This is the first year in the last several that I haven’t celebrated Samhain in a group setting. Our Circle group has been somewhat disjointed lately, though we are getting back to regular studies (though the Ren Faire has interrupted our regular classes lately), but it’s hard to plan a group ritual without a space.
Lacking a group observance, I’ve had to observe in solitary. It’s not unfamiliar to me; I was a solitary for years before working with a group. In a sense, it was like slipping on an old familiar pair of shoes – shoes that had been molded to my feet, specifically; well-worn and perfectly fit. In another sense, it was unfamiliar – different from the feel of celebration and observance that I’ve become accustomed to. I both enjoyed it, and felt a pang of regret that I wasn’t with my Circle. The past few months of solitary observances have made me appreciate more than ever the group I have in my life now, and I can’t wait to get back to practicing and observing the High Holy Days as a Coven.
This time of year is all about remembrance for Pagans the world over. Little bundles of rosemary adorn collars and altars to scent the room and pay honor to our beloved dead. Family, friends, forgotten ones – all hold a place in our hearts throughout the year, but at Samhain, they draw a little bit closer to the veil and, I find that certain spirits weigh on my mind more so than at other times of the year.
This year, I’ve been thinking more about the baby that I lost a few years ago. This was the first year since that brief spark flared to life and then was prematurely snuffed that I didn’t make a specific memento or act to call the baby’s spirit to me in some way, and I find that it’s here anyway. A few changes have been going on recently – I started working as a doula again, one of my very good friends is due with her second child in a couple of weeks (and I will be one of her birth attendants), and October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness month. I am sure those things all play a monumental role in where my subconscious thoughts are, and why my sweet babe is on my mind. That said, it’s not been a ‘sad’ sort of presence. More like a nostalgic one – a fleeting touch here and there that is more comforting than anything else, which is a nice change. In the past, it’s been very sad for me to think about and remember. This feels like healing, which is a big part of Samhain observances for me – the reminder that though our Beloved Dead are not here, they’re never far away.
Hoping your Samhain was beautiful!