In the last dozen years I have found out how much of a pagan baby I am. Not just because I'm from a specific culture or region, but because my ancestors have been telling me so. My Celtic ancestors have been very loud about this.
If, like many of us in English speaking countries around the globe, you have Scots or Irish ancestry, this is no surprise. The legend of St. Patrick infuriating the locals with his lighting of the Easter fire is a giveaway. The Irish were—surprisingly to most of us—introduced to Christianity during the first or second century A.D. Greeks travelled over land and seas to escape their countrymen who considered them heretics. They settled in and mixed with the locals in Britain and Ireland. Rome sent Palladius and Patrick centuries later.
What my ancestors have been telling me is even more fun than that.
As a descendant of the Scotti (Irish and Scots Celts) our blood runs thick with the ways of old. It is something so deep that we are entirely unaware of it. We go out trick or treating blithely unthinking of the facts. The facts are quite surprising to most people.
The Celtic festival of Samhain celebrates the halfway point between the autumnal equinox and the first day of winter. From the evening of October 31st to the evening of November 1st the dead return to the earth. The ancient Celts prepared soul cakes for them. These were given to children and the poor. In return, they promised to pray for the souls of the family's dead.
When Christianity came along it created All Saints Day and placed in on November 1st. The customs and traditions of the old religion followed along as All Hallows Eve (October 31st) and All Souls Day (November 2nd) were added to the calendar. The treat of giving out soul cakes in both traditions was that a curse would not be placed on a miserly family of means. Throwing toilet paper in trees and spraying shaving cream on windows were 20th century American tricks.
Whatever our familial religions or beliefs, traditions often run deeper.
I expected that we were from a long line of pagans. My ancestors informed me that I am also descended from a long blood line of druids. The druids were a class which mixed religious, political and legal leaders with healers. They led in war and peace, health and sickness and death. This all makes sense to me.
I love law and politics, but they are not my work. My work is to help other souls. The Creator has told me to physically heal some people, but the druids did more. Like their Christian spiritual heirs, they grew gardens of healing herbs. They knew the right mix for the ailments they could cure. For others they comforted the survivors.
I prefer not to be a religious leader. It doesn't fit who I am. But I am here so that I can spiritually help my people. Similar to my Scots ancestors, my work is not to cast spells and work the craft of Macbeth's witches. It is to undo the spells we cast on ourselves. The spells which tell us to hate. To profane the Spirit's world with vitriol and hate, to bomb and shoot—those are the curses which we must all work to undo.
The bit of heaven that I am allowed to access says that our lives are our prayers. It's not just baking the modern version of soul cakes and passing them out. It's that the Creator grants us the dignity and honor of undoing evil. We get to reverse madness with simple kindness.
You can pray good into action because prayer is action. You can meditate on the sanctity of the day. Whatever becomes of the day around you, your day can be a holy day.
More that buying or baking soul cakes or candy, put your soul into praying with the dead and living for the living. Know that you are the gold in the sun and the silver in the moon. Make it the reason for your life that others know good.
Bake good into your day.