PDF Samhain

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Then, they celebrated their abundance with sporting games and a giant—and raucous—feast. The people also prepared winter housing for itinerant warriors and shamans. On a spiritual level, Samhain marked the time of the year in which the barrier between the earthly world and the spirit world dissolved, allowing spirits and faeries to walk among—and perhaps torment—mortals. By the 7th century, many Western European nations had converted to Christianity. The Romans had celebrated Lemuria, a festival of the dead, each May—but now, the feast was dedicated to Catholic saints.

Over the centuries, this holiday evolved into modern-day Halloween. Throughout history, many people have believed that Samhain has dark and demonic roots.

This misconception is largely due to Charles Vallancey, a British military surveyor and amateur historian who first visited Ireland in while on a surveying mission. Vallancey became fascinated with the region, and he wrote a massive, three-volume work on its history and culture. It is a truly magical time. Death is always followed by rebirth and while this is the end of the old year, it is the beginning of the new year.

For the Celts the day did not begin at dawn, it began at sunset, it began with darkness.

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Samhain - Wikipedia

Light is always born out of darkness, they are inseparable, interdependent, and necessary. Darkness is fertile with 'all potential'. With the beginning of this dark phase comes the opportunity to rest and reflect on the past and to dream of new beginnings. The seed now hidden in the earth will germinate in its season. Look for the seeds in yourself! Honouring your ancestors is a very special thing to do at this time and can be done in many simple ways.

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Think about all those departed souls from your life, both family and friends, children may wish to remember pets even - place photographs of them on your altar. Offer them your hospitality, welcome their presence into your home. At your Samhain feast, consider laying an extra place for them to join you at the table - cook and eat their favourite dishes, talk about them - re-member them, bring them closer.

You and your children can make an offering for departed pets by leaving some dog food outside on Halloween night, many night creatures appreciate this offering. Be careful what you put outside - we used to put out bread and milk but are dismayed to find that this is fatal to hedgehogs - and we love hedgehogs! This is a wonderfully simple ritual which can be shared with both friends and family, or worked alone.

You can include children in it - it begins in darkness and ends full of light.

You will need a supply of small candles, either black or white, or a supply of night lights. You need a heat proof container or tray of sand or earth to put them in. Place one in the centre of the container from which all the others will be lit. Switch off all the lights and sit gently in the darkness. Allow the darkness to enfold you. Ask for the presence of your ancestors to come to you. When you are ready, light the central candle saying. Allow each person in the circle to spontaneously remember someone who has passed to the Summerlands and remember something about them and light a candle for each person from the central candle: 'I remember Great Aunt Sheila and her generosity of heart Allow this to continue for as long as it takes to complete the re-membering.

You will end with a tray full of radiant candles. When all is complete, give thanks, and allow the candles to burn to completion. Seed Scattering Charm for the Ancestors. This simple charm is designed to honour the Spirit of those who have passed onto the Summerland. The seeds you scatter will grow in memory, a gift of remembrance to the Earth. A small white candle in a suitable holder. The night before your Seed Scattering Charm, pop the seeds into the dish and light the candle.

Think about the person or people you wish to honour and remember, and as you do so say 'gone from sight but not from the heart. Merry Meet Merry Part. Leave the seeds in the dish overnight and let the candle burn down completely - always taking safety precautions.

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When you are ready place the seeds in your pouch and hold the pouch in your right hand on the way to a place of your choosing. On arrival take the seeds and scatter them, saying 'You are remembered and held in my heart'. Repeat three times. Where to do this? You can go to a favourite special place of your choice, a place that holds fond memories of the people you are honouring, or even your own garden - the idea of watching the seeds germinating and growing in honour of people you love is very special.

What is a Samhain Celebration?

The charm works just as well if you plant the seeds in a small pot. This charm works very well as an offering of thanks to Spirit of Place. The instructions are exactly the same, except that when you prepare the seeds the night before the words are ' I give thanks for your beauty, it warms my heart. Charm donated with generous heart by the Counter Enchantress.

In mythology, this is where the entrance to the Underworld is found, ruled by Morgan, Queen of the Dead.

What is Samhain 12222? Rituals and traditions behind the pagan festival which inspired Halloween

The Apple. There are many apple games played at Samhain which grew out of the belief in the Apple as a sacred and magical fruit. The Apple is a symbol of life and immortality. In Celtic tradition, apples were buried at Samhain as food for those souls who are waiting to be reborn. The Apple, cut crosswise, reveals the five pointed star, or pentacle at its core, a symbol of the Goddess. Symbols of Samhain.

The Pumpkin. Pumpkins are very much an American tradition which has been successfully marketed in the UK and Europe. Everyone loves them, especially of course, children.

If you consider that the Celts regarded the human head as the Seat of the Soul, the concept of the carved pumpkin with a candle inside it as the Light shining from the Soul, it becomes just about acceptable Apart from this the pumpkin has nothing to do with Samhain. The Cauldron or Holy Grail is closely associated with Samhain.

It is feminine, and is the cosmic container for all life and death, of transformation and rebirth.


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The besom is used as this time both practically and symbolically. It sweeps away the last of the Autumn leaves, but is also used ritually to sweep out the old, to clean and clear away old energy, creating space for the new. Traditionally besoms are made from birch twigs - the birch is associated with purification and renewal. You can make a besom at this time of year by gathering a large bundle of birch twigs tied together. Drive a broom handle into the middle of the bundle - ideally hazel or ash. The Acorn is the seed of the great Oak, representing wisdom, longevity, rebirth - a promise of strength to come.