As September has rolled into October, the darkness continues to grow leading up to Samhain. Each year as the wheel turns to this season, I’m learning to not be so afraid of the dark anymore, but to embrace the deep lessons that lie within. The green leaves change to red, yellow, and orange, a sign that winter is right around the corner. A lesson in letting go of the old, and holding on to those things that help us survive through the cold dark winter. There’s nothing to fear in the dark, except the shadows that we must face within ourselves. The darkness removes distractions, and forces me to face myself; nobody but me. This is where I thrive. I’ve always loved the darker months of the year, and the holidays that mark these special moments of transition and initiation. The excitement I feel within is evident by my need to decorate my home and to immerse myself in the spirit of the season. Samhain marks the final death; a sacrifice of the old, and an initiation into the dark womb of the Goddess. She is the great mother and the source of all life. It’s a return to the primal state, stripping away all that is rotted and dead, in preparation for a new birth. Nothing can remain but the pure essence within our core. Halloween is the witch’s holiday, instilling fear in those that do not understand, but giving joy and excitement to those who partake of this magical time of year. The carving of pumpkins, the soft glow of candles, the ghouls and skeletons we hang in our homes, all serve as reminders of the mystery and magic that is all around us. Even non-believers feel a sense of the supernatural when the cool breeze blows under the full moon. Halloween is a time when I truly feel myself, and as each passing year comes and goes, I’m left with a new understanding of who I am, and I’m reassured that magic is real.
Contemplation is something I do quite often. I’m a thinker. I always have been and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon. I look back over my life and evaluate where I’ve been, things that I’ve experienced, and every once in a while wish certain events would’ve happened a little differently. But since I began this journey not too long ago, I can honestly say there isn’t anything I would change about my life up until now. Even those events that I used to wish could be different, I can see that those were the most important of all in leading me to where I’m at now.
As a young boy, I can recall telling my mom I had psychic powers, and I also believed I could speak to animals. I can remember every year wanting to be a witch for Halloween, only to be ridiculed and told that only girls could be witches. I usually settled for being a “warlock,” which in my 10 year old mind was the only word I knew to describe a male witch. Growing up in a strictly Christian home, it makes me wonder where all these notions came from, and why I believed these things about myself. I’m of the belief that anybody can practice the Craft and there are no “naturally born” witches, but can there actually be something within us that calls us to the Craft even at such a young age? I have always been an outcast and way ahead of my years, so I wonder if these ideas were my natural reaction to feeling left out and just a way for me to feel powerful. I try to be open-minded and not too critical of these experiences, and maybe it’s not my place to question, but I’ve encountered so many memories of these early magical experiences that I can’t help but give them some attention.
As I grew and learned that these magical “fantasies” had no place in the real world, I let them go only to have them return these many years later. I’ve encountered many authors who describe coming to the Craft as a feeling of returning home, and I can totally relate to that now. It’s a return to those innocent beliefs that I held as a child, untainted by the influences of a modern society. As an adult I do understand that many of those beliefs originated from the ignorance of youth, but I now feel that the true magic of Witchcraft is realizing that there actually is some greater force out there who embedded these beliefs within me. I say this not to try to prove anything to anyone, or claim having some kind of special powers granted to me. Finding the Craft has allowed me to return to a place within that was closed off from the world a long time ago, a place where my true self has waited for my arrival. I believe that once we find that place, we are forever changed, and there is no turning back.