Updated: Oct 30
Often Samhain or Halloween is celebrated on the 31st of October, yet true astrological Samhain falls when the sun is at 15° in Scorpio which will be on Tuesday the 7th of November this year. I have written about the shadow aspects of Halloween or Samhain before, which can be read about in this blog here. For these reasons I prefer not to put my energy into public ceremonies or events, since there are some who use these times to connect with, (or evoke) dark forces whether consciously or unconsciously. I prefer just to quietly acknowledge the season of autumn at astrological Samhain and connect with the land and the ancestors and connect with the purity of this time - please trust your own intuition and Higher Self guidance and follow where you feel guided in each instance. In this post I am sharing how I have planned to connect with the land this year with a new wild rosehip recipe I have tried.
This Samhain there will be a lot of Scorpionic energy with Mars in his ruler-ship in Scorpio alongside Mercury, Ceres and the sun - it may be a time for powerful and transformative communication, which may have a bite and reveal hidden truths or secrets from the underworld of Scorpio (the subconscious.)
Ceres (Demeter) in Roman and Greek myth was the mother whose daughter Proserpina (Persephone) left Ceres every autumn to return to the Underworld to her husband Pluto (who is also the co-ruler of Scorpio in astrology,) which is rather apt. This myth was an important part of the Eleusinian rites of Ancient Greece in which the mother and daughter were studied as symbols of the changing seasons and the daughter's return from the Underworld brought about the coming of spring and end of winter.
Harvest time can be a beautiful time to honour all the fruits and work of the spring and summer but it also represents a time of letting go, reflection and allowing any patterns to fall away that no longer serve us as we prepare for the stillness of winter - Scorpio has highly transformative, mutable energy and we see this all around us as the leaves and plants fall and transform into mulch and eventually soil. It is from death, that things can be reborn and it is a vital part of the life cycle. The Scorpio sting can be painful at times but it can show us any egoic patterns or shadow work that need to 'Fall' away and has kind intentions at heart for our growth and evolution, as we prepare for the sun's 'birth' at Winter Solstice and the quiet, meditative times of winter and a new cycle. It can be important to do seasonal things in autumn and winter in particular to allow the body to adjust to the transition and to harmonise with the external changes, colder temperatures and less sunlight. For those in the south hemisphere, this time is your spring and you may wish to work with the polarities of the energies here.
Working with the ancestors can be a powerful way to feel connected to the land and the earth - from our ancestors we carry all the wisdom of our DNA, yet we also inherit their weaknesses and mistakes from centuries of patriarchy and power abuse on this planet. By transformation, we can evolve and no longer repeat any outdated or limiting patterns which no longer serve us. Our ancestors can remind us our hidden memories, gifts, esoteric wisdom, knowledge of the stars, and the bones of stories which can empower us - sometimes these bones may be covered in layers of dirt which we need to remove first - but they are there, waiting for us to find them.
Samhain and All Hallow's Eve
The following is from my blog here about the traditions of Samhain (some of which have very dark origins):
"The word is Gaelic and it is thought to derive from the Proto-Celtic word samoni, meaning assembly or reunion and was a festival to mark the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter - the 'darker' months. It was also believed that during this time, the veil between the worlds was at its thinnest, meaning that the spirits could move into our world and in pagan rituals, the spirits were appeased with food and offerings. This festival was therefore also a time to honour the dead and the ancestors and perhaps explains the connection with the word samoni - a time of 'reunion,' when people could reunite with passed loved ones....The celebration of Halloween or All Hallow's Eve happens on the 31st of October with very similar archetypal themes and some believe the pagan festival of Samhain was Christianized since, originally, commemorations of the saints were held in May - this was changed to the 1st of November in the 8th century and by 835 it was the official date in the Frankish Empire, likely due to the Celtic influence of Samhain. Halloween marks the Christian feast of All Hallow's Day and is a time to remember all those who have died including the saints."
Millions of Pumpkins in Landfill
In celebrating the seasons, I like to keep it simple and avoid waste - I have a little (uncarved) pumpkin grown from the garden by my neighbour sat on my table and I also have made some rosehip syrup (and soup) collected from the land in order to connect with the season of autumn, the land and the ancestors - I have shared the recipe below.
In the UK alone, it is thought that 8 million pumpkins get dumped after Halloween with half of the consumers binning the flesh rather than cooking it or composting it. America has a similarly staggering tale of waste and it's estimated that 1 billion pounds (weight) of pumpkins get dumped in landfills every year in the USA.
Yet people might be surprised by the origins of this tradition and as I wrote in my blog on Halloween: "Jack o'lanterns (carved vegetables with lights inside) were named after the phenomena of will-o'-the-wisps (strange flickering lights found over peat bogs) and they were also associated with the story of Stingy Jack, who made a bargain with Satan and was then doomed to roam the earth with only a hollowed-out turnip to light his pathway. It is thought that the tradition began in Ireland and some believe that the faces represent spirits or are used to ward off dark spirits."
This website from the UK estimates that around 15.8 million pumpkins will get dumped this year and recommends buying smaller varieties such as squash which are tastier than the large carving varieties which are grown for size, rather than taste and to decorate them instead of carve them so that the flesh doesn't get wasted and the pumpkin stays fresher.
This autumn season I decided to get a bit more creative and celebrate the season, land and my ancestors by trying a new recipe.
Rosehip Soup or Rosehip Syrup
Rosehips have powerful medicine and are rich in vitamin C. Their bright red 'berry' appearance reminds me of the joys of autumn when they begin growing (and winter) and they come from the rose plant, bringing the medicine of the rose with them. Many of these rosehips come from the dog rose plant (rosa canina) and are a good tonic for the heart and heart chakra healing. They have an incredible aroma when cooked which is sweet and uplifting. I felt the warming chi of this syrup and made a small soup using some of the pulp afterwards - my whole body felt energised and refreshened.
The Dog Rose including its red rosehips.
In the UK, rosehips were traditionally made into rosehip syrup - a sweet sauce high in vitamin C which could be poured over pancakes or deserts. Rosehip soup is a Swedish tradition called nyponsoppa and it is usually served as a breakfast or sweet desert and potato starch is sometimes added as a thickener. The recipe is nearly exactly the same for both yet whereas the Swedish soup seems to include eating the pulp - the UK syrup remedy suggests to sieve out the pulp and just use the syrup water. The UK recipes mention itch inducing hairs found in the fleshy seed containing centre and therefore recommend sieving out the pulp - these hairs can get stuck in the throat and itch apparently. This website suggests scooping out the itchy hairs by taking out the seeds from the fruit if you wish to eat the pulp. The rosehip syrup was popularly eaten during the second world war in the UK when it was difficult to import fruits and get vitamin C and they were eaten to avoid scurvy.
The hill where I collected the rosehips.
1) Leave the rosehips to soften in water overnight or at least 5 hours.
2) Cut any hard rosehips in half.
3) Boil the rosehips in water for 20 minutes.
4) Strain out the liquid to remove it from the pulp. Multiple straining (with muslin ideally) is recommended to take out the irritating hairs.
5) Heat the liquid and add in a brown sugar, natural sweetener like dates or medicinal honey (I never buy honey from the shops, but only from a local beekeeper to support bee-keeping and take it very occasionally as medicine to connect with the land.) They contain their own natural sweetness so you can experiment with how much you add.
I made a small soup using some of the left-over pulp - I scraped out the seeds from the red pulp which contain the irritating hairs and then, using a pestle and mortar, mashed the pulp into a paste. I added some water and some of the syrup and heated it up. I then finished by adding some vegan yoghurt. It was delicious - it really has its own taste which is strong and aromatic and very warming and I managed to avoid sensing any itchy strands which was a bonus! I was amazed that something this simple (just three ingredients including the yoghurt) could be so tasting and nourishing.
Rosehip tea is made in a similar way - halving the hips, scooping out the seeds which contain the hairs and putting them in a teapot of boiling water - since they are naturally sweet you do not need to add anything. Enjoy and wishing you a peaceful autumn!
Joan in Flowerland by Margaret W. Tarrant and Lewis Dutton