Celebrating the Sabbats · Pagans Down Under

Samhain (A toast to our Ancestors)

Originally I wasn’t going to celebrate Samhain this year. With the recent passing of my Poppy I wasn’t sure if I was ready. I know this is a silly thought, as what better way for a Pagan to honour and celebrate her ancestors than on a holiday specifically for them?

Because being over 1,000km from the rest of my (blood) family means I’m still somewhat in denial and celebrating Samhain means accepting it on a more spiritual level.

Given a series of recent events and text messages from a particular family member, I got the hint. Belated or no, I needed to honour my family.

Tonight, I’ve just finished crying. I’m warm and fuzzy from the wine I gave in offering (three glasses – Ancestors, Herne, Myself) and I’m so very glad I went ahead.

Samhain really is such an important date to celebrate. Many in the mundane world see the December holiday season as a way to catch up with family members you only see for one day a year. In a way, Samhain can work in a similar fashion to those who don’t honour their Ancestors as part of their day-to-day workings as I know many of us do.

It’s the opportunity to set aside time and reconnect when maybe we’ve been a bit distant, or busy with the mundane, or side tracked and off our normal path. When maybe we haven’t had a chance to light a candle, or give a toast, or to let them know how important a role they’ve played in our lives.

I’m so thankful I let Poppy know before he passed, and I’m so very thankful I had that final day spent with him, just the two of us in his room in Palliative Care. And I’m so very thankful I went ahead and celebrated tonight, as I got to hug him again, and see where he is in the Summerlands, and see my other Pop and Great-Grandparents…

And he still walked me out to the car when it was time for me to go.

4 thoughts on “Samhain (A toast to our Ancestors)

  1. Damn, I’m sorry to read that about your Poppy.

    I remember when I found out about my grandfather dying around Bealltainn of last year, and the worse part of it was finding out about it not from a family member, but from Facebook posts. Granted, I was thousands of miles away from that side of my family, having lived in a diffrent country from where I’m originally from for the past few years, but it still hurt. It was already over when I found out.

    And what hit me even harder was the fact that i never really got to know him; I never really knew that side of my family, and only really met him a few times before I moved.

    Taking the time to celebrate his life and passing during Samuinn was very special for me. While I never got to really know him in life, I spend a great deal of time with him in the Otherworld.

    Thank you very much for sharing this personal and powerful piece of writing with all of us.

    1. Poppy passed away at the beginning of March. Living interstate for the last 3 years means I only saw him during the Holiday period, so it’s a little easier for me to cope.

      My husband had a similar thing happen that happened to you. It’s just an awful way of finding out. He found out his Nan died through a cryptic phone call, then was told about the funeral an hour after it had finished. So my husband, nor my MIL, got to attend her funeral. My MIL never got to say good bye to her mother.

      I don’t understand how people can feel that justified. I’m even feeling a little angry on your behalf. I just don’t get how people cannot inform others.

      1. Thanks, though that situation was a lot more complicated then what it seems (mostly because the diffrent parts of my family hate each other and my mother’s side of the family want nothing to do with my biological father’s side of the family and so things like this tends to happen.)

        Like I said, it’s not so much a big deal as far as my grandfather is concerned, but that’s probably because we aren’t as seperated as what we used to be when he was still fully connected to this mortal world.

  2. My Samhain this year was a joyful one, having not lost a single friend or family member. But I still managed to shed some tears, when my beloved Nan and Pop came to me in deep meditation. Honoring our loved ones in this way, really is a beautiful way to say goodbye and start the long road to acceptance. It is also wonderful and healing to establish that contact with them through the veil. I’m glad you went ahead with your Samhain and hope it begins your own path to healing.

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