Deepen your connection to yourself and nature by taking part in sacred celebrations which honor the passing of time and the seasons. By doing so, we solidify our place in this universe. These observances allow us to slow down and savor each season, each magical moment.
October is in full color here in Eastern Connecticut, where the hills are awash in gold and orange and red. This likely will be the last week of brilliant colors. The air is already much colder than it was last week and soon enough the world will be shades of softly muted browns and grays, as we wait quietly for winter’s arrival. Is it getting cold where you live?
Did you know that many of our ancestors’ deep connection with nature led them to celebrate eight important days marking the transition between seasons? These days were so meaningful that a variety of cultures all around the globe considered these days auspicious, magic, and deeply sacred.
These days make up the Wheel of the Year and celebrate nature’s natural rhythms and seasonal shifts. Samhain, Yule, Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane, Litha, Lughnasadh and Mabon mark the transition from one season to the next.
BUT as industrialism, capitalism, monotheism, and modern technology progressed, human beings severed their connection with nature. Some cultures forgot or neglected the observance of nature-based spiritual rituals; others were forced to surrender their spiritual practices altogether. Over time some seasonal holidays became commercialized while others fell off everybody’s radar except those who understand nature’s cycles.
One of these commercialized holidays is Halloween, known as Samhain by some of our ancestors and means “Summer’s End.” It is the third and final harvest feast and festival. Likewise, it goes by many names, Halloween, Day of the Dead, Third Harvest, and Hallow tide. Samhain not only celebrates the final harvest before winter, but also celebrates lost loved ones, and the beginning of Winter.
Another commercialized holiday is Christmas, but is known as Yule by those who look at that time of year through a nature-based lens, which goes back to the ancient practice of celebrating the winter solstice. Whatever your religious background, Winter Solstice offers a perfect opportunity to get together with family and reflect on the year that has gone and the year to come. If your family have different religious beliefs, Winter Solstice is a good chance to be together and celebrate a non-denominational festival, a time of gratitude for Nature’s cycles.
These ancient celebrations prove that our ancestors were more connected to the Sun than we are today. They observed its pathway across the sky; they tracked how the sunrise, sunset, and day length changed, using the Sun (and Moon) as a clock and calendar.
When we honor the seasons, we recognize that life is made up of a series of changes and challenges. We come to understand things like death, aging, and decay in a positive light. We can then find peace rather than fear in the uncertainty of change, and this opens up our potential to be happy just as it is.
Are you interested in honoring the seasons and learning more about the other seasonal and sacred celebrations observed by our ancient ancestors, or ways to connect with nature through seasonal living?
Here are a few articles to get you started:
- Samhain: The History, Folklore & Magical Meaning Of The Final Harvest
- The Best Guide To Understanding The Wheel of the Year
- 10 Powerful Rituals For Autumn Equinox: Celebrating The End Of Summer
- Autumn Season: 8 Tips for Hosting a Magical Fall Gathering
- Seasonal Living: 13 Best Ways to Connect With Nature
- Celebrating Harvest Season and the Festival of First Fruits
- Lughnasadh and Lammas: Celebrating The First Harvest
- 6 Powerful Beltane Plants & the Folklore of the Season
- Litha: The Incredible History, Lore & 20 Ways to Celebrate
- The Magical Time of Nature Awakening and the Celebration of Imbolc
- Joyous Holidays: A History and Introduction to Yule
I hope this has been an introduction to the sacred celebrations of nature and a renewal of curiosity about their meaning.