La Samhna Crann Darach (The Samhain Oak Tree)

La Samhna Crann Darach (The Samhain Oak Tree)

A Story by Johari

Celebrating Samhain.


 For some, New Year begins on the 31st October.


We call it Samhain and it is not about pumpkins, dressing up as vampires or summoning demons. It is a time for respectfully honouring the ancestral dead and yes, inviting them into the family home to share a meal with the living - nothing ghoulish about that. It is also a time of quiet reflection on the year gone by, paying debts, ending disputes and generally putting ones ‘house in order’.


For the last two years I've worked through Samhain; my favourite celebration of the year. As such, I’ve had to be content with snatching a brief, low key, sacred moment underneath the unassuming oak tree that sits in the grounds where I work.

Working for the emergency services has a tendency to erode holidays such as Christmas and Easter to the point of myth and legend. Like Santa, we don’t quite believe they exist. Bealtaine and Samhain fair even worse, they are like moss covered stone - their significance an undecipherable whisper in the soul.

I like to listen to that whisper.

Praying for a quiet night I set up a plate of brúitín and a shot of whiskey. Fire regulations prevent me from lighting a candle but I do open the window a crack. Having prepared my 'New Year Resolutions' as the sun went down, I simply wait for the 'witching hour'. My colleagues are happy to give me the early lunch slot with a few ten minute breaks bolted on for good measure.

Approaching slowly with a cauldron full of incense and fire, I greet my friend. I can feel the sense of anticipation in the air, filling the darkness, and the oak seems to grow larger somehow, its energy embracing me. It trusts me - we have done this before.


The smoke of an Oud joss-stick weaves itself around the bole and branches and the fire flickers amiably at the base of the trunk. October is mild this year and the branches are still full of green. Barefoot and coatless I sit cross-legged in my uniform and wait for the silence to fill me.

In moments, the sounds of the night grow around me and there is even the sound of birdsong. ‘Hello’ I whisper with a smile. My internal Rosetta stone whispers back.


I feel the world reset.


As I breathe deep I feel sapflow and heartbeat entwine, marking the gentle ebb of time as it flows through us both.


Midnight passes.


No flashy fireworks or human drama as I light the white candle from the black. Just me and the tree.


© 2016 Johari

Author's Note

There is no reason for it to be in blue, just can't get the colour to reset to black.

My Review

Would you like to review this Story?
Login | Register


I'm so goad ou got to celebrate this. It sounds like a speaceful, spiritual experience that really connects with the inner world.

Posted 6 Years Ago

Johari - its beautiful no matter the colour. You describe a tradition that harks back to time of symbioses and a more spiritual connection with the surrounding world and its amazing. Thanks so much for sharing.

Posted 6 Years Ago

So beautifully spiritual and gentle. So full of love for humankind. So simple yet easy to comprehend and embrace.

Posted 6 Years Ago

Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


3 Reviews
Added on December 24, 2014
Last Updated on November 8, 2016



Norfolk, United Kingdom

East Anglian author Tasha O’Neill has been tinkering around with words since childhood and writes short stories, novels, non-fiction and poetry. She has an enduring love of folklore and fairy.. more..

Greeneholt Greeneholt

A Story by Johari

Santa Corp. Santa Corp.

A Story by Johari

Related Writing

People who liked this story also liked..