Posts Tagged ‘wicca’

SAMHAIN OCTOBER 31ST, AKA HALLOWEEN By: Sheila Santiago

October 16, 2008

 

Among the many meanings of Samhain there are these, it marks the end of the third and final harvest, it is a day to commune with and remember the dead, and it is a celebration of the eternal cycle of reincarnation as well as the Celtic New Year.

Samhain marked the end of summer and the beginning of winter for the Celts, with the day after Samhain being the official date of the Celtic New Year.

In European traditions, Samhain is the night when the old God dies and the crone Goddess mourns him deeply for the next 6 weeks. The popular image of her as the old Halloween hag menacingly stirring her cauldron comes from the Celtic belief that all dead souls return to her cauldron of Life, Death, and rebirth to await reincarnation.

Unfortunately our crone Goddess has been the object of fear and revulsion of modern societies, and this was definitely not the way our pagan ancestors viewed her.

Samhain is popularly known today as Halloween, a contraction of the words “Hallowed Evening,” and it retains much of the original form and meaning it had long ago in Celtic lands, despite the efforts of the church to turn it into an observance of feasting and prayer for their vast pantheon of saints.

Even after their efforts so much Samhain lore and practice remained within the popular culture that the church was finally forced to Diabolize Samhain into a night boiling with evil spirits.

The pagan Samhain is not, and never was, associated with evil or negativity.

The idea that evil spirits walk the earth at Samhain is a misinterpretation of the pagan belief that the veil of consciousness which separates the land of the living from the land of the dead is at its thinnest on this night.

In nearly all the western pagan traditions, deceased ancestors and other friendly spirits are invited to join the Sabbat festivities, and be reunited with loved ones who are otherwise separated by time and dimension of existence.

While it is true that Samhain is no more evil than any other holiday, it is also a fact that evil does exist, and pagans have always been aware of this.

Our ancestors sought to protect themselves on this night by carving faces in vegetables to place near windows or at the perimeters of their circle. These were the forerunners of our present day jack-o’-lanterns. Today it is still custom to leave candles in windows to guide the earth-walking spirits along their way and to leave plates of food out for the visiting spirits.

It was this custom of leaving out food which evolved into our modern trick or treat.

The jack-o’-lantern is at least two thousand years old. They were designed to frighten away evil spirits who were following deceased loved ones and blocking their way into the land of the dead, and also to protect the living.

Today they are seen as offering protection through the dark October nights.

The third and final harvest is in relation to livestock. The predominately herding cultures of Britain and Eastern Europe slaughtered much of their livestock before Samhain rather than trying to feed the animals on the foliage through the long winters.

A great Samhain feast would then have fresh meat, with Pig being a traditional meat especially in the Middle East where they were sacred to the Goddesses of that region. It was an effort to wipe out Goddess worship that the Jews (and later Muslims) banned the consumption of pork.

So what do we pagans/wiccans do on Samhain?

We gather to celebrate the lives of loved ones who have passed on and we invite their spirits to join us in the celebration. We gather to celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of winter. We gather to celebrate with our friends and families the end of the harvesting season.

Our children go trick or treating and carve pumpkins. We have parties, we drink apple cider and eat great feasts.

We celebrate life, death, and rebirth! Blessed Be!

 * An excerpt of this Samhain article was taken from the book: SABBATS By: Edain McCoy.

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Brigid, Our Patron Goddess

October 8, 2008

Beloved Brigid, Celtic Fire Goddess

-A testimony

Brigid is the powerful Celtic Goddess of fire I will tell you how it is I came to know her by fire, twice!

It was Imbolc and our coven was meeting on Saturday evening to honor the chosen Goddess Frigga since the following day we were holding a separate Goddess Temple service to honor Brigid and the Sabbat. 

Since it was February and close to Valentines Day we chose Frigga instead of the first thought of Aphrodite or Venus as our symbol of Love.

We adorned the altar with red white and pink candles, cloth and figurines’.

We placed a picture of Frigga on the altar and then went into the other room to get our coven together.

While we were “checking in” with each other the smell of smoke was wafting through the rooms to us. We ran into the other room to find flames and smoke so thick you could not tell the ceiling form the floor.

We all pulled together and ran in and out of the room extinguishing the fire and trying to get the smoke outside

The fire was contained to just the altar table and the carpet under it. Everything was burned or melted on the table, everything but the piece of paper we had printed out the picture of Frigga on and set in the middle of the table! Yes, a plain piece of paper sat in the middle of the altar engulfed in flames and did not have a single mark on it.

After everyone was calm and the room was smoke free we sat and determined that Brigid did not like us honoring another Goddess on her day and she left the picture unharmed as her note to us. The room was cleansed by fire and the day will forever be known as Brigid’s day and none others.

The next day at our Sabbat service we had a fire roaring in the fireplace and many pictures were taken. When I was putting the pictures from the day online I noticed in the pictures of the hearth and fire there was an image! There is an unmistakable image of Brigid in the flames wearing a crown/veil and all!

She had come to be there with us that Imbolc day as we honored her properly. I had never felt so moved in my whole life and so sure that the Gods/Goddess’ are here with us everyday and that they are always with us when we call upon them.

I still have and will forever hold dear to my heart the photo of Frigga with a small splatter of candle wax as the only mark of the fire and the picture of Brigid in her Imbolc flames. Brigid holds a very special place in my heart now and forever.

brigid