A Simple Samhain Ceremony with Children

samhain 2Long before the church said it was evil and before Hollywood and candy companies made a fortune, a simple holiday took place on October 31st.  The third and final harvest festival and the eve of the new year called Samhain (pronounced Sow-en).

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The hard work of farming, hunting, and filling the larder was through as the winds changed, the sun went to bed earlier and earlier, and dark settled upon the land.  It was an inevitable time for introspection, remembering those that had passed on throughout the year, and reminiscing around the table with mead and friends.  A million miles from the Celtic homes, the Day of the Dead was being celebrated in Mexico.

There was a time when everyone was attuned to the spiritual energies around us.  It was nothing weird or scary, it just was.  October 31st is when the veil between the worlds is thinnest.  Our deceased loved ones can always hear us but at this time of year, sometimes, they can reach us and they can certainly hear us better.

For children, sugar rushes and the perfect costume steal the holiday.  I wanted Maryjane to know what the real holiday was all about.  I simplified the ceremony so that my four year old granddaughter could understand.  Of course children innately know these things. I had her draw pictures of the people or animals she wanted to talk to.  She wrote adorable letters instead.  One to Anakan the snake, one to Grandma Kat, and one to Grant, her mom’s boyfriend’s brother who died a few years ago in a car accident.

20171023_111031We decorated the alter (the wood stove) with a beautiful nest we had found, a feather, and a butterfly that has passed away on my porch.  Her letters and a bell were really all we needed.

20171023_111026She chose a candle and so did I.  I chose pink for love and she did the same.  We thought of our people that we loved and missed (for me; Nancy, Kat, Great-Grandma, my Uncles…) and lit the candles.  We looked at pictures.  She sat in her little chair and read the letters to them and listened.

20171023_111014By incorporating the original spiritual belief systems and the nature based holidays, children learn connection to all things and great empathy.  Children naturally understand.  Giving them a basis to work with as they get older to celebrate and remember will help them create their own traditions.  It helps children learn to deal with grief and I know Kat, Anikan, and Grant enjoyed hearing that little voice.

Homestead Christmas Festival and Pet Reindeer

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When you have a dream, a goal, a vision of what you would like in your life, you should write it out. I will probably say that again sometime in future posts as I have seen many written dreams come to life. This one is in regards to Christmas and Doug as Santa Claus. Now, I understand that Doug is Jewish and not quite old enough to have the long white beard but I am working on it. He is a good sport and knows he will become Santa Claus. Just a matter of time. (Evil laugh) We already refer to each other as Mr. and Mrs. Claus when addressing the labels on presents.  He already has the beard thanks to our new small town lifestyle, and it looks great. Thanks to our teenaged daughters, he gains a few white hairs in it regularly. I suppose I add a few too.  We both love Christmas and the twinkly lights, and candles, the carols, the food, family, friends, fun and the spirit of Christmas.  We love festivals and animals so here is where the plan begins.

When we get our homestead, we will have fleece animals (more on that later) but why not throw in a few reindeer?  We must have reindeer.  They are gentle, docile, fuzzy and would look great on any homestead, particularly mine!  I am so enamored by Christmas, no one would even think twice.  Now as my friend, Nancy, says, “Everything must have a job, must pull their own weight.”  They don’t give milk or eggs, we don’t eat meat, and I have enough animals whose entire job is to be cute, so we will take them to Christmas events.  Enough events to pay for their food maybe.  Anywhere in December that would like a few live reindeer can call us.

Back at the homestead though, we will have a festival of our own.  Lord, we like ourselves a party so we will throw a Christmas festival of our own!  Spinning demonstrations, food and drinks, farm tours…..wait, hold that thought….What about a private party?  Buy tickets, get a full farm to table dinner, reindeer hugs, farm tour, spinning demonstrations, yarn, eggs, and other delightful gifts for sale in a relaxed off grid atmosphere?  And Santa Claus!  I,  myself, have some darling costume outfits that can be used to portray dear Mrs. Claus.  I will have to learn to sew a beautiful suit for Doug complete with plush velvet and faux fur, shiny boots (good for trudging around a farm in the winter anyway), and a lively hat.  Oh what fun we shall have!  You are invited dear friends, one and all.  Merry Christmas!  Santa comes tonight!