Samhain Observances

This past Wednesday wrapped up our Samhain observances here at the Nunnery. Every Yule Beth and I sit down with our respective calenders and line up our festivals for the coming year. Last Yule we would experiment a bit with the astronomically-decided dates and observe the ones that we do observe based on the astronomical dates rather than the calender dates. It wasn’t something we’d explored yet, and especially toward the end of the year, when our days are crowded with festivals, observances and the like, we thought it would give us a bit more room so to speak. Samhain was the last one for us and we’ve decided that we don’t like doing it this way. It bothered me less for Samhain, but that’s because we had observances for “both” Samhains. There’s something to Beltane being the 1st of May that was missing with Beltane being the 5th of May, even if the 5th of May was Beltane “proper”. But, we wouldn’t know without trying, and we have, and so, yay.

We moved our Feast of Treats from September 29th to Samhain. This year this meant that the Feast of Treats was held on Oct. 31st, and our dumb supper was held on the 7th of November. While in our household we do not have dividing lines between species, the atmosphere of our feast honoring our deceased critters is markedly different than the atmosphere of our feast honoring our beloved human dead, so we’ll continue to honor them separately. Feast of Treats, for all that it is filled with silly noms, is incredibly intimate and relaxed; hosting dinner for our beloved human dead feels a bit more like having people over beyond immediate family. I’m not sure I can explain it better than that.

Beth and I found the dumb supper to be incredibly cathartic and quite painful. It was, as our feasts tend to be, very simple, and deeply moving. And crowded. Our tiny apartment was suddenly FILLED, and let me tell you, Beth’s family? Kinda pushy. 😉

On the weekend between the two days we took a trip up to one of the cemeteries in the city, which was nice. Met a beautiful lady on the way out and was able to fawn over her a bit, which is always good. Visiting the cemetery was difficult, emotionally, in a way that it’s never been so for me, but ultimately good.

We discovered, too, that it doesn’t matter how close to a holiday the full moon falls, we don’t like skipping our new full moon festival, which we did this month, and it threw us off a bit. So, next month, we won’t be. Already, in just two months, it’s become such a nice ritual of touching base with each other, our Husbands, and our family, that skipping it in favor of Samhain simply wasn’t good enough.

And now we’re into November, with Yule right around the corner. Days are short, nights are long, critters are snuggly. I love this time of year. May I be able to hold on to my awareness of the awesomeness of this season while we dive into Retail Hell!

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5 thoughts on “Samhain Observances

  1. Reblogged this on Wytch of the North and commented:
    Here is a rundown from Naiadis (Jolene) on the recent ritual happenings in our household, since I haven’t managed to get a recap posted yet myself. (For those may not know, “a beautiful lady” is code, in Jo-speak for a female cat. :)) We ALSO made a trip out to the gorgeous, wooded Masonic Cemetery, where Eugene’s town founders are buried, and where I made several new (non-feline, non-living) friends.

    My family was pushy this year: especially my father, who I admittedly haven’t paid enough attention to in recent years (he was an artist, surprisingly enough ;P) and my grandmother, who pushed Jo to ask me if I wanted to add Chanukah to our holiday line-up (thanks,, but I don’t) and who wanted to know why I was married to a pagan deity (“puh puh puh”), punctuated with much Yiddish, of course.

  2. I need to do this kind of planning myself, though it’s not the same when working solo. Or rather, I find it near impossible to find something I want to do and will continue doing. Trying to pick it up again tonight with the dark moon. Thank you both for the inspiration!

    • I don’t actually enjoying planning all that much, but I do like the results of having planned. As Gretchen Rubin says in her “Happy at Home” book, being happy doesn’t always *feel* happy, and sacrificing some time feeling not happy doing things you’d rather not do, in order to be more happy later, can be important! (says she who is gearing up to start a homekeeping projects calendar on top of her religious observances calender. Who doesn’t like planning, again?)

      How did the dark moon stuff go?

      • It went alright. I did some meditation with Hekate and saw stuff which made sense but was not expected or somehow planned. I always consider that a good sign.

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