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Lily Wight

     Samhain – pronounced “sow – inn” and known presently as Halloween – is celebrated from sunset to sunset on 31st October to 1st November.  It is the most important Fire Festival or Sabbat on the ancient Wheel of The Year calendar.

     “Samhain” has been variously translated as “first frost” or “Summer’s end”:  opposing suggestions with the same meaning.  It is the name for November in ancient and modern Gaelic.

     Samhain lies between The Autumn Equinox and The Winter Solstice.  It marks the death of the year and the end of the annual agricultural cycle.  Many ancient cultures throughout The Western Hemisphere regarded Samhain as their New Year’s Eve.

     Samhain is the third and final harvest on The Wheel of The Year calendar.  After Lughnasadh (grain and cereals) and Modron (fruit and vegetables) herding communities drove livestock back from…

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     Updated 23/10/2014

     Samhain – pronounced “sow – inn” and known presently as Halloween – is celebrated from sunset to sunset on 31st October to 1st November.  It is the most important Fire Festival or Sabbat on the ancient Wheel of The Year calendar.

     “Samhain” has been variously translated as “first frost” or “Summer’s end”:  opposing suggestions with the same meaning.  It is the name for November in ancient and modern Gaelic.

     Samhain lies between The Autumn Equinox and The Winter Solstice.  It marks the death of the year and the end of the annual agricultural cycle.  Many ancient cultures throughout The Western Hemisphere regarded Samhain as their New Year’s Eve.

     Samhain is the third and final harvest on The Wheel of The Year calendar.  After Lughnasadh (grain and cereals) and Modron (fruit and vegetables) herding communities drove livestock back from Summer pasture to be housed or slaughtered for winter, furthering the festival’s associations with death.  The eighth century scholar, Bede refers to November as the “blood month”.

     According to ancient beliefs the mythic courtship of a god and goddess symbolised the eternal rotation of seasons.  At Samhain the Goddess, in her crone or hag aspect, midwifes the waning or sacrificed God into the Underworld where he will journey until his rebirth at Yule with the promise of Spring. 

     Crone Goddesses, such as Celtic Ceridwen and Greek Hecate, ease transitions and guard borders and crossroads.  They are keepers of arcane wisdom and herbal lore who are associated with broomsticks (for cleansing thresholds) and cauldrons (for brewing natural medicines).  Halloween “witches” are a modern remnant of this frequently misunderstood ancient archetype.

     Sexy Halloween witches owe their style to The Morrígan, the Gaelic Dark Mother or Raven Goddess  who presides over death and battle – akin to the Scandinavian Valkyries.  At Samhain The Morrígan mates with The Dagda (the Gaelic All-Father) to bring creation from chaos.

     Samhain is considered a liminal time; when the veil between the mortal and the preternatural realms – the living and the dead – is at its thinnest.  Ancestors are remembered and honoured with a variety of worldwide customs that continue to this day, such as the Mexican Dia de Los Meurtos or Day of The Dead.

     Costuming for Halloween is an ancient tradition with many possible origins and purposes.  Celebrants may have daubed themselves with ash from ritual bonfires or disguised themselves to confuse, deter or even consort with mischievous otherworldly creatures before parading from house to house to collect donations for the Samhain feast: the likely origin of trick or treating.

     It wouldn’t be Samhain without a pumpkin lantern.  The gourd was the first domesticated plant species and has been used for carving for thousands of years.  Pumpkin lamps were carved with fearsome faces as festival decorations; to light parades and repel unwelcome spirits.  Jack o’ Lantern was another name for will-o’-the-wisp; strange but naturally occurring flares of marsh gas.  Jack o’ Lantern evolved into a folkloric hero who tricks The Devil in a variety of tales.  Barred from the afterlife he roams the world forever, carrying a single ember from the fires of Hell in his pumpkin lamp.

 

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     Samhain (or Halloween) was the original Celtic New Year’s Eve so it is fitting to consider this the last spread of the year and take a look back at readings from previous festival days.

     The deck – as always – is Patrick Valenza’s Deviant Moon Tarot.

Samhain Tarot Spread at www.lilywight.com

     Centre left then anti-clockwise

     1.  The Inquirer In The Present ~ The Ace Of Pentacles.  The inverted Ace suggests uncertainty and a lack of focus in both the cards and the inquirer.  There is a strong, yet thwarted, desire to grasp control of the environment without any sense of fulfillment.  The card suggests false starts and false happiness.

     Card readings throughout 2012 charted the evolution of dramatic change with The Ace Of Pentacles first appearing as a positive internal influence back in May.  The momentum to make major life-changes has waned and The Inquirer seems to be hanging on to the wrong things.

     2.  Past Influences ~ The Six Of Swords.  The Inquirer felt trapped in an environment of conflict and wished to escape and find peace.  There is however a clear assertion in the card’s inverted position: “I choose to stay with my problems”.  There is hope that patience and determination will improve close relationships and end feelings of solitude.

     3.  Subconscious Influences ~ The Sun.  This Major Arcana card represents an absolute surrender to joy that is childlike in its pure and unfailing trust in happiness and renewal.  The bright light within is more than a match for the difficult challenges and unwanted circumstances that surround it.

     This is the first and only time this card has been drawn this year.  A reminder that, in the depths of winter, there is nothing more vital than the light inside!

     4.  Secret Wishes & Desires ~ The Seven Of Cups.  Throughout 2012 desires have tended towards the tangible and practical but The Seven is a card of imagination and daydreams.  The Seven first appeared as an external intangible force in March, suggesting an evolving feeling that has become a specific wish.

     Combining mental control with creativity to achieve better balance will reveal that happiness can come from many places (and not necessarily the cup you’ve chosen!)  The adjacent Sun insists that true joy resides within.

     5.  Hidden Forces ~ Temperance.  Here she is again!  The Major Arcana’s symbol of metaphysical harmony appearing as a personal guardian in exactly the same place as the previous Mabon spread (September).  This is a tough spread but The Sun (position 3, within) and Temperance (without) empower and protect the artist (position 4) against all that life can throw at her.

     Strive constantly for balance and trust the higher self.

     6.  Events To Come ~ The Devil.  The Devil encourages us to become the best version of ourselves by testing our mettle.  He also warns us that things may not be as they seem and gives us the opportunity to change course before it is too late.

     When a permanent or pleasurable situation turns sour we tend to fall-back on our baser instincts.  It is temperance that counters the mundane desires and low behaviour that accompany trying times so thank goodness she appears in position 5; reminding The Inquirer they have everything they need to pass the coming tests.

     7.  Surrounding Environment ~ The Eight Of Cups.  Lily Wight herself has appeared but upside-down!  Lily has seven full cups behind her but she still seeks that elusive eighth cup whilst constantly looking over her shoulder!    Such a futile endeavour costs emotional strength but wisdom will be found in rest and stillness.  The Inquirer has an opportunity to change their usual responses and to reflect upon what is good and solid in life.

     8.  The Influence Of Others ~ The Hierophant.  This is a highly contentious Major Arcana card.  In the last spread he appeared upside-down as “The Final Outcome” suggesting an unorthodox – even dogmatic – stance was required.  Here he suggests a charismatic male authority figure, at best a guide and teacher, at worst someone repressive and controlling.

     Throughout the year the influence of others has been predominantly negative and of too much import with the exception of August (when there was lively and convivial company during a period of leisure).  The Inquirer has been constantly encouraged to rely on their own resources and trust in both their own judgement and metaphysical order.

     9.  Spiritual Forces ~ The Moon.  It is interesting that both The Sun (upright, masculine, internal) and The Moon (upside-down, female, external) appear in this spread.  Temperance (often equated to The Angel Michael) and The Devil (The Angel Lucifer) might also be regarded as opposites.  By conflicting and cancelling each other out these pairs add to the confusion and lack of focus indicated by The Ace in position 1.  They also suggest problems for partners with different lifestyles.

     The inverted moon warns The Inquirer to be alert for disillusionment, fear and betrayal which could lead to depression.  Intuition itself is being tested (thanks to The Devil!) and the best way through is to adjust expectations and keep a firm grip of reality.  (The Ace Of Pentacles in position 1. is depicted doing just that but unfortunately the card is upside-down so The Inquirer is hanging-on to the wrong reality!)

     2012 has offered up a continual struggle against circumstances.  The Moon suggests we must accept things the way that they are before we can change them.

     10.  Final Outcome ~ The King Of Cups.  In the most literal sense The King Of Cups is a mature, free-thinking professional man.  Born under a water-sign he is emotionally deep but prone to be secretive and unpredictable – such attributes are intensified due to his proximity to The Moon.  It appears that The Inquirer is waiting for information or a decision from this man.  

     Overall the cards express a continuing push and pull of confusion whilst highlighting the potential for self-fulfillment; blessed by Temperance and burning brightly within.  Whatever will the Yule reading bring?

     Catch-up With 2012 Tarot Readings You May Have Missed

     Click the links below the pictures to read the previous posts and please feel free to leave your comments and observations …

Imbolc (February) 2012.

Imbolc (February) Tarot Reading ~ Shown Here For The First Time

Ostara/Vernal Equinox (March) 2012.

https://lilywight.com/2012/03/28/lily-wights-spring-equinox-tarot-reading-with-deviant-moon/

Beltane (May) 2012.

https://lilywight.com/2012/05/19/lily-wights-beltane-tarot-spread-your-thoughts-welcome/

Litha/Midsummer Solstice (June) 2012.

https://lilywight.com/2012/06/21/summer-solstice-2012-tarot-reading-lily-wight-with-deviant-moon/

Lughnasadh (August) 2012.

https://lilywight.com/2012/08/18/lily-wights-lughnasadh-tarot-spread-with-deviant-moon/

Link To Mabon (September) 2012.  The Eight of Cups, Deviant Moon by Patrick Valenza.

https://lilywight.com/2012/10/27/tarot-spread-for-the-autumn-equinox-2012/

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A wonderful post about the Celtic origins of Halloween with a bedtime story thrown in.  Sweet dreams, Blogsprites.

Chrissy Derbyshire

The wheel of the year turns to October. We notice the chill in the air, the earlier dark, rain and rust-red leaves. In the supermarket, oversized boxes of gummy ghosts and snakes take their place next to spiderweb garlands, vampire teeth and pointy hats. Pumpkins are selling out quick, soon to be grinning gargoyles on the doorstep and hearty soups on the stove. Hallowe’en is a much-maligned holiday in our modern times. It is a widely-held misconception that the holiday originated in America as an excuse to sell cards and costumes – that it is both a recent development in our folklore, and a cynical one. Neither of these is true. Hallowe’en originates from Celtic Britain. It stems from a culture that believed in magic and took it seriously, a culture for whom Faeryland and the Land of the Dead were interchangeable, and for whom, on certain auspicious days, the…

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     It’s October, Blogsprites!  The Witching Month.  The season of Samhain (that’s sow – inn to non-Celts) or Halloween!

     All this month Lily Wight ~ The Arcade Of Arts & Arcana will be dedicated to things Gothic, Supernatural and generally pant-wetting so grab your favourite comfort-cushion and join me behind the settee.

     Art, books and movies will be here as usual, I may just get around to posting that Autumn Equinox Tarot spread and I’ve got 7 lovely Kreativ Blogger Awards to give away.

     Keep following, keep sharing and look me up on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for blog post notifications and extra trick or treat goodies xxx

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