First, I have to say I had two surprises yesterday. First, our neighbor brought over a pot of their deer chili for us to try. We are heading into good chili weather, so that was super sweet of them.

The second surprise was receiving the books I won from Rue and Hyssop’s Great October Book Giveaway. Receiving one of Jen’s packages is magical: wrapped with colors of the season and with a handwritten note. Thanks, Jen!

I’ve won, so I’m done for this year – but all of YOU out there can still win some amazing books and decks. This week’s giveaway features several herbal-inspired decks and a book.

OK, now on to the card of the day.

Forgiveness is easy to conceive but often hard to do. Whether it someone who hurt you years ago or yourself who needs forgiving, consider the peace that comes with letting go of grudges and regret. Forgiveness doesn’t necessarily mean letting a person back in your life – it just allows you to move on from the wounds they inflicted.

Blessings!

FORGIVENESS – Reducing burden

A wrong is done
Consequences you cannot deny
But to hold a grudge is to drink poison
and think that the other person will die.

Being a cold-season festival, Halloween is the perfect time to pause and think about how things actually are in our lives and what heavy burdens we do not wish to carry through these harder, leaner times. Some of this heavy-heartedness may relate to old relationships or grievances. Some may relate to negative feelings we hold onto tightly about others and even a lack of compassion for the “mistakes” we have ourselves made.

It is said that it takes a “big person to apologize” but in many ways it takes an even bigger person to forgive. When we hold grudges, the negative energy is incredibly toxic. It is like drinking a poison and expecting the “other” unforgiven person to die! Whilst we may even harbor feelings of revenge (and to be honest, that does feel good for a while), it is important that we move those feelings along to forgiveness and release as soon as possible for our own health and wellbeing.

If you have chosen this card, think about who it is that you could be forgiving – and that includes yourself.

The Halloween Oracle by author Stacey Demarco and artist Jimmy Manton

 

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While it is good to keep your mind and energy in the present (not always easy – we often struggle with leaving the past and not jumping to an imaginary future), but there are times when it is good and helpful to focus on the future. Not to dream but to see what’s a good path for you and to set a goal to travel it. This card coming today suggests now is a good time to evaluate such things and peer into your future.

THE VEIL – The Future

There is a misty curtain
That divides us all
The veil that this night thins
Transparent the weave becomes
And the future no longer dims

The ancient Celts used to call the time of the longest night of the year, Samhain (pronounced SOW-en). They believed that there was a misty veil that separated the world of the dead and the living, but on two nights of the year, Samhain and Beltaine (the shortest night), that the veil would thin.

The fineness of the veil meant the ancestors were closer than ever and even gods would be close. This would mean that communications from the dead were more likely to occur and that divination (where the Divine speaks through something) would be more effective.

So while using this oracle, as the veil lifts, know that the other worlds are close. Listen in particular to what messages may come forth about your future. Look to what you want to happen: plan, set intentions, think big!

The Halloween Oracle by author Stacey Demarco and artist Jimmy Manton

Remember that a new start is possible at any time, any time of year and any time of life. Blessings!

DAWN – The light after the darkness

After the darkest times
The sun will always rise
The dawn will always come
This can be no surprise

While midnight is often thought of a magical hour, throughout time dawn has also had its share of the mystical. All manner of magical beings had to return to their true forms by dawn (werewolves, for example) and vampires could only be active while the rays of the sun did not pierce the sky.

Dawn and deities of dawn heralded both hope and new life. Goddesses such as Eostre and Gods like Helios and Apollo were those who brought new life and dawn’s light to the world. The journey from the darkest night of the soul to a bright and hopeful dawn is one of the deepest and most power heroes’ paths repeated over and over in mythology.

Should you receive the Dawn card, you are being reminded that there is always a fresh start and a new beginning to be had. Change is unstoppable and even the most difficult times will pass, no matter how devastating they may seem. Hope is one of the most powerful motivating forces in the Universe and it’s being indicated here.

The Halloween Oracle by author Stacey Demarco and artist Jimmy Manton

I know this fits me and my crew today for tonight we play D&D! Remember, life can be super serious and we sometimes have to make time to play and relax.

Blessings!

TRICK-OR-TREAT – Mischief and play

Stalking and stomping
Eyes shining and begging baskets
Faces and bodies
that are no longer ours
Laughing, skeletons and candy caskets
Trick-or-treating is such a fun thing to do, is it not? Yet, why do we trick-or-treat?

Ancient peoples understood that there were both mischievous and perhaps nasty spirits wandering around at nightfall at Halloween as well as happier, more benevolent spirits. They thought that if they dressed as spirits themselves (or other frightening creatures) then they would not be recognized as human and attacked. The idea of causing a little chaos as one of these “spirits” was part of the imitation (and the enjoyment) of thenight. The practice in medieval Britain was aptly called “souling.”

Today, trick-or-treating is a huge event. We spend much time, money, and effort dressing up as our scariest creatures and this has even extended to dressing up as our favorite celebrities and other pop culture idols. Instead of traditional candy apples and barmbrack, we give out a mind-boggling variety of candy. It matters not – the idea of frightening away death and darkness still stands.

I believe that the modern trick-or-treating also unites communities by introducing our families and friends to those around us in a non-threatening and joyful way. Many of us do not know our neighbors – even those who live next door – and Halloween gives us an excuse not to be so reserved and extend our boundaries.

Should you receive the Trick-or-Treat card in your divination, it may well be a time to examine your own life. You don’t have to be a child to let go and have some playtime and you can extend the fun to others. Sometimes we are afraid to make mistakes and play is one way to alleviate the pressure that we sometimes place on ourselves to get everything perfect every time. Alternatively, it is worth knowing that there is a balance between manipulation and mischief – the former is not pleasant and the other has at its core a sense of irreverent fun.

The Halloween Oracle by author Stacey Demarco and artist Jimmy Manton

Interesting followup to yesterday’s card – perhaps some of us are having a hard time letting go of unhelpful things? Life is too short to not enjoy it, and it’s too long to hold on to suffering. Blessings!

LADY DE LOS MUERTOS – Acceptance & Equality

Pale, you step out of the night
In red lace,
Full flowers upon your crown.
You bring the beauty to death
The equality and joy
Of the underground

The iconic lady of death, with a pale skull-like face, zombie eyes and rich red funeral flowers in her hair has become one of the most recognizable symbols of Halloween and the Mexican Day of the Dead, El Dia de los Muertos.

The original model for this flamboyant lady of death can be traced back to the ancient Aztec goddess Mictecacihuatl. As time went on, the figure remained balanced between beauty and horror, and morphed into the Lady of the Dead and eventually into the more modern graphic figure of “Catrina.” It is also reported that the identity of the original “Catrina” was bawsed on women who were very rich and had everything they wanted in this life. Yet, death takes everyone, equally, so it was a reminder that no matter how beautiful, rich, popular, or famous you were – in the end, death takes all.

The Mexican culture has a long-standing history of “laughing at death” and seeing it as just another aspect of life. In some ways, death is the last taboo in many Western cultures. We tend to hide away our dying and some of us may never even see the body of someone who has passed in our whole lives, but this was a much more common occurrence in the past.

Acknowledging that death is a natural process that will enter everyone’s life at some time and that perhaps, until then, choosing to be life affirming takes away much of the fear. Take a light approach to a situation initially and it may work out better. If you are holding on to something that does not serve you any longer – in particular materials things – simplify and let go.

The Halloween Oracle by Stacey Demarco, art by Jimmy Manton

Just like in the Tarot, the Death card here is not often literal. What needs to fall away from you and your life? What is no longer serving you? Is something you cling to, in fact, hurting you? Breath, have faith in yourself, and let it go.

DEATH – The eternal cycle begins here

’Tis not the end
though I may pass in the night
I get to do my time over
Although you may get a fright!

Many Pagans believed that death was the beginning of the cycle of life. When you think about it, most people consider the act of “birth” to be the beginning of the life cycle – we are born, we live, and we die and, depending on your beliefs, you may get to go round again. Instead, Pagan cultures see death as the beginning of a whole new adventure – the place where your soul gets to choose where it incarnates, why and what it wants to experience. Then and only then, does it get born into a body that lives and eventually dies, before returning to ride a new cycle.

Halloween is a celebration of death as a part of life. As humans are conscious beings, we know about death and many are afraid and uncomfortable about it. Halloween illuminates the universal truth that all of us will die, just as all of us were born, so to be fearful of that end process is fairly pointless. Halloween asks us instead to make friends with death (just as we seem friendly with birth) and to not allow our fears and grief to bring us unnecessary pain.

Do not be afraid if you pull the Death card as it simply means that something is falling away, or will do so, so you can begin strongly afresh. There is a great power in this clearing. If you pull this card at Halloween particularly, the message is stronger still and you should actively celebrate this new beginning.

The Halloween Oracle by author Stacey Demarco and artist Jimmy Manton

This may not be the most flamboyant card compared to some others, but it suggests rest and acceptance. Perhaps it is time to slow down a bit and understand the sides of yourself and that there is power in the dark too.

Blessings!

MIDNIGHT – The most magical hour of all

The dark it envelops me
The witching hour awaits
True magic and enchantment
And spells that change fates

The middle of the night – midnight – is the hour in which it is believed that ghosts, witches, ghouls, and magic are most likely to be active transition times, such as noon, the time between tides or even dark moon, are traditionally powerful times for magical transformation.

In some Christian traditions, the witching hour is seen as 3 a.m. because it is the opposite to the time that Jesus is said to have died, at 3 p.m., but there is some consensus that midnight is the time of the greatest magic, particularly around Halloween. As soon as the clock strikes midnight on Halloween, it is said that the spirits flow forward through the veil and, if benevolent, bring positive messages. If not so benevolent, they are mischievous and play tricks at best or, at worst, cause havoc.

Allow yourself to relax into the benevolent darkness of midnight. You may feel this is your darkest hour but know that the light will return again. The dawn always follow the darkest night. Know too that it is important to recognize that we all have darkness within us – just as we have light – and this isn’t something to hide from.

The Halloween Oracle by Stacey Demarco, art by Jimmy Manton

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