For a year and a half our family hosted and organized a Montessori preschool co-op. During this time Ms. Terri, our beloved Montessori guide, taught me that when the seasons change the children like to get outside and run wild. They sense in their bones the shifting of the seasons and need to release the energy.
I can relate.
I wonder if many of us can—even if we work and live far removed from the energy of children. Culturally we spend more money on Halloween than any other holiday than Christmas.
And here in Texas— a borderland of cultures—we can witness of vibrant collage of holidays which mark this shift in seasons: Halloween (Oct 31), All Saints/Dia de los Muertos (Nov 1), and All Souls (Nov 2). These holidays mark a triduum, or three day celebration, of the feasts historically known as All Hallows and All Souls. (Halloween is the vigil of All Hallows.)
Collectively they represent the night face of our quest for meaning and mystery. Derived from ancient rituals they invite us to consider the masks we wear, our fears, and our desire to live into the wisdom of ancestors. And what better way to confront a deeply rooted anxiety about winter and growing hours of darkness than to have a big celebration?
Like most holidays Halloween/All Saints/All Souls is an invitation to enjoy some time outside of the hectic flow of regular life.
Here are a few ideas for how to honor that invitation:
Make an Ancestor Mobile
I love the vibrant Day of the Dead altars covered with marigolds, candles, and photos of loved ones. (Here’s a guide to making your own.) With small children at home (likely to knock over picture frames and making candles a fire hazard) I found a different way to honor our family ancestors– by creating a family tree mobile. This is one I made for my sister when her son was born but it is also a good activity for this time of year. Mobiles have the added benefit of being so easy, just print out doubles of black and white photos (ask the family historian to email you digital copies if you don’t have any already), glue them back to back (so as they turn you still see the photo), push a pin through to make a hole and string up with fishing wire to a shapely branch.
While you create– meditate on the wisdom of your departed ones and consciously draw it into your own life. This could be as simple as remembering how your Granny made a great pot of beans and always shared what she had and wondering how you can live into that spirit of hospitality.
No time to get creative? Celebrate the shift in season by buying a pumpkin whose color and heft you love and putting it on your porch, setting up a picture of a departed loved one with a candle in your window, or stocking up on some Fair Trade chocolate to share with trick-or-treaters.
These are all ways to note that the change in the environment (days cooling, leaves falling) is mirrored within. We are each a work in progress with times to grow and blossom in the sun and times to draw back to the warmth of an interior fire.
I wonder what ways you might find to get into the season?
PS Need some help crafting your own home traditions? Contact me for details about a one on one session full of creative resources to help you live the poetry of the seasons!