Samhein. The Real Halloween

 

Halloween’s Back Story

In my novel The Excalibur Parchment, the Druid zealots who have global domination ambitions, plot to overturn democracy with a horrific act of terrorism in the heart of London. Significantly, they plan their bloody attack around Samhein. Or, what we would call, Halloween.
There is a vague understanding in modern society that there is a connection between the supernatural and Halloween. After all, we focus on ghosts, ghouls, zombies and the like as part of our “celebration”. Me, I prefer to focus on the candies! (I was a mean Dad. Went through all the candies my kids brought home and sifted through, eliminating the ones they could have or not have. I admit that safety and nutrition were not always my motivations. Sometimes I kept the best for me!)
So what was Samhein anyway? An encyclopedia of religion stated that Samhein (pronounced so-wee, sow-wayn or saw-win) is the night Druids and Wiccans believe the barriers between our world and the supernatural underworld are broken. That’s why ghosts, ghouls and zombies are so prominent. It is the Druids’ Feast of the Dead. For Wiccans and witches, it is also their ‘New Year’s’.
There are rituals during this time to contact dead ancestors, perform ancestor meditation, and rituals to honour the mother goddess (known as Crone) and the god (known as the Horned One. There are even rituals to indoctrinate children into the old religion.
Celtic Druids were followers of those old gods. They worshipped nature—as exemplified by the mother goddess, a forerunner of Mother Nature—and a head-spinning variety of other gods. Historians believe that at last count the Druids revered more than 370 gods of all kinds (though most of them are believed to be local deities). There are about 30 gods who were spread across the pantheon of the Celtic world. Among them were Awawn, god of the dead and the underworld; Cerunnos, god of the underworld and The Horned One; Danu, the mother goddess of the Tuatha De Danaan (who make an appearance in The Excalibur Parchment but take a more prominent role in Book Two, The Lucifer Scroll); Belenos, god of the sun and light; Ogmios, god of eloquence and communication and Taranis, god of war and thunder.
To the Druids of today and the followers of Wicca, Samhein is one of four focal celebrations during the year. It is not only the feast day of the dead and a new year, it is recognition of the fall harvest season and the beginning of winter. Because the veil between life and death, this world and the world of the dead, is broken during this time, it was traditional for strange things to happen symbolizing that world breach. So, men dressed as women, farm gates were unhinged and left in ditches, children would bang on doors and then run away or, better yet, demand food. In other words, the precursors of today’s trick or treating and Halloween pranks.
The dead were honoured not as dead people, but as living spirits who were guardians and guides to wisdom for the followers. For those who were properly and ritually prepared it was a time when journeys could be made “to the other side”.
So Halloween is not just a fun day filled with merriment, costumes and candy. It has its roots deep within the pagan belief system of the Druids. It is coated with satanic rituals, pantheistic beliefs and deviltry. Even today, a quick internet search will unearth modern Druidry websites complete with explanations of their beliefs and outlines of their rituals and their modern day celebrations of Samhein around the world.
By all means, enjoy your costumes and candy in a few weeks.
Just remember the pagan background of the holiday.

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