This is easily my favorite time of the year. It’s the pause between the the rush of summer and the chaos of the holiday season. It’s the time to appreciate the stillness. I enjoy the shorter days and the crisp autumn air. I love the see the leaves floating down from the trees or twirling, suspended as if by magic only to realize they got caught in a spider’s web. I like to feel them crunch under my feet and the way they smell as they decay on the ground. I’m not much for raking unless it’s for a leaf pile for the kids to jump in. I prefer to let them complete their cycle and nourish the soil for Spring planting.

A little decay is good for us as well. Some things in life are meant to cycle and die. We can’t keep everything alive, nor should we try. Samhain is the last harvest festival of the season, the Witches New Year. On this cross quarter day it is time to enjoy what we have harvested and let the rest fall away to be reborn in another capacity. It is also a time to reconnect with ancestors and lost loved ones, to honor and visit with them. We set out a plate for them at dinner or honor them on our ancestral altar. We can ask for their assistance and guidance then bid them farewell until next time. They are not meant to stay. This is a time to revisit and asses our past year and put down what does not serve us or contribute to our growth. It’s prep time for the darkness. Celebrate with friends, dress up, have parties, eat candy, and carve pumpkins, then take a breath and go within. Get ready to settle into the dark part of the year and work on your own decay.

What have you neglected? What is left to nourish you? I feel like parts of us need to die and complete their cycle so we can come back shiny and new in the Spring. Confront and embrace the dark spaces within you. Don’t fear them. The darkness is part of us all and to deny that is to deny and important part of yourself and to be left unbalanced. I’m not suggesting that you become Michael Myers in your darkness. I’m suggesting that you acknowledge all of you, your whole self. Only then can you know yourself. You cannot grow and evolve if you do not know yourself. Look at your fears, your traumas, your weaknesses. Sit and face them. That is how you start to heal what needs healing. That is how you grow and evolve. It isn’t easy. In fact, it’s probably one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. It’s uncomfortable. It’s upsetting, sometimes excruciating. It always seems easier to accept flaws and weakness in our friends than it is to admit that we have those same flaws. Be gentle on yourself as you shine a light on your demons. Become friends with yourself. Talk to your ancestors during this time if you need their guidance or if healing your trauma means you need to confront them. Use this time of the thinning veil to do your inner work. The things you learn may surprise you.

I do have one last piece of advice before you begin. This work is taxing. Light a fire or just a candle. Grab a blanket, get cozy and save some of the offerings that you bought to give the roaming neighborhood goblins. Confronting your darkness goes a lot smoother if you have a bag of chocolate at your side.