(Halloween) October 31 (pronounced, “sow-in”) In Ireland & the most widely accepted pronunciation in the U.S., as well. In Wales and England, commonly “sow-een.” And in Scotland, “sav-en.” Although Samhain is considered a cross quarter holiday, the cross quarter does not fall on October 31st, but when the Sun reaches 15 degrees in Scorpio. This is usually sometime in the first week of November and coincides with the Catholic Martinmas. The Celtic festival of Samhain is the end of the “summer” or “light” half of the year. (Celts divide the year into two parts, summer and winter.) It is the last of the harvest festivals and dark counterpoint to Beltaine, beginning the rule of Darkness and celebrating the Crone. It is also the first day of the new year. Celts view time as circular rather than linear, so the night is both the end of the year and the beginning, an “in-between” time. For this reason, Samhain is a night of divination and of the dead. A night where life and death, opposites but part of the same whole, are celebrated together. Samhain is also the Feast of the Dead when we honor our ancestors. It is a time for families to gather and hear the old tales. Bardic tradition says that many of these old tales can only be told at certain times, usually on the Sabbats, some with specific Sabbats. On Samhain Night, the dead return to visit with the living. It is traditional to set a place at the table for the ancestors “The Mute Supper”, and to leave food outside for the ‘Sidhe” (pr. shee) and the “pooka”, the fairy folk and mischievous spirits. SCandles are placed in the window to help guide the ancestors ‘back home”. Another Samhain tradition is divination. The veil between worlds is at its thinnest, which is why the dead can cross over on this night and it’s easier to see into the future. This night is a great time for scrying and making important decisions. Samhain is a time for reflecting on your life and the Sabbat rite should include asking for help from The Crone in banishing bad habits or any other negativity (shades of New Year’s resolutions).
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