In the pre-Christian Irish tradition of Samhain, October 31st is a time to remember and celebrate your ancestors, and a time when the dead are said to be able to co-exist most easily with us. In the Ojibwe tradition, it is also a time to remember your ancestors. And in both traditions, we feed the spirits. More about that later.
First I want to share with you a part of my story that not all of you have heard, especially if you’re new to my community. It isn’t for the faint of heart, so you might want to get some tissues. Tears are coming down as I write this.
Way back in 1984 on November 4th, my dad died in his sleep of a massive heart attack. I found him. I guess I was 18. My mom was already gone – she had committed suicide when I was 15. It was a weird, messed up time for me. I still sometimes get the dates wrong because I was so not present in my body during those years.
I pretty much went numb after that. I remember it really hitting me when I received my very first “Orphan’s Benefits Cheque” from the government. I remember wondering what that even meant.
We weren’t alone after that, me and my brother. One of my uncles and aunts were to take us. But there was no grieving, no counseling or emotional support, nothing to help me feel better. And with my uncle working overseas constantly, my aunt was pretty much a single mom – with her 2 kids and then us to add on.
I just had a couple of close friends, who are still in my world, and another close friend who took total advantage of my kindness, naivety and vulnerability (my first unhealthy relationship of many to come). I was treated like a tenant in this house full of people who wanted to sweep it all under the rug and go on as if nothing had happened. Meanwhile, when my aunt asked me to wake up my brother every morning, I couldn’t do it… because I was terrified I would find him dead too, like I had found my dad.
Thank the Spirits I moved to Toronto in the spring of 1985, and so began my professional music career, my no-longer-teenage rebel years, and a long painful journey that took me back into my grief, poverty and a string of unhealthy relationships, and then finally in my mid-30’s on my healing path to wholeness.
The reason I wanted to share this with you is because I want you to know that ANYTHING is possible, and if I can change my life and become joyful, successful, prosperous, spiritually fulfilled and on purpose, then I KNOW you can too.
So I invite you to take October 31st as a time of celebration of life as well as honouring the dead, and even do your own private feast for your higher realms support team.
It is said (and I totally feel and know this is true) that the veils between the living and the dead are thinnest that evening. This is why I use it as a time to really celebrate not only my ancestors and my parents and grandparents who, except for my biological grandma Sadie, are all gone – but I celebrate ALL of the beings from the higher realms who support me.
So this is just a reminder to you, to maybe use this powerful time as an opportunity to let go a little more and to give yourself permission to connect deeply and gratefully with your own “higher realms support team.”
Now… this is not to say I don’t enjoy Halloween too. But my daughter no longer needs me to walk her down the street and carry her candy lol. She is going out with her boyfriend, dressed up creepily just for the fun of it, and walking down the street looking scary, while her pumpkin sits on our balcony along with a small plate of food for the spirits.
So Happy whatever-you-celebrate at this time, and remember, we have choices.
We can use our stories as excuses for not going for what we want… or we can tap into the power within our story and reach out for support – human help and higher realms support – to do whatever we set your mind, heart and spirit to, while we create and live our new story.
Brenda MacIntyre, Medicine Song Woman