Some years, as Samhain approaches, I don't have time to think about it until it's here, and I find myself breathlessly writing down the names of deaths I want to recognize and births I want to welcome.
Some years, I find myself thinking about death, birth, celebration, and mourning in the weeks leading to Samhain.
This is one of the more-aware-of-loss years. Perhaps because some of the personal work I'm doing is around freeing up my mourning, perhaps because this is a year with a number of significant anniversaries this fall. Probably many things.
Last week, I started collecting dried pine needles for burning at Samhain.
I have a small cast-iron cauldron -- maybe 5 inches in diameter -- which I bought many years ago (at, perhaps predictably, an SCA event, Pennsic). My former partner, Teddy, and I were still together. Both Pennsic, and allowing myself outward expression of my Witchcraft, are intertwined with her memory.
This year, I've found myself wanting to start putting names in a container on my altar -- the cauldron, or perhaps an origami box like the ones my former co-Priestess Laura researched and designed for Coven Samhains.