[ssf] Fw: Sanhein - Halloween, end of summer. Poems.

Gerald Ali. gerald.ali at btopenworld.com
Sat Oct 31 12:23:24 GMT 2009

If anyone knows of a store selling 'sacrificial virgins' with a special offer of 'two for the price of one', let everyone else know, don't be greedy.
Dedicated to the Ancestors; ancestors of the land, of blood, and of spirit. 

A Witch's Words To Her Familiar On Samhain 
Still your mind, 
and still your soul,
heed the words that make you grow,
listen to the winds of the sages,
learn the wisdom of the mages,
handed down to us from the ages. 

Time is ours,
but only fleeting,
hear the wings of eternity beating,
soon enough we'll all be meeting,
and each of us merrily greeting. 

The moon will be full,
and round,
and bright. 
And we'll be wisked away,
in the dead of night.
To the place we are meant to be,
to learn and grow,
and maybe see,
a spectre of what we should be. 

Time is ours, 
frozen, but brief,
allowing us to release our grief,
to open our hearts and minds once more,
and step through the sacred door,
of time and space, and futures past,
to teach us the spells to cast.
So we may once again be free,
to live and love and blessed be. 

So still your mind,
and still your soul,
and open your heart,
and set yourself free,
on this Samhain, I challenge thee.
Learn the truth from mages old,
the truth which was foretold.
The time is right, the night is new,
we can learn what not to do. 

Warnings from the great beyond,
we'll heed them or all cry,
for lies can no longer be told,
when you look me in the eye. 
I've learned a lesson, bold and true,
and now there are but a few,
who understand the depth of change,
and how we all must rearrange,
our thinking and goals,
for times anew,
if the world is to survive,
for me and you. 

We've got our work cut out for us,
my friend.
And we must not fail,
before the end,
or all will be lost,
and fate will be no more,
and finally the great beyond,
will close the door. 

Time and space will exist no more,
my friend, 
my familiar,
we must work to prevent war.
Peace must prevail for ten thousand years,
and we must make sure it does.
Our souls eternal bond will hold,
as our bodies grow old.
Fear not the great beyond,
my friend,
for it is a beginning,
not an end. 

Our work will continue for eternity,
until everlasting peace shall set us free.


 Dear Ancestor 

Your tombstone stands among the rest; 
neglected and alone 
The name and date are chiseled out 
on polished, marbled stone 
It reaches out to all who care 
It is too late to mourn 
You did not know that I'd exist 
You died and I was born. 

Yet each of us are cells of you 
in flesh, in blood, in bone. 
Our blood contracts and beats a pulse 
entirely not our own. 
Dear Ancestor, the place you filled 
one hundred years ago 
Spreads out among the ones you left 
who would have loved you so. 

I wonder if you lived and loved, 
I wonder if you knew 
That someday I would find this spot, 
and come to visit you.


The drums of Samhain keeping time.
The gates of magic open wide. 

A cauldron's blessings overflow. 

The candle flames are dying low. 

The witches dance the circle 'round
to chant and bring the power down. 

Hecate will hear our call
to turn the summer into fall. 

The magic veil is growing thin. 

The Netherworld is near our own. 

We'll see the sacred fire fed
while witches commune with the dead. 

The winds of Autumn call our names. 

The driving rhythm slowly calms. 

The glowing embers we will tend
until the drums of Samhain end.


If the drums had continued beating
And warriors dwelled upon the land
We would dance to a different drummer
As the Great Creator had planned

Smoking campfires would dot the landscape
Music would fill the air
Families would eagerly embrace a lifetime
In freedom and in the willingness to share

The animals would wander freely
Amongst grass and trees and flowers
And all the beauty of the wilderness
Would to this day, still be ours

There would be no paths of concrete
Just dirt beneath our feet
The stars, the moon and sunlight
Would make this dream complete

Our pillow would contain moonlight
Our blanket would consist of stars
The dawn would bring sweet music
Imagine, all this once was ours

Pride was taken in the glory of nature
Courage from facing the elements
If we hadn't tried to change the past
We'd never wonder where the beauty went

If the drums had continued beating
And warriors still possessed the land
There would be a forever brotherhood
Where we would evermore walk, hand in hand

SANHEIN  marks one of the two great doorways of the Celtic year, for the Celts divided the year into two seasons: the light and the dark, at Beltane on May 1st and Samhain on November 1st. Some believe that Samhain was the more important festival, marking the beginning of a whole new cycle, just as the Celtic day began at night. For it was understood that in dark silence comes whisperings of new beginnings, the stirring of the seed below the ground. Whereas Beltane welcomes in the summer with joyous celebrations at dawn, the most magically potent time of this festival is November Eve, the night of October 31st, known today of course, as Halloween. 

Samhain (Scots Gaelic: Samhuinn) literally means "summer's end." In Scotland and Ireland, Halloween is known as Oíche Shamhna, while in Wales it is Nos Calan Gaeaf, the eve of the winter's calend, or first. With the rise of Christianity, Samhain was changed to Hallowmas, or All Saints' Day, to commemorate the souls of the blessed dead who had been canonized that year, so the night before became popularly known as Halloween, All Hallows Eve, or Hollantide. November 2nd became All Souls Day, when prayers were to be offered to the souls of all who the departed and those who were waiting in Purgatory for entry into Heaven. Throughout the centuries, pagan and Christian beliefs intertwine in a gallimaufry of celebrations from Oct 31st through November 5th, all of which appear both to challenge the ascendancy of the dark and to revel in its mystery.

In the country year, Samhain marked the first day of winter, when the herders led the cattle and sheep down from their summer hillside pastures to the shelter of stable and byre. The hay that would feed them during the winter must be stored in sturdy thatched ricks, tied down securely against storms. Those destined for the table were slaughtered, after being ritually devoted to the gods in pagan times. All the harvest must be gathered in -- barley, oats, wheat, turnips, and apples -- for come November, the faeries would blast every growing plant with their breath, blighting any nuts and berries remaining on the hedgerows. Peat and wood for winter fires were stacked high by the hearth. It was a joyous time of family reunion, when all members of the household worked together baking, salting meat, and making preserves for the winter feasts to come. The endless horizons of summer gave way to a warm, dim and often smoky room; the symphony of summer sounds was replaced by a counterpoint of voices, young and old, human and animal. 

In early Ireland, people gathered at the ritual centers of the tribes, for Samhain was the principal calendar feast of the year.   The greatest assembly was the 'Feast of Tara,' focusing on the royal seat of the High King as the heart of the sacred land, the point of conception for the new year. In every household throughout the country, hearth-fires were extinguished. All waited for the Druids to light the new fire of the year -- not at Tara, but at Tlachtga, a hill twelve miles to the north-west. It marked the burial-place of Tlachtga, daughter of the great druid Mogh Ruith, who may once have been a goddess in her own right in a former age. 

At at all the turning points of the Celtic year, the gods drew near to Earth at Samhain, so many sacrifices and gifts were offered up in thanksgiving for the harvest. Personal prayers in the form of objects symbolizing the wishes of supplicants or ailments to be healed were cast into the fire,  and at the end of the ceremonies, brands were lit from the great fire of Tara to re-kindle all the home fires of the tribe, as at Beltane. As they received the flame that marked this time of beginnings, people surely felt a sense of the kindling of new dreams, projects and hopes for the year to come. 

The Samhain fires continued to blaze down the centuries.  In the 1860s the Halloween bonfires were still so popular in Scotland that one traveler reported seeing thirty fires lighting up the hillsides all on one night, each surrounded by rings of dancing figures, a practice which continued up to the first World War. Young people and servants lit brands from the fire and ran around the fields and hedges of house and farm, while community leaders surrounded parish boundaries with a magic circle of light. Afterwards, ashes from the fires were sprinkled over the fields to protect them during the winter months -- and of course, they also improved the soil. The bonfire provided an island of light within the oncoming tide of winter darkness, keeping away cold, discomfort, and evil spirits long before electricity illumined our nights. When the last flame sank down, it was time to run as fast as you could for home, raising the cry, "The black sow without a tail take the hindmost!"

Even today, bonfires light up the skies in many parts of the British Isles and Ireland at this season, although in many areas of Britain their significance has been co-opted by Guy Fawkes Day, which falls on November 5th, and commemorates an unsuccessful attempt to blow up the English Houses of Parliament in the 17th century. In one Devonshire village, the extraordinary sight of both men and women running through the streets with blazing tar barrels on their backs can still be seen! Whatever the reason, there will probably always be a human need to make fires against the winter's dark.

Samhain was a significant time for divination, perhaps even more so than May or Midsummer's Eve, because this was the chief of the three Spirit Nights. Divination customs and games frequently featured apples and nuts from the recent harvest, and candles played an important part in adding atmosphere to the mysteries. In Scotland, a child born at Samhain was said to be gifted with an dà shealladh, "The Two Sights" commonly known as "second sight," or clairvoyance

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