Samhain ~ The Beginner’s Guide To The Wheel Of The Year

Here is another of Lily Wight’s fine articles on the Celtic Wheel of the Year. This one discusses Samhain, a time of ending and beginning, when the veil between the worlds was especially thin. This is key information for those who love Celtic mythology as well as providing fun background for those who love Halloween.

Lily Wight

     Updated 23/10/2014

     Samhain – pronounced “sow – inn” and known presently as Halloween – is celebrated from sunset to sunset on 31st October to 1st November.  It is the most important Fire Festival or Sabbat on the ancient Wheel of The Year calendar.

     “Samhain” has been variously translated as “first frost” or “Summer’s end”:  opposing suggestions with the same meaning.  It is the name for November in ancient and modern Gaelic.

     Samhain lies between The Autumn Equinox and The Winter Solstice.  It marks the death of the year and the end of the annual agricultural cycle.  Many ancient cultures throughout The Western Hemisphere regarded Samhain as their New Year’s Eve.

     Samhain is the third and final harvest on The Wheel of The Year calendar.  After Lughnasadh (grain and cereals) and Modron (fruit and vegetables) herding…

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The season begins…

While strolling through Petco this morning to pick up some dog food, I decided to get a new rope toy for Kit, the older of two our two rescue dogs.  She never tires of chewing these things and nagging humans to throw it so she can play fetch.  I rounded a corner and stopped.  Dead in my tracks.  Stunned by the horror spread out before me.  On the dog Halloween costume aisle.

Let’s be clear – I don’t mean all canine Halloween outfits.  Some are funny, and some dogs seem to enjoy the attention.

Courtesy http://www.petsadviser.com, CC By 2.0

Courtesy http://www.petsadviser.com, CC By 2.0

What I came upon were princess and ballerina outfits.  I suffered an  instant flashback to the two hour wait I once endured at O’Hare Airport, sitting across from a woman whose poor little dog was dressed in a pink tutu.  I’m serious.  This really happened. I’ve never seen an animal look more miserable outside a vet’s waiting room.

Let’s face it, very few dogs can pull off a tutu with any kind of style and grace:

Courtesy http://www.petsadviser.com, CC By 2.0

Courtesy http://www.petsadviser.com, CC By 2.0

Our dogs are both females.  While they appreciate small accessories,  like an understated pumpkin scarf, they know that canine traditions at this time of year go deep – far deeper than any Disney concoction.

Wolfman-1941-2

They’re both working hard to release their inner wolves on October 31.

Okay, so maybe there’s more work to be done, but credit where it’s deserved.  I think they’re progressing nicely.