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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in halloween
Ancestors at the Hearth: Hallowe’en Edition

I love the word Hallowe’en. It conjures all the warmth and mystery that I associate with the middle of the harvest season, and having celebrated it secularly throughout my life doesn’t diminish my now more spiritual experience of the holiday; instead, it accentuates it. Maybe it’s just me, but I find so much satisfaction in deepening my experience of the familiar, seeing beneath the surface of what is already around me. Making Hallowe’en sacred to me as a pagan is a rewarding experience.

While Hallowe’en, or All Hallows Eve, is a later, Christian term denoting a holiday that stems from the more ancient Samhain, it can still be relevant to pagans. After all, to “hallow” means to sanctify or venerate – to recognize something as sacred or worthy of veneration — which is what many of us do during this time. We pay homage to the dead: family members, beloved dead, cultural and/or spiritual ancestors, and sometimes even the dead with whom we have little to no emotional connection but who have walked the same earth.

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[Continuing our series of interviews centered around Myths, Moons, and Mayhem, we sit down today with Morgan Elektra.]

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Samhain: Ancient and Modern

Calan Gaeaf (Welsh) or Samhain (Irish) begins at sunset of 31st October and runs to to sunset 1st November according to most Western Pagan traditions. If working by the moon, it is the first full moon when the sun is in Scorpio. If working by the natural landscape, it is when the first frosts bite. Samhain was termed the Celtic New Year, as it marked the ending of one cycle and the beginning of another. The Celts reckoned their days from sunset to sunset, and so the start of the year would begin in the dark time at the beginning of winter. Samhain marked the first day of Winter.

Calan Gaeaf, however, is a time that is not a time, and therefore some Pagans honour this tide and season from 31st October right through to the Winter Solstice. It is a time after many things have died, and there is a stillness to the air, an Otherworldly feel in the silence. It's a dark time here in the UK, with long nights on our northerly latitude, and usually a very wet time as well. It's not hard to see how these months could be seen outside of time, outside of the cycles of life, death and rebirth.

Calan Gaeaf, Samhain, Hallowe'en, All Soul's Night - for many pagans this is the ending of one year and the beginning of another.  It is often seen as the third and final harvest - with the last of the apples harvested, the cattle were prepared for winter and the grain stored properly.  It is also a time when it is said that the veil between the worlds is thin, and the realms of the living and the dead are laid bare to each other. We are approaching the darkest time of the year, and the killing frosts and snows await just around the corner.  It is a time of letting go, of releasing into the dark half of the year, and getting rid of the dross in our lives so that we do not have to carry them with us through the long winter nights.  We consciously make the effort to live better, meaningful lives and let go of all that holds us back - our fears and worries, our anger and hatred.  We nurture the beneficial and the good that we have in our lives, ensuring that they are well kept for our plans to come at the winter solstice. So the cycle continues.

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  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    A very lovely and evocative description. Thanks for sharing, blessed be, Tasha
A Time for Death and Darkness, but Also Revelry

It’s that time of year again! Samhain, also known by its Christian/English name Halloween, one of the most widely celebrated holidays in the world and a long time favorite of Pagans. Traditionally, Samhain has been regarded as the start of winter and a time when the veil between the worlds of life and death weakens. Morbid stuff, you’d think, but despite these dark themes Samhain has also been a time of great revelry and celebration. After all, who doesn’t love a good ghost story?

In honor of this most hallowed of seasons, we’ve collected all of our posts on Samhain and related themes for your easy perusing. We’ve also brought together links to other websites we thought you might found interesting. And with that, happy hauntings :D !

-Aryós Héngwis

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Pssst . . . wanna know a secret? 

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...There is no “veil” between the worlds. We are always in multiple dimensions, and the veils, when there are any, are all in our heads! What is sacred today on Samhain is our communal decision to come together and venture beyond our imagined fail-safe points. Take your mother’s, sister’s, daughter’s, lover’s hand and walk bravely up to Death. Introduce yourself. Say hello.
     What a wonderful and holy time to practice leaping over the edge of Surrender into the dark juiciness of all Unknown. Death is just a doorway between particle and wave, and every particle of our being dissolves into wave every nanosecond of our existence—and then collapses back into the same old, same old who we think we are. NOT if we pay attention! Not if we think who we are is pure consciousness and out of that mystery decide to shapeshift ourselves into beings with great wings, beings shining with internal light, beings who dance an open spiral around the limits of death and life.
Miriam Dyak © Mother Tongue Ink 2015

Miriam Dyak (Seattle, WA) All my life is poetry. Close to 60 years of writing poems, journals, books and not about to stop. I am a Social Artist, Voice Dialogue facilitator and teacher, dream weaver, gardener of souls. miriam (at) miriamdyak.com
Paula Franco (Buenos Aires, Argentina) shaman woman, visual and visionary artist, teacher in sacred art, writer & poetess, astrologer, tarotist, creator of goddess card and mandalas book. 

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Transylvania Dreamin'

I will absolutely never top the 2008 Halloween that I spent in eastern Romania on the Dracula Tour. I have told this tale many times with a fondness and nostalgia only paralleled by the idyllic childhood that I experienced living out in the middle of nowhere surrounded by the woods. Knowing this, the best that I could hope to do is to attempt to recreate some of the highlights of my revered trip with my dear friend, Michael Hora. So here's my best (pardon the pun) stab at it.

Michael and I ate very well when we were there. The included continental breakfasts were anything but a wimpy box of cornflakes, or a lukewarm dollop of canned sausage gravy on a stale biscuit. We stayed at many very pleasant hotels on our journey: in Bucharest, Brasov, Sighisoara, Sibiu. The included breakfast buffets alone were like something out of dream: plates of every succulent homemade pastry you could imagine, hot plates of eggs, sausages, potatoes, cold plates of cured meats, pickles, olives, several artisan cheeses, fresh vegetables and fruits, blintzes, juices, and well-made strong coffee. The dinners were nothing to sneeze at, either. Yes, Romanians know how to eat! But I digress. The best way to describe this fare would be a mix of Serbian, Russian and Greek-style dishes – hearty and well-seasoned.

In planning your Dracula dinner menu, why not stir up some homemade Hungarian "ghoull-lash" with extra garlic toast and cheese on the side? If you're feeling ambitious, grill some steak kababs (get it, steaks/stakes). Have several appetizer platters of the cold snacky fare mentioned above. Finish off with some "Vampire Bite Marshmallows," roasted over a big bonfire in your backyard. To achieve this effect, dip your toasting fork in some dry cherry wine to start. Impale the hapless marshmallow twice, and roast to your liking. When ready to eat, dip the half of the marshmallow below the bite marks in some more of the wine, then sink your own teeth in.

Besides knowing how to eat, the Transylvanians instilled in me a love for highly potent fermented pure fruit beverages. The ones to get a hold of are pálinka (apricot brandy) and Țuică  (double distilled plum brandy). Beware, as these little firebombs will kick you in the butt and keep one partying all night long. For some more mellow stylings, opt for the always popular Vampire wines, available in pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, and merlot. This is not a night for white wines.

If you do not know any local gypsies in your area to play around the fire, download some atmospheric and authentic gypsy music, such as: "Authentic Gypsies," by Laszlo Borteri & Niko Radic. Gypsy Kings and/or gypsy jazz are probably a bit too upbeat for this affair, but in the end you must go where the spirit moves you. At some point, play the ultimate vampire crowdpleaser, "Bela Lugosi's Dead," by Bauhaus. Invite people to perform gothy interpretive dances.

As far as dress, I'd suggest folks attend as their personal favorite fanged one – there are so many to choose from! Have a steady stream of beloved bloodsucker flicks playing on the telly. Visually, they are always a treat. A word to the wise: this kind of event may inspire spontaneous biting. Consider yourselves warned, children of the night.

REFERENCES

http://www.dractour.com/

http://www.budapestbylocals.com/hungarian-goulash.html

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/75133/roasted-garlic-bread/

https://vampire.com/

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Pagan News Beagle: Airy Monday, October 24

The release of Marvel's new supernatural superhero film draws near. A look at how the horror genre is evolving alongside technology. And a chronicle of the way in which Halloween, a foreign holiday, captured Japan's heart. It's Airy Monday, our weekly segment on magic and religion in popular culture! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

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