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By Fiona Y.B.

 

On October 31, while kids are trick or treating around the neighborhood and my husband is participating in his friend’s usual Halloween gorefest, I like many other pagans and witches around the world, will be celebrating Samhain.

 

Pronounced “sow-in”, Samhain and its modern counterpart Halloween are derived from an ancient Celtic fire-festival or one of the four major holy days of the year. It signals the end of the harvest and the beginning of winter, a time of death and eventual rebirth in the spring. For many, it is a marker of the pagan new year.

As the turning point between the old and new years, after sundown, the transition between the worlds lifts for a while, allowing us to make contact with the spirits from the other side. It is a time for celebration, and for paying our respects to our ancestors. It is also an excellent time for prophecy and divination work.

 

It should also be noted that the holiday was by no means confined to Celtic cultures. Many cultures around the world celebrated and may continue to celebrate similar festivals at this time of year, for example Mexico’s Day of the Dead.

 

Like most other major pagan holidays, the 3 day festival has now been “adopted” by the Christian Church and translated into Halloween, All Saints Day (November 1) and All Souls Day (November 2). As I drive around Kentucky and see the large billboards put up by churches declaring that Halloween is the Devil’s Day, I am reminded of their ignorance of true pagan religions and of the pagan roots of all major Christian holidays. (While on the subject, paganism is NOT in any way related to Satanism and we have no interest in human sacrifice. Animals may have traditionally been slaughtered, but that would have been as part of the harvest and winter food preparations).



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