Yes, it is that witchy time of the year again! A time when witches celebrate Samhain pronounced (Sow-wen) also known far and wide as Halloween.
Do you know the history of Halloween? Well, it is a vast and expansive history that trails back over 5,000 years to Celtic Europe. Let me touch on a few points concerning the history of Halloween. If you would like to learn more, please make plans to attend my "History of Halloween" lecture and PowerPoint presentation this upcoming Friday, October 30, 2015 at Manchester Community College, Manchester, CT. USA The lecture starts at 6 pm and goes until 8 pm. We put on a very brief, silly skit emphasizing the stereotypical witch from legend and lore. Then the PowerPoint presentation, followed by a guided meditation where you will be able to contact a loved one who has passed and take home a magickal stone which will help you connect with them at other times. If you would like to attend, please call Manchester Community College at 860-512-3232 Monday-Friday between 8:30 am - 4:30 pm. You may pay by MasterCard, Visa or Discover Card. The cost is $20 a person. Please reference the course number CRN 31810. The lecture will take place in Great Path Academy on the MCC campus in room GPA GP139. I look forward to seeing you there!
Now those interesting facts about Halloween I promised you. Here they are:
- The holy day or Sabbat of Samhain really falls on November 1st. But like all of the Celtic Sabbats the actual holy day starts the evening before, at sunset.
- The name Samhain is thought to be old Gaelic and means November, though if you look on the Internet you'll find 20 different interpretations. From my research, November, is the closest actual translation.
- The name Halloween is derived from the old title of All Hallow's Eve, with the day itself being "All Hallow's Day" which is what the early Christians re-named this day in an attempt to absorb and Christianize the Pagan holy day. "All Hallow's was named such as it was a day to revere those who were Hallowed in the Christian faith, i.e. Some of the more special Saints and Angels. The very next day, November 1st, was re-named and Christianized as "All Saint's Day" which incorporated all those Saints not included on October 31st. Then November 2nd, became all souls day. This was a day to pray for all souls on Earth, everybody. This three day Christianized super-imposition over the Pagan holy day was an attempt to wipe out one of the most sacred holy days on the Pagan calendar.
- Samhain is a Celtic observed Day of the Dead. This is the holy day we remember the loved ones we have lost, especially in the past year, and others who have gone before.
- There are many ways to celebrate this holy day. One fashion is to hold a "Dumb Supper". A Dumb Supper is a feast where people are invited to sit down and eat wonderful foods and drink, only no one speaks. At all, throughout the entire dinner party. This is a way to honor the spirit guests who are present but cannot speak.
- A "Dumb Supper" can be a bit intense for some, so an easier way of honoring those who have passed, and are visiting in spirit form, is to have one plate of food, piled high, with all the goodies at the dinner. A glass of drink and the plate of food are placed on the table with an empty chair in that place. No one of the living sits there, or eats or drinks of the food and drink. They are placed there for the spirits. Pictures of loved ones who have passed can be placed at this table setting in honor and memoriam.
- The night before Samhain, October 31st, is an excellent night to commune with the spirits. It is believed that the "Veil between the Worlds" grows thin at this time of the year, also at Beltaine on May 1st. These two days are the half way points on the Wheel of the Year. It is believed that spirits can talk to you more easily at these times. So holding a seance' , using an oracle or talking board (Ouija) , using your pendulum, using tarot cards or crystal balls are all very effective this time of the year.
- Trick or Treating actually evolved from Western Europe when on this night villagers would go from door to door looking for a hand out of free drink, liquor of some sort or food. These were adults, whereas today we expect children looking for candy. Many years ago, with the poor and hungry, many people would simply not survive without the generosity and hand outs of the other villagers.
- On a final note, a bit of American History concerning Halloween. The scare everyone gets at Halloween concerning poisoned candy or treats with harmful objects inside, is just that a scare. Checking with the FBI, who handles all crimes such as these, they report that in the past 100 years in the United States (Halloween wasn't celebrated much before this time in this country) there have been only 2 instances where a child was killed or injured with candy that was tampered with. Only 2 times. And both of these cases were found to be caused by sick and twisted family members who wanted to cash in on insurance policies held on the children in question. Now I'm not at all suggesting parents do away with diligently checking their children's candy bags, because crazies are among us. But a sigh of relief can be had by knowing your children are safer than the media would have you believe every year around this time.
© 2010-2015 Faith M. McCann. Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see www.enchantmentsschool.com or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website. Please note that the copying and/or further distribution of this work without express written permission is prohibited.
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