April Fools

Photo by Mona Miri
The trouble with practical jokes is that very often they get elected.
 ~Will Rogers~

The origin of April Fools is cloudy, like the weather for the month, but the most commonly accepted premise is the problem lies with Pope Gregory XIII and the calendar. The Gregorian calendar is the most widely used calendar around the world. This method of timekeeping was named after Pope Gregory XIII, who introduced it in October of 1582. And like the “spring forward” aspect of Daylight Savings Time, eleven days were lost forever in the transition. When you went to bed on September 2, 1752 you woke up on September 14. That would have been a bad time to plan a vacation.

Although the Gregorian calendar is named after Pope Gregory XIII, it is an adaptation of a calendar designed by Italian doctor, astronomer, and philosopher Luigi Lilio (also known as Aloysius Lilius). He was born around 1510 and died in 1576, six years before his calendar was officially introduced. The Gregorian calendar’s predecessor, the Julian, was replaced because it no longer reflected the actual time it takes the Earth to circle once around the Sun, known as a tropical year. The new calendar was also intended to adjust the date of Easter as the preceding calendar of Julius Caesar had caused Easter to slip from its proximity to March equinox. This is still an issue today as various lunar calendars cause Easter to be celebrated differently with traditional Christians and their Orthodox cousins.

Gregory’s papal bull only had authority in Catholic nations, and European Protestants resisted the change because of its ties to the papacy. Two hundred years passed before most places let go of the Julian calendar, and some locations held out even longer. In the Middle Ages, New Year’s Day was celebrated on March 25 as Lady Day, a feast of the Virgin Mary, until 1752. In some areas of France, New Year’s was a week-long holiday that ended on April 1.

And that brings us to April Fools. Caesar’s calendar reform of 46 BCE made January 1 the beginning of the New Year. It’s speculated that those who clung to the old ways were mocked by those who celebrated on January 1. Those who were called April Fools were country folk who resisted the change. It’s speculated that jokes and hoaxes became ways of tricking those who were seen as old-fashioned, or worse.

Happy April 1, wherever that may actually be in any calendar.

Piercing the Veil — Dream work at Halloween

The Universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.        Eden Phillpots


Death, and what awaits us when we depart physical existence, are among humanity’s greatest mysteries and most profound questions, perhaps second only to where we came from and why we are here.  Most people believe that earthly life is not the end and that some aspect of our soul or spirit continues after death. Dreams are one of the ways we can move back and forth between the veil that separates the visible world from the unseen realm.

Sometimes dreamers encounter deceased loved ones in dreams. While this may be symbolic in terms of what the deceased person represents character-wise, often these are real meetings. Many people have also reported visits in dreams from relatives at the moment of death, as if they are stopping by to say goodbye. These powerful experiences often help with loss and grief.

On the last day of October, we celebrate Halloween, Samhain, All Hallows Eve, or All Souls Day, depending on the tradition. Samhain is pronounced “sowen,” and in the ancient Celtic language meant Hallow tide. This was the Celtic new year and was the time set aside to honor the dead and to pay attention to all the manifestations of the thinning veil.

The history of Halloween stems from the Celts, and we have to peer back in time nearly 6,000 years to trace the shadowy origins. Halloween and Thanksgiving have the same root origin, and their purpose is to celebrate the harvest before the cold and dark of winter. Millennia ago the year began on the date we now call October 31, after the third and final harvest, midway between autumn equinox and winter solstice.

In the modern world, winter’s dark and cold are illuminated by artificial light and warmed by generated heat, so the conscious passage of this season is less dramatic.  Because we are insulated, we lose touch with the darkness and its part in the shifting rhythm of life. Prayers for the dead and activities to honor and communicate with ancestors are common activities at this time in cultures around the world. Leaving an ancestor’s plate on the table is the origin of the treat part of Halloween. The trick part came much later before World War II and was called Mischief Night. Therefore, modern celebrations of Halloween include ghosts, goblins, witches and costumes and well as “tricks and treats.” Carved pumpkins with scary faces and candles inside were meant to scare off evil spirits.

All of these symbols and activities are remnants of practices that have to do with engaging and interacting with the unseen realm. The same is true with dream work and making the most of our dream time can be enhanced at this time of year because of the thinning veil that separates the worlds. In truth it is more that our frequency is heightened, allowing us to perceive energy that we normally don’t sense.

What does all of this have to do with dreams you might ask? This time of year, when the annual turning of the wheel presents an opening to the spirit world, and the veil between the visible and unseen world thins, provides a more open portal to communicate with beings no longer in form. Likewise, the ability to receive messages through this opening is enhanced and dream messages may be more pronounced.

Setting time aside for dream work that has to do with those who have passed on can yield huge dividends in forgiveness, release, and surrender. Some dream fragments are actually memories of our own nighttime travels in the spirit domain and at this time of year dreams are often more intense. Dream symbolism may relate to unfinished business. Unspoken communication with deceased loved ones can work to resolve Karma that is still in operation and may be draining resources and growth in waking life.

Another benefit of working consciously with the parting of the veil near Halloween is a heightened ability to communicate with our own spirit guides. If we take advantage of the opening, our guides will speak to us through dreams. This is almost the opposite of the old axiom about making hay while the sun shines. Here we are doing deep work that can only be done in the “darkness” of our psyche while the soul is in charge rather than the less-evolved personality. Getting serious about your dream journal, and remembering to ask important questions before you sleep, offers opportunity for an abundant harvest of personal growth.

Light a candle, set an intention, and expect a powerful dream.

Photo by Vino Li on Unsplash