Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween and A very Blessed Samhian to You

What is this Samhain you ask? I've borrowed this from

Samhain is popularly known today as Halloween, a contraction of the words "Hallowed Evening", and it retains much of the original form and meaning it had long ago in Celtic lands, despite the efforts of the Church to turn it into an observance of feasting and prayer for their vast pantheon of saints. The Church began calling it Michaelmas, the feast day of St. Michael, but the old Samhain holiday proved to be too potent a drawing card for one lone saint to combat. So it was renamed the Eve of All Saints, or All Hallows Eve, which precedes All Saint's Day, and is still one of the holiest days in Catholicism.

The pagan Samhain is not, and never was, associated with evil or negativity. It has always been a time to reaffirm our belief in the oneness of all spirits, and in our firm resolution that physical death is not the final act of existence. Though death is very much a part of Samhain's symbolism, this Sabbat also celebrates the triumph of life over death.

While it is true that Samhain is no more evil than any other holiday, it is also a fact that evil does exist, and pagans have always been aware of this. Our ancestors sought to protect themselves on this night by carving faces in vegetables to place near windows or at the perimeters of their circle. These were the forerunners of our present day jack-o-lanterns. These carved pumpkin faces are probably relics of the even earlier custom of placing candles in windows to guide the earth-walking spirits along their way. Today it is still a custom in Ireland to place candles in the windows on Samhain night and to leave plates of food for the visiting spirits.

There are two possible sources for the origin of the Samhain Sabbat's name. One is from the Aryan God of Death, Samana, and the other is from the Irish Gaelic word "samhraidhreadh", which literally means "the summer's end". Samhain marked the end of summer and the beginning of winter for the Celts, with the day after Samhain being the official date of the Celtic New Year. The reason the Celts chose this point in time as their new year rather than Yule, when the rest of Western pagans celebrate it, was because the sun is at its lowest point on the horizon as measured by the ancient standing stones of Britain and Ireland.

This is also a time for harmless pranks, lavish feasting, circle games, and merrymaking which can be teasingly blamed on nearby spirits ;) (ala Loki, Abbot, Lord of Misrule etc.)

Samhain bonfires, called balefires in paganism, were once lighted on every hilltop in Britain and Ireland as soon as the sun set on October 30. The word "balefire" comes from the word "boon", which means "extra". The fires serve the purpose of containing the energy of the dead god, lighting the dark night, warding off evil, ushering in the light of the New Year, purifying the ritual space or home, and being the focus of ritual. In many parts of the British Isles these balefires are still lighted on Samhain to honor the old ways.

The idea that evil spirits walk the earth at Samhain is a misinterpretation of the pagan belief that the veil of consciousness which separates the land of the living from the land of the dead is at its thinnest on this night. This does not mean that hordes of evil entities cross this chasm. Some pagans believe this veil is made thin by the God's passing through it into the Land of the Dead, and that he will, for the sake of his people, attempt to hold back any spirits crossing into the physical plane whose intent it is to make trouble. In nearly all the Western pagan traditions, deceased ancestors and other friendly spirits are invited to join the Sabbat festivities, and be reunited with loved ones who are otherwise separated by time and dimensions of existence.

Some modern scholars claim that Samhain's traditional 'trick or treat' custom was derived from a ploy to to scare away fairies and other mischievous spirits, but it has overtones of being a custom of a much later period, perhaps one which grew up around the Burning Times. During the Burning Times, masking and dark clothing hid the identities of witches going to their covens so that they might escape detection. The mask also had the added benefit of frightening away any inquisitor who might happen upon a lone figure in the woods.

Monday, October 19, 2009


It's cold! It's Fall! It's soooo exciting!

Hi Ya'll! A wee bit o catching up to do. Last weekend, Lala came up to visit for my late B-day weekend. We had a most delightful time, hitting the beach at night, sitting for an hour or so on the beach watching the moon rise, the planes fly over the bay, and the tide creep up on us. Talking, sharing, painting the same picture in our minds :) Sunday we somehow managed to dress in the same colors (go figure) and headed on over to SJPP Day at Cooper River Park. Hmmf, I don't know what exactly I was expecting. I mean it was better than 2 years ago when we went, but I was still sort of let down by the vendors offerings. I did manage to bring a tree of life pendant home with me though. On the way home to meet up with the Boy, we stopped at Woolplay where Lala pet all the purty yarns, and I picked up a ball of Skacel Zauberball Crazy in colorway 1699 . Oh teh pretty! I can't wait to knit something with this!

Once we got back, Lala had some time to taunt her feline nemesis Olive, then we had pizza with the Boy.

I've also made some serious progress (after having to re-knit the heel flap 3 times on the same sock) on my Noro socks. I don't know yet if I love the yarn, but I dooo lurve me the colors. I mean hello, it's Noro!

Work is still work...blahhhhhh I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the best. I'm off today, the Boy will be here later after work, so I have some cleaning to do and I'm feeling another big de-cluttering coming on. With any luck I'll have a whole complete sock to share later today!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sunday Avoidance

It's Sunday afternoon, after 1 to be more precise. As of yet I have accomplished nothing, except for buying cat food, so that Olive doesn't gnaw my face off in my sleep. (This can be a real threat people!) I slept pretty well last night, and actually have been for a while, since I've started taking melatonin about an hour before I want to go to sleep. It's strange for me, to actually get sleep, when it's DARK out! But very welcome none the less.

Last night, I managed to finally finish my Halloween themed painting and get prints listed in ye old etsy shop I also got some fall cards listed

I'm working on a cotton crochet market bag that I hope to be able to post some time tonight or tomorrow. I'm not following any pattern for the bag, just sort of figuring it out as I go, making it into something that I would want to use, and find useful.

I think one of my big reasons for avoiding doing much of anything as of yet today is because, well it's Sunday, this means back to work for me tomorrow and this is going to be a CRAZY week. I hired a new person, and am hoping that I can get her all trained and ready so that next week I can go back to my old schedule of working Tue, Wed and Thurs from 9-8 and Sat's from 9-3. While it was nice having evening's off before the last replacement quit on me, I'm a creature of habit. I accomplished more in that extra day off, than I was getting done at night. I've worked all but Friday's the past 2 weeks, and have one more week of that ahead of me, and honestly I'm a bit burnt out and just tired. I love my job and the people I work with, but the extra long days get old, fast.

The Boy is traveling this week. He's headed to Mass. for a meeting. He'll be driving up, and hopefully getting to stop in and see some of his friends along the way. I'll be missing him terribly while he's gone. A week from today, he and I will have been together for 11 months. It's hard to believe how quickly the time has passed. I have learned and grown so much in these last 11 months. I have met a most incredible man, who believes in me, encourages me, and loves me as I am. I have honestly never been as happy in my life, felt so strong and comfortable in my own skin as I do now. I am blessed to have him in my life, and am thankful every single day. He makes me want to be a better person, and for that he has my love, admiration and gratitude :)