Popular Pagan Holidays
Autumn: The Croning Time
Daily Goddess Awareness
Well, You Don’t Celebrate Christmas...
It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Chri... Yuletide!
Samhain: A Time for Introspection---and Activism
The Dark Half of the Year
Anti-Witch Bigotry: Still As Popular and Deadly As Ever
The Halloween Witch: Sense of Humor or Sense of Ire
Ah...To Be A Witch...
Winter Solstice By Any Other Name
Spiritual Aspects of Yule
Autumn Equinox: A Point of Balance on the Wheel of the Year
The Beltaine Storm
Winter Holiday Intentions and Food Magik
Imbolc: Traditional Celebrations for a Modern Time
The Tale of the Holly King and the Oak King
Alicia Meets Grandmother Autumn: A Children’s Story
A Meditation on Samhain: How Lucky You Are.
The Solstice Flame: A Yule Story
Traditional Yule: Make your Own Homebrewed Mead
A Celtic View of Samhain
Ostara: Enter the Light!
Supermoms’ and Superdads’ Defense Against “Holiday Kryptonite”
A Story For Autumn
A Summer Solstice Primer
Witches Lost in Halloween
The Best Thing About Death
Winter: A Joyous Holiday Season
Lughnasa: Festival of the Harvest (A Druid's Perspective)
The Babylonian Ghost Festival
The Ostara Transformation
The Celtic Origins of Samhain
Dealing with the Darkness, Post-Samhain
The Theme of Mabon
The Samhain Experience
First Thanksgiving... in China
Solstice of the Soul
A White Christmas in Fuyang
Love Lives On: A Samhain Reflection on Death, Rebirth, and the Afterlife
Thanksgiving Memories of a Native American Witch
A Samhain Dance
Yule and the New Year
Imbolg - A Lesson of Positive Change
The Story of Ostara
A Yule Story for Children ~ The Tiniest Fairy ~
The First Yule
Unity During Samhain
Bealtine: Blessing the Summer In
Yuletide Thoughts, Life and Death
Ghosts, Omens, and Fact-Finding: Wandering In Today's Eco-Interface
The Blood is in the Land
The Summer Solstice: A Time for Awakening
Brighid's Healing Sword: Imbolc
Sandy Was The Name Of the Dark Goddess This Samhain
When The Crone Pays A Visit, You'd Better Pay Attention
The Promise of the Harvest
Samhain is Ablaze with Reflections of My Father
At Samhain, Meet Bilé, God of the Dead of Ireland and the Danu, the All -Mother
Mabon - The Flash of the Setting Sun
"The Horn of Plenty": A Pathworking for Lammas
Parting the Veils and Opening to Ancestral Wisdom
The Call of the Crone
Lammas: The Sacrificial Harvest
Opening to the Anima Mundi – The Gift of the Equinox
The Light Within the Shadow of the Winter Solstice
Lascivious Lupercalia: Why Valentine's is a Vital Pagan Holy Day for the Modern World
Symbology of Altar Decorations
The Serpent's Kiss: Beltane's Fire
A Heathen's Approach to the Holidays
Anthesteria, the Hellenic "Samhain"
Ode to Ostara
From Samhain to Yule: Light in the Darkness
Sonoran Desert Wheel of the Year (Square Peg, Round Hole)
Samhain: the Sunbeam in the Twilight
Gaia's Mantle:The Greening of the Earth
Like Bread for Lughnasa: A Letter
Beltane and Samhain: Reflections of Life and Death
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
The Samhain Experience
Article ID: 14203
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,483
Times Read: 4,997
RSS Views: 15,167
Author: Crick [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: October 10th. 2010
Times Viewed: 4,997
My family roots begin in Ireland and were later relocated to Tennessee and amongst the Ozark mountains of Missouri. My personal experience with Traditional witchcraft began in 1960. As such I was raised to honor the four main sabbats, though we did observe the solstices and the equinoxes as minor events if you will.
To our family, Samhain (Oiche Shamhna) is the most important Sabbat of the year. Pronounced as "Sow-in by the Irish, as SAV-en by the Scottish and as SOW-een by the Welsh. It is exactly opposite Beltain on the Wheel of the year. It is reckoned when the sun has reached 15 degrees Scorpio. Thus, Samhain lies exactly between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice. And as such, it is known as a Cross Quarter day.
Samhain is also known as "Samhraidhreadh" which means "summers end". This indicates that Samhain is the start of the Celtic "New Year". The Celts were known to have divided the year into two seasons, consisting of summer and winter. The belief is that summer is governed by the Big Sun (the sun) and the winter is governed by what is known as the Little Sun (the moon) .
Samhain is one of the four Fire Festivals and is also known as "Trinoux Samonia." Originally this Sabbat was celebrated for three days, the day before, the day of and the day after.
In modern times Samhain has become basically a one-day celebration. Neo Pagans tend to lose sight of the historical and spiritual significance of such an important day by combining their Christian beliefs with their newfound pagan beliefs and thus they often intermingle Halloween with Samhain. This corruption is explained away by parroting “it’s for the children”, though this special day is hardly one for children. I do not understand how Neo pagans can claim to understand the significance and energy of such a special time and yet allow their children to make a parody of such a spiritual experience, but then it is what it is.
Traditionally, Samhain is the day when the God symbolically dies and the Goddess is in mourning, though she knows that He will be reborn at Yule.
It is also the Third and Final Harvest, and as such, it is a time for preparing for the coming year. It is also known as the day of the Feast of the Roman Goddess "Pamona".
Another interesting note is that Samhain is the day that the Tuatha De Danann realized their permanent victory over the Fomorians.
Since this is the time that the veil between Annwn (the Underworld) and our realm of existence, is at its thinnest, it is a time to honor and connect with our ancestors. To some Wiccan beliefs, this means direct descendants who have passed over. To those of us in the Celtic/Faery tradition, this would be the ancestral spirits and deity that resides within the earth.
One way to honor this day is "Fleadh nan Mairbh" (Feast of the Dead) . To do so, set an extra plate or two at the dinner table for visiting spirits. Another way is "Bannock Samhain" which entails setting out cakes and milk outside the door as an offering for passing spirits. This is also the time for the "Dumb Supper", a meal served in silence in honor of those who have passed to the Summerland’s.
Remember, this is not a time of mourning, but rather of rejoicing and connecting with those that have gone before us. We do not conjure up these visitors in the manner that a medium would do. But rather we invite them to share the day/night with us.
This is also an excellent time for divination. Roasting nuts in the fire and bobbing for apples are a couple of examples of divination from olden times. Another traditional way is to set a shirt on a thorn bush near a stream and see what spirit comes along to fit it on. At which time you would make enquiries. This form of divination is called the shaking bush. As a spirit fills the shirt, it causes the bush to shake.
Some of the Celtic Deity that you may appeal to for assistance during divination are; Ogma, Rosmerta, Baile, Beli, Coventina, Badh, and Gwyn Ap Nuad, just to name a few.
The concept of the carved pumpkin came about from the belief that carving a scary face on the pumpkin and using it as a lantern as one walked at night would scare away evil spirits. Originally they were carved out of turnips.
There is an Irish legend about an Irish lad named Jack. He tricked the devil into climbing a tree and then quickly carved a cross into the tree so that the devil could not get down. He then made a deal with the devil so that he would not go to hell upon passing. But when Jack did pass, not only was he barred from hell, but also he was barred from heaven as well because of the doings of his life on earth. Hence he was doomed to walk the earth carrying a lantern to light his way. Thus the Jack-O-Lantern was created.
A custom related to Samhain is to light a hearth fire on this day and to keep it lit until the first day of spring as a way of honoring one’s spiritual ancestors and deity. Originally, all hearth fires were extinguished on this day and then relit from the Druidic fire, which was lit at "Tlachhtga". This particular fire represented the center of Ireland.
Another custom is to leave a candle in the window as a beacon for spirits to find their way home.
Samhain is a time for reflecting on the year just past and preparing for the coming year. One way to do this is to write the weaknesses and negative actions of the past year down on a piece of parchment. After a period of reflection/meditation, burn the parchment in the cauldron or hearth fire. In this way you are starting out fresh for the upcoming New Year.
- Some of the foods associated with Samhain are pork, corn, apples, pomegranates, pumpkin pie, and cider.
- The colors associated with this day are; red, orange, yellow, brown and black.
- For incense, you can try basil, lilac, clove, yarrow or frankincense.
- Some plants or herbs are apple trees, sage, mugwort (divination) , and gourds.
- Some crystals are onyx, carnelian, and obsidian.
It is my personal hope that Neo pagans will once again enjoy this unique time as it was meant to be celebrated and revered. There is much experience and an ethereal energy connected with Samhain if only one allows him/herself to open up to such a special experience. Halloween (All Saints day) is but a corruption of what used to be. Samhain is a revered occasion and time to connect with those who have gone before us. And with those others who walk a distinctly separate plane from this realm. May you have the inner strength and un-fettered desire to experience this event as it was meant to be…
Location: Manheim, Pennsylvania
Author's Profile: To learn more about Crick - Click HERE
Other Articles: Crick has posted 71 additional articles- View them?
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email Crick... (Yes! I have opted to receive invites to Pagan events, groups, and commercial sales)
Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2014 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.
Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.
Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wrenâ€™s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witchesâ€™ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.
Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.
Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
of The World
NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.
All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).