Come October 31 many people celebrate Hallowe'en. As a Pantheist I celebrate this day as Samhain which means in Gaelic, summer's end... the Pagan New Years Eve. This date signifies the end of harvest and the beginning of the dark days of Winter... when some plants go dormant and others die... the season when there's more going on beneath the surface than above it. For some this is the time of the death of the God, who will be reborn during Yule (Winter Solstice). For others, it is the Goddess who goes to sleep to be awakened at Beltane (Spring Equinox). It is a night of transition.

To me Samhain is both a thanksgiving celebration for the blessings of the year gone by and an ushering in of the more introspective months of the coming winter. Winter is the season when it's natural to "go underground", to look back over the year and reflect, separating those things that need to be let go from those that are to be kept. It is season of hope, of dreaming of and planning for the future, of unlimited possibilities. Samhain is a good night to think about making changes.

There's also a lighter side to this holiday which is reflected in many modern Hallowe'en celebrations. "Trick or treat" probably originated in the ancient practice of appeasing wandering spirits with food. Bobbing for apples is a reference to the Celtic Emhain Abhlach, the Paradise of Apples, where the dead, having eaten of the sacred fruit, enjoyed a blissful immortality. The idea of lighting candles or jack-o-lanterns suggests ancient Celtic bonfires, lit on this night as protection against mischievious faeries. Costume parties reflect early gatherings in which living humans mingled with (or hid from!) the spirits of the dead and the sidheof the faerie realm, for this is also the time of year when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead is at its thinnest. Earth Religion Rights Campaign

Divination of the events of the coming year was and is another prominent feature of Samhain. Tarot readings can be especially significant on this night as can dreams or visions seen in meditation.

A Joyous Samhain and Happy Hallowe'en to all. No matter how you celebrate... enjoy!

return to Wheel of the Year - Pagan Holidays
see some of our personal Hallowe'en costumes (yes, pagans party too!)

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Lightning on the Stairs photo ęCopyright 1997-2007 Catresea Ann Canivan