Halloween and Spiritual Renewal

This time of year, the season of Scorpio and Halloween, offer an opportunity for spiritual rebirth. Old conditions will end — and new opportunities will arise.

The pre-Christians of Europe celebrated Halloween, which falls midway through autumn, as their New Year: a time to remember the past, and embark upon new projects. They believed that this was the moment when the veil between this world and the Otherworld was at its thinnest — and spiritual, supernatural powers were at their strongest.

This idea probably originated because most ancient people would have feared the dark and especially the cold of wintertime, which always looms large at this time of year. So in what seemed like a time of threatened death, they celebrated the promise of renewal: the sun and the green shoots, they reminded each other, would return — come spring.

Before the creation of our standard Gregorian calendar, Halloween did not actually fall on October 31; it was at 15 degrees (halfway through) Scorpio, on approximately November 6 — the exact day varied a little from year to year. Modern-day Wiccans call this “Halloween Old Style,” and some still celebrate it on the traditional, later date.

Halloween is one of the four “Cross-Quarters” in the ancient Wheel of the Year. These are the times halfway between the Solstices and the Equinoxes (which themselves, of course, mark the changing of the seasons). So Halloween — and Scorpio — designate the Highest Point of Fall.

On Halloween, we originally honored our ancestors and our beloved dead. On this night, called Samhain [and pronounced sow-en], modern Wiccans still proclaim the names of all who have died over the previous year — and then call out the names of all babies born during that same time frame, in order to celebrate these new lives.

The Christian Church, as it gained more influence and power, allowed this honoring of the dead to continue, but within Christianity the night of Samhain was transformed into “All Hallows Eve” (Hallow Evening, or Hallowe’en). The church, however, guided Christians to hold their major celebrations on the following two days instead — honoring first the canonized saints, on “All Saint’s Day,” and on the next day remembering the dead in Heaven, on “All Soul’s Day” — which is now also celebrated as the Day of the Dead in Latin America (Dia de los Muertos).

Once you look closely at sacred art from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, you will see more and more signs of the connection between Christianity and some of the most ancient faith systems. For instance, the Roman Catholic Church linked the Cross-Quarters and their fixed zodiac signs to the authors of the four gospels in the New Testament:

Matthew is represented by a winged man — and the midpoint of the Air sign Aquarius, the Water-Bearer, is of course also drawn and painted as a man, symbolizing the middle of winter, or Candlemas (now known as Groundhog Day).

Luke is pictured as a winged Ox, and correlates to the midpoint of the Earth sign Taurus, the Bull (or the Ox). This sign marks the middle of spring, or Walpurgisnacht (which we now call May Day).

Mark is symbolized by a winged Lion, and relates to the midpoint of the Fire sign Leo, which falls in the middle of summer: Lammas or Lughnasah–a harvest festival somewhat like our County Fairs, still celebrated in England in early August.

John, often considered the most treasured Gospel — or the Gospel of Love, known for its poetic writing style and non-linear narrative — is represented by a rising Eagle, which of course symbolizes the midpoint of the Water sign Scorpio. (The scorpion is Scorpio’s lowest form. Its highest form, the Dove, symbolizes the Holy Spirit, or God Himself, who took the form of that bird during the most famous baptism of all time, when John the Baptist performed the ritual on Jesus.) This is the astrological point we celebrate as Halloween, which is the perfect time to spiritually cleanse and renew ourselves.

The midpoint of Autumn is an amazing opportunity to tap into our spiritual energies, and renew our spirits. It’s an excellent time to take stock of our lives. So take a moment and:

  • Think about how you got where you are today, and all the people you have loved — and those who have loved you right back. Send them notes, if they haven’t yet crossed over. Otherwise, take a moment to thank them right here and now! Say goodbye, or tell them you still love them and appreciate them.
  • Let go of the things or the habits that are holding you back — or, transform them into something nearer to your heart’s desire. Of course, this may mean simply transforming your own attitude, rather than an external thing or circumstance. That’s okay, too.
  • Open yourself up to the future. Honor the person you have been, while releasing any shards of self-pity you may be hanging on to. And ditch those resentments!
  • Accept that what’s past is past — look forward to change, and to new beginnings.
  • Clean your house now, well in advance of the more stressful holidays that lie ahead this fall and winter. Then perform whatever spiritual cleansing rituals your own faith tradition recommends, whether it’s spritzing your home with holy water, or placing healing herbs in strategic locations (some lavender by your bed, and some rosemary or mint in your kitchen).
  • Create fresh new affirmations to get ready for a fun and fulfilling winter! Place them on your bathroom mirror to remind yourself how utterly awesome you are.

Whatever it is that’s getting in your way, the power of Scorpio, together with the sacred moment of Halloween, can help you to break through the logjams, and truly renew your spirit — this year, and every year!

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