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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Samhain

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
North Country Samhain

On Halloween weekend writer, witch, and ceremonial magician Frater Barrabbas hosted a gathering of Traditionals and friends at his home here in SE Minnesota. I swear, I’ve never seen so many stangs and black cloaks in one place before.

It’s been a warm, golden autumn here in Lake Country. We drove out to Barrabbas’ on Saturday afternoon (I’d spent the night before with my group here in Minneapolis, dancing with Old Hornie around a 150-year old white oak in a river meadow down by the Mississippi) through a landscape newly naked. The cottonwoods, birches, and maples had only recently shed their gold, leaving behind the oaks’ brown and russet, and the smoky green of Northland pines and cedars.

Barrabbas’ land is bounded by woods, a lake, and a cauldron bog. We found there a crowd of almost 40, some from as far away as Illinois and Georgia, subtly fueled by our host’s lively batches of homebrew: the rich, spicy Oktoberfest was especially beguiling.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Blessing o' the Bats

So far this fall, we haven't had any bats in the house. Around here, that's unusual.

Most years, in the weeks before Halloween, I find at least one wheeling through the halls. We've got a bat house mounted on the wall outside—bats eat mosquitoes, so they're a valuable asset to have nesting nearby—but come the cold and the end of bug season, naturally they start looking around for a nice, cozy cave to over-winter in.

These days, I'm the household bat-catcher. Old Simmycat is gone now, but in her heyday she did the job masterfully. Like most Manx—in compensation for the lack of tail, I suppose—Simmy had powerful hindquarters and was a noteworthy jumper.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Resting in the Dark

We humans have a deep, innate fear of the dark. We tend to feel more comfortable in the bright light of day that transparently reveals that which is around us, allowing us to assess and respond to people, situations, and things. There is something about the dark which adds the element of the ominous or disturbing. A screen door banging open repeatedly in daylight is a bother, needing to be closed tight lest the bugs get into the house. A screen door banging open repeatedly in the dead of night can leave us with our hearts banging out the same rhythm in our throats, tentatively tiptoeing towards it and taking deep, relieved breaths once it is safely closed and locked.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • kimberlie turnage
    kimberlie turnage says #
    Yes,I totally agree.Blessed Be.
  • Tiffany Lazic
    Tiffany Lazic says #
    Hi, Kimberlie ~ Yes, we have come a long way from the 'guilt and fear' tactics of generations gone by. They were operating from th
  • kimberlie turnage
    kimberlie turnage says #
    I stopped being afraid of the dark when I was eight.My grandmother used to tell my brother&I"If you curse,the boogerman will get y
  • kimberlie turnage
    kimberlie turnage says #
    I love Samhsain and I love this time of year.I love all changes of seasons but am Autumn Fall&Winter Soltace are my favorite.Bless

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Blood Month

Blót-monað, the ancestors called it: Sacrifice-Month.* Or one could say (as the ancestors did, in their pragmatic way) Blood-month. It still goes on.

Deer-hunting begins this weekend here in Minnesota. Hunting opener is generally the first full weekend of November. (Just coincidence, I'm sure. Yeah, right.) Blood on the leaves.

It's the season of the Dead, yes, but let us not forget what the witches in their wisdom have always remembered: it's also the time of the Rut.** The fawns that Old Green Eyes sires right now will be born about Bealtaine, sure. Blood and spooge: Old Craft in the nutshell.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I am entirely convinced that there is nothing, absolutely nothing, more central to our paganism than what and how we eat. Do we li
  • Jim
    Jim says #
    Like most people in the U.S. I have absolutely no need or intention of eating wild animals. Even those who are so abysmally mundan

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_boar.jpgBefore I sat down to write this, I had to wash the blood off my hands.

Seriously. I did.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Karen Wheeler
    Karen Wheeler says #
    This is a good and honest article. You did a good job of looking into the heart of things. I agree with Jim's relation of how it w
  • Courtney Weber
    Courtney Weber says #
    Thanks so much, Karen! I appreciate your thoughts!
  • Jim
    Jim says #
    I like the way the Iroquois (translation - the Humans) approached having to kill other living beings whether plant, or animal (inc
  • Courtney Weber
    Courtney Weber says #
    Thank you, Jim! I didn't know that about fruit--very interesting. I appreciate your kind comment!
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Thanks Courtney, for a well-written, compassionate, and even-handed post on a subject that often sends people off the deep end one

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Thirteen Nights of Samhain

Halloween is over and gone. The last of the soul candles have burnt out; the candy (thank Goddess) is all handed out; the squirrels have reduced the jack o' lanterns on the doorstep to piles of orange shreds. (“May squirrels eat his/her face” is one of my favorite curses, but obviously nothing to toss around lightly. Shudder.) But this, after all, is Paganistan. Don't go putting up those Yule lights quite yet. Around here, Samhain is just beginning.

Americans tend to do their celebrating in advance (Christmas begins the day after Thanksgiving and ends December 24th), but that's not the witch's way. Tony Kelly of the Pagan Movement in Britain and Ireland always used to say that the firedays aren't neat, tidy little dates on a calendar; they're extended tides of intensive change during the year. Like Yule, they all have their thirtnights, their witch's dozen of days.

Today's the Fifth of November. (“Remember, remember the Fifth of November: gunpowder, treason, and...what? There must be some reason to remember the season, but whatever it is, I forgot,” says the Kipper family.) Guy Fawkes' Day fell out of favor in America back around the Revolution, but did you ever wonder why Election Day is the first Tuesday in November? Back in the day, Election Day was a bonfire holiday. The harvest is in, but the winter weather hasn't closed in yet, so the tribe gets together to do its necessary politicking. The more things change....

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    If ever I entertained any doubts about why I do this, Susan (and occasionally I do), you've settled them all. Thanks. I'm sure Ton
  • susan
    susan says #
    Thanks for this entry! My Samhain was filled with stress, a major event, and no time for personal reflection. I read this and real

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
When is Samhain?

All Hallows Eve falls on the 31st of October – the night before All Hallows Day, also known as All Saints Day. It’s part of the Catholic calendar. All Hallows Eve is also, in this tradition, known as All Souls Night – a time for remembering the less saintly-dead. It’s this tradition that Mexican day of the dead festivities, and pumpkin lanterns would seem to belong to.

We know that Samhain was the end of the Celtic summer. However, as with all ancient festivals, the issue of dates is a tad compromised by the problems of calendars. In 1582, the Gregorian calendar came in, adjusting the previous Julian calendar and fine tuning when leap years happen. The reason for this is that the date of Easter is calculated (because the only reference to it is the Jewish lunar calendar) in relation to the spring equinox, so calendar drift was causing the Church some headaches.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • HighburyPaul
    HighburyPaul says #
    Using leaf fall is slightly vague though. Leaves fall in temperate climates for over a period of 2-3 months (different species loo
  • Maria OToole
    Maria OToole says #
    And then there's the Southern Hemisphere...our Samhain is their springtime...
  • Maria OToole
    Maria OToole says #
    Oct. 31 for me marks the beginning of the 3rd harvest in an agricultural calendar: Lammas for grain, Mabon for the late fruit like
  • Arranell
    Arranell says #
    I was just thinking about exactly this the other day. I woke wondering if anyone else thinks we might be celebrating Samhain when
  • warren rake
    warren rake says #
    It is my understanding that the cross quarter days are the midway point between the solstice and the equinox, or vice versa... The

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