By Michelle Embree, Spiritual Counselor
Halloween is a beloved holiday among many. What we are so lovingly calling "The Spooky Season" is not only for pagans and witches but for kids of all ages who love costumes, make-believe, silly jokes, and sweet treats.
In America, Halloween celebrations are based primarily on the Irish and Scottish Gaelic tradition known as Samhain. The celebration begins at sunset on the evening of October 31st and runs through to sunset on November 1st. It is thought that the “veil'' which separates the land of the living from the land of the dead becomes quite thin over the course of this night.
Our custom of carving the jack-o-lantern is based on an Irish myth about a character named Stingy Jack. As the legend goes, Stingy Jack got his name from the people of the town who knew him to be the sort of fellow who didn't much care for spending his own dimes and could be rather tricky in how he went about liberating coins from the pockets of others.
Stingy Jack is said to have extended an invitation for the Devil to join him for a drink. The Devil accepted and the two put away several pints in a pub while they traded stories of mirth and mayhem, laughing several hours away. Of course, when it was time to settle up and pay, Stingy Jack started thinking up a better way. Jack managed to convince his companion that it would surely be a hoot if the Devil made himself into a silver coin only to later vanish from the till. But once the Devil made himself into a coin, Stingy Jack couldn't let it go and the Devil was stuck in Jack's pocket next to the silver cross that held him there.
Eventually, Stingy Jack made the Devil promise not to take his soul if he died in the next year and let him go once the Devil agreed. This was not to be the last time Stingy Jack would trick the Devil, though. Some time later Stingy Jack trapped the Devil in a tree and this, it would seem, sealed Jack's fate in the afterlife.
Stingy Jack did eventually die, of course, but God refused his soul because of all of Jack's unredeemed antics and the Devil was still sore about falling for one of Jack’s tricks for a second time and didn't want him either. This left the soul of Stingy Jack to forever roam the earth with nothing but burning coal inside a carved-out turnip to light his way. When the "veils" are thin he searches to find refuge in a warm and well-lit home, but gourds and turnips on a doorstep indicate that the inhabitants know too much about old Stingy Jack than to take him in and so he wanders on, known now as Jack of the Lantern.
The tradition of the Jack-o-Lantern continues to this day in cultures across the globe. Pumpkins are so plentiful and easy to grow in the United States that this has become the gourd of choice for Americans.
Whether you make a Jack-o-Lantern for your doorstep to keep lost souls moving on to the next house or not, here is a Tarot spread to try in the spirit of this tradition.
The Jack-o-Lantern Tarot spread:
Shuffle your cards as long as you like. Focus on what you would like to heal or solve during these coming months of increased hours under the moon. Your desire might be centered on a pain you suffer alone or maybe there are relationships you would like to heal, either way just consider it as you shuffle.
When you are ready, pull six cards and arrange them as the face of a Jack-o-Lantern: two eyes (1 & 2), one nose (3), and three for a mouth (4,5,6).
Communication-- indicates the best approach to take in moving toward greater healing or truce.
Self-- your current inner strength at this time.
Motivation-- your hope for what can be achieved or what will be eliminated.
Root-- the source of the greatest pain in this situation or old feeling.
Tool-- the strength you have to move this subject.
Assistance-- the spirit, person, trait, or talisman that is here to assist you and be your companion on this mission
©Copyright 2021, Michelle Embree. This article was reprinted with permission and was originally published on Michelle's blog posted on October 16, 2021.