On the eve of October 31st, many of us celebrate the age old Gaelic festival known as Samhain, the third and final harvest, which marks the halfway point between the Fall Equinox and the Winter Solstice. Historically this is the time when the harvest dwindles and the Winter frost takes over. The nights are getting longer as we move towards darkness. Hibernating animals such as bears, bats and snakes are fattened up for a long winter’s rest and the seeds of next year’s harvest lie dormant in Mother Earth. It is a time when growth stops in order to gain strength for next Spring's rebirth. On this magikal holiday, while children are scurrying through dark streets in mystical costumes collecting treats and inhaling the exhilaration of the night, others are making altars and fires to celebrate the spiritual new year.
It’s fitting to prepare an altar laden with final harvest fruits and vegetables such as squash, pumpkins, pomegranates, figs and dates. This is also the day to place pictures of loved ones' passed with roses or marigold flowers to honor them on the altar. In addition, one can place statues of deities such as Isis, Kali, Hekate or Ganesh.
As a celebratory treat I like to bake a Samhain bread, which is a delicious, organic pumpkin bread of choice ceremoniously mixed with roasted spices, enchanted with a conjured melody, infused with Reiki and blessed before baking. For an extra special offering, I may add rose petals or lavender to the mix. Traditionally it’s nice to make a harvest soup with corn or squash in addition to baking bread.
In pre-COVID times I loved to gather with like-minded friends or a sisterhood for ceremony. Whether alone or with family, this is a good time to have a ritual, call upon helper guides and invoke divine blessings for this time of deep transformation. If a fire is possible, let’s blow our troubles and all matters we want to let go of into a stick and throw it into the burning embers. We may speak out loud what we are needing to let go of to make room for new growth and perception. This is a time to pray and dance, sing and drum, cry and laugh.
And then we feast, in gratitude for the blessings and the teachings of the past year as well as the new cycles and the seeds we are nourishing to be planted on the Winter Solstice.
As we enter the darkest quarter of the year, we find ourselves in the most liminal time of our seasonal cycle. In this part of the world, which was once part of Mexico, we are preparing to celebrate Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and All Souls on November 2nd. This is a time to honor, mourn and remember those who have passed. We dress up like the dead and commemorate loved ones who have passed with ceremonies and rituals where we light candles and incense on shrines and leave offerings of food and momentos. It is a healthy tradition rooted in Latin American culture that allows us to face and demystify the great western taboo of death.
Here are some suggestions on how to honor this tradition:
In our part of the world, close to the border, we are blessed to have a strong Mexican tradition that demystifies the Western taboo of death. Here in Tucson, Arizona we wear costumes and paint our faces to resemble death and walk together as a community in an All Souls Procession to remember, mourn and honor the inevitable cycle of life.
Although I outlined rituals and traditions that can be done on specific days, this potent time continues over the coming weeks. Before the Winter Solstice (December 21st) we want to evaluate where we are in life. It’s an opportunity to ask ourselves:
What have I accomplished since last Samhain?
What is working?
What is not working?
What changes need to be made in order to move towards my next stage in life?
We also always remember to have gratitude for the life we have been given.
I am honored that over the last few years, my ability as a natural perfumer has increased and most compositions download as a near-complete formula. This is why the Bastet Perfume Society was birthed - it gives me the exquisite opportunity to work with some of the rarest and most exotic essences on this planet.
#1 - Samhain Perfume (formerly All Souls) is formulated to open portals and transport you to other realms. Magikal Spikenard, light-bearing Marigold, and safeguarding Elderflower are at the core of this transformative potent perfume potion. Anoint your Third Eye, throat, and wrist, and get ready to fly.
#2 - Anubis Perfume was formulated to embody the Egyptian protective shaman-priest who guides mortals from one realm to another. Anubis watches over and guides the souls of the dead on their journey from the physical realm to the afterlife. Anubis was built around sacred Myrrh and Frankincense to help instill trust in what comes afterlife as we know it. Together with divine Rose, we will be guided to the deeper realms beyond this world.
#3 - Hekate Perfume was created to evoke this ancient Greek goddess that serves as a guide for safe passage through the underworld. Created around the highly spiritual Indian Spikenard oil, Joy-inducing Clementine, and spicy Pimento Berry. Inhale deeply and let the transformative aroma of Hekate usher you through the mountains, valleys, and crossroads of the upcoming winter season.
#4 Kali Perfume was created to provide the courage needed to go beyond our limitations, free ourselves from Earthly attachments, and cast away illusions. Patchouli and Violet Leaf provide a powerful foundation for this dramatic, wild, transgressive goddess. Jasmine centers her in the divine feminine, while a touch of Allspice gives her audacious fierceness.
#5 -Ganesh Perfumewas created as an ally to help end the cycle of transformation, remove the remnants of our emotional debris, and make room for the blessings of the new season ahead. Herbaceous Rosemary and zesty Lime are at the forefront of this aromatic creation, encouraging Neroli brings heart energy to our missions, while Turmeric conjures the healing wisdom of the far east.
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