Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween as Religion

Starhawk reminds us of the pagan traditions of this most excellent holiday:
For Witches, for those who practice the renewal of the ancient, pre-Christian Goddess religions of Europe and the Middle East, Halloween is our most sacred holiday, our New Year. In Celtic Ireland, Wales and Scotland, Samhain, pronounced ‘sau-in’, was the time when the sheep and cattle were brought down from the summer fields, when the harvest was gathered in and the dark time of year began. The fruits of the harvest, the blessing of the year’s abundance, was shared with the ancestors in the form of offerings which have come down to us in modern times as the candy we give to children-who are the ancestors returning.
Harvest is a time of ending, but also a time of beginning, for the Goddess stands for the great regenerative powers of nature. Out of darkness, light will be born anew. Out of the time of cold and dormancy, new life will return. Death is part of a cycle that brings about rebirth.
In that sense, the witches celebration of Halloween is very Buddhist: not to become too saddened by death, for out of every ending arises yet another beginning, regardless of how difficult it is to see at the time.

And what a celebration it is! Easily my favorite time of year.

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