Muin Light

Newsletter of

Muin Mound Grove, ADF

7188 Minoa Bridgeport Road

East Syracuse, NY 13057-9601

 

Muin Light: Samhain, C.E. 1999

  

THE WHEEL OF THE YEAR

by Kia Marie Wolf

Samhain, also known as "Hallowe'en", "All Hallows Eve", "Mallowmas", "All Saints Eve", "All Soul's Eve", "Sauin" on the Isle of Man, "Nos Galan-gaeof" (the Night of the Winter Calends) in Wales, and the "Witches' New Year" (contemporary), is traditionally celebrated on the night of October 31st. Samhain (pronounced Sowen) is one of the original Celtic fire festivals and means "Summer's End" -when the sun's power wanes, and the strength of the gods of darkness, winter, and the underworld grows great. The activities of the year have come to fruition in the harvest and the warmth of the summer had ended. The days grow shorter and the nights stretch longer. The earth falls into a winter sleep and reawakens in the spring when life renews itself. As Beltain marks the beginning of summer, Samhain records its end.

According to the LAROUSSE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MYTHOLOGY, the practice of Samhain rituals dates back to the epoch of the Tuatha Da Danaan (the Father of All), circa. 6000 B.C. It was a custom in those days to extinguish all fires in the village for at least one full day and then have everyone rekindle their hearths from the central fire. This promoted a sense of union between all members of the hamlet, stressed the importance of the sun and the fire it brought, and nurtured a community spirit.

In the Irish romance Fionn's Boyhood, the mystical nature of Samhain was expressed. In one instance, there is reverence to the Bean-Sidhe (Woman of the Hill), who would wail in prophetic anticipation whenever anyone of royal blood was about to die and her shrieks would be heard every Samhain. In another mention, the entrances to the burial caves were left open at Samhain, to allow the spirits of the heroes to come out for an airing; and the interiors were illuminated until cock-crow the next morning. The spirits of the sacred kings of bronze age Ireland were believed to have gone to "Caer Sidi", the Castle of Ariadne, (also referred to as the "Spiral Castle.") where the Cauldron of Inspiration was housed. There was believed to be a revolving wheel before the door of the castle, and no one could enter or exit until it was stilled.

The spiritual significance of Samhain is most important. The festival is regarded as the New Year and also the "Festival of the Dead." Death is merely a door which opens to another life. It is believed that at this time of year the souls of the dead can walk amongst the living. On the night of Samhain, the doors are opened, the veil between life and death is at its thinnest, and the revolving wheel guarding the gates of the Spiral Castle has stopped for a brief moment. Legend has it that faeries are active and abroad at this time.

Like all of the traditional Celtic fire festivals, bonfires were lit on the highest hills and the hearth fires were solemnly rekindled from the community fires. This night and all of the first week of November once blazed with ritual fires - on which the early Celts symbolically burned all the frustrations and anxieties of the preceding year. Such rituals in pre-Christian times were overseen by the Druid priests.

Of course, the Roman Catholic Church tried to Christianize Samhain by making November 1st "All Saints Day", and the night of October 31st "All Hallows Eve" in tribute to the saints of the past. Again, it was in veneration of the dead. The Church had some problems with assimilating this celebration into its religious agenda because of prevailing pagan influences at the time, so it was banned from their calendar altogether in the mid 1100's and was not reinstated again until 1928, when the Church felt confident that the pagan belief systems were no longer a threat. The Church by then had assumed that the old pagan associations with the holiday were at last forgotten ... perhaps a premature supposition?

An ancient ritual practiced to this day by some groups involves calling the departed to the realm of the living to help them to resolve whatever holds them to the lower astral plane, and to find solace and guidance along their trek through reincarnation. The jack-o-lantern was used in times past as a beacon to the dead. Restless souls were summoned to "come to the light" by participants in the ceremony. Everyone wore black to represent the fragile veil between the dusk and the dawn, the living and the dead. An apple was passed slowly around the circle and cloves were inserted into the fruit to represent each departed spirit being guided to the light. The ritual itself is very beautiful, loving, and emotionally spellbinding.

 

Muin Mound Grove

Calendar of Events

Event

Date

Time

Comments

Samhain

10/30/99

8:00 PM

Fields will be open for camping. Please bring a dish to share and a can of food for our food drive.

Business Meeting

10/31/99

3:00 PM

Normal business.

Business Meeting

11/11/99

1:00 PM

Normal business. (Note the change to Winter hours!)

Business meeting

11/28/99

1:00 PM

Normal business

Business meeting

12/5/99

1:00 PM

Normal business

Solstice Ball

12/10/99

8:00 to 12:00 PM

We still need help. If you are interested in working on the costume ball, please contact Phoenix at 682-7968.

Yule

12/18/99

6:00 PM

Please bring a dish to share and a can of food for our food drive.

Business meeting

12/19/99

1:00 PM

Normal business

 

Newsletter Mailing List

It's that time again when we need to pare down the newsletter mailing list. The cost of copying and mailing is getting close to $100 per issue and the Grove simply can't afford it. If you are receiving this newsletter and would like to continue receiving it, please send a check for $5 to cover the cost of the newsletter for one year, to the Grove. The check can be made payable to "Muin Mound Grove, ADF" and sent to 7188 Minoa Bridgeport Road, East Syracuse, NY 13057-9601. We plan on keeping the newsletter informative and timely, but need your support!

  

Senior Druid Report

Samhain 1999

As most of you know, I've been touring the West Coast visiting with ADF Groves and Proto-groves. I've gotten to see some wonderful country and meet some very interesting people. I'll have many pictures and stories to share when you see me!

As the Celtic year starts anew and winter is about to settle on Central New York, the Grove is looking forward to some winter projects. The members of the Folk of the Grove will be creating "life masks" of all the Folk members to be hung in the trees in the Nemeton area next Spring. We'll also be working on other art projects to be used in the Nemeton and in the field.

Bright Blessings

Skip

 

THE POWER OF CHI-PART 6

by Keith "Rhino" Veeder

wyrmsoul@usa.net

Chi and the Martial Artist

In line with the principles of Feng Shui and other Chinese/Taoist magickal-type practices, martial artists acquire control of the chi force primarily through a combination of breath control, body movement, and relaxation techniques that are more in keeping with nonviolent religious practices than with the development of fighting and self-defense techniques. Chi can be called upon, by those who know how to use it, as an instant power base for (to the uninitiated) seemingly miraculous physical feats. As it is an electrical energy, it uses the body's nervous system as a circuitry base. Chi is breath, but more then breath. It is a vital fundamental component of the universe, to be harnessed and used by an individual to overcome any attacker, even if the assailant be far more powerful then the one attacked. It is believed in the East that total understanding of the essence of chi

brings with it perfect health and mental control, as well as complete spiritual enlightenment. Combined with exercise of the will, or hsing-i, the use of chi can also produce the more spectacular aspects of the martial arts, as seen in the breaking of stacks of bricks, or the withstanding of what would normally be a lethal blow. This aspect of mind over matter is also evident in

such essentially shamanistic practices as fire-walking and the cutting and skewering of parts of the human body without drawing blood or causing any scar-all of which have also been demonstrated by martial arts experts from time to time.

 

A FIELD GUIDE TO MODERN PAGANS

From http://www.witchvox.com/wars/ww_fieldguide.html

(This article is presented as humor and is not meant to offend anyone. Although if you recognize yourself...:')

Anal Retentive Ceremonial: Book collection actually holds up the ceiling in places. Is studying Greek, Latin and Hebrew all at once. Does "workings" instead of "rituals". All twenty volumes of their magical diaries are in Enochian. Distinguishing Signs: Won't go anywhere without a book. Is constantly aware of which direction is east. Dresses according to planetary conditions, or whatever was on sale at Wal-Mart.

Ravin' Pagan: Young and psychedelic. Can dance non-stop all night. Refuses to do boring Eurocentric rituals and prefers deities from sunny climes with lots of interesting local plants. Can say "Ayahuasca" ten times real fast and deliver long quotes from Terrence McKenna. Distinguishing Signs: Dresses in color combinations that hurt the eyes unless you've taken ecstasy. Bloodshot eyes, blissful smile, never go anywhere without ritual drum.

Dances With Bunnyrabbits: Uses animal symbolism to express nearly all opinions and feelings. Charter member of PETA. Thinks meat eaters should be publicly executed. Have many, many, many pets. Has a spirit animal. Personally owns 927 models, pictures, and other depictions of their spirit animal. Distinguishing Signs: Not counting the pagan his/herself, how many animals can you see when looking at them? If the count surpasses five (including critters found on tattoos, jewelry, garments and undies), you've found a worshipper of beasties.

Childe Ov Kaos: Can name seventeen industrial Goth bands without pausing to think. Knows what a Prince Albert is. Personally feels that if no panicky headlines appear the day after you do a ritual, you screwed up. Painted on their jacket, engraved in their flesh and/or boldly displayed as jewelry is an emblem which resembles a combination of corporate logo and arcane symbol. If you don't know what it means, they'll think you're a dweeb. Distinguishing Signs: Easy to picture as an alternative musician or bike messenger, difficult to visualize as a schoolteacher or research assistant, impossible to imagine as a TV news anchor or bank officer. Always wears black leather, even when sleeping.

Bright-Eyed Novice: You just read this cool book about a religion where there's a Goddess and a God, and they meet outside in nature, instead of some scary old building. They think sex is good not evil, and you want to know where to sign up. Distinguishing Signs: Mispronounces god/dess names, has to think a moment about which is deosil and which is widdershins. Has a shiny new athame (rhymes with "A-frame".)

Crowley-In-A-Past-Life: Every magical gathering has at least one of these, along with several variants along the lines of Gerald Gardner, Tituba, Morgan LeFey, or somebody who was Atlantean royalty. Many of them were abducted by aliens recently, and have disturbing dreams rich with arcane symbolism that they will tell you all about, in great detail.

Distinguishing Signs: Look for the intense gleam in the eyes, the backpack rattling with various psychiatric medications, and the garments that were clearly designed and tailored on another planet.

Fairie Queen: Is he a she? Is she a he? Are they a couple, or are those two a couple or are all four of them a quadruple? If getting answers to these questions could disturb you, best stay away. If, on the other hand, these kinds of questions seem overly judgmental, you might have a real good time ... Distinguishing Signs: When you look at this person, does every sex act you've ever experienced in your life seem hopelessly vanilla? If so, congratulations -- you've found a Fairie!

Grand Old Wo/Man: Actually remembers Woodstock (the first one.) Will tell you about the time they dropped acid with Kerry Wendell Thornley - or maybe it was Robert Anton Wilson. Anyway, it was somebody with three names. Or was it three people with one name? Distinguishing Signs: Luxuriant gray locks, listens very intently, knows dish about people you've only read about.

Fundamentapagan: If it's in a book, it must be true. If it's in an old book, it must really be true. If it's in an old book that was handed down from an oral tradition of people who couldn't read, then it must really be way true. Gnashes their teeth if anyone shows up at a circle wearing a watch, glasses, or other mechanical assistance. Believes that anyone who lives in a city, eats meat or has a regular job dare not call himself or herself a pagan. Distinguishing Signs: Has hissy fits when somebody brings up the old "Crowley ghosted Gardner's books" argument. Goes around correcting everyone's Gaelic/Old Norse/Latin/Babylonian.

Het-Case: Insist that they aren't homophobic; they just believe that Paganism is about a goddess and a god and they do it and what could be more obvious than that? It just doesn't "work right" if you try any other way! Are secretly afraid that gays and/or lesbians are dying to jump their tender hetro bones. Distinguishing Signs: Living spaces abound with depictions of satyrs with enormous genitals and huge-breasted, doe-eyed goddesses. Long manicured nails and wreaths of flowers (on females only-- men have big, bushy beards instead).

High Episcopagan: Do their rituals have a script, a choreographer, a stage manager, an orchestra with chorus and last at least three hours? It's a High Episcopagan! They can memorize pages and pages of Old English, has more ritual garbs than most people have socks, and consider their main pagan influences to be Gerald Gardner, Judy Garland and Busby Berkeley. Distinguishing Signs: Book of Shadows exceeds five volumes. Knows every note of "Carmina Burana" Don't ask them about that 18th century seed pearl trim on their ritual hat unless you've got an hour to spare.

Monster Truck Pagan: Can build own house, kill own food, school own children, and brew own hootch. Owns guns. Anointing oil is 30 weight. Scrying mirror says, "objects are closer than they appear". Distinguishing Signs: Athame is a Gerber with a compass and waterproof secret compartment. Eats meat with visible twitches of pleasure. Ritual robes made from cammo fabric.

Norse Code: Heroic and vikingly, these pagans often get into trouble with festival organizers and park rangers due to their fondness for running around with a huge battle-ax in one hand and a full mead horn in the other. They throw the best parties, but if you're a wimp, you're expressly not invited. Distinguishing Signs: Look for the large, foreboding, biker-like persons wearing runes, with many pounds of amber dangling from their necks.Our Lady of Intense Suffering: Is constantly persecuted. You're probably persecuting her right now, you just don't realize it. Became a Pagan because she decided it was that most persecuted religion of all. Can't enjoy anything because it would be selfish to have any fun when so many are suffering. Distinguishing Signs: Tales of woe. Even less of a sense of humor than Priest/ess of Political Correctness. Bristles when anyone says the words "masochist" or "whining".Pagan Celebrity: At conventions, stays on the hotel floor that requires a special key for elevator access Lurks around knots of conversation eavesdropping in order to see if their name is being mentioned. Arrives in helicopter especially for rituals. Starts every sentence with "I". If you ask them how it's going, they hand you a press release. Distinguishing Signs: Always have plenty of books to autograph and will personally sell them to you at a slight discount from cover price. Never seen unaccompanied by beefy Amazonian bodyguards and doe-eyed hangers-on. Seems vaguely afraid of anyone they don't already know.

More to come next time!