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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in halloween
Of Halloween Candy, Mean Moms, and the Rationing of Joy

As a kid, I always felt sorry for my friends with the mean moms.

These were the ones who whisked away that brimming trove of trick-or-treat, and doled it out miserly-wise, one stingy, miserable piece at a time, through the dark days of November and December.

Yes, you got to have candy every day that way, sometimes until nearly Yule, but my heart knew that there was a flaw in that logic somewhere.

If there's only so much joy to go around, is it better to have much joy all at once, or little joys spread out?

The ancestors knew hunger. For most people, in most places, at most times, winter meant hunger. Our bodies remember this, even if we—overfed, under-exercised—forget it.

So at the end of harvest, when—for once—there was plenty, they made a great, shining feast, to have and remember through the lean times ahead.

They called it Samhain.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Signs & Portents
A Time for Death

Greetings, witches and Pagans and Happy Samhain. Samhain is the Celtic holiday honoring the dead and marking the beginning of winter that forms one of the primary influences on Halloween, along with the Catholic festival All Souls’ Day. Here in the northern hemisphere we celebrate our ancestors and examine our mortality while down in the south they celebrate the renewal of life with Beltane.

As we do every year we’ve gathered all our content for this very special day, along with a few links from elsewhere. We hope you have a spooky (but not too spooky) Samhain!

—Aryós Héngwis

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Ecstatic Pumpkins

 

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Witches, Fairies, and Hallowe'en

 When people think of Halloween, or from a more pagan perspective Samhain, the image of witches comes quickly to mind and it may be the single day of the year most strongly associated with witches in Western culture. Yet there is another layer to Halloween that also intersects with witchcraft and witches but isn't as commonly acknowledged in mainstream culture and that is fairies. Halloween and the general period of time around Halloween has long been known in the folklore and folk practices of the various Celtic-language speaking countries to be a time when the Good Folk are more active and more present.

The connection between witches and fairies more generally is complex and multi layered. Scottish witches who were brought to trial mentioned dealing with fairies as often as dealing with demons and were as likely to say they had sworn themselves to the Queen of King of Fairy as to the Christian Devil. This is discussed in Emma Wilby's books 'Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits' and 'The Visions of Isobel Gowdie' and touched on in Davies 'Popular Magic' which all review various material from the Scottish witchcraft trials in which confessed witches talk about their connections to the fairies. We also see references to both Irish witches and mná feasa [wise women] who learned their skill from the Good Neighbours, as well as specialists called fairy doctors in English who were supposed to have been taught by the fairies (Daimler, 2014). This overlap, briefly summarized here, was one where the witch might both serve Fairy and also be served by it. 

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

Ask the Dark Mother,
faceless in her beauty
to open the portal
of self-compassion
to those whose scars
keep them hidden.
excerpt © Jennifer Lothrigel 2016

 

Samhain

Maenad moon gathers all souls,
sends then dancing into the wind

Light dims, cold moves over, roots reach down to the core where life coheres. We draw inward, grow reflective, slow to the pace of dreaming and remembering.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Secular Samhain

Autumn cold brings the pagan dead

to seek the warmth of the Samhain fire.

Glenn Danzig, “Samhain”

 

Don't get me wrong; I love Halloween. It's probably one major reason why I'm pagan today.

But after nearly 50 years of Samhain, I have to admit: Halloween just seems to drift farther and farther away every year.

Halloween: the secular Samhain. Increasingly, it reads to me as a parody, a cartoon of Samhain. Much as I loved trick-or-treating as a kid—and taking the kids around, as an adult—already at age 11, I knew that something was missing: something that (I was certain) was out there waiting, in the woods, in the dark: something Deeper, something Realer.

Already I heard the rustling among the fallen leaves: the “Changer of Shapes, alone on hoofs” (Danzig again).

Sometimes I pity them, the Halloween people. I suppose that what they have is better than nothing.

Still.

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  • Tyger
    Tyger says #
    Lovely! And real.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Honoring the Dead

Halloween.  I'm not a fan of this time of year.  There's all the horror movies and everything associated with the day.  I never dressed up as a kid or for that matter as an adult.  I never did trick or treat.  We just didn't do it.  

Now when we talk about the day being a time to honor the ancestors, this I can get into.  I'm the family historian.  I've got the genealogy records and do the research.  I've done the DNA through Ancestry (fascinating).  This is a thing for me.

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