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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in halloween

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Blessing o' the Bats

So far this fall, we haven't had any bats in the house. Around here, that's unusual.

Most years, in the weeks before Halloween, I find at least one wheeling through the halls. We've got a bat house mounted on the wall outside—bats eat mosquitoes, so they're a valuable asset to have nesting nearby—but come the cold and the end of bug season, naturally they start looking around for a nice, cozy cave to over-winter in.

These days, I'm the household bat-catcher. Old Simmycat is gone now, but in her heyday she did the job masterfully. Like most Manx—in compensation for the lack of tail, I suppose—Simmy had powerful hindquarters and was a noteworthy jumper.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Thirteen Nights of Samhain

Halloween is over and gone. The last of the soul candles have burnt out; the candy (thank Goddess) is all handed out; the squirrels have reduced the jack o' lanterns on the doorstep to piles of orange shreds. (“May squirrels eat his/her face” is one of my favorite curses, but obviously nothing to toss around lightly. Shudder.) But this, after all, is Paganistan. Don't go putting up those Yule lights quite yet. Around here, Samhain is just beginning.

Americans tend to do their celebrating in advance (Christmas begins the day after Thanksgiving and ends December 24th), but that's not the witch's way. Tony Kelly of the Pagan Movement in Britain and Ireland always used to say that the firedays aren't neat, tidy little dates on a calendar; they're extended tides of intensive change during the year. Like Yule, they all have their thirtnights, their witch's dozen of days.

Today's the Fifth of November. (“Remember, remember the Fifth of November: gunpowder, treason, and...what? There must be some reason to remember the season, but whatever it is, I forgot,” says the Kipper family.) Guy Fawkes' Day fell out of favor in America back around the Revolution, but did you ever wonder why Election Day is the first Tuesday in November? Back in the day, Election Day was a bonfire holiday. The harvest is in, but the winter weather hasn't closed in yet, so the tribe gets together to do its necessary politicking. The more things change....

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    If ever I entertained any doubts about why I do this, Susan (and occasionally I do), you've settled them all. Thanks. I'm sure Ton
  • susan
    susan says #
    Thanks for this entry! My Samhain was filled with stress, a major event, and no time for personal reflection. I read this and real

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
When is Samhain?

All Hallows Eve falls on the 31st of October – the night before All Hallows Day, also known as All Saints Day. It’s part of the Catholic calendar. All Hallows Eve is also, in this tradition, known as All Souls Night – a time for remembering the less saintly-dead. It’s this tradition that Mexican day of the dead festivities, and pumpkin lanterns would seem to belong to.

We know that Samhain was the end of the Celtic summer. However, as with all ancient festivals, the issue of dates is a tad compromised by the problems of calendars. In 1582, the Gregorian calendar came in, adjusting the previous Julian calendar and fine tuning when leap years happen. The reason for this is that the date of Easter is calculated (because the only reference to it is the Jewish lunar calendar) in relation to the spring equinox, so calendar drift was causing the Church some headaches.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • HighburyPaul
    HighburyPaul says #
    Using leaf fall is slightly vague though. Leaves fall in temperate climates for over a period of 2-3 months (different species loo
  • Maria OToole
    Maria OToole says #
    And then there's the Southern Hemisphere...our Samhain is their springtime...
  • Maria OToole
    Maria OToole says #
    Oct. 31 for me marks the beginning of the 3rd harvest in an agricultural calendar: Lammas for grain, Mabon for the late fruit like
  • Arranell
    Arranell says #
    I was just thinking about exactly this the other day. I woke wondering if anyone else thinks we might be celebrating Samhain when
  • warren rake
    warren rake says #
    It is my understanding that the cross quarter days are the midway point between the solstice and the equinox, or vice versa... The

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Holidays are not my thing.  If you come to my house, you won’t see cute fall leaves (unless they are on the ground) or other holiday decorations.  It has never been my thing.  It seems like a lot of effort for little meaning or return. 

Halloween has a lot of mischief, candy, horror movies, and bad images for witches.  Even as a child I didn’t like this holiday.  As an adult and a Pagan, I’ve found other ways to honor the season. 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Summer's Last Dance

Beneath a sky grown newly vast, where geese call, winged witches, the trees are stripped and naked; their squirrels wear blue vair.

Branches above, branches below. The Antlered also wears his winter blue now, his bull-neck engorged with pounding maleness. He quivers, eager to rut his does and witches.

A golden carpet is laid for us, flecked with browns and russets. The cider is poured, the table spread with all the wealth of Summer. The fire is laid and ready to light; the skeleton band tunes up.

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Posted by on in Pagan News Beagle
Earthy Thursday October 30

Today leading up to Halloween, our Earthy Thursday focuses on that spooky scary staple -- trees! Famous trees, top 10 trees, old trees, guerilla trees, the Halloween tree.

A solitary Scots Pine nicknamed "the Lonely Tree" has been named "Tree of the Year" in Wales. One caveat -- the tree blew over in hurricane-force winds last winter, and is now at the center of a campaign to save its life.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Witches and other bad things

Halloween is this week.  The kids will be dressing up as ghouls and goblins, witches and monsters.  The world will be on a sugar high for the next week or so.  Mainstream America will be watching all the scary movies they can find and treating the paranormal as freakish. 

During a car ride with my mother, I was making conversation with her when she said she didn't like this time of year.  I said why not - thinking Fall is my favorite time of year and I adore the weather, the colors, the season.  She came out with "all the talk about witches and other bad things."  My immediate response in my head was - hey wait a minute.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Eileen Troemel
    Eileen Troemel says #
    Hi Joanna: Oh the negotiations we do in our personal relationships. My husband is Christian per se. He is not a church goer but
  • Joanna
    Joanna says #
    Hi I had a very similar thing today with a work colleague moaning about Halloween being just an 'Americanism.' I didn't have the h

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