Have you ever been electrified by a feeling, but weren’t sure why? Ever gotten goosebumps of excitement and waves of anticipation, but not sure where those sensations come from? It’s like you can feel in your bones something amazing is in the air, but you can’t quite put your finger on it. For me, this is what the symbolism of October means to me.
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October is Synonymous With Transition
This month in the year is all about change, transition and big shifts. Not only are these changes becoming very apparent seasonally during October, transitions are also felt on an energetic, spiritual and physical level.
October is also full of enchantments. There is a special kind of energy crouching around every frosted pumpkin. There is anticipation waiting within every tangy bite of fresh-baked apple pie. And even if you’re not a kid anymore…those days of costumes, tricks and treats are undeniably magical. It’s the very idea of changes (whether in costumes or enjoying different sensations that can be only found this time of year) that makes the symbolism of October all about change, transition, and differences.
The whole month of October lends itself to the presence and energy of potential. It’s all about transitions, baby. Climates, winds shift, chills enter the air, leaves begin to transform in mind-blowing colors, days are becoming shorter (at least in the northern hemisphere) – all these changes can be so intoxicating for many folks. As a transition-junkie, signs and symbolism of October is a metamorphosis mecca that I embrace and totally adore. If you feel my vibe, read on for more cool insights into the month of October.
Symbolism of October Holidays and Traditions
I think October’s holidays are what propel the energy of change and transition. The underlying themes of Halloween (Samhain, All Soul’s, etc.) which come largely from ancient European cultures, are synonymous with the shifts in nature, and the changes of the seasons – themes with which we are all deeply connected.
Our ancients (ancestors) recognized incredible changes in their environment during the month of October. Past experience alluded to the upcoming shifts (weather, provision, lifestyle) and what could be expected in the upcoming winter months. And although steps were taken (harvest, slaughter, home preparations/insulation, food storage, etc.) to insure survival through the winter, a great deal of life was left to faith.
I like to think that’s why the ancient fire festival of Samhain marks the beginning of a new year in the Earth-based system of living in sync with Nature. Samhain and Halloween share many traditions (indeed, the names are used interchangeably) for one, both are commemorated on (on or about) October 31st.
To the ancient Celtic way of thought, October 31st marked the end of one year and the beginning of another (Samhain, in fact means “summer’s end”). This is an extension of the Celtic view of sundown as the beginning of each day.
To me, this resonates symbolism of faith as we surrender to the void, knowing our deepest renewal begins with that surrender.
The concept of dark/night marking the beginning of a day (or Samhain kicking off the beginning of a new year) is hard for my analytical mind to fathom – but my spiritual knowledge is all over this concept.
The spiritually minded among us will recognize a period of intense withdrawal or even a “dying to the self” before enlightenment dawns over our awareness. The Celts took this to the extreme by daily recognizing the faith-walk through the “night of the soul” in order to reach the dawning of awareness.
Samhain or Halloween is an annual celebration of this kind of renewal. The meaning of Halloween emblazons the inherent potential all life holds for us, and marks in a very public/profound way how we can transform darkness by pointing ourselves into the direction of our own guiding Lights.
To be sure, the month of October (and its festive observance of Samhain/Halloween) solidifies the presence of great transition in our midst.
Our ancestors could viscerally feel shifts within Nature, and so they anticipated internal shifts within their spirit, mind and body too. So can we.
Halloween/Samhain still marks a pathway for embracing changes in our lives and preparing ourselves to meet amazing transformation in the months that lay ahead.
I hope these thoughts on transitional October inspires you to dive through the veil of the unknown with a sense of childlike adventure and wonder. In doing so, you’ll experience changes in your life from a place of refreshed renewal. This is a time of delightful beginnings. Seize the fresh starts!
Animals of October
To identify creatures of this month, we’ve got to assess which animals are most active this time of year. These critters might be different according to where you live. Speaking from a northern hemisphere perspective (North America, Europe, etc) – which is what I’m most familiar with – we find certain animals really take the stage during the month of October. These animals are:
Crows and Ravens
These precocious babies rear up and really make their presence known this time of year. Sure, crows and ravens are bandying about all year, but they really become evident during October. One of the many reasons for this is because crows don’t migrate. They are typically less evident in the summer months because they’re busy with their babies. However, October is their time to shine because (since they don’t migrate) they are gathering, harvesting, and kicking leaves to find supplies to prepare for winter months ahead. In this aspect, crows are beautifully symbiotic with the month of October.
Aside from spiders being a common (some might say creepy – but not me) symbol of Halloween, they are a big player on the stage during October. I attribute the spider’s popularity during this month because most (not all) spiders begin to mate this time of year. They are looking for paramours, and they are on the hunt to prosper their clan through mating rituals. While spiders might freak some people out, they are a long-standing reminder of change and transition, as well as preparing for new growth in the future. Spiders are also symbolic of connection, family, and the elegant flow of nature – all things we should take into account this month of the year.
If you love Halloween (or Samhain) as much as I do – you know it’s a popular event to celebrate witches. Cats are often labeled as a witch’s familiar. Meaning, cats have been associated with witches (for good or bad) because of the instinctive, intuitive, energetic bond most wise souls share with savvy cats. I loathe the term “witch” because it’s been so maligned over centuries. But, there are some men and women who embrace the craft of incorporating the majesty of nature in their daily lives. Do all so-called witches have cats as familiars (as power animals, or animal soul mates)? No. But, it’s a theme in an archaic witch fable or story that has stuck over time. Perhaps a more logical approach to cats being associated with the symbolism of October is that they hunt the heck out of forests and fields this time of year. Cats are smart, and they know they need to bulk up before the snow flies. That’s why you see them this time of year, because there is plenty of prey out in the woods. This makes them a significant animal of October.
Flowers of October
Some blooms have more gravitas during certain months than others, and October is no different. Here are a few show-stopping floral accents that are associated with the month of October.
These are cool-weather loving flowers that come in a mind-blowing array of colors. In October, mums are strewn along front porches and sidewalks – commonly in autumnal colors (reds, yellows, oranges, etc). Symbolically, chrysanthemums are representatives of lovely themes such as promise, hope, connection, friendship, memory, and cheer.
In the US, we love our marigolds. These annuals are hearty and can live long into the autumnal, chilly month of October. They give us gay, bright blooms in vibrant reds and oranges – which hearken to common hues associated with this month. Because of their resilience, strength, and versatility, marigolds are symbolic of the same. I like this a lot, because the marigold is a lovely part of the symbolism of October for their ability to bear the challenges that comes through the transition this month implies.
These cheerful babies are bouncy and bounding in wildflower fields during the early part of October (depending upon where you live). They have a varied and strongly integrated root system, which is symbolic of connection and communication. They are also hearty flowers that can sustain the shift in climate that October presents. The symbolic meaning of the cosmos flower resonates with concepts such as simplicity, peace, harmony, elation, connection, and abundance.
Okay – they’re not flowers (although pumpkin plants do produce flowers – much the same and reminiscent as zucchini blossoms) – but no post about the signs and symbolism of October should be published without mentioning pumpkins. These bountiful beauties are harvested this time of year. As such, they enjoy a long history of being incorporated into autumnal festivities, ceremonies and rituals. From the Irish gourd-carving tradition (which later evolved into carving jack-o-lanterns from pumpkins) to making pumpkin pie – this gourd is a champion symbol for the month of October.
Frequently Asked Questions About October
In Latin, October is associated with the number eight. This makes sense, because, according to the ancient Roman calendar, October was the eighth month (during around 150’ish BCE). As adjustments to the calendar were made over the centuries (ie, the Gregorian calendar), the moniker of October held strong, and so the name became deeply entrenched into the calendar system we see today. You can read the next FAQ for the number meaning of the eighth month (and currently the tenth month in our modern calendar).
As mentioned, October has eight energy. In numerology, the number eight is about fluidity, and transition. But the number eight for which the ancient establishment of October is known is also about observing revolutions in time. To explain, the number eight is an undulating energy – it’s about seeing how time influences our lives. It’s about reflecting upon phases, and how these phases enrich or transform our own personal seasons of life. In the modern calendar, October holds 10 energy. The number 10 in numerology is symbolic of completion. All of this points to a time in the year that might be unpredictable, a time of reflection, but also a time of making amends. Numerologically speaking, October is a time to ponder, assess, as well as welcome completion after a period of transition.
Libra and Scorpio rule the month of October. I find this blissfully fascinating because both signs fall in-step with the themes of change, unpredictability and transition which are bespoke aspects for this month. Libra is a harmonizing energy in the zodiac, whereas Scorpio can often be a wild card. Between the two we see tempestuous themes of transformation, growth, renewal and deeper understanding wrought from experience, observation and deep contemplation. These two signs also bring an inspirational level of positivity and levity to the potentially shadowy and heavy aspect of October, which is a breath of fresh air to the entire zodiac.
The Last Word About Signs and Symbolism of October
Whether you are a fan of this month, or not – there is no denying it’s a magical space in time that is replete with loads of potential. In short, October is a beautiful bookmark in our calendar to remind us that change can be very good, and transition should be embraced. Why? Because with great change come great rewards.
By the way, if you happened across this article on Token Rock, it’s because I’m the original author. I’ve since re-written the article to offer more broad perspectives and deeper insight into the signs and symbolism of October. So, I hope you enjoy the 2.0 version of this article! As always, thanks for reading!
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