Samhain in Australia

Originally posted on May 4, 2009 by Jenwytch at The Other Side.

Time for another of my artworks, and with the arrival of Samhain I thought this particular drawing was quite appropriate…

10-death-sml1

“Death”

This sketch was done using my favourite artistic mediums: ballpoint pen, coloured pencils and water based “textas”. As for what the inspiration behind this one was, I can’t remember exactly but at the time I think the skeleton represented an aspect of me. In some ways that still holds true for me now, but perhaps for slightly different reasons. In any case I’m sure you can find lots of deep, dark symbolism hidden within the drawing.

Samhain ~ April 30th – May 1st

Samhain (pronounced sow-een) is the Witches’ New Year, and it is from here that the Wheel of the Year is traditionally counted. It is a time for fireworks, sparklers and night-time celebrations, and a time to both say farewell to the old year, and to welcome in the new. Thyme (associated with departed souls), rue (the flower of repentance), and rosemary (for remembrance) are traditional herbs burned at Samhain In Australia, smudge sticks of eucalyptus leaves are also burned, and homes are ritually cleansed and purified.

Samhain is associated with Shadowfest (Italy/Latin/Strega), and Martinmas (Celtic/Scottish) and is commonly known as Halloween. The veils between the worlds of the dead and of the living, and of the realm of faery in between are very thin, and that at this time souls that are leaving this physical plane can pass out and souls that are reincarnating can pass in.

At Samhain, the darkness increases and the Goddess reigns in her powerful aspect of the Crone. The God, as Dark Lord, passes into the underworld to become reborn again at Yule, and his presence all but disappears for a time. It is common for Witches and common folk alike to prepare a Feast for the Dead on Samhain night, when offerings of food and drink are left for the spirits. Candles or lanterns are traditionally burned at each window of the house to guide friendly spirits home and keep away unfriendly souls.

Samhain is a time to reflect on the mortality that inevitably confronts us all, and to learn to deal with the fears that surround death. It is a time to reflect that life is cyclical, and that change is the natural order of things. It is a time to confront our own inner demons, and learn to face fear, and to grow stronger by acknowledging the fears that we have.

Wreaths are commonly found on Witches’ doors at Samhain, as a marker to wise ones that a Witch dwells within. Wreaths at this time traditionally contain eucalyptus leaves and rosemary spikes. The powers of divination, the Sight, and supernatural communication are strengthened on Samhain night, and it is considered a powerful but dangerous time to communicate with lost loved ones.

For altar decoration, Jack-o-lanterns, gourds, and autumn foliage are ideal, as are the barks of trees that are awake (non-deciduous/native Australian trees), and the resins and oils of trees that are awake during this time of the year.

In the Southern hemisphere, Samhain in celebrated on the 30th of April and the 1st of May, and in the Northern hemisphere it falls on the 31st of October.

Photograph by Jenwytch (me) and Samhain information from: Akasha Witchcraft (website no longer available).