Adventures in Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy and science of spirit. We are one you and I; are you curious why?..


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Hari OM
Story-day is for cultural exploration, puraanas and parables and finding out about leading lights in spiritual philosophy.

That which is known as Halloween/All Saints Day in the Christian calendar is actually an example of the church capitalising on pre-existing festivals, in the same manner as Yule becoming 'Christmas'. The Pagan festival in this case is Samhain.

Specifically, it covers the daylight hours of what we now call November 1st, however, like deepavalli, it can be extended over a period of three days/nights.

Samhain represents a period when the, it was perceived, the 'veil' (ether) is thinnest between this and the spirit worlds. Thus, it was considered a time to get in touch with those who had departed, to honour the ancestors. A festival of remembrance, one might say. Necessarily, this also acknowledges the cycle of birth, death, rebirth.

Samhain is the last of the three harvest festivals and is sometimes referred to as 'blood harvest', for it was generally the time that animals were slaughtered and preserved to see families through the winter months. 

This is also, traditionally, the time of apprenticeship for those learning the healers' arts and the rites and rituals of the occult.

It is not difficult to appreciate, this all having arisen within the Northern hemisphere, that the point between late autumn and early winter lends itself to introspection and 'hunkering in'. There are not many folk who would not admit a sense of something 'other' at this time of the year - even if they do not subscribe generally to matters of the spirit. There is often a stillness which falls upon the countryside and - to coin a phrase - a kind of hush comes upon the earth. Outside of cities that is! All these traditions, remember, came long before urbanisation.

This is a time, too, when the use of lamps or candles is strong. Whilst not a festival of lights as such, these lights play a large part in the various rites and customs of the period. On the main night, there is a call to the ancestors, that they come forth and make themselves known… it is this which got transmuted into 'ghosts and ghouls' and all that which is considered ghastly - another example of the church twisting things for the gain of drawing people into a 'place of safety'. Action which does not place the religious establishment in favourable light; for it ignores the value and benefit gained by those utilising the original practice. There is much solace to be obtained from communal remembrance and honouring of the departed.

As always, if we enquire deeply, we find much that is similar and familiar, despite the differences.

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Hari OM
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