I just got back from a wonderfully relaxing trip in the Tennessee mountains where I got to rest, relax, eat cake for breakfast, read, watch movies, relax, wander around nature, and even check out a cool used bookstore. Oh, and relax. I’ve included a few photos below.
We are closing in on Samhain (Halloween) and I haven’t even decorated the house yet! Since I haven’t been around much, I’ll forgive myself and decorate this week. I may even treat myself to a new decoration.
Decorating for Samhain isn’t too different from Halloween. I’ll admit that it can get a tad hokey and even I am guilty of the jar of “Eyes of Newt” that is really just a faux label on some herbs, but still, it can be fun. Perhaps I’ll put the label on a jar of capers this year…
“Many traditional “spooky” things are Pagan motifs including black cats, snakes, spiders, bats, and ravens. Ghosts, skulls, skeletons, and other representations of death also abound. These all symbolize magic, transformation, and mortality.” Taken from http://greenhaventradition.weebly.com/samhain.html
Decorating & Holiday Traditions and how they started:
To pagans the world over, November 1st, still marks the beginning of the New Year. To Witches and Pagans, Samhain is the Festival of the Dead, and for many, it is the most important Sabbat (Holiday) of the year. Although the Feast of the Dead forms a major part of most Pagan celebrations on this eve, and at Samhain voluntary communications are expected and hoped for. The departed are never harassed, and their presence is never commanded. The spirits of the dead are, however, ritually invited to attend the Sabbat and to be present within the Circle.
Orange and Black:
The colors of this Sabbat are black and orange. Black to represent the time of darkness after the death of the God (who is represented by fire and the sun) during an earlier sabbat known as Lughnasadh, and the waning of light during the day. Orange represents the awaiting of the dawn during Yule (Dec. 21st to Jan. 1st) when the God is reborn.
There is some debate about the origination of Jack-o-lanterns. One line suggests this custom originated from the lighting of candles for the dead to follow as they walked the earth. These candles were placed in hallowed out gourds and put on the ground to light the way.
Others suggest the practice originates from a Christianized Irish myth about a man nicknamed "Stingy Jack."
Stingy Jack and the Devil enter a pub to have a drink. Jack convinces the Devil to turn himself into a coin to pay for the drinks. But instead of using the coin, Jack slipped it into his pocket and next to a silver cross. The cross prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. But Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year. And if Jack should die during that year, the Devil would not claim his soul. And the Devil agreed to these terms.
Jack again tricked the Devil. This time, the Devil climbed into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree's bark so that the Devil could not come down. Once again, Jacked struck a bargain with the Devil. He would free the Devil from the tree if he promised not to bother Jack for ten more years. And if Jack died during those years, the Devil would not claim his soul. And the Devil again agreed to these terms.
Not long after this, Jack did indeed died. But because of his trickery, God would not allow him into heaven. In keeping his word not to take his soul, the Devil also would not allow Jack into hell. Instead, the Devil sent Jack out into the darkness of the world between worlds with nothing but a burning piece of coal. Jack placed the coal into a carved out turnip and has been roaming the Earth ever since. The Irish began to refer to Jack's ghostly figure as "Jack of the Lantern," and then, simply as "Jack O'Lantern."
The Irish and Scottish people began making lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away the wandering evil spirits. In England, large beets were used. Immigrants from these countries brought the tradition to America where they found the pumpkin, a fruit native to America, that made the perfect jack o'lanterns.
Tricks & Treats:
Treats also originated from an old custom of leaving cookies and other foods out for those relatives to enjoy as they shared this one night of feasting. The 'trick' portion of "Trick or Treat" was an invention of the Christians. The tricks were supposedly caused by the dead who didn't receive a treat of food left for them when they arrived at your door.
I like to add a Halloween-themed song to my blog this time of year. Since I favor some of the more raucous bands, I've chosen the Misfits "Halloween". My boy Glenn Danzig (lead singer) also formed the band Danzig and Samhain! How fortunate for us, right??
Since they have FINALLY reunited for a concert, you think they would be able to come down to Atlanta? Maybe? Think about it guys...