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Info The Yearly Festivals: Samhuinn

Ben

Brother of Awen
Retired Global Moderator
#1
samhuinn-fire-festival.jpg

Halloween, Samhain (Gaelic), Samhuinn (Scottish Gaelic, pronounced "sow" [as in cow] "in" [as in Inn]) is argued to be the oldest Druidic ceremony in the yearly cycle, originally translated into our order from the Gauls in Brittany, France. Equally, it remains a pivotal period in the yearly cycle of most nature religions and has even spilled over into Christianity and secular traditions.

It spans the period between 31st October and 2nd November where we believe that the Veil of Time is temporarily lifted for all. Unlike Wiccan's we don't commune with the dead so to speak but we have access to the Otherworld and are able to commune with those who exist in the "wider life": ie any Soul spirit that isn't presently confined within physical form. It is therefore our most coveted, inspirational and pro-active ceremony of the year as the veil (that we seek to see though during other periods in the year) has already been lifted for us, permitting a greater penetration into the wider frequencies.

During Samhuinn we light many fires in order to illuminate the darkness and invite those from other realms into our practices. This has given birth to many such practices across the world such as the Feast of Tara in Ireland and Guy Fawkes Night in England/Wales/Scotland where folklore has become distorted in order to commemorate the old traditions, more often than not unbeknown to those who celebrate them. It is also a time where our individual identities can be temporarily changed. For example, in Scotland masks were worn to soften the boundary between the living and those from the Otherworld. Girls dressed as boys and vice versa and it was believed during this phase that Chaos reigned in the darkness until Samhuinn had passed and the yearly cycle began again. The current Edinburgh Samhuinn Fire Festival honours this tradition beautifully to this day. Our current "Halloween" practices are the subjugated remnants of that which went before.

Samhuinn is considered to be our New Year as although we measure the year similarly to those who have adopted a Pagan calendar, we consider Night to be the precursor to Day not the void we are left with "at the end of the day". In this sense when Spring springs into life (birth) at Imbolc in February we have already experienced our "Night" which commences at Samhuinn. Julius Caesar said of the Celts and their Druid Holy Men and Woman; "they called themselves sons of the god of night and defined the division of every season, not by the number of days, but of nights; their birthdays and the beginnings of months and years they observe in such order that day follows night".

At this juncture in the year it was believed in England that Herne The Hunter (aka: Robin Hood's guide, The Green Man, King Arthur) would ride across the skies on a White Mare. In Wales he was represented as Gwynn ap Nudd (the King of the Faeries). In Scotland, ghostly riders who rode on the back of hawks. Either way, the purpose of this throng from the Otherworld was to sweep over the land and seek out the newly departed and take them to the Otherworld. Henceforth, the disguises and masks worn traditionally were meant to disguise the individual and protect them from a mistaken identity! (Trick?)

Sadly, it is not a huge stretch of the imagination to see that Herne the Hunter was gradually bastardised into the Horned God, which of course became Baphomet and eventually Satan/the Devil. And so the demonisation of our native Nature based Pantheon began...

However you are choosing to celebrate this special period of the yearly cycle, may blessings be bestowed upon you and all your kin.

Awen.

"We die with the dying
See they depart and we go with them
We are born with the dead
See they return and bring us with them

The moment of the rose and the moment of the yew tree
Are of Equal Duration."


-T.S Eliot
 
Last edited:

Pucksterguy

Boundless Creation
#2
I got a query you may be able to enlighten me/us on.You're getting me hooked on druidism. An interesting view I know little about but am starting to get very curious about. My question would be is how similar are your views, customs, ideas rituals etc. To native American's ones. I see some correlation between American Natives and for that matter many other indigenous groups. Insomuch as they all(as it appears to me) a very similar basis on nature, the seasons etc. Not a simple question you could fill a book with a response. In a nutshell how do the belief systems compare?
 
OP
OP
Ben

Ben

Brother of Awen
Retired Global Moderator
#3
I got a query you may be able to enlighten me/us on.You're getting me hooked on druidism. An interesting view I know little about but am starting to get very curious about. My question would be is how similar are your views, customs, ideas rituals etc. To native American's ones. I see some correlation between American Natives and for that matter many other indigenous groups. Insomuch as they all(as it appears to me) a very similar basis on nature, the seasons etc. Not a simple question you could fill a book with a response. In a nutshell how do the belief systems compare?

That is such a massive question as you know, but a fascinating one! Embarrassingly enough my knowledge of Shamanism is fairly sparse, possibly due to my location in this life and the abundance of tradition we have here has muted my curiosity somewhat.

All nature based belief systems operate observationally by witnessing the procession of the seasons (in the land and animals) and archetypally in the pantheon of attributable deities we seek to personify or honour at those times, which then becomes experiential. That's perhaps a crude description because the observance of "those present" moving through us throughout the passage of days (Gods/Energy/Nature) in a dance of yearly consistency, is a common basis between many systems.

Directional correspondence is also key, since it syncopates the passage of being asleep and awake throughout one measurable period according to the sun and moon. Ritualistically, I can only speak for what I know but directional acknowledgment is again common.

Each period has a greater emphasis on the energy that is moving through one at a certain point in one's life, albeit constantly. For example, spring is associated with birth in European traditions and youth in Shamanic traditions, where the Sun (son...) rises in the East. Conversely, winter is associated with death in Eastern traditions where the sun is at its weakest, ready to be reborn (a story re-told many times as you know) and its direction is North, right the way around the cycle before it begins again. A Shaman would describe this as the period of the Elders.

If you then tag onto that the use of certain herbs that correspond to that season, certain colours, certain symbolic materials utilised etc then all nature religions are honouring the same thing, but in certain indigenous ways that are practicable as a colloquial, regional expression.

Our association with animals and our aspirations to emulate them is honoured in differing extents but respected none the less. The list goes on!

You have provoked a further delving into Shamanism for me, thank you brother.
 

Pucksterguy

Boundless Creation
#4
Thanks Ben, the thought came to mind as I was reading your post. I didn't mean tto put you on the spot. I was very much thinking out loud. I have a small understanding of our native culture amd I saw some similarities with your Druidic one. Maybe we can get some input here from folks who do know better it will enlighten us all.
 

Linda

Sweetheart of the Rodeo
Staff member
Global Moderator
Administrator
Board Moderator
#5
Being close to Mexico, I've had more exposure to the "Day of the Dead" celebrations, which supposedly have their basis in Aztec culture.
A very simplified description - On November 1, the children who have passed are welcomed back for a visit and families celebrate with little toys and candies. On November 2, the adults are welcomed back. Families may gather at grave sites, decorating them, and leaving mescal and cigarettes. Gotta love those Aztecs.

I thought the timing of the celebrations from two disparate cultures was interesting.
 

Lilia

Aware Presence
Retired Moderator
#6
about the timing: Samhain is a festival that i came to know as connected with the moon, i always celebrate it on the new moon in October. of course it is easier to manage with a fixed date for gatherings, but what is your view on that, Ben, is the moon phase also considered in druidism or is it placed exactly between Mabon and Yule?
 

Solnarehyah

Aware Presence
#7
View attachment 1260

Halloween, Samhain (Gaelic), Samhuinn (Scottish Gaelic, pronounced "sow" [as in cow] "in" [as in Inn]) is argued to be the oldest Druidic ceremony in the yearly cycle, originally translated into our order from the Gauls in Brittany, France. Equally, it remains a pivotal period in the yearly cycle of most nature religions and has even spilled over into Christianity and secular traditions.

It spans the period between 31st October and 2nd November where we believe that the Veil of Time is temporarily lifted for all. Unlike Wiccan's we don't commune with the dead so to speak but we have access to the Otherworld and are able to commune with those who exist in the "wider life": ie any Soul spirit that isn't presently confined within physical form. It is therefore our most coveted, inspirational and pro-active ceremony of the year as the veil (that we seek to see though during other periods in the year) has already been lifted for us, permitting a greater penetration into the wider frequencies.

During Samhuinn we light many fires in order to illuminate the darkness and invite those from other realms into our practices. This has given birth to many such practices across the world such as the Feast of Tara in Ireland and Guy Fawkes Night in England/Wales/Scotland where folklore has become distorted in order to commemorate the old traditions, more often than not unbeknown to those who celebrate them. It is also a time where our individual identities can be temporarily changed. For example, in Scotland masks were worn to soften the boundary between the living and those from the Otherworld. Girls dressed as boys and vice versa and it was believed during this phase that Chaos reigned in the darkness until Samhuinn had passed and the yearly cycle began again. The current Edinburgh Samhuinn Fire Festival honours this tradition beautifully to this day. Our current "Halloween" practices are the subjugated remnants of that which went before.

Samhuinn is considered to be our New Year as although we measure the year similarly to those who have adopted a Pagan calendar, we consider Night to be the precursor to Day not the void we are left with "at the end of the day". In this sense when Spring springs into life (birth) at Imbolc in February we have already experienced our "Night" which commences at Samhuinn. Julius Caesar said of the Celts and their Druid Holy Men and Woman; "they called themselves sons of the god of night and defined the division of every season, not by the number of days, but of nights; their birthdays and the beginnings of months and years they observe in such order that day follows night".

At this juncture in the year it was believed in England that Herne The Hunter (aka: Robin Hood's guide, The Green Man, King Arthur) would ride across the skies on a White Mare. In Wales he was represented as Gwynn ap Nudd (the King of the Faeries). In Scotland, ghostly riders who rode on the back of hawks. Either way, the purpose of this throng from the Otherworld was to sweep over the land and seek out the newly departed and take them to the Otherworld. Henceforth, the disguises and masks worn traditionally were meant to disguise the individual and protect them from a mistaken identity! (Trick?)

Sadly, it is not a huge stretch of the imagination to see that Herne the Hunter was gradually bastardised into the Horned God, which of course became Baphomet and eventually Satan/the Devil. And so the demonisation of our native Nature based Pantheon began...

However you are choosing to celebrate this special period of the yearly cycle, may blessings be bestowed upon you and all your kin.

Awen.

"We die with the dying
See they depart and we go with them
We are born with the dead
See they return and bring us with them

The moment of the rose and the moment of the yew tree
Are of Equal Duration."


-T.S Eliot

Thanks Ben, Good! that is gives me an intention to celebrate on Halloween while taking my kids to trick or treaty and letting them look at the gory decors. Not my favorite but I respect the original intention. Just like make other celebrations that have become distorted over time.
I pray for original spirit to return into this sacred holidays...
 
OP
OP
Ben

Ben

Brother of Awen
Retired Global Moderator
#8
about the timing: Samhain is a festival that i came to know as connected with the moon, i always celebrate it on the new moon in October. of course it is easier to manage with a fixed date for gatherings, but what is your view on that, Ben, is the moon phase also considered in druidism or is it placed exactly between Mabon and Yule?
Hi Lilia, the moon phase is always respected in druidry as it represents Ceridwen, the Mother and the mortal dance she performs around the shifting seasons. However, we don't adjust our celebrations accordingly to a massive degree. For example Alban Arthan can be on one of two days depending upon preference but it's meant more as a guide than a doctrine and remains unaffected by the moon, other than lending energy.

One of the things I love about druidry is that it is a contemporary relative (albeit thousands of years old!) of sun worship, the likes of which we had in ancient Egypt, Sumeria and (my instinct tells me) possibly Atlantis and beyond. It is largely concerned with seasonal waxing and waning of the sun's energy throughout the year and how that affects life.

I would be interested to know what led you to celebrate it in synch with the moon Lilia ? For us the feminine energy gives birth to all and henceforth the night precedes the day, the incubation before the birth.
 

Lilia

Aware Presence
Retired Moderator
#9
hm what led me to synch with the moon? i guess, that when i started learning about the natural festivals, and one year Beltane was near that would be in a waning moon phase on a 1. of May, and on the full moon that was a few days before that the energies were so high and all around me felt so festive, i decided that Beltane, Lughnasad, Samhain and Imbolc felt like being celebrated with the moon to me :)
After that i googled and found some pagan system that reinforced that and so that practice stayed over the years. it just feels natural to me somehow :)
what i feel also is that besides the "lunar Samhain", the fact that humanity has celebrated on October 31. / November 1. for centuries at least has kind of created an additional dynamic of energies that are a little bit different, because of all the assigned meaning with honoring the dead and having the dead roam for a night. on the "lunar Samhain" i feel that is more of a marker of letting go and retrospection for finishing things and clearing and has a very open quality, the veils are thin, but the focus isnt that much on remembering like on October 31.
 
OP
OP
Ben

Ben

Brother of Awen
Retired Global Moderator
#10
hm what led me to synch with the moon? i guess, that when i started learning about the natural festivals, and one year Beltane was near that would be in a waning moon phase on a 1. of May, and on the full moon that was a few days before that the energies were so high and all around me felt so festive, i decided that Beltane, Lughnasad, Samhain and Imbolc felt like being celebrated with the moon to me :)
After that i googled and found some pagan system that reinforced that and so that practice stayed over the years. it just feels natural to me somehow :)
what i feel also is that besides the "lunar Samhain", the fact that humanity has celebrated on October 31. / November 1. for centuries at least has kind of created an additional dynamic of energies that are a little bit different, because of all the assigned meaning with honoring the dead and having the dead roam for a night. on the "lunar Samhain" i feel that is more of a marker of letting go and retrospection for finishing things and clearing and has a very open quality, the veils are thin, but the focus isnt that much on remembering like on October 31.
What a beautiful post! The masculine energy that moves through this dimension that we experience now as being upon a planet is firm and fixed with a degree of mobility. However, his effects are viewable in the transition of season and henceforth should be respected as such. Yet the dance of the feminine is so dynamic...I can totally see why you celebrate it like that. There can be anything up to a 16 (ish) day shift between the years but this all adds to the subjectivity of each day.

Alluring dance huh?
 

Henda

Multidimensional Healer, Astral Projector & writer
Staff member
Board Moderator
#12
View attachment 1260

Halloween, Samhain (Gaelic), Samhuinn (Scottish Gaelic, pronounced "sow" [as in cow] "in" [as in Inn]) is argued to be the oldest Druidic ceremony in the yearly cycle, originally translated into our order from the Gauls in Brittany, France. Equally, it remains a pivotal period in the yearly cycle of most nature religions and has even spilled over into Christianity and secular traditions.

It spans the period between 31st October and 2nd November where we believe that the Veil of Time is temporarily lifted for all. Unlike Wiccan's we don't commune with the dead so to speak but we have access to the Otherworld and are able to commune with those who exist in the "wider life": ie any Soul spirit that isn't presently confined within physical form. It is therefore our most coveted, inspirational and pro-active ceremony of the year as the veil (that we seek to see though during other periods in the year) has already been lifted for us, permitting a greater penetration into the wider frequencies.

During Samhuinn we light many fires in order to illuminate the darkness and invite those from other realms into our practices. This has given birth to many such practices across the world such as the Feast of Tara in Ireland and Guy Fawkes Night in England/Wales/Scotland where folklore has become distorted in order to commemorate the old traditions, more often than not unbeknown to those who celebrate them. It is also a time where our individual identities can be temporarily changed. For example, in Scotland masks were worn to soften the boundary between the living and those from the Otherworld. Girls dressed as boys and vice versa and it was believed during this phase that Chaos reigned in the darkness until Samhuinn had passed and the yearly cycle began again. The current Edinburgh Samhuinn Fire Festival honours this tradition beautifully to this day. Our current "Halloween" practices are the subjugated remnants of that which went before.

Samhuinn is considered to be our New Year as although we measure the year similarly to those who have adopted a Pagan calendar, we consider Night to be the precursor to Day not the void we are left with "at the end of the day". In this sense when Spring springs into life (birth) at Imbolc in February we have already experienced our "Night" which commences at Samhuinn. Julius Caesar said of the Celts and their Druid Holy Men and Woman; "they called themselves sons of the god of night and defined the division of every season, not by the number of days, but of nights; their birthdays and the beginnings of months and years they observe in such order that day follows night".

At this juncture in the year it was believed in England that Herne The Hunter (aka: Robin Hood's guide, The Green Man, King Arthur) would ride across the skies on a White Mare. In Wales he was represented as Gwynn ap Nudd (the King of the Faeries). In Scotland, ghostly riders who rode on the back of hawks. Either way, the purpose of this throng from the Otherworld was to sweep over the land and seek out the newly departed and take them to the Otherworld. Henceforth, the disguises and masks worn traditionally were meant to disguise the individual and protect them from a mistaken identity! (Trick?)

Sadly, it is not a huge stretch of the imagination to see that Herne the Hunter was gradually bastardised into the Horned God, which of course became Baphomet and eventually Satan/the Devil. And so the demonisation of our native Nature based Pantheon began...

However you are choosing to celebrate this special period of the yearly cycle, may blessings be bestowed upon you and all your kin.

Awen.

"We die with the dying
See they depart and we go with them
We are born with the dead
See they return and bring us with them

The moment of the rose and the moment of the yew tree
Are of Equal Duration."


-T.S Eliot
Love the thread Ben thank you for sharing
 

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