Samhain was the first “pagan” holiday I was drawn to. – it being close to Halloween (my favorite of all holidays), connection to ancestors, and it just seemed like the most witchy of holidays. And in my pre-teen mind, that was awesome. Because witchery and some pagan holiday that I could claim were great. It made me feel like I was part of something, because it was a holiday that wasn’t Christian. It was from before Christianity. Of course, that was just me being a pre-teen and being totally wrapped up in the mythology of it all. Also, I started off totally on board with the Wheel of the Year as an over-arching pagan thing.
I know better now. Samhain is not Halloween. It is not over-arching. And I’ve dropped it from my personal repertoire. I don’t have the connection to Samhain and the idea of it as a pagan holiday that I had when I was younger.
I have a connection to an idea of connecting with my ancestors. Some of my immediate family are not always the most pleasant or welcoming of people. And really, when you think about how a lot of pagans talk about honoring their elders, parents, family, etc…I cannot relate to that much. I have family members, still alive, who were abusive. And some of my recently deceased family were abusive or less than kind to my family. So I cannot relate to an idea of just openly accepting all family. I have to be selective in my daily life, so I should be just as much so in my idea of honoring my deceased family.
And somehow, Samhain seems a bit too inclusive. (Which might very well be just my childish misunderstanding of the day from my readings. But it’s somewhat indelibly ruined for me.)
I feel more of a connection with the idea of All Hallow’s Eve. – which is admittedly hilarious, considering I’m not a Catholic and I’m not interested in honoring saints. But for some odd reason, that holiday has always been more acceptable for me, and I’m not sure why. Perhaps its some sort of hold over from my family when they were Catholic. Because I do have vague reminiscings of hearing things about saints and honoring them. Not much, and I don’t know that my family was ever very serious about the whole thing–not recently at least, but I kind of feel a familial connection.
Also though, as I do not follow a Gaelic pantheon or path, I feel slightly out of sorts to use Samhain. Which might be a bit of a hangup without reason. I’m not sure. I just, as I diverged completely from my interest in different Gaelic pantheons, I kind of naturally, on top of all the other reasons, drifted away from interest in Samhain.
I’m still interested in honoring my ancestors, but it has to be done in a different way for me. I like an idea of it. But it has to be tailored. And the “witchy” aspect of Samhain is not really there fore me anymore. I’ve got other ideas for that aspect in my mind.∗