Around the Cauldron · Celebrating the Sabbats

Preparation

Samhain is soon upon us here in the Southern Hemisphere. But in the keeping of Ostara and Easter, I’ve found myself doing “spring cleaning.” That’s right, folks, I’m off work and have the time to clean!

It’s really quite invigorating. Part time uni, the mess with work these last few months and a Muggle who doesn’t realise it’s OK to help me out around the house has meant the house is a mess. Given that we’re moving in six weeks (minimum, we’re not sure where we’re going yet) I’m enjoying the early cleaning so there’s less stuff to take with us.

I say that every time we move.

I’ve stopped celebrating the “minor” Traditional holidays over the last few years. Within learning Druids Down Under’s ‘Wheel of the Year’ which I blogged about earlier as part of the Pagan Blog Project, I’ve been concentrating more on the Cross Quarter days (Solstices and Equinoxes). I’m not saying I don’t find the ‘minor’ important, I find the traditional elements of it confusing with this landscape. For example, Lughnasadh falls at a time where we don’t harvest in my area.

But I’m really excited about Samhain this year. Since I’ve begun to really connect with my Ancestors, I feel that this Samhain is going to be really special. I’m also excited about the night, since I’ll be celebrating with a friend through her tradition, which will be very new for me. I have been trying to familiarise myself with her tradition so I can be better aware of what will be going on, but all over I’m just excited!

The one this I began to worry about is photos of our ancestors for the night, or in my case, the lack of photos. I work primarily with three, my Poppy and his parents. I have met one of his brothers in the waking world (about 20 years ago when he came over for a visit from Holland) and I’ve met two in the dream world (again, about 20 years ago). There isn’t really a way of getting photos of them.

I was having this discussion with my friend last week when Poppy cleared the air.

“Don’t worry love, we’ll be there. Don’t worry about the photos, we never took many.” The words aren’t exact, but the overall feeling was, “we’ll be there with or without photos, so don’t stress.” I do have one photo in mind to represent the seven of them (Oma, Opa, the five boys) which I’m getting my mother to help with (once she takes a clear photo without shadow!) which I will post once I have.

For dinner, it’s a matter of offering them a place at the table.  There are elements that based within most traditions for Samhain, but I’m not comfortable writing about a tradition that isn’t my own.

Oma has also been telling me about what incense she’d like me to make for her, which I’ve made and admittedly it does have a rather ‘Nanna’ smell to it! I’ve also been told she’d like a cup of black tea with a little bit of honey, Opa would like an apple cider, and Poppy would like a VB. I’ve also been shown the shape of the VB bottle to get, but that may be my own memories of him sitting on the back porch of a Christmas with a VB in hand while us cousins play the peg game…

My mother’s paternal family are the only lineage of mine that is from Holland. Everyone else (mum’s maternal, dad’s paternal and maternal) all hail from Ireland, England, Wales or Scotland. I don’t know who’s laughing in my ear, but I’m hearing, “a cuppa tea, a Scotch Finger biscuit and we’re all happy!”

This comes full circle with my craving to clean the house, too. I feel like I need to get it ready for them coming over, even though they’re always here with me AND we’re having the night at my friend’s house… Australis Incognita wrote a wonderful blog about this time of year, and it wasn’t until reading her post that the cleaning the house need clicked into mind.

I think it’s also a mix with (obviously) not wanting to live in a mess, but given that I’m working with the Ancestors more and more now, it’s only polite to have a clean house? I’m just happy to have the time TO clean properly. It’ll be better once we move into a smaller house, too. We’d move into an apartment but that’s impossible with two cars, a trailer and a cat who lives being outside.

Until then, this house is becoming cleaner, preparations for Samhain are underway, and I’m very excited for what the night may bring!

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