Halloween: the Gate Between the Living and the Spirit World Opens

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Halloween: The gate between the living and the spirit world opens
Holly A. Moran
Keuka College

Abstract Halloween is a magical and superstitious time of year. It is a time when the spirits, fairies, goblins and witches come out to join the living. Not so long ago people believed that, and some still do, that the spirit world is closer on the night of Halloween. It is a night when you can talk with your deceased loved ones, find out who is going to die before the next Halloween or find your mate. Though we no longer hold sacrifices to the Lord of the Dead, we still celebrate with a lot of the same traditions that took place hundreds of years ago.

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(Linton, 1950) Halloween is the ancient Celtic New Year, called Samhain (SAW’-vwin, SOW-in, SAH-vin or SAM-hayne). (Trevarthen, 2010) (Wicca.com) Samhain dates back to the first century B.C, as indicated by an engraved Gaulish calendar on bronze tablets, discovered in 1897 in Coligny, France. (Trevarthen, 2010) The first month was Samonios, meaning summer’s end. In the Old Irish myth, Cath Maige Tuired, or The Battle of Moytura, the Mórrígan and Dada, Mother and Father supreme beings, copulated on Samhain, thus linking the holiday with fertility. Conversely, Samhain was also a time of death. (Trevarthen, 2010) The pagan Halloween which fell, at the end of summer, was a time for anguish – for a wane in the sun’s glory – as well as a harvest gala thanking the ‘Sun’ for the matured grains and fruits now safely tucked away for the winter. It was also a time to give vigor for the Sun’s up and coming war with the cold and darkness. (Kelly, 1919) The year was over; the sun’s life of a year was done. The Celts thought that the sun at this time of year became a victim to the powers of the darkness for six months. In Egyptian mythology, one of the sun-gods, Osiris, was slain by his brother Sîtou, the god of darkness, at a banquet. Along with darkness, Samhain had an association with death that grew from the idea that the sun suffered from his enemies on

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