Check out Craig Waltman's latest story – "The Heights of Pandore" (from his author's tab under New Stuff!)
by James McQuiston
Editor and Publisher/Celtic Guide
The pumpkins are set out for sale at fruit stands, or on folk's front porches. Mums are just starting to bloom, and leaves starting to fall.
Though we have a short while to go, there is no doubt that Halloween is on it's way.
And we don't need to prove any further that this holiday developed from the Celtic tradition of Samhain.
It is possible that Samhain was the time of year when the ancient Celts were trying to communicate with the spirits of their ancestors and deceased family members.
Geoff Doel Professor at the University of Kent in this regard says: "It was believed that the world of spirits and ancestors might have effect in a beneficial way, not the world of the living. So it was important to keep in touch with their ancestors and maintain good relations between the two worlds."
In Irish folklore and Breton we find traces of this culture: "Both in Ireland and in Britain there is still the belief that the soul returns after death to visit the places he has known during his earthly life. The room should not be dusted or swept to avoid chased out of the soul…spirits can be felt while dealing with their ordinary daily…you should not talk to them or interfere with their movements, and any passage through the house or the farm that they usually used must never be closed otherwise…you definitely indispettiranno ". (Folklore of the British Isles, Hull, p.246)
Samhain became the feast of All Saints, English All Saints or All Hallows understood as the feast of all souls holy or sacred, and then Halloween (Hallows’ Eve) that is, the eve of All Hallows.
One highlight of the celebrations of Samhain was the lighting of fires / bonfires on hilltops in the surrounding villages.
The fire was the light or life energy in the time of the year in which the forces of darkness and death seemed to take over. The bonfires were also used to protect mortals from the supernatural forces that inhabited the world of spirits and the dead, or to guide souls during their wanderings.
In fact, in some parts of Ireland, Samhain was also known as Mischief Night or Confusion (Night of Jokes or Confusion) as the Celts were concerned that their world could be turned upside down or upset by the powers of darkness, and then thrown into chaos.
It is hard not to compare this description with our world of today, where nothing seems to make sense anymore.
I am a firm believer in ancestors and the idea that they can help and can communicate with us.
I also know, firsthand, that Halloween can be a time of dramatic change, hopefully driven by good Spirits, not the dark ugly ones that have permeated our lives as of late.
Hope springs eternal, but I'd just as soon not have to wait until spring for some hope!
We all need to set our intentions that good will once again reign in this world, and that happiness will at least visit our doors once in awhile.
Halloween may be the perfect time for us to reconnect with the souls of our ancestors to ask their help and guidance.
In this act we may at least find hope.
The Celtic Guide has been around for quite awhile now, and we are creating a searchable library of Celtic related information. What the future holds is not certain but meanwhile, by posting new articles and reposting older articles directly to this site, versus our former pdf format, we are attempting to make it all searchable.
Plus we've added a recipe section led off by Alison MacRae (Canada), and added to recently by Toni-Maree Rowe (New Zealand).
Also, you may have noticed that I've added the typical Social Media icons for emailing us and for getting to our Facebook page. They are located near the search window.
I want to invite anyone who thinks they have a good story to tell, of a Celtic nature, to please not hesitate to send it to me. With a little editing and graphics applied, you may be surprised just how good an author you are!
We hope you enjoy a great number of articles right here, for FREE! – and that you find hope and happiness in the days to come.
Rise above it all and move forward!