Halloween: a special time for dreaming
It is easy to look around at Halloween and see nothing but an imported commercial American tradition that exploits children’s love of sweets and has little relevance for adults (unless you have a penchant for dressing up!).
But there is much more to this time of year than trick-or-treating, spooky costumes and pumpkins. Halloween can be a special time for dreaming.
Halloween itself, a contraction of “All Hallows Eve”, was traditionally a Christian ceremony, a holy evening before All Saints Day marked by vigils for recently departed souls. Even earlier in history, Halloween is linked to the Celtic festival of “Samhain”. Samhain was one of the four main festivals of the Gaelic calendar, marking the end of the harvest and beginning of winter, but importantly it was also a liminal time, when “the veil between worlds” was at its thinnest and fairies and spirits could move freely. It was a time for casting spells, for divination, for contacting departed loved ones and communicating with magical beings. The festival of the “Day of the Dead”, celebrated in Mexico and other Latin American countries, also falls on this day. This is a time for honouring our ancestors, and when departed relatives come back to visit.
At Halloween, we may be influenced by the strange images we see around us, and the latent fears or wonder these arouse in us, and that may enter into our dreaming mind.
So, what does all this have to do with dreams? When we work with our dreams, we also enter into a liminal space, a space where the normal rules of waking life do not apply. The subconscious mind we engage with in sleep is a dark and mysterious place, not unlike the “other worlds” celebrated at Halloween and peopled by spirits and magical beings; just as in our dreams.
Our subconscious also has another, less personal aspect, which is the “collective unconscious”. Here is where the shared memories of our families, our community and even culture are stored. Through dreaming, we can access the collective unconscious and interact with the experiences of our ancestors.
At Halloween, we may be influenced by the strange images we see around us, and the latent fears or wonder these arouse in us, and that may enter into our dreaming mind. But if the veil between worlds really is thinner at this time of year, it may also be a unique opportunity to explore the more mystical elements to dreaming. You may wish to conduct a personal ceremony and attempt to dream of a departed loved one, you could try calling on the help of spirits to have dream that meets a specific intention, or you might like to open your mind to receive the wisdom of your ancestors through your dreams.
Halloween does not need to be simply about children’s activities or sales in the stores. By working with dreams and exploring your own mysteries, you can rediscover the hidden sacred world that dwells within, and alongside us all.
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