Sunday, October 31, 2010

Celebrating Samhain

Tonight is Samhain, the final harvest festival.  Before the advent of Christianity the country dwellers would come together to celebrate bringing in the final harvest of the year.  All the preparations for the upcoming Winter would be completed and a feast with dancing would finalize their struggles to survive.

For many people growing their own crops and tending animals was a necessity back even one hundred years ago.  With modern technology many of us have gotten away from understanding where that meat comes from in the supermarket, where the vegetables are brought in from, and where the base material for our clothing comes from.

I wonder, on today of all days, a day of remembering my ancestors, that if we took more care of where our stuff came from then we just might treat it better and make it last longer.  That will be a rant for another day.  I'm getting too far off of the subject of today's post.

Samhain is when I place on my altar a photo or two of the ones that are nearly and dearly departed.  This year I placed a photo of my familiar on the altar, though he's been gone for six years he is still in my dreams and thoughts.

Oh, did I forget to mention that I'm pagan?  I'm actually a Wiccan.  More than just that too, I'm a Wiccan with credentials.  I took the time to take an approved course, one that the military actually approves of, to further my education.  If we ever have need of another DFGL on post I can raise my hand and state that I could do it in a pinch.  DFGL is a Distinctive Faith Group Leader.   I also am an ordained deaconess and reverend with all the same privileges to marry a couple that a justice of the peace would be entitled.  The Army has a shortage of qualified personal to cover the minor religions.  There are no Wiccan Chaplains in the Army.  I wish there was a Wiccan Chaplain as we would have better representation.

I wish more people would keep open minds.  Most folks love to celebrate All Hallow's Eve but if you call it Samhain to some it becomes something dark and dirty.  Last year I had a child come to my house dressed in black with a large pentacle, a five-pointed star with a circle around it, hanging from a chain on his neck.  I asked him what he was and he respond, "I'm the emperor of evil".  Oh, joy.  I look back to his parents and wonder what they've taught him to allow him to walk about so misinformed.  I wanted to ask them but I didn't.  In retrospect I probably should have asked them and gently informed them that I was in no way evil and I often wear that particular symbol.

I'm not a crackpot.  I won't tout abilities that I don't have nor claim to have ones just to get attention.  I remember that I live on a military installation and I strive to blend in with the rest of the family members and soldiers here.

For me, Wicca is about learning to love our planet, respecting all that dwells on it and within it, yes including the smallest creatures.  I've been known to squash a bug if its is going to do me harm.  I have allergies and would prefer not to reach for benadryl.  I do draw a line.  I like to refer to Earth as Gaia.  Gaia gives us life.  She provides for us.  However, if we mistreat her she will react and try to reclaim to heal herself.  If we blast holes in her she will collapse under us to cover her wound.  If we try to wipe out another species she will take away our food source...well duh you can't make that species reproduce if there isn't a mating pair left.  No brainer.

This Halloween when children come to my door for treats I'll gasp in surprise at their costumes, laugh with them, and on occasion try to scare them too.  Nothing scarier than waiting by the door with the lights off and the door slightly ajar, yanking it open quickly to scare the kids.  Tonight is about having fun. I've still yet to decide what my costume will be for tonight but I'd best make that decision soon.

Enjoy your Halloween or Samhain whichever you decide to celebrate.  I know I'll be getting my party on later tonight with my group.  Let the feasting and merriment begin.

Blessed Be!

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