Happy Samhain/Halloween

Today and tomorrow is when most modern Pagans celebrate Samhain (Asatruar have two similar holidays (Winternights & Einherjar’s Feast) but they are held before and after Samhain). Samhain is considered the end of the old year and the beginning of the new year. In ancient times it was the time of last harvest when animals who couldn’t live through the winter were slaughtered and the few crops left were taken in. Then and now it is considered a time when the veil between our world and the Otherworld was at it’s thinnest.

On Samhain, the moment of the year’s death, this world and the Otherworld become equivalent to each other, classificatory boundaries are removed from all categories, no barriers exist between the dead and the living, so both can authentically come together in one place to share a ritual feast. Individual Celtic communities have preserved a wealth of different customs related to the way this feast was actually celebrated: one can still discern some distorted elements of them in modern urban practices, such as Hallowe’en parties and trick-or-treating. – Alexei Kondratiev

Many modern Pagans celebrate by holding “Dumb Suppers” and other related ritualistic events that call to mind our ancestors and those we have lost in the past year. It is considered by many to be a good time to perform divination about the coming year.

In honor of Samhain I present a list of prominent modern Pagans who have passed on this past year.

James Dayton Looman, President and Priest of the Church of All Worlds.

Judith E. Carusone, Founder of the Council of Magickal Arts

Joseph ‘Bearwalker’ Wilson, Founder of the 1734 Tradition of Witchcraft, Metista American Shamanism, TOTEG (Temple Of The Elder Gods) in California, Toteg Tribe, and publisher of the first Pagan newsletter in the United States

Alison Harlow, Student of Victor Anderson, Initiate of Gwyddion Penderwen, Founder of CoG.

Donald D. Harrison, A founder of the Church of Eternal Source (CES)

Grant E. Pontius, Founder of The Goat and Candle

For a more extensive list check here.

For a list of notable deaths in 2004 check here.

Finally, one can’t forget the over 1100 American troops who have given their lives in service, and the over 10,000 Iraqi civillians who have died since the start of the war.

Happy Samhain, Happy Halloween.

Jason Pitzl-Waters

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