Today my three-year-old daughter and I went to another pumpkin festival. At my favorite nursery, they not only carried a huge variety of pumpkins and gourds, Indian corn, and local fruits and veggies, they had a bouncy castle and a straw bale maze! My daughter is just getting into the fall/Halloween thing. Next I get to teach her about Samhain, the celebration of the healing darkness and the honoring of our ancestors. Since my dad recently crossed over, this will be a particularly poignant Samhain for me.
I'm finding it fascinating to see how my daughter has no fear of death. When we find a dead animal or bug, she is more curious than sad or afraid. It was the same explaining when my dad died: his body got sick and it was time for his spirit to move on. She accepted this without asking the otherwise ubiquitous Why? Death is as natural to her as babies being born out of a mommy's yoni, Mommy's moonblood, and other cultural unmentionables.
I love fall, and I love teaching my curious and smart daughter about autumn and her rituals. We've talked about why leaves change color and fall off (the green fades as it gets cold, the other colors shine through, and then the tree needs to be bare leaves to get ready for snow). We've carved one pumpkin, which invited a squirrel into the dining room to chew off its face, and then it turned moldy on the inside. We both loved the preschool science experiment of a moldy pumpkin and squirrels preparing for winter, just like the trees.
What we are celebrating and what my daughter is learning is that life ebbs and flows. The garden goes to sleep in fall, as do trees, bears, and frogs. Then we come inside and eat squash, pumpkin, and apple cider. Ghosts are fun, witches powerful, and the beautiful mother moon shines on us as we move into the dark of the year.
May you and yours be blessed this autumn by the bounty of the earth and the balm of cool weather.
And may my friends Down Under be filling with the blooming of Beltane!
Friday, October 10, 2008
Settling in Towards Samhain
Written by Clea Danaan
Clea Danaan grew up in the Pacific Northwest; she now lives in Colorado. she is the author of five books relating to nature-centered spirituality and natural family living. She writes about nature mysticism, chickens, homeschooling, permaculture, and more. Her books have been published in more than six countries and translated into several languages, including French and German.