The Astrology Of Halloween
It's no coincidence that Halloween falls in Scorpio Season.
Scorpio, the Sign which presides over this time of year, teaches us to accept the process of death, to become comfortable in that emptiness, and to find freedom in that space. It teaches us to trust in the cycles of life and natures ability to regenerate a new beginning when it is ready. Scorpio season also can allow us to strengthen our intuition, connect to those who have passed, and listen to our guides as they may speak louder than ever.
For the Celts (those originating from northern France, Ireland, and England where Halloween originates), the transition to everything cold during Scorpio season meant (and still means) much more than turning up the heat: late October time meant that a test of life or death was about to ensue. It meant that we were being forced to relinquish control and live at the mercy of natures’ winter, with the hopes that the spring harvest would warm the earth and melt the snow before starvation could ensue. Halloween - then called ‘Samhain’ - meant the end of the Harvest and the bracing for winter, and, in order to ensure an abundant spring harvest, people would perform rituals of honor to the earth (like blood-letting into the soil) to gift the earth viable life-force, and hope for the same in return.
For the Celts, Samhain was also the time of year when the veils are thinnest between the human world and the soul world. Fires were lit all around the villages to honor the souls who had passed. A druid would receive all the messages from spirit that pertained to the community for the year ahead and all townspeople would gather to listen to these messages channeled from spirit.
Paganism and earth-based spirituality thrived until Christianity no longer approved in the 900’s. At this point, Samhain was renamed ‘All Souls Day’ and turned into a Christian holiday. During the middle ages, new customs took the place, and the villagers began to prepare ‘soul cakes’ (flour, water & sugar) for the wandering souls and lay these outside their homes. These little cakes also multi-purposed for the wanderers and homeless of the time - perhaps this was the beginning of our ‘trick-or-treat’. Lanterns and candles were left burning on this night to honor the dead, and to ensure that the souls who had been lost could find their ways home. All of our American Halloween customs like apples, jack-o-lanterns, and candy have all derived directly from the Celtic and medieval roots in Northern Europe.
Of course, Northern Europe is not the only place that had a day to worship the dead. The entire Egyptian culture was based on the afterlife. The Japanese celebrate the dead through Obon, a festival of bon fires, dancing, and lanterns that are sent down rivers and into the ocean to help the lost souls find their way back. The Mexicans celebrate Day of the Dead where locals decorate the graves and celebrate with a parade, food, dancing and picnics in the cemeteries. And the ancient Romans celebrate ‘Lemuria’, a festival to banish the ghosts of dead ancestors from the house where the head of the household would wake at midnight, walk through the house and throw beans over the shoulder with a chant. In Buddhist teaching, there is the living world, the soul world (bardo) and the spirit world. Soul world is made up of those who have crossed over, but are a bit stuck, and are often perceived as ghosts (ghosts are searching, locked in a perpetual loupe looking for a way out, and are often unaware of the ‘haunting effect’ they may cause though they likely do desire to be freed from that realm).
An astrological note: The Moon will be in Scorpio (sign of death and transformation) this Halloween while strongly embracing the mystical vibes of dreamy Neptune. I have not ever seen a Halloween so astrologically aligned so this is certainly one to explore the fantastical side of life. Have a magical Halloween weekend!
You can find me marching in the Halloween Parade with a tribe of magicians, mages, sorcerers and wizards. And I will, of course be the Astrologer Magi of our tribe. However there are so many nights of Halloween events as you New Yorkers know, so my costumes are already to go for each special night of revelry.
Rebecca Gordon is a full time Astrologer, resident horoscope columnist at Harper’s Bazaar and founder of the My Path Astrology School. She also conducts private readings in her Manhattan office and by phone/skype.