All Hallows Eve

The magic of Samhain and the journey to Hallowe’en

Art by Wendy Andrews

I just returned from a trip to Ireland, where the holiday of Hallowe’en is said to have originated with the ancient Celts who called this holiday Samhain, or “summer’s end”.  Traditionally the holiday was celebrated on November 1st, but some sources say that the festival lasted seven days, or even nine days.  In Ireland there was a huge assembly at Tara where the kings met to craft their laws and the common people held celebration.

In medieval Europe the pagan (country) people celebrated the the midpoint of the fixed signs as periods of power.  These times correspond to the fixed signs of Aquarius (Brigid in February), Taurus (Beltane in May), Leo (Lugh in July) and Samhain (pronounced Sow’en) in October for Scorpio.  These times exactly between the solstices and equinoxes, and are called the “cross-quarter” days.  Early Catholic leaders adopted the festival of Samhain as All Saints Day and christianized the holiday to encourage praying for the souls of the departed.

While Samhain has been adopted by Wiccans and other followers of witchcraft, I think we have finally come past the equating of ancient holy holidays with witches and demons.  These are nature festivals of spirituality which we can use to honor the holy cycles of nature and the ebb and flow of life.

At Samhain it is said that the veils between the worlds grow thin, and it becomes easier to communicate with the souls of loved ones who have passed on.  They are also more easily able to offer advice, and divination is a key part of Samhain festivals even today.  Samhain marks the beginning of the dark half of the year, after the balance of light and dark at […]

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By |2019-10-31T08:15:45-04:00October 30th, 2019|Holidays|0 Comments

Happy Samhain/Hallowe’en/Day of the Dead!

Those who decry Hallowe’en as a pagan holiday are, of course, correct!  In medieval Europe the pagan (country) people celebrated the the midpoint of the fixed signs as periods of power.  These times correspond to the fixed signs of Aquarius (Brigid in February), Taurus (Beltane in May), Leo (Lugh in August) and Samhain (pronounced Sow’en) in November for Scorpio.  These times exactly between the solstices and equinoxes, at the 15% point of the fixed signs, and are called the “cross-quarter” days.
At Samhain it is said that the veils between the worlds grow thin, and it becomes easier to communicate with the souls of loved ones who have passed on.  They are also more easily able to offer advice, and divination is a key part of Samhain festivals even today.  Samhain marks the beginning of the dark half of the year, after the balance of light and dark at the equinox.
The actual festival of Samhain this year is November 7th because this is when the Sun reaches 15 degrees Scorpio.  The festival of Hallowe’en (All Hallows Eve) corresponds to All Saints Day in the Catholic church which celebrates the dead, but only those who have been beatified.  The rest of the dead are celebrated on All Souls Day on November 2.
In Latin America there is a similar festival called the Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos which corresponds to the Catholic festivals.  Similar festivals are held in Spain and in Brazil, and presumably derived from the adaptation by the Catholic Church of the Samhain festival.
Astrologically, the entry of the Sun into Scorpio in the northern hemispheres marks the return of the dark time, where we are drawn into the darkness of our own psyche to […]
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By |2019-11-10T19:06:54-05:00October 31st, 2015|Holidays|0 Comments

The astrological Samhain

Samhain astrology Samhain by Phantom’s Siren

Until the rise of the neo-Pagan phenomenon of the mid to late twentieth century, I think it’s safe to say that most Americans had never heard of Samhain (pronounced Sow’-en), the ancient Celtic autumn festival.  It is likely that our modern celebration of Hallowe’en developed to take the place of the ancient festival.  The Christian All Hallows festival to honor the souls of the saints that had passed on was originally celebrated in May but was moved to November 1st in 835 by Pope Gregory IV.

In any case, the Samhain festival celebrates the dead and it is said that the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest at this time, making it easier to communicate with those on the other side.  Feasts were held in which the dead were invited to participate, and in later times costumes were worn to protect against malicious spirits.

Samhain is one of the “cross-quarter” holidays that fall between the Solstices and Equinoxes.  Astrologically, the Solstices and Equinoxes mark the entry of the Sun into the cardinal signs of initiation: Aries at Spring, Cancer at Summer, Libra at Autumn and Capricorn at Winter.  The cross-quarter periods occur at 15 degrees of the fixed signs, with Samhain in the sign of Scorpio, the sign that corresponds to death and rebirth.

Technically, Samhain this year occurs on November 6th when the Sun reaches 15 degrees Scorpio. In the northern hemisphere there is a sense that darkness is descending and we begin retreating to the shelter of our homes where the pathwork of the inner life can take place.


 

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By |2018-11-08T07:02:53-05:00November 1st, 2012|Holidays|2 Comments

Samhain – a day of remembrance

Samhain (an ancient Gaelic word pronounced Sow’-en) is the ancient Celtic holiday that has come down to us as Hallowe’en (derivation of “All Hallows Eve”).  Although it is associated today with witchcraft and doings of the devil, in pre-Christian times Samhain was simply the time when the veils between the worlds were at their thinnest.  It was a time of reverence for the process of death and the mysteries of life. The astrological Samhain actually occurs at the midpoint of Scorpio which is the “cross quarter” between the Autumnal Equinox and the Winter Solstice and falls on November 8th this year rather than October 31st.

The women that some now call “witches” were the wise women – the ones who understood the mysteries of the stars, the ones with an affinity to the healing powers of plants…the ones who helped to heal the sick and comfort the wounded.  The ones whose power came directly from nature and bypassed the power structures of the Church and were therefore dangerous.

“History is written by the winners,” and therefore most of us were never told these tales of the brave and wise women and men that were healers of souls and teachers of the spirit. Instead, we were fed stories of evil witches and devil-worshipping pagans that were meant to frighten the masses into toeing the line of the political and religious establishment.

Samhain is a time to remember the dead, and I can’t think of a better way to remember our ancestors on the path of spiritual growth and wisdom than to watch the Burning Times Documentary.  This is a beautiful film that depicts the struggle of women and men to survive the long period of the Inquisition that lasted […]

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By |2018-07-18T12:56:06-04:00October 30th, 2011|Holidays, Life|1 Comment

New Moon in Scorpio, October 26 2011

Scorpio New Moon October 2011The New Moon occurs when the Moon conjoins the Sun, beginning a new lunar cycle.  Scorpio is the sign of emotional fearlessness and demands that we find pure and complete acceptance of ourselves at the deepest core of our being, so the Scorpio New Moon denotes a time of inner renewal and self-honesty.

The Scorpio New Moon on October 26th takes us even deeper into the Underworld of the psyche and emotional realms. By this time there are four planets and luminaries in Scorpio: The Sun and Moon, and Mercury and Venus. There is no escaping the necessity of reaching into the abyss of our own interior world, but the rewards are great as we discover the treasures that lie buried underneath the veneer of our own consciousness.

This New Moon has a number of harmonious aspects that will facilitate the shedding process that is a hallmark of the Scorpio experience, including a trine of the Sun to healing Chiron that helps to remove any obstacles which prevent us from achieving that lofty goal.

A square from Venus to Mars in Leo suggests potential stress in our relationships, but also enhances sexuality and the excitement of Scorpio that Mars (traditional Scorpio ruler) brings to the table. Mars is in a harmonious sextile to Saturn at the New Moon which helps to provide stability and an environment where new plans under the New Moon may be devised.

As with any New Moon, this is a fertile time to plant seeds of a new venture that will flower when the Moon is full.  But because we’re talking about Scorpio here, the new venture is about letting go rather than taking on something new.  In what areas could you use […]

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By |2011-10-26T05:08:51-04:00October 26th, 2011|Moon|1 Comment
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