Surly Snobby

Monday, November 01, 2004

Robyn's Halloween Thoughts

 I guess Halloween is a busy time of year for a witch / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usFor my Halloween entry, I asked Robyn to guest blog. Robyn is a witch and I thought no one other than a witch would be able give the real scoop on Halloween. I don’t mean eye-of-newt stuff; I mean an explanation of the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain and how it has been adapted to modern sensibilities in Halloween.

She was late. I guess Halloween is a busy time of year for a witch. The moral I’d learned in my initial contact with Robyn was do
not piss off a witch, even a good one. So I didn’t rush her. I’d already learned my lesson. I just sat in the corner and ate all my Halloween sweets. That’s what Halloween means to me, sweets and sloth. This doesn’t make for a very interesting topic. Luckily, she finally sent me her thoughts

But what you’re about to read is what it means to others, and, presumably, where it comes from. So like a Simpsons Halloween Special, which always broadcasts after Halloween, here are Robyn’s Halloween thoughts. Thank you, Robyn!


Samhain: In Times Past

 The end of summer / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usYou can smell it in the air as the West wind blows. The end of summer. The Death of Light. The time of long nights has arrived. The harvest is over and it is time for a great celebration to thank the Gods for all their aid in bringing the harvest to fruition.

All of the house fires in the village are extinguished and you gather in the field. The great common fire is lit to pagan hymns. The ancestors call this time of year. Remembering perhaps the harvest festival, they walk the night and sing the songs with you.

This is an inbetween time. The time between the Light and the Dark of the year. It is perfect for talking with loved ones who have passed. They will answer your questions if you know how to ask. You toss the bones of the cow your family slaughtered for winter on to the bonfire (bone fire) in hopes that you will see the future in the flames coming from them.

The shaman or druid of your village comes forth to tell of the year past and the year ahead. He takes a torch lit from the common fire and walks toward the second pyre of wood. In the center is the large image of a man woven from branches and vine. He is a fine large man this year. He is filled with everything a person needs to live. There are vegetables and grains, cloth and candles, meat and drink, sometimes there are people in the wicker man as well. This year was good though so no people are in the construct. With reverence the shaman lights the pyre. The other villagers sing loudly and dance around the wicker man. You join in as well. This sacrifice will insure that the Winter goes well and that Spring will come soon.

 After the  wicker man is consumed it is time to feast / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usAfter the wicker man is consumed it is time to feast. You move to log tables. This is a mild year so it is outside and not in the common house. The rough hewn tables contain all manner of food. Once everyone is gathered, the Druid speaks to ancestors. He thanks them for their love and guidance through the year. He sets a place at a lone table for the ghosts. Everyone then begins to mill about taking their own meal. Before you eat though each person moves past the table of the dead. The first bite and first drink is given from you to those who have gone before. It is only respectful that they should eat first from the plate that gives you life as they gave you life.

Stomachs full and the moon high the feast is ended. Each family gathers according to their rank. They each file past the great common fire and light a torch or take a coal to go back home and light the fire in the family hearth. You marvel at the strength it gives you to know that the fire that will warm you this dark time will warm your neighbors and kin. You feel a belonging here, a kinship with each of these people who share your fire.

 You walk home with your family feeling not quite so alone / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usYou walk home with your family feeling not quite so alone. You are happy. It was a good celebration. You could feel those you loved. You know that your bit that filled the wicker man will help to feed everyone in the year to come. Though the night is dark you can feel the light within glowing warmly. Your sleep will be peaceful tonight.

Blessed Be

Want to learn more? Check these links.
http://www.samhain.com/samhain.shtml
http://www.celticspirit.org/samhain.htm

Love and Light,

Robyn



Haphazardly thrown together by Surly
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