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We live the mystery right to the end
To see if we've been outsmarted
Or if hope lies waiting on the other side
With the near dearly departed
-- Rawlins Cross

Samhain. Mundanely, it's the day that the press suddenly remembers that Witches exist and about whom it would be spiffy and spooky to have articles in their Isn't That Freaky? section before stuffing us back into the Broom Closet until next Samhain. It is immortality, of a sort.

In an older Wheel of the Year, Samhain is the Final Harvest – literally and figuratively. The first harvest was Lughnasadh, the second Mabon. It's the harvest after which one was literally supposed to stop harvesting. One has had one's three chances. What was left in the fields will shelter Spirits and Good Neighbors through the winter. (Likely they will also feed the unfortunate and the stranger. The Torah has similar laws governing how many times one may shake a tree to gather its fruit.)

As without, so within. The Green Man cut down, the willing sacrifice for our continued sustainance, traveled to the Underworld – just like everyone else who dies. This harvest is His. Since August he has journeyed and learned the ways of the Land of the Dead. He has Mastered its Mysteries. Tonight at dusk, he ascends the throne and rules as the Dark Lord, Lord of the Dead. Tonight is his coronation. The dead celebrate, and so do we.

And that's where it gets interesting.

Then they summoned me over to join in with them
To the dance of the dead
Into the circle of fire I followed them
Into the middle I was led

As if time had stopped still I was numb with fear
But still I wanted to go
And the blaze of the fire did no hurt upon me
As I walked onto the coals
-- Iron Maiden

Everything that lives dies, and everything that dies hopes for rebirth. The Dark Lord is the Opener of that Way, and we follow Him on that road as we embody Him. The barriers that keep us apart thin for the space of this night, and we celebrate together. In celebrating, we remember those who have gone before: those absent friends we toast in somber tones, friends and family for whom we weep. And in the space of this night we can miss them a little less, for they are with us. They remember us as we remember them and we can both look forward together to the day when we are reunited in the Underworld; and in Love and Rebirth after that.

And here's the thing: None of this happens without the others. You are born with one and only one promise to our name: You will die. Yet, no one is born except through an act of Love. Even when that act occurs in the most blasphemously hateful of circumstances, zygotes don't know about that. Death closes the circle – once and once only one might await birth without having died before, after that one awaits Rebirth. Death's triumph is the inevitability that even in Death, Life is assured.

Blessed Be this Samhain.
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