Thursday 29 October 2009

My Favourite Pagan Holiday

From the west comes old Death
A-riding on the storm
With hungry eyes for funeral fires
To burn till the morrow's dawn
For tis the night, here comes the dead
Unbound from the Underworld
And the children dress as the babes of Hell
All the boys and all the girls
And the fires shall burn
And the wheel of life shall turn
And the dead come back home on Samhain
And in the night sky
On the lunar light they fly
And the dead come back home on Samhain
At the Sabbat high on the funeral hill
Wait the witches at the feast
For the first winter’s day
The first winter’s sun
A-rising in the east
For Death has come for the summertime
And to take the leaves of spring
Hecate, Nemesis, Dark Mother take us in

I love Halloween, Samhain, if you prefer, the death of summer, of the old year; the night of the dead, of witches, sprits and ghosts. It’s the perfect time for spells, for rituals, for dumb suppers, divination, séances…and parties!

The tradition as we have come to understand it is really an amalgamation of two things, the Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced Sow’en), meaning ‘summer’s end’, and the Roman celebration of Pomona, the spirit of the crops. Add to the brew several other festivals of the dead, including that of the Corn Mother, and one of the great Witches’ Sabbats. I had my own Sabbat last year, just as I will this year, with lots of witches and warlocks, dressed in various guises, and the spirits mingling freely! Last year I was Erzebet Bathory; this year I shall be Ayesha, the sorceress queen, she who must be obeyed. :-))

The real fun, the heart of the Sabbat, is at midnight, as we cross from one season to another; as the spirits of the dead, of fairies, wights and spirits break through the curtain of the night and join the living. On the lunar light they fly. The wheel of life shall turn. Have a super witchy Halloween, one and all.