Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.



Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Samhain!



Sunset today will mark the beginning of Samhain, the last of the three Celtic harvest festivals. The word Samhain means 'summer's end' and from this point we are in the dark time of the year and the days get shorter and the nights get longer as we move towards the Winter Solstice. The Celtic people measured the days from one sunset to the next so Samhain will end at sunset tomorrow.



This is also the time when we remember our ancestors who have passed on to the Summerlands. I haven't yet set out the candles that I will light this evening but this is one from a previous year. It is surrounded with the herb rosemary for remembrance and tonight there will be individual candles for my parents and grandparents and a single large one for all the many past generations stretching back into the mists of time. I wish both them and you a Happy and Blessed Samhain.

18 comments:

blackbird said...

It's indeed summer's end and to me, every thing seems to move faster from now until the end of the year.

I'm not a huge fan of our American Halloween and so will follow the tradition of remembering my ancestors with candles and rosemary. Thank you.

Pomona said...

Rowan that is a lovely way of acknowledging the season. I don't really do Halloween and struggle with the way that it can valorize the dark and negative, and is such a consumerfest, and I didn't know anything about Samhain. But for those of us who live off the land the harvest and the shortening days are particularly significant, and I love to mark the seasons. I also love the act of remembrance of yours, which for me ties in with the remembering attached to All Souls or All Hallows - and I have always used rosemary for remembrance - for me this seems a beautiful way of connecting memory and the waning of the year through light in the darkness. Thank you for a lovely and thoughtful post.

Pomona x

Derrick said...

Hello Rowan,

Although I had recently looked up 'Samhain', your post has just told me a lot more. Happy Halloween!

Piecefulafternoon said...

Wonderful reminder - blessings to you.

Rosie said...

How wonderful - your candles of remembrance are beautiful. Have a peaceful and reflective Samhain.

Bovey Belle said...

I love the idea of the remembrance candles too. Danny's off to a party tonight, so I think I will light the big yellow candle I have in the kitchen, and lay some rosemary around it and think of my parents, and those of my family tree, especially my g. grandfather . . .

PAT said...

Happy Samhain, Rowan!

liZZie said...

I agree with some of these comments and I like a lot how you go about Samhain, as I find some of the Celtic spirituality meshes perfectly with a peaceful and referential approach to life, past and present. I feel in good company whenever I visit your blog posts and read your comments.

LinDragon said...

Happy New Year, Rowan. I have been keeping up with you, even though I don't leave comments.
Bright Blessings,
Lin

Julie said...

What a lovely little altar you have there, Dorothy. I was going to carry a single candle out into the yard, but maybe I will light some on the deck table for individual ancestors.

I am so glad I began reading British bloggers like you to learn about ancient customs. I really do not like Halloween in modern-day America. It's a night for kids to overindulge in candy, and for adults to overindulge in booze.

Thimbleanna said...

What a lovely tradition Rowan! I love genealogy and I'd love a tradition like this. Thanks for telling us about it!

Wanda said...

Wonderful post Rowan, I love your tradition. I believe tonight I too will gather some rosemary and place candles for starting my own end of summer tradition, it will also mark the day before my 46th wedding anniversary tomorrow. Thank you for the inspiration!

Yarrow said...

Samhain blessings to you Rowan. I've enjoyed catching up with your blog, especially as I couldn't find the link for sooo long. Love your holiday pictures :)

House Elf said...

Wonderful post, blessings.

Tea and Margaritas in My Garden said...

What a wonderful ceremony with the candles Rowan.
My ancestors are all over your side of the ocean, but if I were there, I could see myself doing this too :)

tea
xo

IndigoShirl said...

A very thoughtful way of celebrating Samhain. Bright Blessings to you.

Jasmine said...

I wish you the best and a happy celtic new year.

Annie said...

I love the simplicity of your small alter to the season and memory of loved ones passed.