: This time of year and these energies in whatever way works best for you. Whether that’s lighting a candle and setting up an ancestors altar or dancing your butt off to the kind of music that makes your own soul feel limitless doesn’t matter; neither is better or worse, this is all about honouring this time of year in the way that feels right to you.
Ground yourself: If you’re someone who can drift through these liminal times without any responsibilities to attend to or tasks to complete then by all means tuck yourself under a blanket and meditate your way through these liminal times if it feels right. But if not? Well then remember to ground yourself… Practice deep breathing, get plenty of rest, stay hydrated, keep your body moving and of course eat whenever you need to (as a little aside, I’ve eaten about double the amount of food this week that I would usually. Why? Because I’ve been super hungry, and because I’ve desperately needed to ground!) to ground yourself firmly into this physical realm.
Remember your protection: Whether it’s by saying a prayer, visualising yourself in a bubble of light, using essences or aura sprays or carrying a crystal or total be sure to do whatever you need to help yourself stay safe. Talk yourself through a protection ritual daily, nightly, or as often as you damn well please!
Don’t panic! Of course if you’re really struggling with the energies of this time then seek support in whatever way you need. But wherever possible keep your protection up, look after yourself, feel free to say no if you want some alone time and remember that these energies are – as always – in flux and will settle themselves down over the coming days and weeks.