Samhain is a celebration from Ireland that honors ancestors and connects Pagans to the world of spirits. There are versions of Samhain celebrated all over the world, Dia de los Muertos, is incredibly akin to Samhain. Both are strong ancestor holidays, they encourage lanterns or light to guide the dead, and both have a type of “dumb supper” (honoring a loved one by leaving out a plate of their favorite food or beverage). Though these holidays have evolved (maybe some believe they “devolved”) contemporary Halloween is a beneficial holiday to include alongside Samhain. Halloween’s transformation into a horrorfest has been fascinating culturally and I have actually found it more challenging nowadays to say, “Can I please take Halloween off; it’s a religious holiday” than with any other sabbat. I would argue that traditionally, Samhain and other Pagan holidays with the same concept of ancestor worship were not focused as much on fear but on the celebration of past ancestors and reverence toward Fae and Otherkin. Halloween, however, is mostly about fear. Why is it important to face your fears? How can it impact your life? The same way we sometimes find ourselves putting in a sad movie when we need a good cry, or a comedy when we need a good laugh. Fear is another emotion and incredibly important one. This emotion is tied directly to our survival chakra, it’s connected to our Fight or Flight response; pure, raw, human instinct.
Watching those movies moves us to empathy emotions similar to good-ole Greek catharsis. We watch the horror movie, the music builds the characters do things that make us shout with opinions, but what would you actually do? Other emotions are often easier to practice managing. We learn how to cope with sorrow from a young age. However, fear is often avoided. This avoidance of fear does not prepare us for events in life that are actually scary. Fear is tricky because it’s not given the same treatment in society. Fear is something we see on the news or something we hear in the voice of a victim of abuse. Watching or listening to movies or songs for Samhain allows us to work through emotions that maybe we hide the rest of the year. If you’ve been trying to build your patience and zen this is a good time to get an outlet for anything that is pent up and needing a safe, healthy release.
Truthfully, it’s not just fear that could do with some attention on Samhain, it is a water sabbat, after all. This is an opportunity for you to consider which emotions could use more attention. Consider adding an emotional catharsis to this year’s Samhain event. Songs can empower you to face your foe head-on or allow you to dwell and meditate on an emotion. Movies are better for fear and sometimes a documentary is good for anger. That’s another emotion I would recommend working through on Samhain. Finding safe and healthy alternatives to breaking someone’s nose can be satisfying for everyone. Actually, I would substitute or add this exercise to your pre-ritual cleanse. Is there a movie that inspires some emotions? Or maybe, some songs? After you listen or watch the emotional instigator, meditate on the following:
When is the last time you experienced this emotion?
Why is it important in your life?
How do you or would you respond to the scenario presented?
Is it different then what you should do?
If you watch a scary movie and the end result is a nightmare walk yourself through those questions and focus on the last two. What *would* you do? Is it different than what you *should* do? How/why? If you realize, that yes, you should attempt a different approach, use that knowledge to empower you. You just problem-solved some other outcomes! Good job! Knowledge of yourself, having some plan in place is a sincerely, wonderful first step. Managing fear is empowering and I can’t tell you how much of a struggle it was for me. Paranormal Activity (the leaked version, not the theatrical one) did a number on me. I banished the place I was living, through up all kinds of sigils and the place smelt like Patchouli for weeks. Once I managed the fear and walked through it I developed a level head. Mind over matter. I took control of myself and didn’t let the emotion overwhelm me.
I hope you all have a happy and safe Samhain. Please remember to keep pets indoors!
Please share your favorite movies or songs for an emotional release. What movies do you recommend?
Big thank you and shout out to my Belladonna family, especially, Christopher, for pushing me to face my fears. Thank you for knowing when to hold my hand, and when to push me. Blessed be, always.