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Thread: Samhain

  1. #11
    Opinionated Rae'ya's Avatar
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    Re: Samhain

    Quote Originally Posted by DeOndergaandeZon View Post
    I thought you didn't. Nevertheless, there are a few Samhain related posts in that thread so it was useful.

    As for the date, multiple sources said it to be today. (More or less) Briton, why do you think it's on the 28th? If they used lunar calendars (and they did), wouldn't the date change each year anyway?
    Most neo-Wiccan sources will say that Samhain is traditionally about midway between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice, though I can never remember if it's supposed to be attached to a moon phase or not. But I have also read that it was November eve as a way to mark when the harvest ended and the livestock slaughter began. If it's the former, the date would change every year... but modern neopaganism has made it standard and acceptable to approximate the dates of the Cross Quarters to set dates.

    Here in Australia, Samhain should technically be around the start of May, and today should be Beltane. I don't celebrate the neo-Wiccan Wheel of the Year though, nor the Celtic festivals. I don't even celebrate the Germanic or Scandinavian festivals. I'm a bad pagan lol. Not really... I just don't feel connected to European seasonal festivals which have almost no connection to the seasonal changes here in southern Australia; and my husband and I haven't quite gotten around to organising ourselves a modified calendar that fits our practice(s) and our seasonal changes.

    If I were to celebrate Samhain though, it would be in May, and I would do Ancestor work and a dumb feast, I think. I do like the symbolism of seasonal food and using the last of the harvest produce. I would also maybe do something with the wight of my local pine-plantation-turned-forest (Kuipto Forest)... I've only recently connected with it and seems like the sort of spirit that would find Samhain significant (unlike most Australian landwights, for whom that time of year does not match the European autumn/winter symbolism at all).

  2. #12
    Member Seax_Blade's Avatar
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    Re: Samhain

    Quote Originally Posted by Briton View Post

    Soul cakes are Christian.
    Gotcha, thanks. Thought it might.

  3. #13
    Copper Member Briton's Avatar
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    Re: Samhain

    Quote Originally Posted by DeOndergaandeZon View Post
    I thought you didn't. Nevertheless, there are a few Samhain related posts in that thread so it was useful.

    As for the date, multiple sources said it to be today. (More or less) Briton, why do you think it's on the 28th? If they used lunar calendars (and they did), wouldn't the date change each year anyway?
    "Sources" have standardized it to October 31st for every year. It's not that Samhain can't fall on the 31st, it's that it doesn't make sense for it to fall on the 31st every year. I do not say that it is the 28th every year, I said 28th this year. Regardless it would not have been October 31st every year as per the Gregorian calendar, as our calendar was created in order to put the Christian Feast Day of the Resurrection back to near the date used by the early church, as the calendar they used was causing the day to drift further and further. Obviously, there is no reason why Britons (Samhain is, as far as I can tell, wholly of the British Isles) would invent such a calendar up to 2,000 years (or 500 before Jesus was even born) earlier.
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  4. #14
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    Re: Samhain

    Some nice ways to celebrate Samhain Unfortunately, there's no forest (or even trees older than 15 years) or historical sites in my region to visit. So I only light candles to honour the dead.

    Briton, I understand. I'm just curious why you celebrated it on the 28th this year.

  5. #15
    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: Samhain

    When Samhain should be celebrated depends on what tradition one is and the rationale for when they date the holiday.

    The astrological day of Samhain is the sun at 15 degrees in Scorpio--November 8, the cross-quarter date (the midpoint between Yule and the Autumnal equinox) is the November 7. In some cases, Samhain is celebrated at the first frost (it is, after all Summer's end)...which might be never, depending on where you live...and usually not until December or January here.

    Actually...this is one of the cases where wiki has a decent post on the subject...
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  6. #16
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    Re: Samhain

    Quote Originally Posted by thalassa View Post
    When Samhain should be celebrated depends on what tradition one is and the rationale for when they date the holiday.
    As some-one said in London a couple of years ago, the most sacred day is The One When Everyone Can Make It.

  7. #17
    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: Samhain

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidMcCann View Post
    As some-one said in London a couple of years ago, the most sacred day is The One When Everyone Can Make It.

    lol, how true.


    I say something similar at work about hearing protection--the most effective ear plugs are the ones you will wear.
    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

    “We still carry this primal relationship to the Earth within our consciousness, even if we have long forgotten it. It is a primal recognition of the wonder, beauty, and divine nature of the Earth. It is a felt reverence for all that exists. Once we bring this foundational quality into our consciousness, we will be able to respond to our present man-made crisis from a place of balance, in which our actions will be grounded in an attitude of respect for all of life. This is the nature of real sustainability.”
    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

    "We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way."
    ~~Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

    "Humans are not rational creatures. Now, logic and rationality are very helpful tools, but there’s also a place for embracing our subjectivity and thinking symbolically. Sometimes what our so-called higher thinking can’t or won’t see, our older, more primitive intuition will." John Beckett

    Pagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible

  8. #18
    Nihilistic Goddess Medusa's Avatar
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    Re: Samhain

    This is probably why people stick to Halloween. You guys debating this takes all the fun out of Samhain. It's like debating Christ's birthday. Just open your present, stick the fruitcake in your mouth and sing your Charlie Brown Christmas song.
    Satan is my spirit animal

  9. #19
    Member sionnach's Avatar
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    Re: Samhain

    Quote Originally Posted by Briton View Post
    Hallowe'en is completely different. Samhain was on the 28th. All Hallow's Eve is a non-pagan Christian fasting day (which always happens before a feast day/period) before the feast day All Saint's Day, November 1st which was made so in the 4th century when a bishop consecrated a chapel in northern Italy in, I believe, the 4th century. There is nothing, not a jot, pagan about Hallowe'en.


    - - - Updated - - -

    I'd be interested to know the basis for October 31st every year for Samhain regarding a culture which did not use our calendar but a lunar calendar and no written evidence. "October 31st" is rather meaningless in such a calendar. Can anyone explain?
    In the pagan past the Celts and possibly those before the Celts did not have our current calendar so whether samhain was celebrated on the 31st on out calendar more a representative date than an absolute date. Despite that there may be archeological evidence that Oct. 31 is reasonably close to the celebration date and since few of us track sun and moon patterns with accuracy connecting it with one date is not so unreasonable for us today. In the Boyne Valley the mounds of Tlachtga and Tara have evidence of celebrations with large bonfires that apparently used to celebrate the end of the summer half of the year and the beginning of a new year and the winter half of the year. On the Hill of Tara there is a passage into the area called the Mound of the Hostages which is aligned with the rising sun around the time of Samhain which is around the time of Halloween. For our convenience we use a calendar instead

    As for whether Halloween was pagan or not I would favor pagan origins. We know the Roman Churched used pagan celebration dates, sites, and even a goddess for conversion by renaming them and giving them a new meaning cloaking the original meaning. There is nothing in the Jewish celebration that correlates with Halloween (or at least I do not know of one). The Roman church that formed long after the death of Jesus blended many pagan celebrations and concepts in its formation. It was not an accident that Dec 25 was the date for the birth of Jesus and All Saints day was created to replace the celebration of samhain as they transitioned a pagan culture into a Christian culture.

  10. #20
    Sr. Member Louisvillian's Avatar
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    Re: Samhain

    Quote Originally Posted by DeOndergaandeZon View Post
    Hi there!
    So tonight it's Samhain if I'm correct.
    My question is, who of you celebrates Samhain and how do you do that?
    I celebrated it as a solemn day of remembering the souls of the departed. A time when the veil is thin between our world and the Otherworld or Underworld. I made offerings to psychopomps, chthonic, and ancestral gods to pray for the safe comportment of my grandmother's soul to the halls of Hades, and a hope for a gentle afterlife for her.

    The day before--Halloween--is rather different. I celebrated it with merriment and entertainment, indulgences of a sort. That's the purpose of the day, after all--confronting the power of death with humour, ridicule, and fun. Games and decoration and candy, guising and roleplaying. Yeah, a bit of the commercialised Halloween in there, but a lot of idiosyncratic stuff too.

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