Spirits roam free on Hallows’ Eve

Halloween means something to me. I know what you may think – Americanised, sugar-fuelled madness. However, as a Pagan it is the start of the New Year. Samhain was the beginning of the year in Anglo-Saxon times. The whole month of November was associated with the dead. For witches, Samhain is when the realms of the living and the dead are at their most sensitive. Hecate Goddess of the underworld – this is her festival.

Dancing scantily clad under the moon, drinking wine and burning fires are amongst traditions wishing a good end to the harvest and preparing for the winter. Ok so most people would agree that that doesn’t appear to be the case for most modern Halloween celebrations but it certainly rings true for me.

A witches broom is something of protection and power associated with the Willow Tree (Hecate’s Tree) – Traditionally made from an ash stake, which is to protect from drowning, birch twigs to entangle evil spirits and willow to bind the two together. The root word for Willow is ‘wike’ and also means the same as witch or wicked.

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The interesting thing is that, since I was a little girl, the dark has been somewhere I fear but also seek solace. I find comfort in darker places and I really enjoy exploring fear. Fear is so interesting for humans. Some find Hallows’ Eve a waste of time and refuse to accept that it is one of the oldest celebrated holidays in the history of mankind. The Halloween we know today has deep-rooted history and I believe in all of it, the creatures of the night, lost souls who haven’t found their way and the practice of magic. All fiction comes from some truth maybe a small fraction however, do not turn your noses up to something that is a possibility.

Our souls simply dwell in a physical form and All Hallows’ allows the lost ones to roam free amongst us once again.

The fantastic thing about where dressing up comes from is it was a way of warding off evil. Much like carving faces into Turnips (yes turnips originally – pumpkins came later) and popped them at the door to keep spooks at bay. All these practices have deep rooted wonderfully magical history. It’s fascinating and exciting.

I love being scared, the adrenaline rush is addictive and for me all things creepy and intriguing really play into this. This year Halloween is particularly exciting and powerful as the Moon has been at her brightest and full so close to the 31st – her energy is intoxicating. Pagan traditions are all centred around celebrating life, the earth and food and drink.

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So as the nights get closer to the eve, paint your face and explore your dark side. It’s fun, for me it’s so fun I find it hard to come back from.

I love the fashion, the films and the literature that surrounds Halloween. Having fun with baking and clothes in a Halloween theme are fun too! There are so many forms of fabulous references to self-exploration in all of them that relate to fear and it’s magical to me. Witches have been feared and celebrated throughout history. I for one embrace my spiritual side and find comfort that we aren’t the only beings roaming the earth. That feeling on the back of your neck or the shiver down your spine is a sign that someone may be with you.

I find it a comfort, others may wish to hide under the duvet.

By Alexandra Brownsell, creator of Through Haim’s Eyes. Give her some appreciation over on Twitter.

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