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A Samhein Story

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Author Topic: A Samhein Story  (Read 100 times)
Heather Delaria
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Posts: 4671

« on: October 27, 2007, 09:03:38 pm »


October 31

This is our first Winter celebration and the day in which the Celtic New Year begins. It is a time for both beginnings and endings, through death in Winter to rebirth in Spring. In ancient times the Celtic people celebrated the Celtic Feast of the Dead to honor the memories of their ancestors. Witches today often share this custom by lifting the veil between the worlds on this night, when it is the thinnest, to contact their own ancestors. Spells and Divinations are also performed to do away with old negative patterns or situations and to make room for new life.

Samhain/Samhein is also known as All Hallows' eve, Hallowmas, Samana, Samhuinn and Halloween.

The colors are black and orange.

Symbols are the cauldron, jack o'lantern, mask, and balefire.

Dieties for this Sabbat are Crone Goddesses, Dying/Aging Gods, Sacrificial Gods, Death and Otherworld Gods and Goddesses.

We think of the year as a wheel or circle. In every year there is a cycle from light to dark and back to light: of growth, reproduction, dying off, and rebirth again. Any day of the year can be the first day of the rest of your life. And when you come around to the same point a year later, you can see how the intervening cycle of days has changed you, and how you have changed from what you were.

A Samhein Story
by Lady Hecate

And The Goblins 'l Git You, If You Don't Watch Out!

Have you wondered where in the world this country, which is so predominantly Christian, got such a ghoulish custom of dressing their young children as ghastly creatures and sending them out into the night to bribe treats from their neighbors with threats of mischief and mayhem? Even as a little girl I wondered about that, all the while eagerly awaiting Halloween each and every year. I always dressed as a Witch or a ballerina. It is interesting that now, in my religion (Wicca) and in my former profession as a ballet dancer, I became both.

The Halloween/Trick or Treat custom is a reflection of the Old Ways that reside deep within our universal psyche and refuse to die. Most of Christianity's holidays were purposely placed at pagan festivals in an effort to eradicate the Old Ways. Sterner measures were taken as well, but that is another story. The pagan festival of Samhain, pronounced sow-in , the ow rhyming with cow, is one pagan festival which had no Christian holiday with which to supplant it. Thus, since it refused to die, it was perverted.

The eve of November 1 is when the Celtic Winter begins. It is essentially the dark counterpart of May Eve (May Day) which brings in Summer. The word Samhain is simply Irish Gaelic for November, the festival actually being observed on the eve of November, October 31.

The Old Ways of the Craft Of The Wise were agriculturally based, or nature-oriented. In that society the life cycle of the people was dominated by planting, growing and reaping of their crops and herds. Keeping whole herds fed through the harsh winter was difficult and finely balanced. It was simply not possible to maintain the entire herd. Thus, at Samhein, the minimum breeding-stock was kept alive and the rest, mainly the weaker and older animals, were slaughtered and salted to preserve them. It was at this time that the last crops of the field were also brought in and likewise preserved. One can imagine the tension at this point of year when the planning of how much to preserve as food for the people and remaining herds was so critical, yet how severe and long the winter would be could only be guessed. Life and death hinged upon the critical decisions made at this time.

Samhain evolved into a festival celebrating the spirit world in general, and the ongoing cooperation between that world and our own world of dense matter. At Samhain we are at a crack in time, for this day belongs neither to the old year nor to the new. There is no distinction between the years and thus none between the worlds. It is said that at Samhain the Veil between the worlds is thin and that those newly departed may pass between the worlds freely. Offerings of food were left for deceased, wandering ancestors, a custom which has been transformed to Trick or Treat. In the old times it was believed that if these offerings were not made, the unhappy ancestors would cause mischief or even harm. Samhain is both a night of death and rebirth. The Celtic tradition says that those who die each year must wait until Samhain to cross into the spirit world, or into Summerland, where the Dark Mother, Hekate, heals them from their life experiences and prepares them for rebirth.

Among the familiar Halloween customs is bobbing for apples. In the Old Religion the apple is a symbol for the soul, the large cauldron or barrel the great womb of the Goddess, and the water within the cauldron the waters of birth.

In the old days those who did not celebrate Samhain nonetheless feared the free-roaming spirits and tried to frighten them away with horrifying faces carved on pumpkins and other gourds lighted from within with candles. Wiccans, on their way to the Samhain Sabbats, wishing to frighten off troublemakers or curiosity seekers, would sometimes carry these shining faces through the dark of night. As Wiccans were dressed in black, one can well imagine the frightening specter of the seemingly disembodied, floating death-masks. From this came the Halloween jack-o'-lantern.

Among the Celts the skull was not a terrifying image, but a power object. To modern Wiccans, skulls and skeletons are not frightening, but a reminder of our immortality as well as our mortality. The bones are that which last the longest after death. Thus, existence does not immediately end when the spirit leaves its vehicle.

Samhain is traditionally a night for divination, when the future can be seen more readily by those with eyes to see, and ears to hear, and the capacity to peer into the coming times. Scrying into the Samhain fire is common at this time, as well as other forms of divination.

The traditional colors of Halloween, black and orange, also have definite symbolism. Black is not evil, as the Christian Church professes, but the color of night, the color of the Universe, and the color within the womb of the Goddess. Black is the color of the Crone, Hekate, the keeper of the secrets of life, death, and rebirth. Black is the presence of all light and a very holy color. Black repels negativity and draws in and fills our bodies with light at a time of year when the days grow colder. Orange symbolizes the dying leaves, the expiring fires of summer, and the waning powers of the Sun. The chill of the dark half of the year is felt within our bodies and within our psyches. Orange foretells the coming of death, yet is gloriously, dazzlingly beautiful as any one who has traveled to New England in the fall can attest.

The agricultural implications of Samhain relate to dense matter, or the earthy, physical life/death processes of existence on this plane. But Samhain also has its relationship to our emotional/spiritual well-being, which is usually of greater emphasis to most modern Wiccans. This is a time for ridding ourselves of weaknesses, just as in thinning the herds when the older and weaker animals were slaughtered. Wiccans often bring a parchment to the sacred fire of Samhain on which is written those qualities they consider weaknesses. It is tied with a ribbon of the color of which has a specific meaning for the Witch. During the Samhain ritual the parchment is cast into the flames and the weaknesses burned away, the prayers rising to the Gods with the smoke.

At Samhain we Wiccans assess our spiritual growth. We examine the paths we have tread thus far and look ahead to determine which direction will further our development and unfoldment. This is very personal to each individual Witch, as no two paths, even among Witches, is exactly the same. The ritual generally allows a time of quiet for meditation and contemplation during which we look for direction to the Goddess/God Source and to our own intuitive higher selves.

Since the Veil between the worlds is thin at Samhain, it is also a time when communication between the living and their deceased ancestors becomes possible. This is a private and very emotional part of the Samhain ritual. We can, at this time, say those very important things we neglected to say when our loved ones were still with us. This is a stark lesson to us not to take life for granted, but to truly value those we love. We may reavow our love to them, and in so doing perhaps ease their pass ing across the Veil. This is also a time to release any sense of loss, knowing that life is a circle, and that nothing and no one is ever truly lost.

And the Wheel turns, and turns again...
« Last Edit: October 27, 2007, 09:04:16 pm by Heather Delaria » Report Spam   Logged

"An it harm none, do what ye will."
-the Wiccan Rede

Heather Delaria
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Posts: 4671

« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2007, 09:05:20 pm »

Samhain is one of the eight annual holidays, referred to as "Sabbats", observed by modern day Wiccans, and by other Neopagans who base their traditions on Wicca. It is considered by most Wiccans to be the most important of the four "greater Sabbats". Its date is not universally agreed upon, as many Neopagan movements have no binding structure upon which all agree. It is observed on October 31 in the Northern Hemisphere. Samhain is considered by most Wiccans as a celebration of death and of the dead, and it often involves paying respect to ancestors, family members, elders of the faith, friends, pets and other loved ones who have died. In some rituals the spirits of the departed are invited to attend the festivities. It is seen as a festival of darkness and death, which is balanced at the opposite point of the wheel by the spring festival of Beltane, which Wiccans celebrate as a festival of life and fertility.
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"An it harm none, do what ye will."
-the Wiccan Rede
Heather Delaria
Superhero Member
Posts: 4671

« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2007, 09:06:34 pm »

Samhain Poem

Samhain Night

The night is coming the veil is thin.
Hear their voices within the winds.

Light the fires and chant out loud,
Feel them walk within the crowd.

The summer is gone and winter draws near,
The veil will open, welcome them without fear.

Our loved ones past will soon be among our place,
See the veil thinning and you will see their face.

Embrace the night and let your magic be known,
The truth that is here will soon be shown.

Enjoy this time celebrate the worlds within your rites,
The veil is once again thinning, it is again Samhain Night.

Starrfire Price October 2003
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"An it harm none, do what ye will."
-the Wiccan Rede
Superhero Member
Posts: 1603

« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2008, 02:21:55 pm »

Hi Heather

Cool poem

The veil is thinning... Halloween is just around the corner baby!
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"There exists an agent, which is natural and divine, material and spiritual, a universal plastic mediator, a common receptical of the fluid vibrations of motion and the images of forms, a fluid, and a force, which can be called the Imagination of Nature..."
Elphias Levi
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