“Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.” Albert King… and others.
As many of us already know, the word Halloween is an English language contraction of the Christian “All-Hallows Eve.” Hallowed meaning holy, as in, “Our Father, hallowed be thy name.”
But the roots of the holiness of Halloween lie deeper than we usually suspect, and predate the arrival of Christianity in Europe by at least two thousand years, probably even longer. The ancient Celts who inhabited Ireland, Wales, Scotland and the Isle of Man marked Samhain, or “Summer’s End,” with a celebration of fire and feasting. In October, the gifts of Summer– wheat, hay, potatoes, pears and apples– had been harvested, but each day the Sun sank lower, dimmer, toward the edge of the southern horizon. The dark half of the year was becoming stronger. Nights grew longer and colder and the first fingers of Winter began to pry open the gates that would unleash storms and snow and ice and the fear that perhaps the Sun and its power would not return to the North.
During the bright, Summer half of the year, now fading to its end, a thin veil separated this world– Ourworld– from the Otherworld. But on the night of Samhain the veil shredded. The dead, who had left this world, and all the ghosts and goblins, fairies and other hidden souls found themselves able to wander freely out into the night to mingle with the rest of us, those of us still alive. Read More