This is a blog concerning the Hermetical Arts, such as Alchemia, Theurgia, Astrologia, which are the three Sciences composing the "Trivium Hermeticum". This is a very old Science, said to be created by Hermes Trismegist.
The feasts of the Natural Cycle are very old, nowadays it is a Celtic revival that takes place with the Halloween, or Samhain (from Wiccan perspective). This is a way to celebrate the different aspects of Nature and of the cycle in a social manner, but also in a ritualistic and sacred way. All the cycle is sacred, this is an important message. Of course, culture will interpret and live the cycle in its own manner, but as Alchemist or Hermetist, one must try to delve more deeply in the meaning.
The symbols of Halloween/Samhain
From an Alchemical point of view, we can analyse the feast of the Samhain thus :
Today it is also linked powerfully to the death part of the cycle, since Samhain is the end of the Celtic year. We see skulls, bones, tombstones, coffins, witches, demons, bats, spiders and spiders' webs, pumpkin heads and vampires everywhere... it is said to scare the deads, ghosts, and all the tenebrous night creatures, and thus they cannot harm the disguised one. But the symbolism, taken from an alchemical point of view is just amazingly rich and profound. We are in a world of living symbols, it is just amazing to see how the hermetical culture can live today via such feasts, and it’s really an enjoyment.
From the psychological side of the cycle, it is the moment when we know we will have a hard time. Sometime we can feel it coming. We know the Blackness is coming inside us, and we get prepared for it, winter and darkness, the time to rest in our psychic grave is coming. A necessary moment. Learning to die is not easy, since one have to loose his imaginary control over the cycle, and surrender to death. You learn that you cry only when you resist to death, the dead do not cry, they just rest, in peace (tombstones' RIP). In the dark, still. A lot of depressive people stay to bed. Bed is the symbol of a coffin. When we wake a dead on his bed, it is the same thing. But the coffin is not yet inhumed.
A coffin, is the 'vessel of nature', the bones, the "salt", the pumpkin, the living fire in the matter taking an horrible form, all demons and weird, horrible creatures are the matter transforming, and fixating (spider's web), the tombstone is a link to the secret fire, and ghosts to the Spiritus coming from the dead matter, the Spirit like a vampire, biting the matter and covering it of his black mantle and making of it a creature of the Darkness ... here we are, in full Nigredo !
Enjoy your Halloween, enjoy your death, meditate upon your own inner cycle of evolution, understand how death acts, and what it is finally. What death bring in your life, what it creates or destroy. An end, or a new beginning ? Simply a part of the cycle... different, but equally necessary to the others parts of the cycle.
The sacrificial part, or the killing of the animals for winter, is the multiplication of the Stone or simply the beginning of the cycle in the matter, the living beast is sacrificed on the altar, with the ritual knife of sword, the Secret Fire, creating a (new) Black. The colours of Samhain (pronounce "soween", yes it's gaellic ...) is the brown colour and the Black. Colours that one can witness in his vessel, when the darkness is coming, and taking the advantage upon the Red colour when it is a multiplication or when the matter is already red... but crude. That's why meat is cut, salted, or smoked, all these actions are the sacred and secret Fire's deeds.