Friday, October 28, 2011

Seasons Greetings!

Sutton Hoo artifact found here

"To the Celts, time was circular rather than linear. This is reflected in their commencing each day, and each festival, at dusk rather than dawn, a custom comparable with that of the Jewish Sabbath. It is also reflected in their year beginning with the festival of Samhain on 31 October, when nature appears to be dying down. Tellingly, the first month of the Celtic year is Samonios, ‘Seed Fall’: in other words, from death and darkness springs life and light.

Caesar confirms this and offers an explanation (Conquest of Gaul, VI.18):
The Gauls claim all to be descended from Father Dis [a god of death, darkness and the underworld], declaring that this is the tradition preserved by the Druids. For this reason they measure periods of time not by days but by nights; and in celebrating birthdays, the first of the month, and new year’s day, they go on the principle that
the day begins at night.

The Celtic year began with Samhain. Celebrated around 31 October, it was a time of deliberate misrule and contrariness, rather like the Roman Saturnalia. It was also a time when the veil between this world and the Otherworld was thought to be so thin that the dead could return to warm themselves at the hearths of the living, and some of the living - especially poets - were able to enter the Otherworld through the doorways of the sidhe, such as that at the Hill of Tara in Ireland.

Our modern Hallowe’en stems from Samhain, and one explanation of the traditional pumpkin lanterns is that the Celts once placed the skulls of ancestors outside their doors at this time. The Christians took over the Celtic festival and turned it into All Saints Day. Even the modern English celebration of Guy Fawkes Day has echoes of the ancient fire festival."

- via this Living Myths page

Raven - digital image - Bogdan Zwir

"Who owns the whole rainy, stony earth?    Death.
Who owns all of space?    Death.

Who is stronger than hope?    Death.
Who is stronger than the will?    Death.
Stronger than love?    Death.
Stronger than life?    Death.

But who is stronger than Death?
Me, evidently.
Pass, Crow."

- Ted Hughes, excerpt:  "Examination at the Womb-Door"
from Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow


What goes around comes around, as they say, and October 31 will mark the second turn of the Celtic wheel for Post-Mac Blues. No cause for celebration, by and of itself, but fitting that it was couched within the ancient mythological framework of the Celtic year, beginning and ending with Samhain ((pronounced SOW-in, SAH-vin, or SAM-hayne).

Post-Mac Blues is then a two-year "time capsule", set free in cyberspace, and set into its fabric till cyberspace's end. But, as for that "tall young man in the black fedora", he belongs to eternity.

So, adios, cats and kitties; it's been real. Best wishes to you all, and, most especially, enjoy a happy and healthy Celtic New Year!


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