Straddling the line between fall and winter, life and death, Halloween is a time of celebration and superstition. It is thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts.
Halloween, also spelled Hallowe'en or Allhallowe'en, is a derivation of All Hallows' Eve, the eve before the Western Christian feast of All Hallows (or All Saints) which is observed on November first. In the Middle Ages, many Christians held a folk belief that All Hallows' Eve was the "night where the veil between the material world and the afterlife was at its most transparent.”
The Chinese don’t celebrate Halloween per se, but they do have several festivals or “days of the dead.” They believe that on these days there is more of a bridge between the dead and the living. Some celebrations are geared towards taking precautions from attacks or pranks by ghosts, while others are about honoring and worshiping their ancestors.
While Halloween in America has evolved into more of a commercially driven event geared mainly at children, many of us still feel a deeper connection to this transition between growth (spring and summer) and decay (fall and winter). It is traditionally a time of slowing down and inner reflection and yet our busy, modern lifestyles do not allow much time for aligning with these inevitable seasons of change, the natural rhythms, and cycles of life.
If you find yourself caught in the discord of doing versus being, perhaps a gentle reminder is in order. It could be that you use the cycles of the moon to “check in” with yourself. New Moon – get something done; Full Moon – let it be. This is a fun, easy reminder for me to re-connect with nature. Or you can schedule “just be” breaks in your daily or weekly agendas (set your phone alarm - highly recommended). Or go all out and “unplug” for a period.
Whatever your method, know that when we are in harmony with the rhythms of nature, we begin to experience more balance in our day to day lives. In fact, this is a core principle of Feng Shui. This Halloween, after the costumes and candy are put away, I hope you will take the time to consider how you might invite more balance and harmony into your life. Happy Halloween!