I enjoyed doing this spread for past Halloweens on Tarot Notes, so I’m giving it another go. To set the stage, I am quoting from The New Encyclopedia of the Occult by John Michael Greer (Llewellyn Worldwide):
“Samhain. The beginning and end of the year in the old Celtic calendar, falling around the beginning of November in modern terms. Samhain is the oldest documented festival of Celtic Paganism. . . Samhain was traditionally associated with the spirits of the dead, who were believed to walk the world at that time. After the arrival of Christianity, the feast of Samhain became All Hallow’s Day. The evening before it, the modern Halloween, retained much of the same symbolism.”The positional definitions for this spread are inspired by the hauntingly beautiful song “All Soul’s Night” with words and music by Loreena McKennitt. You can listen to the song _HERE_. You can read the lyrics of the song _HERE_.
This year, I am using the Ghosts and Spirits Tarot by Lisa Hunt (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.) The layout is in the shape of a pentacle.
I stand in darkness at the entrance to the graveyard on All Hallow’s Eve, on Samhain, when spirits walk the world…
EIGHT OF CUPS (Der Schimmelreiter)
I have to say this is a troubling card to see today, as heavy rain and storms continue in my part of the country. As I write this, I listen to the steady downpour outside my window and rumbling thunder in the distance. The spirit of “Der Schimmelreiter” dances around and around – the ghost of a dyke builder named Hauke Haien, whose dyke gave way during a severe storm flood. It is said that his ghost appears, on horseback, during storms to check the integrity of his dyke.
Read the story of this spirit here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rider_on_the_White_Horse
THREE OF SWORDS (The Phantom Rickshaw – Mrs. Wessington’s Ghost)
A hidden memory is brought by the ghost of a rejected lover who hounded the man who abandoned her until he went mad. Although this memory is heavy with tension, pain, and broken promises, it is brought to me now perhaps to help me put it behind me and move on, if I can.
Read more about this Spirit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Phantom_%27Rickshaw_and_Other_Tales
EIGHT OF SWORDS (The Flying Dutchman)
A phantom of the unforgiving sea, the spirt of a Dutch captain sails for eternity in the rough waters around the Cape of Good Hope. This Spirit carries a light that I can see in the distance any time I have to navigate turbulent seas. This Spirit’s light is not meant to guide me, I think, but to act as a warning that I may need to let go of my need to control a situation and listen to what others have to say. Digging in my heels and refusing to give up may not be the best approach at all.
Read more about this Spirit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Dutchman
ACE OF SWORDS (Poltergeist)
A “noisy ghost” waits for me on the bridge, ready to lead me into something new, to begin a new cycle of activity or a new idea or concept or way of looking at things. I love the idea of this energy waiting to accompany me “across a bridge.” However, it behooves me to remember that poltergeists are mischievous and disruptive – and in fact, could actually be made of displaced energy from my own subconscious or unconscious mind. This may not be a smooth, calm passage.
Several movies were made in the “Poltergeist Film Series.” If you are interested, click here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poltergeist_(film_series)
SEVEN OF PENTACLES (Canterville Ghost)
The Spirit of Sir Simon de Canterville passes by the bridge and me, eternally destined to float between worlds, belonging to neither the land of the living nor the land of the dead. Ultimately, this Spirit is saved by a young girl named Virginia, who listens to him, accepts him, and helps him pass on to the next world. There is a sense with this card that “This, too, shall pass,” even if my efforts do not show desired results at this moment in time. Patience will bring me to my reward.
Read more about this Spirit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Canterville_Ghost
The three Swords cards may represent an emphasis mental activity as well as conflict that needs to be resolved. Emotions play a part (Cups), as does the physical, material realm (Pentacles). Plenty of messages for me to consider this All Hallow’s Eve.
Happy Halloween and Blessed Samhain to all!