HALLOWEEN & A NEW MOON UPON US
It has been many Moons since I have written an article for you guys , and it seems auspicious to have it be for this year’s death festivities aligned with the sign of Scorpio.
This time of year has been poignant in many cultures all over the world for centuries. Death has been regarded in almost all cultures and myths as a “Rite of Passage.” in Shamanism specifically, as well as Hermeticism, death is seen as a gateway or portal to another life. A life beyond the material veil of the world that we know in our third dimensional reality.
There are many misconceptions today about spirits, death, and what lies beyond.
One of the greatest misconceptions I witness by the general public is that October 31st-November 2nd is the only time that death has been, or is currently celebrated. Death is actually celebrated at many different points throughout the year in many different religions. In many cultures August has also been a month that festivities honoring gods associated with death have taken place. This is true for Japan and Mexico. Equinoxes also typically will have some association with the veil between worlds thinning and it is customary to honor the spirits of those who have passed during the Solstices.
Dia De Los Muertos before it was converted to the Catholic holiday of All Souls Day on November 2nd was actually celebrated in the Summertime, specifically August, according to Aztec historians. It is also believed that most ancient cultures such as the Aztecs would not celebrate Dia De Los Muertos the way it is celebrated today, but we can appreciate how the influence over the ages has shaped the beautiful festival we now know as Dia De Los Muertos.
Another thing that differs between cultures is the type of calendar we follow. The Gregorian Calendar that we follow in the west is based around the Sun, but many ancient traditions used a Lunar calendar system which caused their dates to not match ours as they had 13 months instead of 12. It is believed that the festivities around this time of year would have occurred during a month that is not recognized by the Gregorian calendar system.
One of the most inspiring things I have learned in my studies of ritual and ceremony practiced throughout the ages, is finding out just how much of what we know and celebrate today has spawned off from so many ancient traditions all over the world.
In D.J. Conway’s book “Moon Magick” the author gives an extensive list of what ancient rituals were originally held during this time. For the readers sake, in noting that this time of year is prevalent worldwide, I would like to include some of death rituals from this book, but I have done more research on them and have found some of the dates in the book are not entirely accurate, and I also added some extra festivities I discovered on my own related to other cultures honoring ancestors during the last half of the year.
They begin as follows:
The Japanese, like the Aztecs, also honor their ancestors during the Summer months of August. This festival occurs on the 15th day of the 7th calendar day following a Lunar Year calendar system. The mythos related to this holiday is associated with the story of Maha Maudgalyayana (Mokuren), a disciple of the Buddha.
The Chinese, like Japan also operate on a Lunar Calendar and commemorate the dead in the month of August. It is believed that the gates of Hell are open and that the spirits are able to commune with the living. Offerings and food are left out for the spirits to take part in.
Friday, September 13 and ended on Saturday, September 28, 2019
This festival in India lasts 16 days and is focused on donating to the ancestors and paying homage to them. There are strict rules on how one behaves during the festival and what types of offerings are appropriate. The mythos related to this festival is attributed to the story of Karna.
This festival celebrated in Peru lasts for the entire month of November, but it is known that before Peru was colonized, the natives had rituals they would celebrate on the anniversary of the death of a loved one on their burial sites. This included dancing, singing, celebration and bringing gifts to the grave. There seems to be some speculation that November was given its own sacred month as a way to merge their traditions with those that were being established by the missionaries colonizing the country and introducing the Roman Catholic days that take place in November.
The ancient Egyptians are known for having a large focus on the afterlife and in the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the spells, rituals, and rites of the Egyptians is complex to say the least. Death no matter what time of year seemed to hold a special focus within Egyptian culture, but there were some times of the year that certain gods and mythos were focused on more than others. The actual history of the Isia festival is hard to trace, but the festival seems to be primarily focused on the resurrection of Osiris by Isis after he was killed by his brother Set and was celebrated during this time of year.
Living in the United States with a heavy Christian influence on the forming years of this country, Samhain pronounced “ sow-win” is probably the closest thing we can compare our current American “Halloween” customs to. It was celebrated for 3 days and 3 nights in Celtic Pagan traditions to honor the entry into winter. Like a lot of the harvest festivals that happen during the Autumn Equinox, this was another time to honor the years harvest and gather as a community. Many families would light fires and leave the fires lit for the 3 days of the festivities. Many of the Celtic Pagan traditions believed in a handful of gods and goddesses who were honored during this time. Offerings left out for them in front of homes and on altars were part of the celebration as it was believed that the veil between worlds was thin and that the spirits of these energies were more accessible and able to influence our material world during this time. Failure to partake in this festival was believed to result in death, illness, or bad luck. Another custom for the Celtics was to leave a candle lit in the window to help spirits of ancestors find their way home. This is believed to be how the Jack-O-Lantern got its start. Some people believe that the Jack-o-Lantern was used to ward off evil spirits, the Pagans were often a very superstitious culture later on in their history, it is unknown how much actual fear was a part of their culture, or written later by religious authorities to deter people from celebrating these rituals in the “old way” that was before Catholicism. It was also customary for people to string 9 hazelnuts together and consecrate it in smoke and then hang in the house as a protective amulet for the year ahead as the hazelnut tree was one of the last things to be harvested during this time of year. This 3 day festival later progressed into Allhallowtide and we now know it as Hallows Eve (October 31st) Hallowmas also known as All Saints Day (November 1st) and All Souls Day (November 2nd.)
Mexico celebrates the lives of children who have passed on. It is believed the souls of the children who have died arrive to the family at midnight on October 31st so that they can spend an entire 24 hours with their families.
A Roman Catholic Holiday celebrated globally to honor the Saints who are known and unknown. Many other churches also celebrate this holiday and depending on what country you are in, the customs vary.
Another Roman Catholic holiday, this is the day where Christians honor those who passed on. Customs vary depending on what country you are in, but visiting the graves of loved ones and putting candles and flowers on the grave is customary in most cultures.
In Mexico, the marriage of the old folk traditions for remembering ancestors, paired with the Catholic Church’s traditions resulted in the beautiful holiday that we now know today. Parades, face painting, marigolds, candles, skull shaped candies, are all part of this colorful and festive holiday. It is customary to have an altar in the house with belongings and photos of the deceased and to leave offerings that the departed would enjoy out for their spirits to come and take part of. It is also customary to sing songs to the deceased at the site of their graves and to cook a big meal. Cemeteries become alive and it feels like a big party filled with family.
These are just a small handful of the larger known festivals still celebrated around the world today to honor the deceased, but it is important to know that most religious and spiritual people, regardless of religion, race, or creed have many ways and different times of the year celebrating the dead. While traditions may differ, they tend to focus on the same fundamentals; the veil thinning between the living and the dead, a story of gods and goddesses traveling between the underworld and the living world, and a resurrection of the soul.
In most cases honoring the dead in all cultures involves leaving offerings out for a number of days, typically candles, incense, food, herbs, beverages, money, jewelry, belongings, and things that the ones who have passed would have enjoyed while they were living in their human bodies.
I recommend to those who may be reading that wish to make this time of year special, if you feel confused about cultural appropriation, or your own religious or spiritual practices, know that you can create your own personal and special way to honor the dead, creating a space in your home with the following things:
- An altar space, can be on a table you have designated
- A candle to honor the season
- A cup of water
- Flowers of your choice- ones that honor the people you are remembering
- Photos and belongings of people you are honoring
- Things that the deceased would have enjoyed left on the altar.
You may also wish to write the deceased a letter for your altar, or to visit the grave of the departed that you are honoring if you are able to.
One last bit of beneficial information I will leave you all with is the Astrology of Halloween this year. The energy of Scorpio season will begin to feel its most powerful starting on October 27th when we have our New Moon in Scorpio at 4 degrees 8:38 pm PDT and 11:38 pm EDT. This will help to establish some intentions around what we are releasing during this next cycle. Looking at the Astrology Chart for the day of Halloween, relationships will be a major focus. The next main celestial influence during Halloween season will be of Mercury stationing retrograde at 27 degrees of Scorpio at 8:42 AM PDT and 11:42 AM EDT on October 31st. Mercury will be in conjunction with Venus the planet of Love, and a Sextile to Juno, the asteroid of marriage and partnership.This Mercury retrograde will play heavily into the energy of the first 3 weeks of November where it will finally station direct on November 20th.
We can expect to start off November very focused on relationship dynamics and communicating our emotions effectively. Issues and even people from our past may come up to surface for the first time in years during this retrograde. We may also find ourselves ending a relationship or friendship, or maybe a job we have been in for some time.
The last time Mercury went retrograde in Scorpio was October 21st 2013- November 9th 2013, and for October 4th-10th in 2014.
( ***** NOTE: If any of the dates or information within this article is inaccurate, please note I am not a historian and acquired my information for these festivals from books that I have that were not all entirely accurate with their depictions of dates and required me to do more digging online and elsewhere. I aimed to write a simplified depiction of the different death festivities within cultures around the world with the aim to unify us as a people during this time and to bring light to at the end of the day, we all wish to honor those we have loved and lost in our own culture's way. )
As always, many New Moon blessings and death blessings to you all!
Oh and one last thing;
In the end we all die, and underneath this flesh bodysuit, we are all just a bag of bones.
Life is short, paint for your face, dance on the graves, and sing the song of the dearly departed for it is the only song that is eternal.
Cosmic Lady Six
Religious and spiritual freedom now is a privilege many of us take for granted in this country, and so I give this ritualistic advice with the utmost gratitude that I as a hispanic woman have the freedom to write and share this information freely without persecution or fear of being murdered.Analisa Six is an active Mystic, intuitive Tarot Reader and Astrologer currently residing in Oakland, CA with her two dogs and husband. You can contact her for a reading by visiting cosmicladysix.com or emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org Follow for daily wisdom @cosmicladysix