October 3, 2009
is a major pagan holiday. It has been celebrated since the times of Ancient
Egypt (perhaps, even before). It is a Celtic holiday. Samhain is, in fact, a
Celtic word, pronounced sow-in; although, these days, youíll hear it more
commonly pronounced like itís spelled.
Samhain is the Witchesí New Year. The Celts divided the Wheel of the Year into
two halves, a light and a dark half. The light half corresponds to May 1st
through November 1st and the dark half is the remainder of the year. Samhain is
the third and final harvest. It is symbolic of the death of the god. It is the
beginning of the winter, the ushering in of darkness. It is a time for
reflection and contemplation.
Samhain is the time when the veil has been lifted between this world and the
Next. Traditionally, it is a night when sťances occur and contact is initiated
with our ancestors. Many pagans celebrate the holiday on October 31st, All
Hallowís Eve (Halloween); but, there are traditions that celebrate the festival
on November 1st as well. It is not a time for satanic debauchery as some
Christian groups would like to think.
Many pagans leave offerings of food for the wandering dead on this night. We
celebrate the Crone, the aged aspect of the Goddess and her consort, the Horned
God, who is ready to return to the Netherworld, only to be born again in the
springtime. Samhain is a time of sanctity and piety. It is a time when pagans
think over what they have done throughout the year and make plans and use
divination methods such as Runes or Tarot to gain insight into the future.
In the United States, Samhain has largely been forgotten in its origins. The
holiday is Halloween, a day for eating candy, trick-or-treating and enjoying the
darker side of human horror. All things have their place, of course. Perhaps, by
remembering where Samhain originated, it can give you greater insight into the
holiday and make it more meaningful for you.