Samhain 2013

Another year has begun...and may it be a merry one in every aspect! 
The Wheel of the Year has turned, it is time to be thankful for all the fruits we gathered and to show respect to our ancestors on this night when the veil between the worlds is the thinnest.

Even though I am few days late with this post, I really do have a valid alibi. I spent 4 great days with my wonderful friend Green and celebrated Samhain with a great group of people in Zagreb. I took a few days for everything to return back to normal, but when I finally got back to reality (and my computer), I had to share my happiness with you! 

The pumpkins you see in the photo are just one of many beautiful nocturnal scenes which I had the pleasure to witness this Samhain! It really was a real celebration...a lot of laughter, many wonderful people, new experiences and finally, great memories. I have to say that this seems to be a great start to the New Year (at least the Pagan one). :D 

In case you need to refresh your memory, I urge you to read my older post on this Sabbath so you can get a better understanding about what follows.

Me at work
...and just to prove that others worked just as much (if not more) :D
Of course, before I start writing about my impressions of the whole celebration, it would be best if I said a word or two about the preparations which were as demanding as they were fun. As with every party, there had to be lots of food and drinks so preparing all of this took the larger part of most of the participants' mornings. And not to mention that we also had to carve these wonderful pumpkins! But, since I'm not sure whose photos I'm allowed to upload, I don't want to play with fire so I'll just post these two photos. :) Nevertheless, the most important thing is definitely the result of this group effort which you can see in the first picture. 

Taking into consideration that this is thought to be the night when the veil between the worlds is the thinnest, we decided to take advantage. This is why a shamanic workshop focused on travelling to the land of the dead followed the pumpkin carving. This may sound sinister to some of you, but it's actually the opposite. This experience proved to be quite pleasant for most people (although a bit soul-stirring) and enabled them to contact their ancestors again. The workshop was led by our wise shaman Hora which I just could praise enough. Those of us that were brave enough shared their experiences (which were magical), while others preferred to keep some things to themselves. This just happens to be a great opportunity to announce the topic of my next post - animals of power. We had another shamanic workshop on this topic during our Witches' Site (2013) and it was also led by Hora.

Our literary pop star Iolar, who you may now know for his trilogy Paganism in Theory and Practice (not yet translated into English), held a short lecture on Samhain which refreshed all our memories and helped us focus on the basic ideas of the holiday: celebrating the New Year, life and fertility which will return with the spring, respecting our ancestors and awakening our awareness of the chaotic aspects of life. 

The hearth which proved to
be multifunctional
The ritual incorporated all these aspects but focused a bit more on respecting our ancestry. The most personal (as well as most traditional) part of the ritual for me was the throwing of "sacrifices" into the hearth/fire (in this case, the "sacrifice" was made up of three bound threads and a bit of food/drink/another small object). Fire itself is of great importance during this time of year because it both gives us heat and light when the days are very short. 

Instead of the Feast of the Dead, everyone put a small candle in the circle which was supposed to symbolize the presence of an ancestor. The general effect of all these small candles was magical!

But don't get me wrong, just because there was no Feast of the Dead doesn't mean there was no food or drink. :) Like I said, what's a party without the two! But this part of the celebration came after the ritual just in time for the ecstatic music of a great band called Tribal Jam Orchestra. I just can't help but stand in awe every time I hear them.

...this is the sort of music they granted us. Great job guys!!!

Of course, all the things I said up to now are just mere formalities. I can't even find the right words to describe how wonderful it was just to be with all these beautiful people! Even though I haven't known some of them for very long, I feel as though I've known them for years, and some even for decades! I only hope that all of these friendships stay equally as strong and pleasing as they are now. :)

I take this opportunity to say hi to all of you who were there with me, who ate, drank, laughed, shared intimate moments and did stupid stuff with me when necessary! You know who you are ;) And I can't wait to come and see you guys again! :D

And for those of you who weren't there to share these lovely moments with us, here's a song which can depict the atmosphere of the ritual at least partially. :)

Blessed Samhain to you all! 
And a bit hello from Witch's Cat and her drunken pumpkin! :D

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