It is the season best known for candy and pumpkins. For dressing up and going door to door to get treats and surprises, and yes, that is an ancient tradition that has been passed down though, it has changed drastically through the many years. Before pumpkins it was turnips, and though a lot of the history of Halloween was influenced by the Gaelic fire festival Samhain, there are a lot of sprinkles from other cultures that have been incorporated into what we know now as SPOOKY SEASON.
As a historical side note: In the Eighth Century Pope Gregory III designated November 1st as All Saints Day and October 31st as All Hallows Eve which encompassed and overpowered some traditions of Samhain. All Hallows Eve was later shortened to Halloween.
If you look back at the Gaelic Celebration known as Samhain we can better understand some of the things that we go through at this time of year as people. Our bodies and our thoughts change but we've become so disconnected from the reason why, we chalk it up to burn-out, society, or "just the way things are".
In our ancestor's times, this was when the harvest was being completed, brought in, and stored for the winter so that we were prepared for the long cold darkness. The cattle were brought down from their grazing and slaughtered which, not only gave them the most meat they had all year but a feast to celebrate the death of the season. They celebrated death unlike we do, they understood the process of life and death and that all things die and are recreated again. Many cultures believe in the reincarnation of a person and you can take it so far as to celebrate the death of the crops and the birth of new cattle.
This was a time of internal reflection and preparation for the next cycle of life. Set into our genetics is still that requirement, to prepare for the winter, even though our food is always accessible through delivery, shopping, and more advanced storage (like the fridge). Our minds still think we need to prepare for the darkness of winter. Many of us put on weight and crave fatty foods, our sleep patterns are thrown off by how early the sun goes down and waking up in darkness. We don't think about survival or where our food will come from, we think about money and how we're going to buy groceries.
We have become too relaxed with the way our lives are now that we forget our bodies still function as our ancestors did, a sort of primal genetic instinct. If we allowed ourselves to become attuned to the seasons, to nature, and to the way things were and disconnect from the digital devices, the social construct of "the way things are", and refocus on our primal survival instincts, we may find that many people would avoid seasonal burnout, cold weather discomfort, and seasonal depression.
***If you feel as though you suffer from SAD please consult your DR for treatment. DO NOT in any way think that this is a treatment for SAD***
Keeping in mind that in order to survive winter our ancestors were constantly thinking months ahead and using the knowledge that was passed between generations. We've lost a great deal of information and understanding as to what they went through, but I'm sure you can use your imagination.
As a historical side note: most death's during the winter months happened at the beginning of winter.
As an experiment this year I (as the writer of this blog) have decided to look at things through the eyes of our ancestors. No, I won't be foraging for my food (I don't have that kind of skill) but I will be using the winter months, my time of inner reflection to prepare for the planting season. Using the time inside to learn, grow, and step outside of my digital life and the life that has become "just the way things are". By challenging the way things have become I am reconnecting with my primal side, the side of my genetics that allows me to use cognitive thought to survive and become more in tune with who I am, nature, and my spiritual self.
My hope with this experiment is for me to better understand myself, my spirituality, and become physically, mentally, and emotionally healthier through this understanding. Sometimes ya just gotta strip away the crap to build something new.
I encourage you, as the reader of this blog, to think about the life of our ancestors and the winters that they would have gone through. What did they do differently that we can implement now to help us better handle the "dark times"?