Friday, 31 October 2014

Samhain



We're the Witches of Hallow'een, ooh ooh!
The ugliest you've ever seen, ooh ooh!
We fly through the night
Giving you such a fright.
We're the Witches of Hallow'een!

Halloween, All Hallows Eve, the Festival of the Dead, Samhain; today has a number of different names.

Traditionally, this was the time of the year when livestock was moved down field and grains accounted for, preparing for the winter months, and deciding which animals were for slaughter, to feed the people.  Bonfires were central to communities, where the bones of the slaughtered beasts were tossed on the fire (the word bonfire comes from bone fire).  All fires were extinguished in the home hearths and re-lit from the central bonfire, with a shared sense of community bonding.
It was also not a time of scary spooks, but believed to be a time when the veil between this world and the other was at its thinnest, and the spirit of our ancestors and loved ones were able to cross between the 2 worlds.  It was a loving and respectful time, although it is believed that our ancestors may have hung the skulls of their deceased at their front doors to ward off unwelcome spirits (hence the now popular jack o'lantern).  At a guess, the reverence for honouring our loved ones may have inspired the ghostly theme of todays celebrations.
When I was a kid, hallow'een was a fun time at school, making decorations and singing witchy songs, but that was it.  We didn't really 'celebrate' it at home or decorate the house. We did dook for apples and go guising (trick or treating) a few times round the streets, but that was the extent of it - unlike today where it is almost as big and as commercialised as Christmas.  The last time I went guising I was 12 and headed out with 2 friends, Fiona and Gillian, and a carved out turnip - the carving of which was no mean feat, even for excited 12year olds! We had our party piece, costumes and, when we came back, quite a haul of monkey nuts, sweets and cash! I really dislike the Trick or Treat name, and prefer our tradition of Guising to earn our treats.  But regardless of name, it is all great fun.


Samhain (summer's end) is the old Celtic new year, and in my home, it is the beginning of winter; the dark half of the year.  Its a time to slow down, quieten down,  coory in, reflect on what/who has passed in the last year, and look towards the future. As well as keeping with modern traditions of getting dressed up with Kiddo and dooking for apples, I like to relax come nightfall, with a glass of mulled wine (this year's has come from a bottle of shop bought mulled wine that was in the cupboard as opposed to home made. I have tried many different recipes and tried concocting my own, but I have yet to make a mulled wine that I like enough to have a second glass, or sometimes, even finish the first...) and read my tarot cards, looking to the year ahead, and what has come of the year past.  My tarot deck has been with me for 18 years, and is a Native American deck - it was given to me by a friend's mother for my 18th birthday. They have served me well over the years.


Its time to get writing, and not on here, so i bid you good night and wish everyone a happy Hallow'een or Samhain Blessings
x

ps - I didn't finish the garland I was making - completed 3 pumpkins and 1 witches hat, but the remaining 2 hats and 3 bats will need to wait until next year to be hung