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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Samhain
You’re invited to a Samhain ritual

You’re invited to a Samhain ritual. It will be held via teleseminar (group phone-call). Simply dial your phone, and you’re in. No other equipment needed. Attendance is free.

 

Dial-in number and other details for this one-hour ceremony are in my upcoming newsletter. Subscribe for free: https://outlawbunny.com/newsletter/ 

 

Samhain is a major holiday for many Pagans. The holiday has various aspects. Here are a few: 

* It is similar to the Mexican Day of the Dead, in that it is a time to honor and visit with ancestors.

* It is a harvest festival.

* Many Pagans celebrate the New Year at this time, instead of on January 1.

 

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Day of the Dead and Cultural Appropriation

With Samhain just around the corner, its relation with Day of the Dead is an issue of some importance to many Pagans. Taos, where I now live, is famous for the ubiquitous presence of decorated Day of the Dead skulls in many shop windows, all over town, all year long.  Of course, Day of the Dead themes have been integrated into Halloween celebrations as well, even though Mexicans are a small part of the population. The dominant Hispanic community had been here for centuries when Mexican people brought Day of the Dead with them. Since then, elements of it have caught on, particularly with the White population. 

As it has, the issue of cultural appropriation has arisen.  Cultural appropriation is when the dominant culture, or members of it, borrow and use aspects of minority cultures outside of their intended context. Recently, Aya de Leon offered a thoughtful critique of Anglo celebrations of Day of the Dead as cultural appropriation.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. diZerega, Thanks for your thoughtful contributions on a sensitive subject.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Samhain Song from the Celtic Revival

Irish Revival writer James Stephen's dazzling little 1924 novel  In the Land of Youth, though largely forgotten today, is nothing short of a modern pagan classic. In it, Stephens takes up an ancient Irish literary genre, back-stories to the Táin Bo Cuailinge, and recounts, in shining, lapidary prose, his tales (and tales-within-tales, and tales-within-tales-within-tales) of human and sidhe, of This World and the Other, and of the intercourse between the two.

The Song of Death is drawn from the novel's second section, “The Feast of Lugnasa,” but in this Season of the Ancestors it is the novel's first half, “The Feast of Samhain,” which I commend to the reader and which, in my opinion, richly deserves to become to the modern Samhain what Dickens' Christmas Carol has become to its eponymous holiday.

In the royal hall at Cruachan, on the Eve of Samhain—when gates between worlds swing wide—Ailill the King proposes to his assembled heroes a pastime while waiting for the feast to be made ready: that on this night of terrors, one of them should go out alone to tie a withy around the ankle of one of the dead men hanging from a nearby tree.

Two men go out, two men fearfully return, deed undone. Then Nera the Hero goes out into the night's darkness, withy in hand.

But things are not as they seem, for Ethal Anbual, King of the Sidhe of Connacht, is that very night proposing to raid and burn the royal hall at Cruachan....

 

The Song of Death

(James Stephens)

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The Turning Wheel: Folk Tradition and Myth

 

There’s a house across the hill from mine that has a wagon wheel mounted on a post in their front yard. It’s painted white with eight spokes, and in front of it is a small garden bed with flowers. I’ve seen wagon wheels in yards and even mounted on house exteriors before, but I never thought much about them until recently. When I noticed this particular wagon wheel on the way to my son’s school one morning, it struck me as one of those old traditions that have been practiced consistently for so long that people have forgotten what they mean. But still they use them, out of superstition (a code word for lingering belief in folk magic and religion), a love of tradition, or both.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Your Undimmed Lightness of Being

One Reality:

I’m in magical circle, celebrating Samhain. We’re in a group trance, traveling to the isle of the dead to commune with our beloved Ancestors. I’ve done this meditation many times before, yet this time is different.  As we reach the shore of this blessed isle, we unzip our flesh coats and step forth as beings of pure shining light, tethered to our living, breathing bodies by a silver cord.

There will never be enough words to capture such a lightness of being. For this blessed time, I’m free of my human body, and my mindscape of fears and tangled habits that make me less than I am.  I’m pure light, untainted love, unbounded beauty, in the company of other bright shining beings, both my living companions and our blessed dead. 

I understand, in the deepest parts of my being, the truth of this moment: that I am this being of light, always. This is my naked, true Self, and our naked, true humanity. We are, always, pure light, untainted love, unbounded beauty. When I follow my silver tether back to my human body, and zip myself back into my flesh coat, my skin seems to loosen its fibers, letting more of that inner light shine outward.

Another Reality:

A few weeks later, I’m on the treadmill at the gym, working to make my body strong.  There’s a screen in my face, blasting out the daily news: a gang rape by teenage boys from a Catholic high school; a high profile, high drama murder of an international journalist; the latest Trump cringe-fest fiasco.  My heart squeezes tight and my adrenals spike. Barely halfway through my cardio routine, I’m already drenched in the toxicity of status quo reality.

Damn! It’s caught me again, off guard, that constant, outer noise pushing its way past my defenses, triggering my fears and negative mindset, trying to spellbind me into believing in the worst of my humanity. I forget, in these short moments, my Samhain experience of the light being in my core. Loathing rises up in me, and horror, grief and rage. I feel dirty and ashamed of my flesh coat and our collective humanity.

Big breathe in. Big breathe out. I tune out the screen, and focus instead on the reassuring rhythm of my striding legs, my hard-working muscles and sweating skin. I love my wondrous flesh coat; I clear my mindset of fear and loathing; I remember the shining light of who I am, and the true, untainted nature of my humanity — the spell of our shadow humanity is broken.

Two realities.  Two versions of our human nature. 

Which do we choose to believe in? Which do we give our attention and juice to? Which do we allow to steer our choices and actions? Which will help us build the world we want to live in?

The shadow side of our humanity is true. We are doing terrible things to each other and our planet home.  Rape, murder and political fiascos are daily occurrences. Our flesh coats and mindsets are burdened down by fears and tangled habits born out of our personal and collective histories of trauma and wounding.   Yes, these things happen; they are real and seemingly omnipresent. 

The pure, shining brilliance of our humanity is true. We are blessed with the glorious gift of living in a light and beauty infused world. We ourselves are light and beauty infused beings. Love, kindness, justice, compassion, creativity, courage, humor, sensuality, and so much more: these are the shining of our inner light outward.  These things are real and truly omnipresent.

We talked about this dual nature of our humanity at the end of our Samhain ritual, and the overwhelming challenges and atrocities that have come to dominate our shared society and non-stop news cycles.  How can we be a force of positive change, we asked ourselves? How can we make a difference?

One of my brilliant companions answered simply, “we have to bring a little of our light into today, and then tomorrow after that.”

Nothing or no one can ever dim our lightness of being.  We’re meant to shine bright, gifting the world with the brilliance of our pure, naked Self, unbounded beauty and untainted love.  But we’ve been convinced to do the dimming ourselves. 

Individually and collectively, we’ve been bullied, shamed and abused. We’ve been indoctrinated into the shadow reality of humanity, fed to us constantly, unrelentingly through the one-sided messaging of mass culture. We’ve been spellbound through lies and illusions about our unworthiness and tainted nature. We’ve become lost and fear tangled, our flesh coat and mindset made into prisons, and our shining inner core forgotten.

But this doesn’t have to be your truth. You don’t have to give your attention and juice to the shadow reality of humanity.  You can choose to believe in the shining brilliance of your Self and human nature.  You can begin to undim your life light, loosen the fibers of your flesh coat, and let more and more of that glorious beauty that you are shine through.

Big breathe in. Big breathe out. Tune out the outer noise. Focus instead on the reassuring rhythm of your beating heart, the wondrous motions of your hard-working body, and the caress of air on your sensing skin. Reach inward to that shining light at the core of your being. Unzip your flesh coat, just a little bit, as much as feels good and safe. Take a little bit of your light into today, and tomorrow after that. Little by little, breathe by breathe, moment by moment, shine your lightness of being outward, and brighten the world around you.

In each of these undimmed moments, the shadow spell of humanity is broken, and you are set free. You may forget, be caught off guard, or choose to hide again. Don’t worry, these are natural parts of your journey of reclaiming your full-shining Self. Once you unzip your flesh coat, and taste your own innate brilliance and beauty, even a little, you’re no longer lost. You’ve woken from your spellbound sleep, and set your feet on a path that will guide you home to your true Self, undimmed moment by undimmed moment.

Trust that this journey takes time and practice. It’s done in small steps and big leaps, where, again and again, you choose to wake up, disconnect from the negative, shadow-reality messaging and experiences outside and inside of you, and re-align yourself with your shining core and a positive, love-filled vision of our humanity.

With every bit of your light you reclaim, you’re gifting yourself and everyone who crosses your path with bright new possibilities.
 
In these small steps and big leaps, we build the world we want to live in, each of us bringing a little of our unzipped light into today, and tomorrow after that. Together we can break the spell of our shadow humanity, forever, and bask in our collective, undimmed lightness of being.  From this vast, untapped resource of love, beauty and power, anything and everything are possible.  

Photo Credit: Seraphina Capranos & Ben Skorguson

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  • Karen Clark
    Karen Clark says #
    Thanks so much for the lovely comment Tasha.
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Nicely said and beautifully put. Thanks you for shining your light, Warmest joyful greetings ato your light that shines so brightl
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.

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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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