Old Teen Essays
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Article ID: 4571
Age Group: Adult
Posted: September 25th. 2000
Wren's Bird Call 9
Wren's Bird Call of The Week is a 'cluck-cluck-cluck' at the ignorant and sensationalized nonsense that continues to perpetuate the 'Samhain, Lord of The Dead' superstition. According to Halloween's Hallowed History at the 'Spencer's Gifts' web site:
"October 31st was a day to be feared by the Celtic people who lived more than 2,000 years ago in what is now England, Ireland and France. For them, October 31st was the festival of Samhain. It marked the death of the old year, the end of the harvest, and the beginning of the new year. It was their New Year's eve.
Why all the fear? Because it was believed that during the evening of this harvest festival the Lord of the Dead, Samhain, would allow the dead to return home to earth for a few hours."
Yeah, right. First of all, we have no idea how the Pagan festival of Samhain was actually observed 2,000 years ago. If Spencer Gifts is in possession of some as yet unpublished translation of a Celtic ancient text on this subject, I do hope that they will share it with the proper archaeological and anthropological authorities!
We do know that 'Samhain' means 'summer's end', that it was the end of the harvest season and that some sort of festival took place at that time. 'Samhain' is not a proper name and, while there are various deities associated with the Otherworld, there is no one-deity-fits-all "Lord of the Dead" by this or any other name. There are threads of lore that connect this time with a 'thinning of the veil' between the worlds (as also takes place at Beltaine) and that communication with the departed Ancestors and other spirits was attempted through various forms of divination.
But wait, it gets even more bizarre!
"Bonfires, in honor of the sun god, were built to keep these spirits away. The masked and costumed people would gather around the bonfires dancing, singing, and even jumping over the flames. Those who didn't jump high enough were burned in the flames and offered as a human sacrifice."
Well, I guess if we were to attempt to jump over the top of an active volcano and fail, we could be said to be a sacrifice to Pele` as well. Geez, one slip of the foot and now we have an entire cult of human sacrifice going on.
Anyway, I could go on and on, but this 'Samhain, Lord of the Dead' thing is something that pops up every Samhain season. If you would like to help set Spencer Gifts straight, you can check out The Witches' Voice Samhain articles , Halloween: Myths, Monsters and Devils and Samhain by Mike Nichols for more information. The contact information for "Spencer Gifts is: firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll free at 1-877-2UNISHOP (877-286-4746).
Oh, by the way, if you refuse to accept the Spencer Gifts 'cookie', you will locked out of their web site. I have my 'cookies' programmed so that I can either accept or refuse one. I 'declined' their little cookie monster and received the message:" No cookie. To access this site your browser must be accepting cookies."
I do as a general rule accept cookies from the media news sites. It's a fair exchange of information. They have the news items that I want to read (and perhaps pass along on the Nest) and so I will give them the traffic information that they may use to better conduct their news business. I do not accept any advertising cookies from these same sites.
For me, it's the principle of the thing. I don't have to show my I.D. when I want to walk in and browse a Spencer's Gifts store and I don't think that I should have to produce any identification to browse their web site either.
Of course, this doesn't really matter all that much now since I don't plan to enter either one again.
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