Sanhuinn, Samhain, Sauin, Nos Galan Gaeaf and Sun in Scorpio   Leave a comment

If you live in the Northern hemisphere or if you have a Scottish friend you may have noticed that ‘the nights are fairly drawing in’.  The time of the Samhuinn, Samhain, Sauin, Nos Galan Gaeaf or Halloween is approaching. At sunset on the 31st of October to Sunrise on 1st November we celebrate a celtic tradition that dates back to pagan origins when the harvest season ends and preparation for the harsh winter begins. The vegetation returns to the soil or the underworld as part of the continuous cycle of life and nature. At this time when growth has ended and the processes of nature return nutrients back to the soil the land appears asleep as the Cailleach Bheur freezes it with her staff.

With the ground unable to feed their flocks and cattle at this time of year depending on the harvest of hay and cereals ancient celts would decide how many of their animals they were able to feed over the winter and how many would have to be slaughtered.  If harvests were poor then the number of animals they could keep was reduced drastically and they would struggle through the winter, another source of food for them were the wild fruits and nuts of the forest which was especially important in the leaner years. These nuts and especially apples were part of feasting and fortune telling rituals may of which still survive today in different forms that are practiced on halloween the Cailleach which means beyond the veil was also applied to women who would be described as hags in modern times although these women did not practice witchcraft or wicca but divination by many different means and includes mediums, astrologers and psychics . Thus on the Samhuinn it was considered easier for everybody not only Cailleachan to divine their future.  Apples and nuts were also traditionally given to ‘guisers’ or ‘trick or treaters’ as a reward for entertainment.  Brigid or Bride in mythology also owned an apple orchard in the otherworld and thus the apple may also be seen as a tribute to her.

This time is a time of ending it is the ending of the earth’s fertile period and in Greek Mythology it represents the return of Persephone to Pluto and the underworld and it is believed by some that Cailleach which means behind the veil represents Brigid’s descent into the underworld until her renewal in spring, to the Celts this time of ending marked the ending of the year.  At this time at sunset the old year was dying and belonged to the dead who cannot go forward into the New Year with us.  For most Celts the first New Year  after the death of a loved one is particularly emotional time for it is when memories of the old are strongest and when we come together to embrace the New beginning.  So to for the ancient celts this time was an emotional one but the belief that the dead walked on this night meant many had the opportunity to spend one last night with their loved ones.  Because the Veil is thin not only could the dead cross over but other spirits so people disguised themselves to walk among the dead without being recognised by malevolent spirits this ‘guising’ involved using ashes on the face that made them take on the appearance of the dead and mingle amongst them unnoticed.

Turnips were carved out and candles placed in them to ward off evil spirits and Bonfires were lit to purify and protect the village, town and home: bonfires, flambeaus, the clavie and fireballs are still part of New Year traditions which cleanse and burn away the old to bring in the New.  A part of this New Year tradition is the giving of coal which symbolised the giving of cleansing fire to the homeowner to purify the hearth visitors are also be required to sing or do their turn and in return are given a new year drink – the water of life, water like apples was traditionally associated with Brigid. This aspect of visitors bringing the gift of purification and the gift of song, poetry or humour still lives on in ‘guisers’ or ‘trick or theaters’.

There are many Scorpio themes in the traditions of Halloween: it is a time of the death of the fertile earth, it is also a time of remembrance of the dead, time of measuring natural resources and optimising them for survival, a time of cleansing the past through fire and a time for delving beyond the veil into the unseen.

©neptunes aura astrology





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