Preparing for Samhain (Part Two)

For part two of our look at Samhain, I want to discuss the darker aspect of it. The word ‘Samhain’ can mean anything from ‘end of harvest/summer’ to the name of a supposed pagan god of Death, to the actual Gaelic name for the month of November. Whatever the meaning, one thing is apparent with this celebration for Pagans—that we remember and honour those who have passed.

Traditionally, only those who had passed during the last year were remembered, but I’ve always thought that was rather mean.  

Customs
Ancestor altar, costumes, divination, carving jack o’ lanterns, spirit plate, the Feast of the Dead, feasting, paying debts, fairs, drying winter herbs, masks, bonfires, apple games, tricks, washing clothes.

As you can see, the majority of customs deals with the afterlife. It’s thought that Samhain is one of the two days during the year when the veil between this world and the afterlife is at its thinnest. Allowing for spirits and other creatures to wander through our world, and the best way to keep your property from being destroyed by these wandering spirits, was to put out a plate of food for them. It was also seen as the best time to speak to those who were now in spirit form.

Apples are the key symbol for the Roman Goddess Pomona, Goddess of Fruit and Orchards, and was probably introduced to the celebration during the Roman occupation of the British Isles, but don’t quote me.  

Animals/Mythical beings
Bats, cats, dogs, pooka, goblins, medusa, banshee, harpies.

Several of the creatures associated to this celebration have some connection to either Death or mayhem. Mind you, Medusa is a Greek myth, so I don’t know what she’s doing connected to a Gaelic celebration.

~Blessed Be~

About Darke Conteur
Darke Conteur is a writer at the mercy of her Muse. The author of stories in several genres, she prefers to create within the realms of Science Fiction and Dark Fantasy. A pagan at heart, her personal goal is to find her balance within nature; exploring the dark through her stories and the light through her beliefs. When not writing, she spends her time collecting crystals, knitting, gardening, cooking and listening to very loud music.

One Response to Preparing for Samhain (Part Two)

  1. Pingback: Poems and other things for Samhain « Darke Conteur

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