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Lessons in Life and Death

This week we celebrate the festival of Samhain, or Halloween, as it is more commonly known. Associated with witches and pagans, Samhain is the season where the veil is thin. The world of Spirit and the world of the living move closer and intertwine more easily now than at any other time of year, most likely due to the longer nights as winter approaches. Witches generally take time to honour their ancestors, which includes direct relatives and siblings, and those from earlier generations. We might host a “dumb supper,” where we set a place at the table for the missing friends and relatives, and we honour their presence in Spirit, whilst they are no longer around in life.


This past week I have had first-hand experience of what it means to honour an ancestor who recently passed into the world of Spirit. She was the mother of my close friend, a beautiful lady who passed before her time, or so we thought. On reflection, it seems that perhaps it was her time, as difficult as that knowledge feels for her family, especially her daughter and her close friends. We gave her a lovely funeral, celebrated her life, and settled her in a final resting place where she can be visited by those who miss her energy and love.

I was struck by the richness of the church ritual, the poetic words that were spoken and sung, the sombre décor with just the right amount of glamour as befitting a glamorous lady. Everything was just right, and yet it was so wrong at the same time. My friend lost her mother. Her grandfather had to bury his daughter. Her mother’s friends lost their companion and confidante. Life is forever changed, and yet life carries on. We are left to grieve, to process the events that led to her death, and to find our own way of moving on when the time is right. And it must be this way. I have added her photograph to my Samhain alter, so that I may light a candle and offer my thanks for her influence. She brought me a beautiful friend, and we will miss her.



Catherine is the author of the adult paranormal romance series The Redcliffe Novels and also The Darkness of Love, She has short stories published in YA anthologies, freelance articles on various industry websites, and contributes to her personal blog, and her author blog .

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