ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Musings on Samhain.

Updated on October 13, 2014

A Brief History.

Pronounced "sow-en", Samhain is a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest and heralding the beginning of winter. It was the time when cattle were brought back down from the summer pastures and when livestock were slaughtered for the winter. In medieval Ireland the festival marked the end of the season for trade and warfare and was an ideal date for tribal gatherings. These gatherings are a popular setting for early Irish tales. It marks the time when the veil between our worlds is thinnest, and when fairies et al can be best seen - think fairy rings of mushrooms, crop circles and the like.

Samhain was a time to take stock of one's cattle and supplies, making sure that all was ready for winter. It was also a time to determine which cattle would be slaughtered, ready for the months ahead. In terms of Wicca, it is seen as a time to pay your respects to the dead, ie elders of the faith, family members, friends etc who have gone to the Summerlands (the pagan version of the afterlife).

Halloween pumpkin.
Halloween pumpkin. | Source

Samhain In Popular Culture.

Samhain became known as All Hallow's Eve, or Halloween, shortly after the Roman conquests. At this time, it became a festival to celebrate the lives of the departed and to look through the veil in order to communicate with the dead. It has seen many rituals of varying natures, and pagans often decorate their altars to celebrate the festival. Autumnal colours, falling leaves, conkers and the like often adorn the altars, and for children it is a time to dress up as witches, cats, ghosts and other spooky characters.

Halloween has now become associated with witches with green faces a la The Wizard of Oz (see below), and has become more about the fun of it than the ancient rituals. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as it allows all ages to become involved in a fantastic festival, and can also serve to educate people about not only Samhain as a festival, but paganism and Wicca as a faith. Thankfully, most people will ask me about my "get-up", since I usually wander about in full regalia - black top and skirt, dark green velvet cape, black nails and plain yet sombre makeup - and am more than happy to answer questions.

Halloween is also a time for the film industry to bring out all it's "scary" movies (think exorcism films, horror films, zombie films and the like), which is rather amusing given that the purpose of Samhain is not to scare, but to reflect! I always find the movies themselves rather amusing, since they do very little to actually scare me. Exorcisms films are possibly the only films that truly scare me, but that is down to a rather sensible fear of dark magick (curses, hexes etc) rather than a fear of the Devil!

An example of a Samhain altar.
An example of a Samhain altar. | Source
Stereotypical witch.
Stereotypical witch. | Source

My Own Take on Samhain.

For me, Samhain has always been about remembering those who have passed on. Sadly, since my family isn't young, there are more and more names being added to the list with each passing year. They are listed below.

  1. Margaret Tester aka Nanna Peggy 03/08/2003.
  2. Sophie Rhodes 13/10/2006.
  3. Richard Evans 06/12/2006.
  4. Jean Rhodes 10/06/2010.
  5. John Stathers 15/02/2012.
  6. Mary Taggart 18/05/2013.

They will always be remembered with love and affection, as will my friends Keith Woodger and Tony Regan, who sadly passed away in the last few years. Some day we will all meet again in the Summerlands. You may have your own family and friends to remember, and I hope that you take some time to think of them. Know that they are watching over you, almost like guardian angels, and will be keeping you safe throughout your life.

Samhain is also a time for my own cleansings, both spiritual and material. It's a time for me to take stock of the past year - my faults, my achievements and my losses. I clear out all the things from the past year that I don't necessarily need or want, and then spend some time meditating. This year I will have the company of my two black Bombay kittens and their younger tortoiseshell sibling, which will be fun! It's shaping up to be the best Samhain I've had so far.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)