Samhain Lore

Halloween - This comes from Barbara Walker's book THE WOMAN'S ENCYCLOPEDIA 

All Souls' or All Hallows' Day (November 1) was the Christian version of 
Samhain, the Celtic feast of the 
dead, named for the Aryan Lord of Death, Samana, "the Leveller," or the Grim 
Reaper, leader of ancestral 
ghosts. According to the pagan lunar calender, festivals were celebrated on 
the "eve" rather than the day. 
Therefore Halloween or All Hallows' Eve was the original festival, later 
displaced to the following day. 
The Irish used to call the holy night the Vigil of Saman. Churchmen 
described it as a night of magic 
charms and divinations, reading the future with witches' mirrors and 
nutshell ashes, ducking for apples 
in tubs of water (representing soul-symbols in the Cauldron of 
Regeneration), and other objectionable 
rites. Even today it is said that a girl who peels an apple before a mirror 
on Halloween will see the image 
of her husband in the glass. Christian authorities wrote of Halloween, "Many 
other superstitious 
ceremonies, the remains of Druidism, are observed on this holiday, which 
will never be eradicated while 
the name of Saman is permitted to remain." The name of the pagan deity 
remains in the Bible as Samuel, 
from the Semitic Sammael, the same underworld god. 

Of course the original divinations were oracular utterances by the ancestral 
dead, who came up frm their 
tombs on Halloween, sometimes bringing gifts to the children of their living 
descendants. In Sicilian 
Halloween tradition, "the dead relations have become the good fairies of the 
little ones." Similar customs 
are observed at Christmas. 

In Lithuania, the last European country to accept Christianity, the pagans 
celebrated their New Year 
feast at Halloween, sacrificing domestic animals to their god Zimiennik 
(Samanik; Samana). Their prayer 
ran, "Accept our burnt sacrifice, O Zimiennik, and kindly partake thereof." 
If the lord of the underworld 
accepted the offering on behalf of all the dead, the spirits were satisfied 
and would refrain from doing 
harm. If not adequately propitiated, they might descend on the world as 
vengeful ghosts, led by demons 
and "witches" (priestesses) who summoned them. The witches and ghosts are 
still associated with 
Halloween, together with such soul-symbols as owls, bats, and cats. 

The pagan idea used to be that crucial joints between the seasons opened 
cracks in the fabric of space 
time, allowing contact between the ghostworld and the mortal one. 
Samhain is one of the large and important sabbats - October 31st. Samhain 
means end of summer and is 
the beginning of the new year (cider season) for the ancient celtic/druids. 
This is a time for honoring 
dead family members and friends. 

Samhain cakes "cakes of the dead" (white cakes or cookies) are eaten to 
honor the dead - one cake/cookie 
for each dead you are honoring. The more cakes you eat the more the dead 
will bless you! Candle colors 
are, of course, black and orange. A fire is lit in the home on Samhain at 
midnight and should burn 
continuously until the first day of spring. Bonfires are lit on hilltops to 
honor the goddess\gods. 

For good luck light a new orange candle at midnight on Samhain until 
sunrise. For bad luck bake bread 
on this day or journey after sunset. 

It is a traditional day for such divination like scrying or runes OR even 
standing in front of a mirror and 
making a wish.