Samhain 2012

Samhain                                                                 Fallowturn Moon

Summer’s End.  That’s the Celtic name for this holiday, Samhain.  It is the last of the three harvest festivals:  Lughnasa, Mabon or the Fall Equinox, and Samhain.  After today, nearly all the crops are in and the long fallow season begins, a time of careful attention to stores, of storytelling around the fire at night.

Here at Artemis Hives and Gardens we will shut up the bees in their winter wraps in the coming week since there is nothing outside for the bees to eat.  They will have to survive until the first blooms of 2013 on stored honey, certainly that over the winter, though I may feed them again in the early spring.

Too, there are still leeks and carrots in the ground. I’ve still not got round to harvesting and cooking them.  This week for sure.  Once they’re out I’ll apply composted manure where I haven’t so far, then leaves or rotted hay, food for next year’s crops.  I also have a bag of composted manure for the lilies and iris I planted, then leaves on them.  I can lift over 30 pounds now.

The Celts considered tonight a moment when the veil between the worlds thinned.  The dead, the folk of faery, gods and goddesses can cross more easily into this world.  Adventurous mortals might try crossing the other way if they dare.  I learned today that some thought this was a time when inspiration might come from the otherworld, so it is considered a time to keep the heart and mind as open as possible.

(chalice centre)

Samhain is a time to look at your life and ask what needs finishing, wrapping up.  This is a good season for endings.  It is traditionally, in the Celtic faith and Christian adaptation of Celtic ideas, a time to remember the dead.  Tomorrow will be All Souls and begin the two day celebration of Día de los Muertos.  It corresponds to Samhain in its remembrance of the dead, welcoming them home for a visit, though it tends to have a more upbeat note with celebrations and meals served in cemeteries, ofrendas that memorialize a loved ones favorite foods, music, flowers, art. Ofrendas can become very creative and are an ephemeral art form all on their own.

Perhaps this is a year to create an ofrenda for your ancestors.


So look at that project that keeps hanging around, never quite finished.  Listen with open mind and heart for inspiration.  Perhaps you, too, have garden tasks yet to finish.  You might also consider those of your family who have died and recall them in some concrete way.