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Source: http://www.naturalistsalmanac.com/

One of my desires is to realize a cyclic existence. For reasons of both upbringing and inherent appeal, the seasons of the year are one of the largest influences on this realization.

While seasons vary widely depending on where you live in the world, but their key influence, the Sun, goes through cycles no matter where you are (okay, fine – not the equator, but in those cases cultures that realize cycles have appealed to other celestial bodies, or weather patterns).

In American and European traditions, these cycles focused around the food cycle and survival. Particularly in temperate lands that experience winter, the season of the harvest, autumn, meant not only time of plenty, but a time of preparation for survival through the winter.

It is no coincidence, then, that we identify the cycle of the Sun with our own cycle of life and death. October the 31st is the day when the Sun begins its darkest period in the Northern Hemisphere (the darkest day being at the middle of the period – hence Midwinter), and so the holiday of Samhain or Halloween came to be as a ritual metaphor for the death of the Sun, and allows us a time to reflect and examine death.

Modern times have pressed upon us a linear existence, and it is this linear view has caused us to fear death as an ending, rather than as a change. But death is change, and if we fear death we also fear change, for the same reason that the ego will defensively strive towards permanent truth. This equation of death to change is not an attempt to avoid death as an ending. It is to say that if you consider death an ending, then you also consider change an ending, and if you fear one, you will fear the other.

Nor am I saying that you should “accept” change, or death, begrudgingly, as if it is something that we have to deal with but would rather not. I am stating that we should not merely accept it, but should embrace it. We do not celebrate the dark of the year merely to steel ourselves from the darkness, hoping only for the return of the light. We celebrate it to embrace death and change. For without them, existence would not be and we would truly be dead.

Happy Halloween.

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