"Grandmother Wisdom, open the door, Grandfather Counsel, come you in. Let there be welcome to the ancient lore, Let there be welcome to the Winter of the Year. In cold and darkness you are traveling, Under crystal skies you will arrive. May the blessed time of Samhain clarify the soul of all beings, Bringing joy and wisdom to revelation. From the depths to the heights, from the heights to the depths, of every soul."
from Celtic Devotional:Daily Prayers and Blessings by Caitlin Matthews
Tonight ghosts and goblins, angels and superheroes, will arrive at our doors. Our door bells will ring and voices will shout "Trick or Treat!" Our pumpkins have been carved and light the way for their arrival. We will hand out the candy we hope, for the sake of our waistlines, will be gone at the end of the evening.
Halloween has become the second largest consumer holiday in our country. But it is, in reality,our participation in an ancient ritual. October 31st marks the day that, for the Celts,begins the season of Samhain (pronounced Sow-en). It is the last day of their calendar year and begins the season of winter. Today is considered in both Celtic and Christian tradition as a ‘thin place’, a day in which the veil between the present and the eternal is permeable.Halloween, or ‘All Hallow’s Eve’ is our more modern response to dealing with the fear of this notion. On the west side of St. Paul, those who made their way here from Mexico will place the favorite foods of their departed loved ones outside their doors in anticipation. It is believed that this is the day when the souls move willingly and easily between this world and the next. Placing those favorite foods where all can see is a way of saying ‘we remember….you are welcome.’
The prayer above was one that might have been said at the door of homes to welcome in this thin place and to mark the movement from one year to the next. Particularly for those of us who live in the Northern hemisphere, we know what is ahead…..cold, darkness, winter. Our ancestors welcomed it. Perhaps we might learn from their wisdom. To see the season that is approaching as a time of going within, both our homes and ourselves, provides for a time of reflection and incubation. The consolation might be that for the Celts the season of winter lasted from November 1 to January 31!
So tonight as you open your door, you are invited welcome, not only the masked and costumed ones, but also this season which is approaching. It will bring darkness and icy winds, snow and layers of clothing to ward off the cold. But it will also bring time to remember, time to reflect, time to be caught in this amazing cycle of the seasons of which we are all a part. By our welcome we may be filled with the wisdom of the ancestors and the beauty of thin places.