This time of year is often characterized by costumes, candy, Halloween parties and trick-or-treating. One celebration often forgotten is Samhain. Celebrated by those who follow Wicca or other such nature based religions, Samhain is a time for reflection, divination, and communicating with ancestors. Originating from the Celtic New Year, this “Summer’s End” festival celebrates the changing seasons and the enterance into the darkest months of the year. It is also a time for setting resolutions for the year ahead.
Jodi is owner of Mystic Bookshop in downtown London. She explains why Wiccans believe this time of year to be ideal for communicating with ancestors. “The veil is very thin at this time of year, so it is a good time for communicating with your ancestors, a good time for divination, and a good time for making resolutions for the following year”.
Although one of Wicca’s main tenants is “harm no one”, witches are often depicted negatively in popular culture. Think of Hocus Pocus’s Winifred Sanderson and her spell-book bound in human skin. Corey, an employee at Mystic Bookshop speaks to the misconceptions that surround many belief systems.
“Sure there are misconceptions, but I believe there is for every religion. Look at some of the stuff we are dealing with for religions in the Middle East. I think everyone has a little bit of a difficult time when it comes to those misconceptions. I think it’s just about everyone being able to get together in the same room, talk about stuff, learn from each other”.
People celebrate Samhain ( pronounced SOW-WHEN) in many different ways from placing a lit candle in the window, to saying a prayer, to leaving food out at dinner for the ancestors.