Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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When Is Samhain?

 History of Jack-O'-Lanterns | Merriam-Webster

 Nine Schools of Thought


When is Samhain?

As one would expect, authorities disagree.


Stuffy (also: Traditionalist) School

Samhain begins at sundown on October 31, the First of the Three Nights of Samhain.

Hey: if the Gregorian calendar was good enough for the ancestors, it's good enough for me.


Old School

Old Samhain comes on 11-12 November.

Hey, if the Julian calendar was good enough for the ancestors, it's good enough for me.

I suppose you're one of those neo-pagans?


Old Craft

Do you maybe mean All Hallows? Or, better, All Saints?

Protective coloration, dude. It's all about protective coloration.


Slapdash School

It's Samhain whenever the coven has time to get together.

Usually this means the Saturday closest to Halloween, but if it's December 3 instead, tough.

What the f*ck is the “Three Nights of Samhain”?


Purist (also: Astronomical) School

Samhain falls at the precise midpoint between astronomical Autumn Equinox and astronomical Winter Solstice.

Hey: if astronomical precision was good enough for the ancestors, it's good enough for me.

“Three Nights of Samhain”? Did you perhaps by any chance mean the Trinox Samoni?


American Trendy School

Samhain = Halloween (or, as true Trendies would insist, Hallowe'en). Samhain begins at midnight on October 30, and ends at midnight on October 31.

That means that the Eve of Samhain is actually October 30.

Well, that's what they say.


American Commercial School

Samhain begins when they put out the first Samhain candy in the grocery stores, and ends when the Thanksgiving stuff goes up instead.

Basically, Samhain (pr. Sam Hane) = the month of October.


Ecumenical (also: More Eco-Conscious than Thou) School

Samhain is not a date on a calendar, but a tide of change at the beginning of November lasting approximately a thirtnight. (That's “two weeks” in Cowan.)

Consult your local landscape.


Down Under School

Samhain? Mate, we're talking May.






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Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


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