Samhain marks the end and beginning of the Pagan year. It marks the growing darkness of autumn, the falling of leaves and the season of dying. Pagans recognise the intrinsic cyclic nature of life, for without death there cannot be life, so Samhain also marks the early start of renewal of the year.
But while the year is cyclic, life develops through those cycles too. And it is this progression through the cycles that make remembrance and learning most important.
So Samhain is a time both to remember and honour our ancestors and those who have died. For me it is also a time to learn from the mistakes of those ancestors, an opportunity not simply to copy their ways but try to avoid some of their errors too.
War is one of these which is why I war a white poppy rather than a red one. Remembrance is vital but unless we can remember and commit to not make the same choices that led to deaths and suffering of countless soldiers and non-combatants, as the military sometime refer to people, we are condemning future people to that same horror.
Let us use this time to call for peace, both peace in our own lives and our own internal conflicts but also for peace in those war torn countries such as Syria. Let us also be clear during our calls for peace that peace does not manifest itself from war but from dialogue.