October Magic

For the ancient Celts, October signaled the end of their Autumn and opened the door for the shadowed half of the Celtic year.

Samhain (which literally means “summer has ended”) marks the final feast day of the season, and the convergence of the shadows and the weather inclined the Celts to believe that spirits were able to walk among the living causing mischief, curses, and sometimes blessings.

Practically it meant bringing in the cattle and the sheep down from the summer hillside and into the byre and the stable, now full of the harvested hay brought in throughout August and September.

It was also the time to slaughter the animals and prep them to last as far through winter as possible with salts, cold storage, cottaging, and drying.

The very last bits of barley, wheat, turnips, and apples were picked from the now naked fields, because come November the faeries would start breathing on all the fruit, frosting them and making them inedible.

While the sun still glowed it was also time to get the wood and peat stacked and ready for use. No one wanted to chop and gather in the frigid days coming.

This was a joyous month for the Celts, as the whole family was regularly gathered in the house and the barn: baking, salting, prepping, and preserving, envisioning the coming winter feasts and the cozy days ahead.

The summer sun now became the warm, dim room, and the noisy insects would be replaced with long talks and stories from family and visiting friends.

October has come.