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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Samhain

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
The Other Side of Samhain

What's the first thing that you should do after you get home from a funeral?

You should make love.

And at any arval—burial feast (< “grave-ale”; cp. bridal, “bride-ale”)—while the rest of us are busy with the eating, drinking, and telling of stories, we should first send out some randy young couple with a cloak to make love on the grave.

That's the right way to do things, and a plague on all cowanish prudery.

Yes, Samhain is death, and the ancestors, but there's far, far more to it than that. There's Samhain in every Bealtaine, they say, Bealtaine in every Samhain.

Go out to the golden woods now, and listen. If you're lucky, you'll hear—as Summer dies—the snorting of the bucks. Here in the North, it's the Season of the Rut: Samhain rutting for Bealtaine fawning.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
The Witch's Year Tarot Spread

The season is upon us and the Witch's New Year is soon at hand. I have gotten in the habit of doing a Tarot Reading at Samhain, aligned with the Sabbats throughout that upcoming year as well as one at the start of the calendar year, aligned astrologically (sharing that nearer to Yule). 

The intention and flavor of many of the celebrations surrounding the Sabbats is one of a continued theme or thread of connection of one to the other creating a whole that can be used for magick, growth and deeper insights. Regardless of the theme you follow, that of the god and goddess, the cycles of the seasons, the flow of solar energy, or other-this tarot spread can be modified to align with those intentions. 

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Samhain Meditation

Samhain Meditation

Make yourself comfortable and close your eyes, focus on your breathing, deep breathes in…deep breathes out…

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

So equinox has passed, and the leaves have begun falling from the trees. Its dark earlier, and the call of the hearth fire is stronger now than before. I always feel early autumn and the equinox, is a whole season, a whole process rather than a single point. We are balanced finely, gently tipping a little more into the dark half of the year, when the Cailleach calls us to look within.

Here in Avalon the scent of ripe apples fills the air, and the mists draw in, and there can be a feeling of both abundance and grief as death and endings seem to hang on every branch and blow on every breath of wind, with the harshness of the unknown winter the only surety ahead of us. We find ourselves now at a time when endings are afoot in our cultures as well as the seasons, with uncertainties and challenges ahead. But in these quiet moments, when the summer sun seems to be far behind, when we see the hope and life force of the land drain away into the earth once more, it is She who takes our hand, without a word, and we know that we will not walk into the darkness of winter alone.

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