10 Days to Samhain
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Most likely we'd slaughter a few of them, as well as some pigs and goats, smoking or salting the meat so it would last through the cold months. Our grain that we picked back at Lughnasadh has been baked into bread , and all of our herbs have been gathered , and hang from the rafters in the kitchen. The harvest is over, and now it's time to settle in for winter with the coziness of a warm fireplace, heavy blankets, and big pots of comfort food on the stovetop.
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If you want to celebrate Samhain as the time of harvest's end, you can do so as a single ritual , or as the first of three days of ceremony. If you don't have a permanent altar in place, set up a table to leave in place for the three days prior to Samhain. This will act as a your family's temporary altar for the Sabbat. To begin your ceremony, prepare a meal for the family — and this is something that everyone can get involved in.
Put emphasis on fruits and vegetables, and wild game meat if available. Also make sure you have a loaf of a dark bread like rye or pumpernickel and a cup of apple cider or wine. Set the dinner table with candles and a fall centerpiece, and put all the food on the table at once. Consider the dinner table a sacred space. Tonight is the first of three nights, on which we celebrate Samhain.
Samhain (Samain) - The Celtic roots of Halloween
It is the end of the harvest, the last days of summer, and the cold nights wait on the other side for us. The bounty of our labor, the abundance of the harvest, the success of the hunt, all lies before us. We thank the earth for all it has given us this season, and yet we look forward to winter, a time of sacred darkness.
Take the cup of cider or wine, and lead everyone outside. Make this a ceremonial and formal occasion. If you have a vegetable garden, great! Go there now — otherwise, just find a nice grassy spot in your yard.
The History of Halloween or Samhain, Day of the Dead
Each person in the family takes the cup in turn and sprinkles a little bit of cider onto the earth, saying:. Summer is gone, winter is coming. We have planted and we have watched the garden grow, we have weeded, and we have gathered the harvest. Now it is at its end. If you have any late-fall plants still waiting to be picked, gather them up now.
Collect a bundle of dead plants and use them to make a straw man or woman. If you follow a more masculine path, he may be your King of Winter, and rule your home until spring returns. The Irish carried their Halloween traditions to America, where today it is one of the major holidays of the year. Through time other traditions have blended into Halloween, for example the American harvest time tradition of carving pumpkins.
Tara was also associated with Samhain, however it was secondary to Tlachtga in this respect. The entrance passage to the Mound of the Hostages on the Hill of Tara is aligned with the rising sun around Samhain.
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The Mound of the Hostages is 4, to years old, suggesting that Samhain was celebrated long before the first Celts arrived in Ireland about 2, years ago. The Festival of Samhain marked the end of the Celtic year and the beginning of the new one and as such can be seen to the equivalent of New Year's Eve. We have seen how the Celts believed that night preceded day and so the festivities took place on the Eve of Samhain.
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There is no doubt that that this festival was the most important of the four Celtic Festivals. Samhain was a crucial time of year, loaded with symbolic significance for the pre-Christian Irish. The celebrations at Tlachtga may have had their origins in a fertility rite on the hill but it gathered to itself a corpus of other beliefs which crystallised at the great Fire Festival.
The perceptible, and apparent, decline in the strength of the sun at this time of year was a source of anxiety for early man and the lighting of the Winter Fires here symbolised mans attempt to assist the sun on its journey across the skies. Fire is the earthly counterpart of the sun and is a powerful and appropriate symbol to express mans helplessness in the face of the overwhelming sense of the decay of nature as the winter sets in.
Now the sun has descended into the realm of the underworld, the forces of the underworld were in the ascendency. The lord of the underworld, unfettered from the control of the sun, now walked the earth and with him travelled all those other creatures from the abode of the dead.
Ghosts, fairies and a host of other non-descript creatures went with him. The Lord of the Dead in Celtic mythology can be identified as Donn. Mythology tells us that when the invaders of Ireland known as the Miliseans landed at the Boyne, they made their way to Tara. Once there, they were advised by the Druids that they should return to their ships and sail off the shore to the length of nine waves.
When they were on the sea a great storm arose which scattered their fleet. The commander of one of the ships was Donn. His ship was broken to pieces in the storm and he himself drowned along with twenty four of his comrades.
He was buried on the Skellig Islands off the coast of Kerry. He is the first of the new wave of invaders to meet his death in Ireland and, as such, he became elevated to the status of god of the dead. The place of his burial became known as Tech Donn - The house of Donn, and soon became identified with with the otherworld. The Celts were fascinated with tracing their ancestry back as far as they could and often they identified their earliest ancestors with the gods of their peoples.
Samhain 2018: 15 Facts About The Celtic Celebration
Hence, a belief arose that when they died they went to the house of their ancestor, the god of the otherworld. It is interesting to note that the abode of Donn, on the Skellig Islands, is just a few miles from the traditional home of Mog Ruith at Valentia Island.
As well as being geographical neighbours, both are closely associated with Samhain, when it can be said that Mog Ruith as sungod sojourns at the realm of the underworld, the abode of Donn. Donn is seen as a retiring god who prefers the isolation of the bleak Skelligs and remains aloof from the other gods. His name means "brown" and he is associated with the shadowy realm of the dead.
O'hOgain tells us that a ninth century text attributes a highly significant quotation to him "To me, to my house, you shall come after your death". Many other sources say that the dead assemble at his house and describe deceased people travelling to and from here.
lor24.com.ua/themes/chambers/5910-znakomstvo-s.php Fishermen in the area were wont to hear strange boats passing to the island at night and the names of those who disembarked were called out. Later Christian writers claimed that the souls of the damned lingered at his house before departing for hell. Not surprisingly, aspects of his personage have been adapted by Christian writers in their portrayal of the devil. Samhain being the feast of the dead can now be clearly seen as incorporating the cult of Donn into its celebrations but how they did so remains uncertain.
The Fires were in all likelihood lit in honour of the sungod - here manifesting as Mog Ruith, but certain other of the trappings are clearly associated with the Lord of the Dead. The idea that Samhain is a juncture between the two halves of the year saw it acquiring the unique status of being suspended in time - it did not belong to the old year not the new. It could be said that time stood still on this night and the implications of this were immense.
During this night the natural order of life was thrown into chaos and the earthly world of the living became hopelessly entangled with the world of the dead. But the world of the dead was itself a complicated place, peopled not only by the spirits of the departed, but also with a host of gods, fairies and other creatures of uncertain nature. The unwary traveller, caught away from home on this night, could expect to encounter any one or many of these creatures and it was always advisable to stay indoors.
Ghosts were everywhere and may or may not have been harmful to the living. It is interesting to note that the manuscripts tells us that all fires in the country must be extinguished on this night and could only be relit from the great flames from Tlachtga. This, of course, is not to taken literally but symbolised the brief and temporary ascendency of the powers of darkness at this time of year. During this period all the world was in darkness and the dead were abroad.
When the fire at Tlachtga was lit, it gave the signal that all was well and all other fires could now be relit. The fires at Talchtga were the public celebration of the victory of light, while the relighting of the household fire marked the domestic celebration of the feast. Now the spirits of dead ancestors could be welcomed back into the home with safety and posed no threat to the household.
This theme is repeated constantly in Irish literature.