Some call it Halloween; others call it Samhain (pronounced “SOW-in” in Ireland, SOW-een in Wales, “SAV-en” in Scotland or “SAM-hain” in non-Gaelic speaking countries). The Pagan sabbat was the first observance of this day. The present holiday of trick or treat and costumed kiddies was inspired by this contemplative time, which was intended to mark summer’s end and to honor those who have gone before us.
Celtic Spirit offers a fascinating look at the tradition; here is an excerpt:
Samhain marks one of the two great doorways of the Celtic year, for the Celts divided the year into two seasons: the light and the dark, at Beltane on May 1st and Samhain on November 1st. Some believe that Samhain was the more important festival, marking the beginning of a whole new cycle, just as the Celtic day began at night. For it was understood that in dark silence comes whisperings of new beginnings, the stirring of the seed below the ground. Whereas Beltane welcomes in the summer with joyous celebrations at dawn, the most magically potent time of this festival is November Eve, the night of October 31st, known today of course, as Halloween.
The following is from “SAMHAIN, Halloween, & the Day of the Dead,” the author’s note from MYTH*ING LINKS: An Annotated & Illustrated Collection of Worldwide Links to Mythologies, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Sacred Arts & Sacred Traditions by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.
This season was the beginning of the New Year (and winter) in many rural areas of Europe. The actual time of transition, from sundown on Samhain to sundown the following day, was a “thin place” in the Celtic world, a place between-the-worlds where deep insights could pass more easily to those who were open to them. In addition to inspiration, through the portals could also pass beings of wisdom, fun, and play (and some of these played rough, requiring common sense and real caution on the part of mortals).
Christianity would declare that these creatures of “otherness” were evil, but that only reveals how clumsy is the relationship between the West’s monotheism and much older, archetypal realms of the “imaginal.” The creative impulse is inherent in life. In humans, only when it is repressed by too many narrow minds full of rigid “do’s and don’t's” does it rebel and re-direct its power into malice and violence. At its worst, monotheism impoverishes the creative juices within us, demonizing them, closing us off from multi-dimensional realms all around us. Then we wonder why children use guns in schools which have been starved of the imaginal by the forced withdrawal of the arts, theatre, and music.
In this season of Samhain, we are reminded of other wondrous worlds existing side by side with our own, and we are invited to play, laugh, don disguises, delight in small miracles of human friendship, use common sense, and free our hearts to explore who and what we truly are.
From the inbox, I found this piece from the Goddess Tara. It is part of her sales pitch for spells and such, but the message was so lovely, I wanted to share it for the benefit of my Pagan and Wiccan readers, friends, and loved ones:
The wheel has turned, and the New Year is here. Now is the time for remembering those who have gone before us. They can once more come across the veil, letting their presence be felt. Do you have a dream to share, or a question to ask of them? Now is the time. A celebration of the beloved dead – they are never forgotten, as they are always with us. As the old year dies so the new year is born. This is the way of the universe.
“The song of the heart is always heard.”
Be true to yourself, love and do not fear the process of your life, let it unfold, for love is true freedom and power. Remember, love is a pure energy, and energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It can simply be transformed, as it is eternal. So whomever you have loved can never truly die in your heart.
From October 31st through November 2nd is one of the holiest of sabbats. People all over the world will be celebrating this High Holy Day of the Dead. I will be performing my own ritual on the night of October 31st, at 12 midnight PST. My sister has flown in from across the country to be with me on this special night, as we will attempt to communicate with our father, who entered the Summerland earlier this year.
“I know there is NO death, only transformation.”
So on this night we will celebrate life, and we will feel with the heart. Go into the mysteries, cut open the veil in the West, and invite the ones we remember to be with us in the sacred circle – between the worlds. We will be together again for a time, between the worlds, coming together again once more.
“Feel the winds of change, let yourself fly free. Remember you have the power to create your dreams.”
Moon Times for October / November Samhain / Halloween
All Saint’s Day
Full Moon (The Mourning Moon)
Sun enters Sagittarius
Nov. 8 (8:13 pm ET)
Nov. 8 (8:20 pm ET)
Nov. 16 (11:15 pm ET)
Nov. 22 (12:43 pm ET)
Nov. 23 (2:30 am ET)
Nov. 23 (4:02 pm ET)
In closing, remember that we are changing the world, and that everything She touches changes. May we have peace, harmony, love and abundance for all.
To all, a happy Halloween and Samhain. Blessed be.