November 4, 2021

By Etain Preston

          Halloween. A delicious word filled with connotations of pumpkins and costumes, spooky movies, parties, and riotous fun. Over the years in pre-covid years I have spent time and expense jet-setting around between Witches Balls; the Elms Mansion in New Orleans, the Hawthorne in Salem.
           And while the glitz and glam has its allure, it is the older, more poignant and meaningful Samhain which draws me to Four Quarters.

BlessMeal We begin Friday evening with a shared meal.

MealKitchen and dining room by the wood stove, office for a bit of conversation,
front porch for a bracing chill. Where do we put them all?

        An ancient word whose origin lies in the ancient Sanskrit sama, meaning summer and season. Samhain's literal translation in the old irish means summer's end. The turning of the Wheel, the slide into the darker days and nights of the year. Samhain at Four Quarters harkens back to a simpler country time, when the season meant carving jack o' lanterns, hay rides, making homemade masks, bobbing for apples. Back to when people had a closer connection to the change in seasons, and when the colder weather and shorter days had a real impact on daily lives. You didn't just see the oncoming dark, you lived it. You felt it settle in your bones. Felt the chill of the breeze, the damp of the mountain mist. It is this which brings me back to Four Quarters for Samhain time and again. The changing foliage in the trees, to see the hay ricks stacked in fields. Knowing that the livestock will soon be thinned at this third harvest festival to sustain families for the winter.

Altar1The Ancestors Altar set within The Stone Circle

Friday night's Mesa... A Conversation with Spirits.



         Samhain is a quiet time, a time for reflection, to feel, to experience. To place feet on soil, a hand on stone. To stand with ancestors in the candlelight, and remember those who lie in the crypt, rest at the base of stones, or lie quietly in far away fields and in lands unknown. For it is in these quiet moments where the connection can be found, where one can hear the whisper or touch of a loved one, and gain the sense that you are part of a larger chain of life stretching back to the beginning, and possibly with descendants that stretch away into the future. One family, friends, together again, if just for a night. At this years ritual we were asked to look in a mirror and see a reflection, our ancestors who live on in us. I have the crooked little finger that runs down my Grandma's German line, my mothers face, my father's eyes, a great Aunt's chin. A line comes to me from a popular movie, you know the one. "My blood, your blood, our blood".

Divine1The Divinations

 The Altars




        As we settle down now into the cold months, sitting by the fire, and waiting for brighter sunnier days, you don't sit alone. You carry with you all the dreams and hopes and blessings of your ancestors. We are all walking together, at different times, but together.
        Next Samhain, make the journey to Four Quarters. The stones and the ancestors will be waiting.