Within my tradition, Samhain is the Festival of the Dead where our ancestors are specifically honoured and our respects are paid. These ancestors fall into a number of categories: those of our own bloodline, those of our spiritual line; and those yet to become ancestors. Whilst remembering our ancestors can (and should) occur throughout the year, Samhain is particularly poignant for it is at this time of the year when the "door" between the realms of the living and dead opens, allowing the souls of the dead to cross into ours.
In the ancient Gaelic calendar, Samhain marked the time of the last harvest, usually that of "blood" (when cattle were slaughtered to ensure that there was enough to eat during the Winter months). While this is something that we do not need to worry about today, Samhain marks the commencement of the "drawing in", a time of reflection and contemplation.
After the often long, hot South Australian Summers, Samhain also offers a period of relief - where we can catch our breath and catch up on all those things we have not been able to undertake due to the heat that need to be undertaken before the colder and hopefully wet Winter weather sets in.
Your tombstone stands among the rest;
neglected and alone
The name and date are chiseled out on polished, marbled stone
It reaches out to all who care
It is too late to mourn
You did not know that I’d exist
You died and I was born.
Yet each of us are cells of you in flesh, in blood, in bone.
Our blood contracts and beats a pulse entirely not our own.
Dear Ancestor, the place you filled one hundred years ago
Spreads out among the ones you left who would have loved you so.
I wonder if you lived and loved, I wonder if you knew
That someday I would find this spot, and come to visit you.
Poem Source: Shadowfest