Samhain 2006

Samhain, the old Celtic pagan holiday underlying Halloween, has recently passed. It’s the old New Year, and it’s a time of endings and beginnings. It’s also a time when the residents of the other world — gods, sidhe, and the dead — are more able to reach out of their realm into ours. For most modern pagans, Samhain is a time to honor ancestors and teachers who have passed away.

We took our children to Celebrate Samhain, a gathering hosted by the Spiral Scouts in Peterborough, New Hampshire. The price of admission: nonperishable food items or winter clothing in good condition. (The Spiral Scouts, which you can learn more about here, is an organization analogous to the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts, but you don’t have to be monotheistic to join.)

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Alban Elued Revival Druid Ritual

For some notes on the origin and meaning of Alban Elued, see this previous post.

onthanksgivingOur family’s Alban Elued ritual is drawn directly from the pages of John Michael Greer’s Druidry Handbook. It is in no way supposed to be a reconstructed ritual, a reenactment of what ancient Druids performed 2000 years ago. Almost nothing is known about their rituals or holidays. Instead, this is a ritual of the Druid Revival tradition, which mixes elements of known Celtic mythology with Arthurian romances and 19th-century mysticism. The overall effect is eclectic and hermetic, infused throughout with nature symbolism.

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Lughnasadh 2006

Lughnasadh (pronounced lune-ah-sah) was a summer festival of the ancient Celts, celebrated around August 1. My understanding is that it is known that it was celebrated at either the full moon or the new moon closest to the midpoint between the summer solstice and the autumnal equinox. Since the midpoint is on August 6th, that means that this year, Lughnasadh falls on either July 25 (the new moon) or August 9 (the full moon). We celebrated the new moon this year; for the reason why, see the footnote below.

onthanksgivingLegend has it that the god Lugh established the holiday in honor of his mother, Tailtiu. Traditionally, it was celebrated with trade festivals, fairs, and bonfires. In the modern Druid Revival tradition, Lughnasadh is the midpoint between Midsummer and the fall equinox, one of the eight primary holidays of the Sun Path.

For some reason, the company I work for, which builds dictation software, has not yet established Lughnasadh as a company holiday. So we decided to celebrate on Sunday, the 23rd, instead.

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Thor’s Stroll

Scrunch up on the couch
And cuddle in my arms,
Thor’s out a-striding,
And frightening the children.
He’s barreled down Bifrost
And slung his hammer wide,
It smacks and cracks the mountaintops,
It rivens the summer sky.
Lightning-crowned thunder clouds
Follow in his train,
They slam our doors and windows,
They whip the porch with rain.
Forget the hazy heat of the day,
Forget your games and plans you laid,
The world outside is a dangerous place
Where gods walk and giants play.
Now Thor’s grumbling beyond the hills,
He has children of his own,
And promises to keep.
The rain is soft, the air is cool,
The birds are singing,
The children asleep.

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