Samhain night with its ancient lore
was occasion for new and merry custom;
it was learned in the wilderness, in oak-woods,
from spirits and fairies.
The Metrical Dindshenchas
Dear Apple Bobbers,
Seeing kids run around dressed as undead chainsaw wielding zombies demanding sweets seems a little disturbing. The Co-op has been selling jelly eyeballs to squeeze as a stress reliever that ‘feel like real eye balls’. Crazy times. I wanted to know where this all began, what have we lost along the way? What did the Celts, our pre-Christian heritage, make of this eve?
Celtic wisdom regards the passing of the seasons as a bearer of great insight and wisdom. The sun controls the cycle of day and night, the moon the cycle of the months and the wheeling stars rule the passing of the years. For ages, we have looked to the night sky in wonder and astonishment.
Our ancient Celtic traditions would have tonight as the festival of Samhain (SOW’en), the start of winter. A time of great peace, reflection and contemplation. Samhain was a time when the living and ancestral overlapped, a time for remembering our ancestors with lit candles in our windows, to welcome loved ancestors and shine light on their way.
This evening we also say goodbye to the season of Lughnasadh (Loo’nasa, Autumn) a time of physical harvest and spiritual garnering. In the human growth cycle Lughnasadh has represented a period of maturity, adulthood with a certain sense of stability and responsibility. A time to celebrate the harvest and all those who have upheld the noble values of life.
There has always been a sense of fear and trepidation about this night, the eve of Samhain, and also one of expectancy. The night was one when young people disguised themselves and played pranks on the community. Trick or treating is based on these traditions of ‘mischief night’.
Commercialisation has brought about a focus on the ghoulish elements of this night, rather than communal reverence and honouring of ancestors (the Mexican ‘Day of the Dead’ mixes them both brilliantly).
Here is a little something to read out tonight:
Threshold Invocation (to be said at your front door)
Grandmother Wisdom, open the door,
Grandfather Counsel, come you in.
Let there be welcome to the ancient lore,
Let there be welcome to the Winter of the Year.
In the cold and darkness you are travelling,
Under crystal skies you will arrive.
May the blessed time of Samhain
Clarify the souls of all beings,
Bringing joy and wisdom to revelation,
From the depths to the heights,
From the heights to the depths,
In the cave of every soul.
Heres to a happy pilgrimage through the seasons of our lives and peace to all who no longer walk on this world.XXXXX
If you like this, I have been reading the books of Caitlin Matthews ‘Celtic Devotional’ and ‘The Celtic Spirit’ http://www.hallowquest.org.uk/hallowquest-caitlin-matthews.html, helping me to get tuned into the Celtic vibes and history of my new Welsh homeland.