So hurricane Sandy has come and gone and my family is left without electricity. I spent the first day trying to take the romantic view and imagine that I was getting a feel for what life was like for my ancestors, but around the second day reality set in - my ancestors lived in homes designed without electricity, heated by fireplaces, with hearths to cook on. I do not. I am still trying to make the best of the situation, such as it is. As I have only random internet access when not at home I'm not in a position to put up any in depth blogs, but I will share how I have spent the first two days of Samhain and my plans for today.
My town canceled trick or treating, as 90% of people have no power, and rescheduled it for next Monday. My children were very disappointed so I decided to make the best of it. We bought some candy and the girls trick or treated from room to room, which they enjoyed very much. Then we huddled around my laptop and watched It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown as a family, which was also more fun than anticipated. Finally we held a small but meaningful ritual for the first night of Samhain were we honored the wandering dead and the daoine sidhe. A small food offering was left out and the girls went to bed. I stayed up and held a second ritual to renew my oath as a Druid of the White Oak, a yearly practice since my initiation. This year I found myself reflecting more on everything that has come to pass in the past year, the things that have changed and the accomplishments and personal challenges that have filled my life.
Last night, the second night of Samhain, we celebrated especially in honor of the Dagda and the Morrigan and their joining on Samhain before the second battle of Maige Tuired. I told the children stories about the Morrigan and the Dagda and talked about who each deity was and why we honor them. The girls shared that their "favorite" goddess is Brighid and we ended up talking about the Tuatha de Danann at some length, with me telling stories about different deities. My oldest daughter asked if there was a goddess associated with deer because she said she had dreamed about one, so I told her what I could about Flidias. We lit candles for the Gods and a special incense blend that I had made for the holiday as well and all in all had a very nice, if casual, ritual.
Today is the third day of Samhain, the time when Irish folk belief tells us that our beloved dead come back to visit. Tonight we will set out an extra plate for any who visit and an extra chair. We will light the candles on the ancestor altar and I will tell my children stories about each of their family members who rest there, as many as I can remember for as long as they will listen. The dead never truly leave us until they are forgotten.