Welcome to Samhain, the ancient Celtic festival welcoming the dark half of the year, and the beginning of the Celtic new year. For this cycle we have upgraded our audio player and have included a new Ghosts and Monsters Story Collection, a new Celtic Christmas Radio Station and new subscription options.
Samhain is a complex and ancient festival in Ireland. The word itself translates as ‘summer’s end’ and it is the time when we turn to face the darkness. In Irish tradition, it is a time when the dead are free to visit the land of the living. So our world, the world of Faerie, and that of the dead, blend as one. It is no wonder then that this night has become so wrapped in superstition. It is a night of wonder and magic.
On this night the Cailleach (the Crone) comes to strip the leaves from the trees, to quicken the decay of the flesh of the year, so that it may feed the new life to come. We can also ask her to take the unwanted aspects of our personal year away, so that these too might be transformed. You can join the Cailleach as she travels across the land in the Cailleach meditation from the Mystic category.
Ghosts and Monsters: Irish ghost stories are deeply intertwined with ancient Irish culture and mythology, with many tales going back to the pre-Christian days. Sure there's nothing quite like a good ghost story to chill the blood on a dark evening around the fire, and few tales are quite as chilling as those found on the Emerald Isle. Out of the mists and across the veil the unquiet spirits of those who came before stretch out their ghostly hands to tell their own stories through their encounters with the people of Ireland.
This year the Dark Moon of Samhain falls on Sunday 15th of November 2020, when the Bright star Tlachtga, the Sun and the invisible Moon all set in the west at the same time. The image above shows the alignment of the Star, Sun, Moon and Earth from a side view.
(image provided by Celtic Druid Temple https://www.celticdruidtemple.com)
The ancient druí (druids) were astronomers and they studied the movements of the 'heavenly bodies' with a focus on special events. The helical setting of the Bright Star we call Tlachtga (Antares in Scorpio) is one of those special events as the Star gets to shine briefly just after the Sun sets and then it too disappears below the horizon. The energy / light from the Star goes around the Sun and their combined energy goes around the Dark Moon. Their combined triple energies make land at Tlachtga at the edge of dusk.
Tlachtga was a powerful druidess in Irish mythology. Tlachtga's name was attached to the Hill of Ward, close to Tara and Newgrange in County Meath in Ireland. Tlachtga is the original site of what is now known as the Halloween or Samhain festival.
✤Sunset 31st October to sunset 2nd November
✤A major cross quarter festival
✤The veil between the worlds is at its thinnest
✤Time to work with the ancestors
✤Shed what no longer serves you
✤Make way for the new year
✤Nurture and tend yourself
A Seasonal Message from An Cailleach:
Honouring your ancestors is a very special thing to do at this time and can be done in many simple ways. Think about all those departed souls from your life, both family and friends, children may wish to remember pets even - place photographs of them on your altar. Offer them your hospitality, welcome their presence into your home. At your Samhain feast, consider laying an extra place for them to join you at the table - cook and eat their favourite dishes, talk about them, remember them and bring them closer.
At Samhain the dark half of the year commences. It is a truly magical time. Death is always followed by rebirth and while this is the end of the old year, it is the beginning of the new year. For the Celts the day did not begin at dawn, it began at sunset, it began with darkness. Light is always born out of darkness, they are inseparable, interdependent, and necessary. Please enjoy our Samhain wheel of the year meditation.
In the world of the Flower Gardener there's no better time to be planting spring flowering bulbs than in the run-up to Samhain. Planting bulbs takes very little time and is as good as guaranteed to be a success. It is well worth dropping in a few around the vegetable garden to give you a pep in your step when the season begins again next year.
HappyCow: Cattle ranching accounts for 80 percent of deforestation in every Amazonian country, driven in part by global demand for meat, according to the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. Looking for an easy way to reduce your consumption? Browse a wealth of delicious vegetarian options at takeout spots near you.
Recommended Book: The Magical Year by Danu Forest. The Celtic seasonal wheel is based on eight festivals. Together, these lead us through the cycle of the year, aligning our awareness with the seasonal pattern of the earth beneath our feet. In this book on the solstices, equinoxes and other festivals within the sacred cycle, Danu reveals the secrets of each festival in turn and skilfully revives ancient traditions, encouraging us to reconnect with nature, and ourselves, with a host of practical ideas and rituals. This cycle of conscious celebration helps us, year on year, to align with nature’s rhythms with greater wonder and insight.
Cowspiracy: A 2014 documentary highlighting how the World's largest environmental organizations are failing to address the single most destructive force facing the planet today. Follow the shocking, yet humorous, journey of an aspiring environmentalist, as he daringly seeks to find the real solution to the most pressing environmental issues and true path to sustainability.
Donald McKinney was the convener of the Celtic Circle and a writer of books on Celtic spirituality. He is the author of Walking the Mist and Celtic Angels, published in America as Anam Cara Wisdom. Donald passed on Samhain, 31 October 2011. His partner Donald Busby has graciously allowed his Meditations to be used in Celtic Whispers to promote Celtic Spirituality to a wider audience and we are forever in his debt.
Celtic Living for the 21st Century:
Ditch the Palm Oil. Spend half an hour studying the labels on your favourite processed foods and you'll be surprised how many of them contain Palm Oil, which is directly responsible for the destruction of the rainforests, Orangutans, and other apes. One of the biggest offenders is Nutella, but there are palm-oil free alternatives available. Many other products we use contain palm oil too, such as Dr. Pepper, Heinz Ketchup, Kellogs, Lipton, Orea, and Knorr.
Find alternatives to these products so you can avoid having to consume palm oil or better yet make your own. There are lots of recipies online.
Celtic Whispers Shop:
If you like the artwork and style of Celtic Whispers we also offer our designs on physical products as well. We invite you to visit our shop and see if any of our Celtic Designs would look good on a t-shirt, mug or sticker.
With the beginning of this dark phase comes the opportunity to rest and reflect on the past and to dream of new beginnings. The seed now hidden in the earth will germinate in its season, and soon it will be Alban Arthan, the Winter solstice, and the Wheel will turn once more. Look for the seeds in yourself!
Slán agus Beannacht!
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