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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Samhain
Samhain Reflection: Leaves Changing, Falling, Decomposing

Cross-posted at Goddessing From the Heart.

For this Wheel of the Year post, I decided to share a reflection on leaves and how, in the ending of their life cycle, they can embody aspects of Samhain.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

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Lisa Fazio (Poland, NY) is a traditional Western Herbalist, mother of four, writer, gardener and founder of Hawthorn Hill Herbs, an herbal education center that promotes the use of local medicine plants to create healthy human communities.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Contract with Death

Life is a contract with death, annually renewed.

At Samhain, we renew the contract.

At Samhain we stand before the great black void of Non-Existence.

She offers us an apple.

Others die; we eat. Some day, we will die and others eat.

The ancient story: feed and feed.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Good eye, Tasha. It's based on the Samhain ritual that we've been doing for...well, decades now. Which in turn is based upon one o
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Interesting...Apples and symbols, bobbing for apples, Snow White and the apple...lots of interesting stuff there. Love myths and t
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Oh My! Is this based on an actual myth or is it simply a metaphor? Just curious. Very special! Thanks for sharing, Blessed Be, Tas

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Samhain: Ancient and Modern

Calan Gaeaf (Welsh) or Samhain (Irish) begins at sunset of 31st October and runs to to sunset 1st November according to most Western Pagan traditions. If working by the moon, it is the first full moon when the sun is in Scorpio. If working by the natural landscape, it is when the first frosts bite. Samhain was termed the Celtic New Year, as it marked the ending of one cycle and the beginning of another. The Celts reckoned their days from sunset to sunset, and so the start of the year would begin in the dark time at the beginning of winter. Samhain marked the first day of Winter.

Calan Gaeaf, however, is a time that is not a time, and therefore some Pagans honour this tide and season from 31st October right through to the Winter Solstice. It is a time after many things have died, and there is a stillness to the air, an Otherworldly feel in the silence. It's a dark time here in the UK, with long nights on our northerly latitude, and usually a very wet time as well. It's not hard to see how these months could be seen outside of time, outside of the cycles of life, death and rebirth.

Calan Gaeaf, Samhain, Hallowe'en, All Soul's Night - for many pagans this is the ending of one year and the beginning of another.  It is often seen as the third and final harvest - with the last of the apples harvested, the cattle were prepared for winter and the grain stored properly.  It is also a time when it is said that the veil between the worlds is thin, and the realms of the living and the dead are laid bare to each other. We are approaching the darkest time of the year, and the killing frosts and snows await just around the corner.  It is a time of letting go, of releasing into the dark half of the year, and getting rid of the dross in our lives so that we do not have to carry them with us through the long winter nights.  We consciously make the effort to live better, meaningful lives and let go of all that holds us back - our fears and worries, our anger and hatred.  We nurture the beneficial and the good that we have in our lives, ensuring that they are well kept for our plans to come at the winter solstice. So the cycle continues.

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  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    A very lovely and evocative description. Thanks for sharing, blessed be, Tasha

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

I love this point between the winter solstice and new year, a time of no time, when all activity is disrupted and the normal routines of our lives either slow down or cease entirely in the face of a huge cultural and seasonal wave. Nature tells us this is a time of stillness and retreat, although sadly the modern world seldom allows complete hibernation its onward rush never the less falters for a time over the holidays. The weather too has no interest in our daily schedules and need to progress, and will disrupt the race at will. This is a season when everyone learns, even just a little, that none of us are bigger than nature. That her cycles are applied to all of us regardless of our own ideas.

For me this descent into winters darkness began with a huge day of Samhain celebrations back at the end of October, where my husband and I participated in our whole town of Glastonbury ( UK) honouring our local hunter god, Gwyn Ap Nudd who leads the Wild Hunt- a team of spirits and spectral hounds that chase or guide the dead to the underworld. My husband the artist Dan Goodfellow embodied the role of Gwyn that day in a public ceremony probably not seen here in any form for over a thousand years. The power of all that ancestral presence was immense, the dead crowded into our circle along with the residents of our town. It was very moving, but it was not an easy ceremony to be part of- a dreadful sense of hope in the air, at deaths doorway, that while the end is inevitable, it will, after that dark journey, guide us all to the light one again.  

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Scorpio: Samhain, Fear, and Tyranny

All through October, which was the warmest October on record here on the Front Range of Colorado, there were rumors and reports of scary, threatening clowns walking around scaring people. These clowns would be sighted on deserted roads, skulking suspiciously near woods or schools or unlit parts of neighborhoods. Leading up to Hallowe'en, my own kids could not stop chattering away the “creepy clowns,” repeating and embroidering on rumors that kept getting more threatening, more morbid. The clowns were seen close by, hanging around someone else's school, someone else's playground. It got so bad that the school district called the police, then sent letters to every home in town, trying to allay fears: no scary prowlers had been seen or arrested, there was no cause to continue to believe in them. But that did not stop the rumors, did not stop my kids and their friends taking turns scaring the daylights out of each other, with creepy clown stories.

.A quick scan of urban legends reveals that the creepy clown scare, like many other mass hallucinations, has a tendency to pop back up in times of collective societal stress. Kids, picking up vibes and amplifying them, act as both sensors and transmitters. Whether the cry is “creepy clown!” or “witches!” or “Communist!” or “terrorist!,” the dynamic does not shift very much. The pressure of anxiety, fear, and dread rises, is pressed down, but never released, until it bursts out explosively, sometimes even bizarrely. As we approached Hallowe'en and the election soon after, the creepy clown meme kept reasserting itself, no matter how many reassuring letters were mailed out.

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The Old Gods are with us always: Mictcacícatl, Santisima Muerte, and Day of the Dead

One November 2, the Day of the Dead, I went to the Taos Inn to hear a talk by local Taos artist, writer, and all around remarkable woman, Anita Rodriguez. It was fascinating and I asked whether I could reproduce it here at Witches and Pagans, She graciously agreed, and asked whether I could also share her website, where people can see and perhaps purchase her work. (I love her work- she did two paintings for me a while ago.)

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