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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Samhain
"The Veil Between The Worlds Is Thin"--What Does It Even Mean?

If you've been studying magic for a while, you've probably heard it a million times. For those in the Northern Hemisphere, in October - and particularly on October 31st (or Samhain) - the veil between the worlds is thin.

But what exactly is this veil? And why does it thin? And why does it matter?

As you may know, the realm of magic is something we understand through symbol, emotion, and vibration...Although it's important to remember that we never quite understand it, at least in the most literal sense. The divine, magical realm is always mysterious. By its very definition, it resides just outside our everyday consciousness and linear, reasoning mind.

This doesn't mean that we can't have a familiar, working relationship with all that is magical and mysterious, or that we can't draw upon it to create positive change. We absolutely can, and it works fabulously well. It just means that we can never quite put our finger on what exactly it is and how it works.

Of course, drawing upon magic to create positive change becomes much, much easier when we take the time on a regular basis - through things like ritual, communing with nature, and meditation - to tap into the divine/magical realm. When we do this, we remember that while we appear separate, we are in fact one with each other and with All That Is. Knowing this, we are empowered to wield our power to do things like energetically protect ourselves and manifest the conditions we desire. Additionally, things that appear like "cold, hard reality" in everyday consciousness - such as the separation of life and death, seen and unseen, known and unknown, as well as the linear and finite nature of time - are, quite obviously, revealed to be illusions.

And now we've arrived at what the veil is. It's the ethereal curtain between the everyday illusion of separation and the divine truth of eternity and oneness with all that is. When we meditate or perform ritual, or when we have a mystical experience of any variety, this curtain parts and we are able to gaze into the place of power, the place between the worlds.

And in October - particularly as we approach the end of the month - the Wheel of the Year naturally thins the veil for us so that it is easier to tap in and see the truth of interconnection, empowerment, and eternity.

Why? Because the days are getting shorter and the natural world is preparing to temporarily withdraw from the realm of life and growth. In other words, the harvest cycle is waning, but it's not gone. It's a transition, a doorway between the season of life and the season of death. We are reminded that in this realm, everything is in a state of flux. This allows us to see that beneath this realm of constant change, there is a wide open space of eternity. A place of stillness in which the appearance of change arises. A serene openness to which we will always return, and with which we are one, even at this very moment.

And that's why we love fall!

Its also why we naturally feel drawn to certain themes at this time of year, all of which correspond to the parted veil. Let's briefly examine a few of them.


There's no denying that at this time of year, whether or not you're magically inclined, death is the primary cultural symbol. Scary movies, ghosts, graveyards, zombies, and skeletons abound. And it's worth noting that for a culture that normally does its best to brush the topic of death under the rug (or to pretend that it's a freak occurrence that only happens to other people), this is rather astonishing. Also astonishing is that this time of year (which falls in May in the Southern Hemisphere) is rather consistently associated with death, across cultures and continents.

For three generations, my dad's side of the family has been in the funeral business. And I love visiting the Spanish style funeral chapel in my rural California hometown because it's always like October there: the veil between the worlds is always thin. It's a place where the transition between this realm and the other realm has been honored over and over and over again for decades. There is something about the way the sunlight shines through the windows that brings you smack into the center of eternity.

Black Cats

If you're friends with a black cat, you likely know that that consciously connecting with one can be like gazing beyond the veil of time and separation, and looking straight into the heart of magic. Why? I couldn't say.

It's (quite fittingly) a mystery.

And why do stray black cats like to make their home base the garage of my hometown funeral chapel? Besides the fact that my dad feeds them and takes care of them, that's a mystery too.

Although I'm sure it all has something to do with the fact that cats - particularly black cats - have been traditionally considered "psychopomps," or beings that assist with the transition from this realm to the next by kindly ushering souls into the spiritual realm.

Magic and Witchcraft

Finally, for magical practitioners and non-magical practitioners alike, magic and witchcraft are a favorite theme of the season. Naturally! As we've discussed, the place of power is between the worlds. It's the place where we remember that we can draw upon the unseen world to affect the seen world and vice versa. It's the place where we bravely gaze into the realm of death and transcend our fear so that we can draw upon the infinite power that is our birthright. Here, everything is illuminated with that special light that reminds us that mundane is the illusion and only magic is real.


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Celebrating Halloween in Spring


Halloween is tricky business in Australia. For those who wish to indulge in the treat of dressing up, eating lollies (the more common term for 'candy') and celebrating all things spooky, there are a few barriers to hammer against. Luckily for those who have gazed at the event with envy overseas, those barriers are slowly crumbling and Halloween has made its presence felt down under.

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"Remember who you want to be"

In the month of September I attended two Pagan Pride Days (I taught a workshop at one, met Selena Fox at another), attended an Equinox ritual, officiated a same-sex Pagan wedding, finally started my new career as a child and family therapist, and co-facilitated a ritual for World Goddess Day (to list just a few things).  In these past four, glorious weeks, it seems like my life has moved forward by leaps and bounds, but really, I feel like everything is spinning out of control.  Rather than celebrating, I find myself freaking out, closing myself off, and retreating.

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  • Connie Lazenby
    Connie Lazenby says #
    It sounds to me as though you are doing fine; great, even. I'm trying to find my balance after being in a constant state of flux

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[The Books of the Dead] A Prelude

Oh, yeah. The vault. That's where the stuff I can't handle goes. Kerplunk! - Finn, Adventure Time

For those of you who have been with me for long enough, you know I have an unsteady relationship with death.  I'm not one of those Witches who can see spirits, talk to ghosts and visualize the other side of the Veil.  Or really visualize very much at all, though that's improved a little over the years.  I tend to "see" things in words, song lyrics, poetry and emotions.  You can imagine how fun this was as a baby Witch where every exercise ever starts with "Visualize . . ."  My sister, the Divine Miss M, who is not a practicing Witch and not really all that Catholic, has a much more open dialogue with the other side than I do and does not spend her dreams with dead people telling them that they're dead like I do.  She catches omens, portents and prophecy at a rate that is completely annoying given that she's not into the occult.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I've read that the dead sometimes visit us in our dreams. If you haven't already got it in your collection of books you might wan

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Bone Collecting, so much nicer that saying I like dead things, sometimes without their skin.   but I digress a little.. Of late I have started to look at my wee bone collection and realise that I am a little bit of a bone collector, amongst all of the other things I do, like sewing modern tapestries of Ancient Gods and Magical Doorways.  It a Witch thing I am sure of it.  Samhain has just past here in New Zealand, so I figured that Bone collecting would be topical.  And it is time for me to begin awakening the newest bones to my collection, Albert the boar skull.

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PaganNewsBeagle 7 Most Read Stories of 2014

It's the last day of 2014, and today we look back at the a few of the most popularPaganNewsBeagle posts of the year (the Beagle started at the end of June, so this only covers the last six months of the year.) Margot Adler; Sumerian hymn, Stonehenge secrets uncovered; a deadly garden; Samhain -- how do you say it?; Silver Ravenwolf; ancient Greek mosaics.

A special edition of the Beagle in July covered the death of Margot Adler.

An ancient Sumerian hymn is uncovered: including the music!

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We take Samhaintide seriously here in the southern highlands of Appalachia.  There are rituals and ceremonies, discussions and interviews.  I am blessed to live in the land where my Ancestors lie buried and so I also have the sacred duty of tending their graves in the Darkening of the year.

Then there is the garden to put to bed and there were festivals and cons to attend and so I have been called away from here for some time. I will try to be more faithful to this writing as the Solstice vigil fires are set and fed, and as the winter lingers in the land.

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