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FACTS AND MISINFORMATION

The Halloween season of OCT-31 to NOV-2 each year is unique. It includes:

  • A Pagan Sabbat: Samhain, usually celebrated on or near the evening of OCT-31. Mainly celebrated by Neo-Pagans
  • Two Christian holy days: All Saints' Day (also called All Hallows' Day) on NOV-1, All Hallows' Evening on the night before, and All Souls' Day on NOV-2.
  • A secular celebration, Halloween on the evening of OCT-31.
  • A Welsh festival: Nos Galon Gaeof, The Westwind Sabbat which Begins Sundown, October 31. This is the Festival of the Last Harvest and Focuses on divination and our departed Ancestors. This is the beginning of the Witch Year. Our God presides. This is the end of good weather.
  • Georgia Pagans -Witches & Druids celebrate Samhain in different ways.
  • See HERE for all UK Pagans.   The Article at the bottom of this page was published by the Guardian, and should be enlightening. (Thank you Lowell McFarland
  • See a Samhan Ritual
  • See a Basic Sabbat Ritual
  • Visit Other Sabbat Festivals
  • Go to Books about Welsh Faerie Witchcraft

There is probably more misinformation circulated about these festivals than about any other yearly celebration.  Read the following information and then go to the links designated, to arm yourself with true information.


The following contains elements of a work authored by Mike Nichols, a Welsh Witch from K.C., Missouri.   Go to: http://www.sacred-texts.com/bos/bos013.htm for the original text.  Lady Cerridwen Gawr, June,  2002

NOS GALON GAEOF - SAMHAIN

Nos Galon Gaeof, Halloween or Samhain (pronounced 'Sow-en'), is the time when black cats, orange pumpkins, and winter begins to occupy our minds. Nos Galaon Gaef is one of the four Great Welsh Sabbats celebrated by Witches, Wiccans and many other Pagans, and is the dark twin of the Sabbat of Beltane.  Samhain: (people differ on how to pronounce this, in most traditions, it is pronounced sow-en. Also known as All Souls Night*), October 31- November 1. The New Year. All the crops have been harvested and now the womb of the mother is lying dormant. Now is a time for introspection and understanding your inner self. It is the time of the Crone, filled with wisdom and quiet illumination from within. Colours for this sabbat are: Black and red.

This is also the final harvest ritual of the Celtic year.   Ripe fruits and nuts are gathered.  Some are prepared for the feast and others are stored for future use.   Many vegetables and fruits are canned and preserves prepared to put away in the cupboard.  For those who rely on farming to exist, this markes the time when the herds are thinned so there will be enough food for the livestock through the winter months. Often the ones chosen for butchering are the weakest and probably would not survive the intense cold.

The following was quoted from Paganet:

"Samhain, contrary to what some believe, is not a Celtic god of the dead. Instead, it is a Celtic word meaning "summer's end." The Celts, like many other cultures, saw the dark of the day or year as the beginning. Thus their days began at sunset and the winter half of the year, starting on November 1st, was the beginning of their new year, just as it is for many Wiccans or Pagans. The Celts were a pastoral people as opposed to an agricultural people. The end of summer was significant to them because it meant the time of year when the structure of their lives changed radically. The cattle were brought down from the summer pastures in the hills and the people were gathered into the houses for the long winter nights of story-telling and handicrafts. In the Druidic calendar, this was the time when barriers between man and the supernatural were lowered. Fires were lit to honor the descending sun god. On the eve of Samhain, the gates of the Abyss were unlocked and spirits from below flew free. Human souls that had been trapped in the bodies of animals were released by the Lord of the Dead and sent to their new incarnations.

"With the coming of Christianity, the early Church in England tried to Christianize the old Celtic festival by making the 1st of November "All Saints Day," and making October 31 "All Hallow's Eve" or more commonly "Hallowe'en." The reason many Christians associate Hallowe'en with Christianity is that in the eighth century Pope Gregory III established November 1st as the Roman Catholic feast day honoring the dead. Then, later in the ninth century, Pope Gregory IV decreed that the day was to be universally observed by the Roman Catholic Church which, at that time, held the greatest influence among the Christian populous because of its political strength. But the attempt to discourage the Pagan celebrations were so unsuccessful that the holiday was eventually banned from the Church of England's calendar until its reemergence in 1928.

"To Witches and Pagans, Samhain is the Festival of the Dead, and for many, it is the most important Sabbat of the year. Although the Feast of the Dead forms a major part of most Pagan celebrations on this eve, it is important to remember that nearly all Pagans consider the disturbance of the dead immoral, and at Samhain only voluntary communications are expected and hoped for. The departed are never harassed, and their presence is never commanded. The spirits of the dead are, however, ritually invited to attend the Sabbat and to be present within the Circle.

"Halloween represents the threshold between the world of the living and the realm of the spirits, and is a time when the veil between the worlds is very thin. The acknowledgement of the nature spirits that walk the earth on this eve can still be seen in the observance of children, and some young-at-heart adults, wearing masks and costumes and "trick or treating," a time honored ritual many of us have done, and probably more than once. The spirits are represented by the children as they walk the earth in their many guises celebrating, albeit unknowingly, the ancient tradition of this Sabbat.  

"In honor of Samhain, many Wiccans and Pagans offer a plate of the harvest fruits to the spirits in attendance, along with a goblet of wine. Candles are burned in remembrance of loved ones who have passed on. Apples and pomegranates are eaten to represent the opposites of life and death.  (Try cutting an apple cross-wise to see the pentagram of seeds within!) Many feel that this is the best date of the year to perform scrying, either with crystals, fire, or a bowl of water, especially in the moonlight. For some, Samhain is the time when the Wicker Man, created and charged at Beltane, is ritually burned in the Sabbat fire, sending him to Tir na Nòg for rest and renewal. As the gates open for him, the other spirits then cross over to visit; other traditions burn the Wicker Man at Lughnasadh. Fire jumping is usually done at this Sabbat, and is seen as a purifying act, although it can be dangerous if not done properly. Our focus at this time of the year is turned inward, and activities begin to move indoors, becoming centered around hearth, home, and family.

"Some ideas for this Sabbat: "Bob for apples. There were many divination practices associated with Samhain, many of which dealt with marriage, health, and the weather. Ducking for apples was a marriage divination based on the belief that the first to bite into an apple would be the first to marry in the coming year. This is similar to the wedding tradition of the throwing of the bride's bouquet for women and her garter for men. Apple peeling was another type of divination to determine how long one's life would be. The longer the unbroken peel, the longer the life of the one peeling it Carve jack-o-lanterns.   Take your children trick-or-treating; go yourself!    Finish any incomplete projects and pay off lingering bills (if possible) to close out the old year and begin the new year afresh.  Set aside some time for scrying or other form of divination.  Leave food out for the birds and other wild animals.  If you don't have a wicker man left from Beltane, make one from dried grass or grains of some kind. Burn it in your Sabbat fire. If you don't have a fireplace or firepit, burn him in your cauldron, barbeque grill or hibachi.  Put pictures of ancestors who have passed on your altar for your Sabbat rite. Light a special candle for them, to show them the way to return and celebrate with you.

Visit the graves of your ancestors or, if this isn't possible, the nearest cemetery. Be still here, and listen for the voices of those who have passed. Leave offerings of food and drink for them, and for the animals.   Tell ancestral stories and tales around the fire, or at the dinner table.   Have a mask-making ceremony in which you create masks to represent your ancestry.

"Colors traditional on this Sabbat are red, orange, gold, brown, black. Favorite decorative touches can include pumpkins and other late fall fruits, corn stalks and Indian corn, a scarecrow or wicker man, cauldron, crystals, candles. Foods and libations commonly used this night are apples, pomegranates, pumpkin, nuts, apple cider, mead, beer.

"As winter approaches and the Crone makes her appearance, we now look forward to Yule and the rebirth of the Sun. And, so the Wheel turns... "

GO TO SAMHAIN SABBAT RITUAL


ON-LINE RESOURCES AND HALLOWEEN LINKS:


CLICK OR TREAT - THE UK WAY

The Guardian, London, UK., has an article about Halloween, its many aspects, Pagans, Witches, etc.: http://www.guardian.co.uk/online/story/0,3605,580163,00.html

Excerpts are included.  The entire article should be read for accuracy and completeness and to benefit from all of the suggested links.
The Guardian invites you to e-mail this article to a friend and offers a printer-friendly version.

"The first place to go in the UK, if you are interested in finding out more about Paganism, is http://www.paganfed.demon.co.uk/window.htm. Another website with plenty of information for and about Pagans, Wiccans and Witches is at http://www.avalonia.co.uk  while http://www.ukpaganlinks.co.uk  contains enough Pagan links to keep you going until your next moot.  If you are not sure when your next moot is, try http://www.paganreligion.co.uk   which is planning to list moots around the country.  Network online with http://www.paganlink.org/pl/index.html or especially for Witches, try http://www.eclipse.co.uk/~ma2819/page2.Index.shtml    Find out what the Wiccans are all talking about at http://wiccauk.com "

Loch Sloy!
Tuan Today
"Tuan MacCarrill/MacParthalon, forever the Celtic story!"
Lowell McFarland   lowell@optonline.net
-----------------------------------------------
The Guardian
Halloween
For would-be wizards, witches and warlocks, Ruth Rosselson shows you how to click or treat

Ruth Rosselson
Thursday October 25, 2001
The Guardian

Whether you are a whizz at apple bobbing or make a mean pumpkin pie, All Hallow's Eve is not just hocus pocus for kids, adults too are out to click or treat.  If you are looking for something to do other than open the door to brats with bats on October 31, search for Halloween at http://www.whatsonwhen.com   for some crafty events from Dublin to Detroit.

If you have a brat sans bat at home, turn him or her into a Harry Potter with help from http://www.allthatwomenwant.com/harrypotter.htm   , and while you are putting the finishing touches to the peaked hat, keep nippers entertained at http://www.harrypotter.com , with its games and wizard academy.

You can also find out how to serve up a frightening feast of curried banana, trick or treat chili, or Witches' fingers at http://www.hookerycookery.com/hween-menu.htm   and http://www.spooky.org.uk/cookery.htm
Veggie witches, meanwhile, are catered for at  http://www.vegsoc.org/cordonvert/recipes/halloween2000.html  

Whether your interest is seasonal or long term, you are bound to find something to hold your interest on the web. Pagans may prance around our ancient heritage, but Luddites they are not.   The first place to go if you are interested in finding out more about Paganism is http://www.paganfed.demon.co.uk/window.htm    Another website with plenty of information for and about Pagans, Wiccans and Witches is at http://www.avalonia.co.uk   while http://www.ukpaganlinks.co.uk   contains enough Pagan links to keep you going until your next moot.  If you are not sure when your next moot is try http://www.paganreligion.co.uk   which is planning to list moots around the country.  Network online with http://www.paganlink.org/pl/index.html or especially for Witches, try http://www.eclipse.co.uk/~ma2819/page2.Index.shtml   Find out what the Wiccans are all talking about at http://wiccauk.com .

If it is Witches that you are specifically interested in then take a trip to http://www.members.aol.com/docmagictx/witchcraft.htm  
for its ABC of witchcraft.  Another good site is http://www.witches.org.uk , which even has a section dedicated to chants and spells.  You can learn how to execute a number of spells, from the popular spell for protection, to less obvious spells such as the one to promote the growth of strong beautiful hair.

Every Witch and warlock needs to accessorise - often not possible down your local high street.  Buy tarot cards, crystal balls, rune stones, altar gear and amulets from http://www.witchesmoon.co.uk/pages/index.html or if they do not stock what you need then try http://scry.co.uk/acatalog/ , which also promises to consecrate and bless your goods before they are dispatched to you.  If it is dragon's blood you need, order it from http://www.greenwitch.co.uk/prod03.htm   which sells all sorts of herbs for magic and healing.

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Study for your diploma in witchcraft at http://www.wica.org.uk   or try a correspondence course on tarot, palm or rune reading at http://www.gbweb.freeserve.co.uk/correspondence.htm

Pagans meanwhile, do not get married until "death do us part", but they do get handfasted.  It conveniently, or not, lasts for a year and a day, or as long as your love lasts.  If this is your kind of marriage, check out http://www.pfne.freeserve.co.uk/handfast/handfast.html   or http://www.hogonline.freeuk.com/hogoddess/rites/handfasting.html which should give you all the info you need to start planning
your own.

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HALLOWEEN/SAMHAIN FESTIVALS


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