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Next Holiday: Samhain October 31, 2018

Samhain. All Hallows. All Hallow’s Eve. Hallow E’en. Halloween. The most magical night of the year. Exactly opposite Beltane on the wheel of the year, Halloween is Beltane’s dark twin. A night of glowing jack-o’-lanterns, bobbing for apples, tricks or treats, and dressing in costume. A night of ghost stories and séances, tarot card readings and scrying with mirrors. A night of power, when the veil that separates our world from the Otherworld is at its thinnest. A “spirit night”, as they say in Wales.

All Hallow’s Eve is the eve of All Hallow’s Day (November 1). And for once, even popular tradition remembers that the eve is more important than the day itself, the traditional celebration focusing on October 31, beginning at sundown. And this seems only fitting for the great Celtic New Year’s festival. Not that the holiday was Celtic only. In fact, it is startling how many ancient and unconnected cultures (the Egyptians and pre-Spanish Mexicans, for example) celebrated this as a festival of the dead. But the majority of our modern traditions can be traced to the British Isles.

The Celts called it Samhain, which means “summer’s end”, according to their ancient twofold division of the year, when summer ran from Beltane to Samhain and winter ran from Samhain to Beltane. (Some modern covens echo this structure by letting the high priest “rule” the coven beginning on Samhain, with rulership returned to the high priestess at Beltane.) According to the later fourfold division of the year, Samhain is seen as “autumn’s end” and the beginning of winter. Samhain is pronounced (depending on where you’re from) as “sow-in” (in Ireland), or “sow-een” (in Wales), or “sav-en” (in Scotland), or (inevitably) “sam-hane” (in the U.S., where we don’t speak Gaelic). 

For the rest of Mike Nichols' article on Samhain click here.


Next Holiday Southern Hemisphere: Beltane
October 31, 2018

For an article on Beltane by Mike Nichols click here.

2018 Wiccan/Pagan Calendar


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Link's Lesson Book

Your Own Celebrations of Autumn

It’s starting.  The gradual change into Autumn.  Some say the 13 weeks of Autumn are the most colorful time of the year.  Take a moment and look at some of the special rituals, customs and celebrations you do each Autumn.  Feel the magic of the season.  It might be more colorful than you think!

Autumn Begins

Technically, Autumn begins on the equinox day in September.  For many of us, the season may begin on a different day that fits the way we live.  “Back-to-School” sales signal Summer’s end for students.  For sports fans here in the US, Autumn is not official until the World Series or the start of Football as their own private signal that Autumn has finally arrived.  For some, Autumn begins on that first cool night where the windows get closed and the heat comes on.  When does Autumn begin for you?  And when does it end?

Back-to-School Lessons

Not only does Autumn begin with Back-to-School for students, but for parents as well.  Parents too are shaped by the school activities, social events and other seasonal needs of their children – all which renew themselves each September with the agrarian school calendar (Or as Pagans students might call it, the Wheel of the School Year.)

As the child grows, the parent grows too.  Back-to-School for a pre-schooler’s very first day is an unforgettable experience.  How many parents can still hear the tearful screams of “I don’t wanna go!!!”  (And how many parents secretly whispered “There’s a part of me that doesn’t really want you to go…but I know you need to go.”)  That Autumn day, the very first day school, marks a rite of passage for both the student, and the parent.  Imagine these same feelings when any loved one departs the world they share with us, headed for the next, moving on to the new lessons they face in the next life. “There’s a part of me that doesn’t really want you to go…but I know you need to go.”

 Read the rest of this article by clicking here     


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