November is a deeply spiritual + mystical month. A time where, in the darkness, we find ourselves close to the unknown, the unseen, and the mysterious. In my last post, I described November as a void. An in-between time of liminal, transformational, otherworldly space. In addition to being this void of nothingness, November is also a time when many traditions mingle with the spirit world. And a time when we, too, just might dare to spend a few moments exploring the depths of our own souls, our dark sides, and the mystery of the otherworld. That is, the spirit world. And it only makes sense that we spend November considering + contemplating the mysteries of both life + death.
I suppose we could approach November with dread, irritation, and fear. It’s gray, dreary, dark, blah, uncertain, and so very dark (up here in Sweden we will have only 6 hours of daylight – today we have 8). But, when I think about the cycle of life, when I remember that the earth, Mother Nature herself, surrenders to the dark, then I release away all negative associations with the darkness of November and, instead, find a much deeper sense of safety, calm, and peace – even in the blackness and uncertainty of the dark. I recognize that this season, this time of the year, is also a part of the life cycle. It is a necessary part of our spiralic journey of growth, change, and evolution. And, if we want, it can be a deeply spiritual month as well.
So, in November, I light candles, gather in the warmth of home, and let the darkness envelop me. I take on the pace of nature and lay down on the deep, dark earth. Aligning my own life with the cycle of nature. Anchoring + grounding myself. Accepting, with grace + humility + gratitude that this is my time to root. And rest. And renew. And I must do this… if I want to be reborn when the spring returns.
And now I have set the November mood for myself. I have settled into the dark + embraced the void. So, it is now time to welcome the unknown, the mystical, and the mysterious. It’s time to celebrate the spirit of November.
And to get started, we need to go back to Halloween.
The celebration of Halloween is actually historically connected to the day after – All Saint’s Day, which is a day of remembrance of all of those who have gone before us. A day to celebrate the spirits of our loved ones.
Halloween actually means All Hallow’s Eve (All Saint’s Eve). The night before we hallow (celebrate, honor, remember) the saints (a.k.a hallows).
On Halloween night, the ancient tradition was to light candles + leave offerings to the dead. Over the years, the United States has turned that originally spiritual, spirit-filled night into a candy-filled celebration for children (of all ages!). And then, somehow, over the years, Halloween + All Saint’s Day have been separated and completely misunderstood.
Today, societies celebrate Halloween with parties + trick-or-treating and Christian churches around the world celebrate All Saint’s Day on November 1. And most people think that Halloween and All Saint’s Day have nothing to do with each other, but the truth is that they are deeply connected. Halloween is not evil + All Saint’s Day is not a new Christian tradition.
Instead these days are tightly interwoven and serve as the threshold into the darkest times of the year. The time when Mother Earth herself has surrendered to the end of the cycle of life and returned to a state of dormancy + rest.
And what better way to enter this deep, restful, mysterious, dark, mystical time than by taking time to remember those who have died, ponder our own mortality, and honor our ancestors, regardless of what spiritual tradition we belong to? The energy of this time of year is all about endings, wrapped in the mysterious + mystical.
In Sweden, All Saint’s Day is always celebrated on the Saturday between Oct 31 + Nov 6. And it is a special celebration for many throughout the country. Loved ones travel to cemeteries to light candles + live gifts and offerings to the saints, family members, and friends who have died. It is a magical, holy experience to walk through cemeteries glowing with candles by the graves.
Last night, as we often do on All Saint’s Day, Lina and I walked through the dark November air to a cemetery to honor all of our loved ones who are no longer living. It doesn’t matter if or where they are buried and resting, just being in a sacred space gave us a chance honor + remember the saints in our lives.
This is how we enter spirit of November. Through the portal of Halloween + All Saint’s Day. By falling down into the darkness, with a sacred holiday that celebrates the lives of all of have died. We know, in our heart of hearts, that this season is necessary. That the unknown, the mysterious, the mystical, the spiritual, the quiet + dark + contemplative mood of this month is a part of the cycle of life. But, damn how we try to avoid it. We are so freaking scared of the dark + the unknown, to be honest.
But, as November begins with the celebration of the saints that have gone before, I believe that it is an invitation to follow nature way down into the deep, mysterious spirit of the season… for we are not alone. All of those we love, all of our saints + heroes + ancestors, follow with us. They inspire + love + perhaps even watch over us. I have no answers to these mysteries, but I feel the presence of my ancestors + loved ones, if only in my memories and dreams.
This year, I want to carry with mystical presence of the spirits with me all month long… as a reminder of the cycle of life, my own mortality, and mystery of the inspiration of those who have gone before. I want to dwell in the darkness and welcome the deep, mystical spirit of November into my home, my soul, and my everyday life.
So, this November, it is my intention to carry the magic + mystery of Halloween + All Saint’s Day with me all month long. I plan to focus my morning meditation time on honoring my ancestors, sit in the silence of the dark, stretch my roots way down into the earth, look for the mystical in the regular moments of life, create slow, hearty recipes from my grandmothers’ recipes, let wisdom rise from within, and find plenty of time to rest in the candlelit, warmth of my home.
The mystical, dark spirit of November is not just a part of the cycle of the year that has to be accepted. In embracing + settling into November’s energy, I believe that it sets the mood for a very meaningful, deep, magical holiday season. Not to mention, during these months of darkness, we are planting seeds, growing deep roots, and renewing our bodies + souls… readying us for the busy activity of spring that will return in a few months time.
So, here’s to wishing you the joy of creating the spirit of November in your own life all month long. xoxo. liz.