Samhain is one of the four Celtic or Gaelic festivals celebrated every year. The other three are Imbolc, Beltane and Lughnasadh. (There’s a mittfull for you.)Samhain falls on what would now be called Hallowe’en, which is kind of a morphed version of All Hallows Eve, the Catholic version. Samhain is pronounced sow-an. It is celebrated from sunset on October 31st to the same on November 1.
The festival is thought to have been around for several thousand years. Evidence of its celebration and the importance of the day can be found going back to as early as 3000 BCE. There is a place called The Mound of the Hostages in County Meath, Ireland, where the doorway to this ancient passage tomb, which contained the remains of well over 250 individuals, is lit up by the sunrise on only two days of the year, Samhain and Imbolc.
In ancient times, this festival was more concerned with the spirits of the dead, or the Si, Fey or Fairies, coming to be involved with the living. For you see, the walls between the worlds are very thin at this time of the year. I know, myself, that I am more likely to see movement out of the corners of my eyes at that time of the year. I can hear the other side very clearly and feel the presence of other worlds and times. I’m sure there are many of you who feel way more sensitive at this time of the year. Don’t worry about it, but protect yourself with your heirloom family jewellery or your power pendants, crosses, and protection ornaments. The other side is a whisper away right now.
Don’t overwhelm yourself with satanic thoughts or let the dark side enter in. It’s not a good time to open yourself to that. Tell them to “Go Away!” with force and shake negative thoughts off and out of your mind. You can chant mantras, say the rosary, repeat prayers of power and clear your head.
It’s a good time to burn sage and walk through your house. Hang cedar boughs around the doors and throw real salt, like pink or rock salt–not that chemical concoction the manufacturers sell as table salt– around your home to cleanse it of any extra forces or energies who may wish to hang around.
Of course, the tradition of giving out treats was originally to please the Fey and ancient ones so they would help bring on the health of the harvests in the future and keep the world working. Now, the treats we give out are more to keep the dentists happy in the future and to placate the children, or as Kristen Lamb would say, to feed the starving writers. I’ll go with that one. Bring on the chocolate bars!
It has been said to be the Celtic New Year when the old year and harvest dies down, and the seed falls to the ground, hence the name of the November was Samonios, or Seed Fall, in the old Celtic Calendar.
Makes sense to me.
Well, whatever you wish to call it, have a safe and happy festival. Don’t get too crazy. Try to remember what it’s traditions are really about. They have more depth than what we tend to latch onto in our modern world. And if you are feasting, let’s be Vegetarian and save the planet and our animal friends of all kinds, not just the little ones that fit on our lap and purr.
There’s lots to watch on the telly. And great movies to rent.
And good stories to read! This one is by yours truly.
Have a happy Samhain! Leave some treats for the fairies that are pet friendly just in case the critters get into them before the Fey do.
Bright blessings be upon you and yours!