It is that time of year again, as the veil thins and the spirits of the dead move through the land and the world remembers that witches exist. Sure, we’re around all the time, but mostly people forget until Samhain approaches, and then suddenly we’re meant to perform our witchness for them.
Okay, so witchness isn’t a word, I get that, but still it’s not that they want to understand who we are, what we do and all that…they want us to be a “witch,” to live up to their expectations of what a witch actually is.
I identify as a witch. I have for quite some time. My daily life is pretty mundane: I work, I write, I travel (having just gotten home from Denver and a conference for women/nonbinary in SFF). On occasion, I commune with the spirit world, light a few candles on my altars.
Come Samhain, I dress up in costume and participate in the secular traditions of Halloween, as much as allowed by my living situation and workplace allowances (tomorrow I’ll be dressed as a Jedi for work)…then I come home and I light a few candles, set out some food to entice the beloved ancestors to stop by my house, and I read or watch movies until it’s time for bed. I may even open a bottle of wine or whiskey, pour out a little for the ancestors and such.
If there is time, I offer up tarot readings, because it’s a good time of year for it.
But, I’m a witch all year, not just at Samhain. And I do these things (minus the dressing up, though I do that sometimes just for fun) all the time. I’m not performing my witchness for anyone, I’m just being a witch.
All that said, Samhain is a time to look back, and look forward. It is a time of reflection on what has been and a time of planting seeds for what is to come. The old year ends, the wheel turns. Summer fades and Autumn settles us in to prepare for Winter. It is a sacred night when the harvest is done and the feast prepared.
And it is a night when kids of all ages dress up as their favorite super hero, princess or space man, skipping from house to house in echo of the past, and we, witch or not, praise them for their clever disguises and offer them candy and other treats as recompense for their tacit agreement to leave off the curses they might otherwise feel compelled to whisper into the night.
So, blessings to you, in this season of the witch. May your final harvest be plentiful and feed you well through the winter season. May your fallow fields lie unspoiled and resting until the time comes to plant. May you dream the dreams of your people and may you commune with your beloved dead in peace.