October 2009

Samain or Samhain: Just the Facts

It's the time of year when, every

year, I get annoyed by the Christians at one extreme and Neo Pagans at other extreme posting silly things about the ancestry of Halloween and the ancient Celtic festival of Samain. I thought I'd try to forestall some of the less factual assertions by a list of bullet points about what we actually know about Samain and the Celts, since Samain is one of the most popular Neo Pagan festivals or feast-days.

In 609 Pope Boniface IV designated November 1 All Saints' Day. The night before, October 31 consequently became All-Hallows Eve, or Halloween. In A.D. 1000, the church made November 2 All Souls' Day, a day to honor the dead. There are references to both feast days earlier in some places, but these are the dates of official sanction.

The Magical Household

The Magical Household: Empower Your Home with Love, Protection, Health and Happiness is possibly my favorite pagan book in my entire collection. In it, Scott Cunningham and David Harrington share a plethora of folklore, recipes, spells, and simple actions to make your home more magical and meaningful. There is really something that anyone on any budget can do in this book.

The Magical Household explains that you don’t need money to live in a magical home. You don’t even need to live in a cottage in the woods with herbs, pentagrams and witchy-looking stuff everywhere (though you have to admit that would be fun). Simply using your fingertip to draw sacred symbols for protection on your windows and doors, for example, can help safeguard your home and give it a more magical vibe without spending anything.

10 Things to Do in October

Did you get a chance to do all—or some—of September’s activities? I’d love to hear about what you did and how it went! Here is a list of suggestions for October. Feel free to alter any of these to your views or tastes as well as to add your own.

10. Make a Jack O’Lantern: If you want to be truly authentic, use a turnip, and find out more about the history of these lighted vegetables.