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Samhein: connection to our Ancestors

fall leaves
fall leaves
Michelle Cole

Generally when we hear the word Ancestors, we think of those people we’ve never met who lived years or perhaps centuries before us. I’ve recently begun to feel a change in the definition of Ancestor to include those who I have known but who no longer walk with physical feet upon the Earth. It seems natural that Fall, being a time of change and preparedness of nature for the sleep of winter, to be associated with those who have passed into the realm we will all one day return to.

Samhein (Halloween as it is more widely known these days) is a time when the veils are thinnest between our physical realm and the otherworldly realm our loved ones have passed into. Many years ago I was introduced to the ritual of burning a candle on Samhein with the names of those loved ones we miss carved into the wax. I will admit that I have not done this nearly as often as I would like, but this year I have the perfect candle and will be burning it through the evening into the night as I hand candy out to children dressed up for the occasion at a friends home. This candle is in the shape of a pumpkin and has been sitting on my alter for the past year, absorbing everything that has happened in my home and last night I carved names into it: a lot of names.

As I blessed the candle and held it between my palms I was overcome with all the complete lives that were held within: animal & human. Most recently: Aussie, Jake, Eli, Brenden and into the past the animals kept coming to mind: Toes, Patsy, the Ferrets: Jr, Bear and Bandit, BearCat, Jerry, all my Hollister kitties I had to leave behind when I moved to Colorado all the way to the only family dog of my childhood memory: Saint. My human family who will greet me in my own time is no less impressive: my brothers Ron & David, Karla my dear friend who died from colon cancer, my fathers parents, my mothers mother & Voa, my great-grandmother. Not to mention my mothers Aunt Josie who had breast cancer back when nobody talked about it.

Last year for Samhein I took part in my first group ritual for the occasion and the months since then have been filled with many, many challenges. I am not alone in these challenges: as we continue to shift consciousness the feeling of disorientation abounds in those around me. From financial obstacles to emotional ones, we are all flowing along this river of the changing human condition whether we are aware of it or not. Of course, I have also experienced some amazing steps that clearly are leading me to where I wish to be. Taking the Healing Touch for Animals level 1 class, having a reading with Dana Shino and my second annual Hand Fasting with Doug were the most notable. No less notable are my recently developed friendships with 2 amazing women-the first real sisterhood I’ve felt in over 10 years.

In a strange kind of way, it is almost as if I can include pieces of my own self in my dedication to those who no longer live on the physical plane. Spiritual work has many facets including the shedding of old habits & ways of being/thinking that no longer serve you, which is only half the work. It has been becoming very clear lately to me that it is an important part of the work, but almost more important is the very conscious choice of what to fill the void with once you shed the unwanted parts of yourself. If you do not decide to create new habits that create the person you wish to be, the voids will fill with ‘more of the same’ and you will find yourself on a never ending merry-go-round ride of dealing with what seems the same thing over and over and over. At times like that I remind myself “Baby steps” are still steps in the right direction. Sometimes even baby steps feel like 10’ walls: I’m in the process of kicking Soda-much harder than I ever thought.

Tonight I will be handing out candy for a friend while she takes her own 3 little goblins out hunting for candy. I haven’t had the chance since moving to Elizabeth, so I am pretty excited! I read earlier this week a column of Dana’s that encouraged us all to find our communities, our circle of human friends & family that help us become the potential within; not only for our own well being, but for the great healing of our planet and all life upon it. If you feel any sense of an awakening, a coming “Big Thing” but don’t know what it could be-you are not alone. We are living during an extremely powerful and life-changing part of Human History. Whether you are aware or not will not stop the evolution of consciousness into the true light of Compassion-the human race is awakening to their True Spiritual Nature.

Samhein gives us a chance to stop and honor those who’ve lead the way before us, that made our reality possible.


  • mom, rose 4 years ago

    Its so good to read something from you and as usual so poignant.

  • jesse 4 years ago

    Michelle you hit it on the head, I really enjoyed reading this and have posted a quote from you on my facebook about filling the void....awesome, I needed that this morning cause I am on a merry go round and want off...u rock

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