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Learning from the leaves

There is a deeper spiritual significance that underlies the mainstream fascination with Hallow E’en, largely revolving around trick-or-treating, haunted houses, Hallow E’en costumes, and spooky fun.

When we look at the origin of Samhain (Summer’s end) it can be traced back to the ancient Celts who celebrated Samhain.  Samhain was the final harvest festival of the season, celebrated at the exact point between the Autumn Equinox, and Winter Solstice (around October 31st).  This period marks the end of the growing season, the entrance into winter months.  It is a powerful turning point in the cycle of the year, representing the cycle of life, death, and rebirth.  This is when the trees shed their leaves, animals go into hibernation, and the days grow short and cold.

Samhain is a celebration of the ending or death of a cycle, and entrance into the inwardly focused period of rest, and stillness that is winter.  It is a celebration of darkness. Not darkness as in “evil”, but rather a darkness that represents the unknown, the void, the subconscious mind, the realm of intuition, and all we cannot logically see or comprehend.

The ancient Celts tapped into this energy with rituals to celebrate death and to honor those in the afterlife, and to gain insight into the darker hidden realms of existence.  They believed that in integrating and accepting darkness, that the knowledge and power of the light was also renewed.

The Spiritual Significance of Hallow E’en Today

This is a powerful time then to honour and release all that has died, and to move onward from this reality.  A time to release and let go!

Autumn draws me into a reflective embrace. The misty air, the golden leaves, the noisy call of geese winging their way southward, all these lead me inward. I relish autumn’s quiet way of doing this. At the same time, I resist autumn. Mainly because it pokes “death” in my face everywhere I turn.
I don’t want to let go of summer’s warmth and energizing green. I resist the inherent message of impermanence reflected in this season.


If we want to be spiritually transformed it is essential to include letting go as part of our journey.
Each autumn I now seek inspiration from those dying leaves gathering in ever deeper layers on the ground.
As the trees let go of what enabled them to sip of the nourishing rays of summer sun, their falling leaves will eventually become a rich humus to nourish spring’s greening growth.
If I stay open to the inner and outer changes that naturally arise, (if I dance more and drag my feet less about impermanence), my life can be a nourishing source for personal and world transformation.

I hope the same for you.

©2018 Joyce Rupp – the quotation is from a Reflection on ‘Autumn and Impermanence’.


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