Monday, October 31, 2011


ITP V.011 wishes all a happy and safe HALLOWEEN on this very special day for WICCANS "SAMHAIN". ITP's V.011 author is unfortunately battling a wicked head cold, so I'm just quarantining myself in.
Traditions at Samhain
A time of reflection and remembrance but not of mourning! Those friends, relatives and familiars that have passed on. A plate of food is often left outside on the night of Samhain for the souls of the dead I often place on the plate a little of what I am having at my feast.
A candle in the window will help guide them to the lands of never ending summer, the candle is usually extinguished as part of the closing rite. An apple is often buried in hard packed earth to nourish the passed ones on their journey.

Many believe that this night is the best for communicating with the souls of the departed, as the boundary between our world and their world is thought to be narrowest at this point. However food for thought is, this practice would contradict it's self a little if you believe as many Wiccans do in reincarnation. Nonetheless I feel it may be an interesting point for discussion if you are working within a group structure like a coven.

Rites for Samhain
On the Alter place apples, pumpkins, squashes and other seasonally late foods, flowers, A symbol of the year, the eight spoke wheel for instance. I also place if needed pictures of the recently departed as an aid to remembrance.

Think of an aspect of your life in need of change and write it down, I use my spell paper for this, (things such as anger, bad habits, bad feelings, illness, guilt and worry). You will then burn this paper as part of the rite later to rid yourself of this negativity.

A necklace and/or crown of acorns, cones and dried flowers can be worn as part of your ceremonial attire.

Feast at Samhain
Root wines are very good at this time, especially ginger or wines containing ginger, an apple and ginger cider specially made for this feast is especially warming. Foods such as Beetroot, turnips, apples, nuts, grains, pumpkins and a tasty treat is ginger bread.

Samhain (play /ˈsɑːwɪn/, /ˈs.ɪn/, or /ˈsn/)[1] is a Gaelic harvest festival held on October 31–November 1. It was linked to festivals held around the same time in other Celtic cultures, and was popularised as the "Celtic New Year" from the late 19th century, following Sir John Rhys and Sir James Frazer.[2] The date of Samhain was associated with the Catholic All Saints' Day (and later All Souls' Day) from at least the 8th century, and both the secular Gaelic and the Catholic liturgical festival have influenced the secular customs now connected with Halloween.[3]
The medieval Goidelic festival of Samhain marked the end of the harvest, the end of the "lighter half" of the year and beginning of the "darker half". It was celebrated over the course of several days and had some elements of a Festival of the Dead. Bonfires played a large part in the festivities. People and their livestock would often walk between two bonfires as a cleansing ritual, and the bones of slaughtered livestock were cast into its flames.[4]
Samhain is celebrated as a religious festival by some neopagans.[5]


In Modern Irish the name is Samhain [ˈsˠaunʲ], In Scottish Gaelic, Samhuinn [ˈsaũ.iɲ], in Manx Gaelic Sauin and Old Irish Samain [ˈsaṽɨnʲ]. Samhain and an t-Samhain are also the Irish and Scottish Gaelic names of November, respectively. The Modern Irish word Samhain is derived from the Old Irish samain, samuin, or samfuin, all referring to 1 November (latha na samna: 'samhain day'), and the festival and royal assembly held on that date in medieval Ireland (oenaig na samna: 'samhain assembly'). Its meaning is glossed as 'summer's end', and the frequent spelling with f suggests analysis bypopular etymology as sam ('summer') and fuin ('sunset', 'end'). The Old Irish sam ('summer') is from Proto-Indo-European language (PIE) *semo-; cognates are Welsh haf, Breton hañv, English summerand Old Norse language sumar, all meaning 'summer', and the Sanskrit sáma ("season").[6] [7]
In 1907, Whitley Stokes suggested an etymology from Proto-Celtic *samani ('assembly'), cognate to Sanskrit sámana, and the Gothic samana.[8] J. Vendryes concludes that these words containing*semo- ('summer') are unrelated to samain, remarking that furthermore the Celtic 'end of summer' was in July, not November, as evidenced by Welsh gorffennaf ('July').[9] We would therefore be dealing with an Insular Celtic word for 'assembly', *samani or *samoni, and a word for 'summer', saminos (derived from *samo-: 'summer') alongside samrad, *samo-roto-. The Irish samain would be etymologically unrelated to 'summer', and derive from 'assembly'.

[edit]Coligny calendar

The name of the month is of Proto-Celtic age, cf. Gaulish SAMON[IOS] from the Coligny calendar, and the association with 'summer' by popular etymology may therefore in principle date to even pre-Insular Celtic times.
Confusingly, Gaulish Samonios (October/November lunation) corresponds to GIAMONIOS, the seventh month (the April/May lunation) and the beginning of the summer season. Giamonios, the beginning of the summer season, is clearly related to the word for winter, Proto-Indo-European *g'hei-men- (Latin hiems, Latvian ziema, Lithuanian žiema, Slavic zima, Greek kheimon, Hittite gimmanza), cf. Old Irish gem-adaig ('winter's night'). It appears, therefore, that in Proto-Celtic the first month of the summer season was named 'wintry', and the first month of the winter half-year 'summery', possibly by ellipsis, '[month at the end] of summer/winter', so that samfuin would be a restitution of the original meaning. This interpretation would either invalidate the 'assembly' explanation given above, or push back the time of the re-interpretation by popular etymology to very early times indeed.
The Gaulish calendar appears to have divided the year into two halves: the 'dark' half, beginning with the month Samonios (the October/November lunation), and the 'light' half, beginning with the monthGiamonios (the April/May lunation). The entire year may have been considered as beginning with the 'dark' half, so that the beginning of Samonios may be considered the Celtic New Year's Day. The celebration of New Year itself may have taken place during the 'three nights of Samonios' (Gaulish trinux[tion] samo[nii]), the beginning of the lunar cycle which fell nearest to the midpoint between theautumnal equinox and the winter solstice. The lunations marking the middle of each half-year may also have been marked by specific festivals. The Coligny calendar marks the mid-summer moon (seeLughnasadh), but omits the mid-winter one (see Imbolc). The seasons are not oriented at the solar year, viz. solstice and equinox, so the mid-summer festival would fall considerably later than summer solstice, around 1 August (Lughnasadh). It appears that the calendar was designed to align the lunations with the agricultural cycle of vegetation, and that the exact astrological position of the Sun at that time was considered less important.


Samain or Samuin was the name of the feis or festival at the beginning of winter observed in medieval Ireland. It is attested in Old Irish literature beginning in the 10th century. The festival marked the end of the season for trade and warfare and was an ideal date for tribal assemblies, where the local kings gathered their people. These gatherings in turn are a popular setting for early Irish tales.[10]

[edit]Association with All Saints

The fixing of the feast of All Saints on its current date of 1 November is attributed to Pope Gregory III (731–741), but from the testimony of Pseudo-Bede it is known that 1 November was already associated with All Saints in Great Britain by the beginning of the 8th century.[11][12] The Roman Catholic festival of All Saints is known to have been introduced in the early 7th century, on the occasion of the dedication of the Pantheon as a church, but on the continent, it was celebrated on 13 May throughout the 7th and 8th centuries. It was only in 835 that Louis the Pious formally installed the festival on 1 November. In this, Louis merely made official the custom of celebrating the festival on 1 November which had been spread to the continent by the Anglo-Saxon mission, suggesting that the association of All Saints with 1 November is originally due to an Insular tradition. However, as Ronald Hutton points out, the willingness of James Frazer to trace the association further to pre-ChristianCeltic polytheism is misguided because the testimony of Óengus of Tallaght (d. ca. 824) makes clear that the early medieval church in Ireland celebrated the feast of All Saints on 20 April. The earliest associations of 1 November with All Saints are thus found in 8th century sources of Northwestern Europe (Anglo-Saxon and German), while the earliest references to the Irish festival of Samhain are found in sources of Irish mythology compiled in the 10th century and later.[13]

[edit]References in Irish mythology

The Ulster Cycle contains many references to Samhain. The 10th-century Tochmarc Emire, Samhain is the first of the four "quarter days" of the year mentioned by the heroine Emer.[10] Many of the adventures and campaigns undertaken by the characters therein begin at the Samhain Night feast. One such tale is Echtra Nerai ('The Adventure of Nera') concerning one Nera from Connacht who undergoes a test of bravery put forth by King Ailill. The prize is the king's own gold-hilted sword. The terms hold that a man must leave the warmth and safety of the hall and pass through the night to agallows where two prisoners had been hanged the day before, tie a twig around one man's ankle, and return. Others had been thwarted by the demons and spirits that harassed them as they attempted the task, quickly coming back to Ailill's hall in shame. Nera goes on to complete the task and eventually infiltrates the sídhe where he remains trapped until next Samhain. Taking etymology into consideration, it is interesting to note that the word for summer expressed in the Echtra Nerai is samraid.
The other cycles feature Samhain as well. The Cath Maige Tuireadh (Battle of Mag Tuired) takes place on Samhain. The deities Morrígan and Dagda meet and have sex before the battle against theFomorians; in this way the Morrígan acts as a sovereignty figure and gives the victory to The Dagda's people, the Tuatha Dé Danann.
The tale The Boyhood Deeds of Fionn includes an important scene at Samhain. The young Fionn Mac Cumhail visits Tara where Aillen the Burner, one of the Tuatha Dé Danann, puts everyone to sleep at Samhain and burns the place. Through his ingenuity Fionn is able to stay awake and slays Aillen, and is given his rightful place as head of the fianna.
The idea that the time of Samhain in Old Irish literature is considered a time of unusual supernatural power, or particularly associated with the "Celtic Otherworld" is due to Jeffrey Gantz and others. Ronald Hutton criticizes this conclusion as unfounded; he argues that the assembly of royalty and warriors on Samhain may simply present an ideal setting for the exposition of such tales in the same way that many tales of Arthurian Romance are set at courtly gatherings of Christmas or Pentecoste.[14]

[edit]Gaelic folklore (Scotland and Ireland)

The Samhain celebrations have survived in several guises as a festival dedicated to the harvest and the dead. In Ireland and Scotland, the Féile na Marbh "festival of the dead" is the name of All Souls', a church festival introduced on the eve of All Saints in the 11th century.
The night of Samhain, in Irish, Oíche Samhna and Scots Gaelic, Oidhche Samhna, is one of the principal festivals of the Celtic calendar, and falls on the October 31. It represents the final harvest. In modern Ireland and Scotland, the name by which Halloween is known in the Gaelic language is still Oíche/Oidhche Samhna. It is still the custom in some areas to set a place for the dead at the Samhain feast, and to tell tales of the ancestors on that night.[4][15]
Traditionally, Samhain was time to take stock of the herds and grain supplies, and decide which animals would need to be slaughtered in order for the people and livestock to survive the winter. This custom is still observed by many who farm and raise livestock [4][15] because it is when meat will keep since the freeze has come and also since summer grass is gone and free foraging is no longer possible.
Bonfires played a large part in the festivities celebrated down through the last several centuries, and up through the present day in some rural areas of the Celtic nations and the diaspora. Villagers were said to have cast the bones of the slaughtered cattle upon the flames. In the pre-Christian Gaelic world, cattle were the primary unit of currency and the center of agricultural and pastoral life. Samhain was the traditional time for slaughter, for preparing stores of meat and grain to last through the coming winter.
With the bonfire ablaze, the villagers extinguished all other fires. Each family then solemnly lit its hearth from the common flame, thus bonding the families of the village together. Often two bonfires would be built side by side, and the people would walk between the fires as a ritual of purification. Sometimes the cattle and other livestock would be driven between the fires, as well.[4][15]
The Gaelic custom of wearing costumes and masks was an attempt to copy the evil spirits or ward them off. In Scotland the dead were impersonated by young men with masked, veiled or blackened faces, dressed in white.[16][17] Candle lanterns (Gaelic: samhnag), carved from turnips, were part of the traditional festival. Large turnips were hollowed out, carved with faces, placed in windows to ward off evil spirits.[17]
Guisers — men in disguise — were prevalent in the 16th century in the Scottish countryside. Children going door to door "guising" (or "Galoshin" on the south bank of the lower Clyde) in costumes and masks, carrying turnip lanterns, offering entertainment of various sorts in return for food or coins, was traditional in the 19th century and continued well into the 20th century.[18] At the time of mass transatlantic Irish and Scottish immigration, which popularized Halloween in North America, Halloween in Ireland and Scotland had a strong tradition of guising and pranks.[19]
Divination is a common folkloric practice that has also survived in rural areas.[20] The most common uses were to determine the identity of one's future spouse, the location of one's future home, and how many children a person might have. Seasonal foods such as apples and nuts were often employed in these rituals. Apples were peeled, the peel tossed over the shoulder, and its shape examined to see if it formed the first letter of the future spouse's name.[21] Nuts were roasted on the hearth and their movements interpreted - if the nuts stayed together, so would the couple. Egg whites were dropped in a glass of water, and the shapes foretold the number of future children. Children would also chase crows and divine some of these things from how many birds appeared or the direction the birds flew.[4][15][16]

[edit]Celtic revival

A connection of the medieval feis of Samhain with pre-Christian traditions was drawn by the "notoriously unreliable" Geoffrey Keating (d. 1644), who claimed that the druids of Ireland would assemble on the night of Samhain to kindle a sacred fire. Ronald Hutton notes that while medieval Irish authors do attribute a historical pagan significance to the Beltane festival, they are silent in this respect in regard to Samhain, apparently because no tradition of pagan ritual had survived into the Christian period. Hutton supposes that Keating's account may be due to a confusion of a tradition pertaining to Beltane.[10]
Its description as "Celtic New Year" was popularised in 18th century literature.[dubious ][22] From this usage in the Romanticist Celtic Revival, Samhain is still popularly regarded as the "Celtic New Year" in the contemporary Celtic cultures, both in the Six Celtic Nations and the diaspora. For instance, the contemporary calendars produced by the Celtic League begin and end at Samhain.[23]

[edit]Related festivals

In parts of western Brittany, Samhain is still heralded by the baking of kornigou, cakes baked in the shape of antlers to commemorate the god of winter[citation needed] shedding his 'cuckold' horns as he returns to his kingdom in the Otherworld. The Romans identified Samhain with their own feast of the dead, the Lemuria, which was observed in the days leading up to May 13. With Christianization, the festival in November (not the Roman festival in May) became All Hallows' Day on November 1 followed by All Souls' Day, on November 2. Over time, the night of October 31 came to be called All Hallow's Eve, and the remnants festival dedicated to the dead eventually morphed into the secular holiday known as Halloween.
The Welsh equivalent of this holiday is called Nos Galan Gaeaf (see Calan Gaeaf). As with Samhain, this marks the beginning of the dark half of the year and it officially begins at sunset on October 31.
The Manx celebrate Hop-tu-Naa, which is a celebration of the original New Year's Eve. The term is Manx Gaelic in origin, deriving from Shogh ta’n Oie, meaning "this is the night". Traditionally, children dress as scary beings, carry turnips rather than pumpkins and sing an Anglicised version of Jinnie the Witch and may go from house to house asking for sweets or money.
The Cornish equivalent of this holiday is known as Allantide or in the revived Cornish language Nos Calan Gwaf.


Samhain is observed by various Neopagans in various ways. As forms of Neopaganism can differ widely in both their origins and practices, these representations can vary considerably despite the shared name. Some Neopagans have elaborate rituals to honor the dead, and the deities who are associated with the dead in their particular culture or tradition. Some celebrate in a manner as close as possible to how the Ancient Celts and Living Celtic cultures have maintained the traditions, while others observe the holiday with rituals culled from numerous other unrelated sources, Celtic culture being only one of the sources used.[5][24][25]

[edit]Celtic Reconstructionism

Celtic Reconstructionist Pagans tend to celebrate Samhain on the date of first frost, or when the last of the harvest is in and the ground is dry enough to have a bonfire. Like other Reconstructionisttraditions, Celtic Reconstructionists place emphasis on historical accuracy, and base their celebrations and rituals on traditional lore from the living Celtic cultures, as well as research into the older beliefs of the polytheistic Celts. At bonfire rituals, some observe the old tradition of building two bonfires, which celebrants and livestock then walk or dance between as a ritual of purification.[4][15][25][26]
According to Celtic lore, Samhain is a time when the boundaries between the world of the living and the world of the dead become thinner, allowing spirits and other supernatural entities to pass between the worlds to socialize with humans. It is the time of the year when ancestors and other departed souls are especially honored. Though Celtic Reconstructionists make offerings to the spirits at all times of the year, Samhain in particular is a time when more elaborate offerings are made to specific ancestors. Often a meal will be prepared of favorite foods of the family's and community's beloved dead, a place set for them at the table, and traditional songs, poetry and dances performed to entertain them. A door or window may be opened to the west and the beloved dead specifically invited to attend. Many leave a candle or other light burning in a western window to guide the dead home. Divination for the coming year is often done, whether in all solemnity or as games for the children. The more mystically inclined may also see this as a time for deeply communing with the deities, especially those whom the lore mentions as being particularly connected with this festival.[4][15][25][26]


Samhain is one of the eight annual festivals, often referred to as 'Sabbats', observed as part of the Wiccan Wheel of the Year. It is considered by most Wiccans to be the most important of the four 'greater Sabbats'. It is generally observed on October 31 in the Northern Hemisphere, starting at sundown. Samhain is considered by some Wiccans as a time to celebrate the lives of those who have passed on, and it often involves paying respect to ancestors, family members, elders of the faith, friends, pets and other loved ones who have died. In some rituals the spirits of the departed are invited to attend the festivities. It is seen as a festival of darkness, which is balanced at the opposite point of the wheel by the spring festival of Beltane, which Wiccans celebrate as a festival of light and fertility.[27]

EDITORS NOTE: BTW, if you haven't noticed, ITP V.011 added FEEDJIT for live traffic feed AND a FAVICON. BTW, ITP V.011's author is sick with a cold, forgive me, as I'm really busy. OK, this repetitive journal entry seems redundant, I'll have to be more organized and post the metal news features, lmao. Yeh, you're probably saying "I want NFTEMU, DAMNED IN BLACK and HUMANITY IS DOOMED, get it over with." I'm working on it. ITP V.011 AUTHOR STATES: Depression, a sore throat, and frustration, I've postponed some of the news features, and who knows where life will take me, maybe I'll post the news features next week, we'll see. Yes, I have a one hell of a cold right now with personal commitments and bureaucracy and red tape to deal with. Yes, the ITP V.011 news feature procrastination CONTINUES, as I write about writing ITP news features, more so than actually getting it done, I know, pathetic, LMAO (although blogging isn't high priority). ITP's author, in her despondency has obligations, disproportionate bureaucracy and red tape, and lots of stuff to do this week, LITERALLY. I was wondering if writing the metal news features monthly (NFTEMU, DAMNED IN BLACK and HUMANITY IS DOOMED) would be a little redundant, (I used to post ITP METAL NEWS FEATURES MONTHLY).. I'm thinking about perhaps posting the metal news features bi monthly or quarterly, per quarter touring cycle. There fore, more potential time for ITP V.011 REVIEWS: POSTPONED UNTIL NEXT WEEKEND in NOVEMBER? Yep, I barely have time. ITP V.011 UPDATE: ITP V.011 REVIEWS: (SORRY, MISSED TWO WEEKS OF REVIEWS): 11/04/2011: ISOLE: BORN FROM SHADOWS 11/05/2011: MITOCHODRION: PARISIGNOSIS 11/06/2011: MOURNFUL CONGREGATION: THE BOOK OF KINGS MONDAY:ITP V.011 THE ART OF DANCE TUESDAY: ITP V.011 UNCOVERED ITP V.011 METAL NEWS FEATURES (VERY tentative schedule):NOTES FROM THE EXTREME METAL UNDERGROUND,DAMNED IN BLACK (BLACK METAL NEWS) HUMANITY IS DOOMED (DOOM METAL NEWS), WILL PERHAPS BE POSTED THIS UP AND COMING WEEK, depending on time and stability, don't hold me to it. FRIDAY, SATURDAY and SUNDAY: ITP V.011 REVIEWS ITP V.011 REVIEWS WILL BE POSTED ON WEEKENDS as will be announced mid week on the disclaimer on the right of this journal. Through everything I've been through, I've been very dedicated to writing and keeping ITP updated even if it meant using public access 'puters through some dark times in my life.I can NOT express the dedication of ITP's READERS and thank them enough as ITP's readers are international from my homeland in the USA to Norway, to Australia, to South America, Germany, UK everywhere. ITP's author/editor thanks YOU the READERS, a mighty SALLLUTe and HAILS to you all for being dedicated readers. I would honestly be writing ITP even if no one read it, as an expression, but I must give the metal horns to ITP's readers as YOU INSPIRE ME.
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