The Pagan Mysteries of Halloween: Celebrating the Dark Half of the Year

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9780892819003: The Pagan Mysteries of Halloween: Celebrating the Dark Half of the Year
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A comprehensive examination of the rituals and philosophies of the Celtic holiday of Samhain, the inspiration for Halloween.

· Presents the true meaning of this ancient holiday and shows how contemporary observances still faithfully reflect the rituals of pagan ancestors.

· Explains why this holiday, largely confined to the English-speaking world since the advent of Christianity, has spread throughout the rest of Europe over the last two decades.

One of humanity's most enduring myths is that the dead, on certain nights of the year, can leave the Other World and move freely about the land of the living. Every year on October 31, when the children of the world parade through the streets dressed as monsters, skeletons, and witches, they reenact a sacred ceremony whose roots extend to the dawn of time. By receiving gifts of sweets from strangers, the children establish, on a symbolic plane that exceeds their understanding, a fraternal exchange between the visible world and the invisible world. Author Jean Markale meticulously examines the rituals and ceremonies of ancient festivities on this holiday and shows how they still shape the customs of today's celebration. During the night of Samhain, the Celtic precursor of today's holiday, the borders between life and death were no longer regarded as insurmountable barriers. Two-way traffic was temporarily permitted between this world and the Other World, and the wealth and wisdom of the sidhe, or fairy folk, were available to the intrepid individuals who dared to enter their realm. Markale enriches our understanding of how the transition from the light to the dark half of the year was a moment in which time stopped and allowed the participants in the week-long festival to attain a level of consciousness not possible in everyday life, an experience we honor in our modern celebrations of Halloween.

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Review:

Celtic scholar Jean Markale explores "the shadowy zones" of All Hallow's Eve in The Pagan Mysteries of Halloween. Though the name comes from the Christians' All Saints' Eve, Halloween can be traced back thousands of years to Samhain--the beginning of the "dark half" of the Celtic yearly calendar. As a feasting and merrymaking festival, Samhain lasted about three days, and attendance was mandatory, according to Markale. It was also the time when fairy folk made themselves available to humans, and the borders between the worlds of the living and the dead were said to blur. Markale is a thorough historian, offering a plausible account of how Samhain evolved into the modern day celebration. For readers seeking general Halloween information, Markale may be too dry and detailed. But for those intrigued by pagan festivals and lifestyle, this could be as delectable and coveted as a bag of Halloween candy. --Gail Hudson

From the Back Cover:

CELTIC STUDIES / HOLIDAYS

One of humanity’s most enduring myths is that the dead, on certain nights of the year, can leave the Other World and move freely about the land of the living. Every year on October 31, when the children of the world parade through the streets dressed as monsters, skeletons, and witches, they reenact a sacred ceremony whose roots reach back to the dawn of time; and in the giving and receiving of sweets as gifts, we reestablish an ancient fraternal exchange between the visible world and the invisible world.

Author Jean Markale meticulously examines the rituals and ceremonies of our ancestors’ festivities on this holiday and shows how they still shape the customs of today’s celebration. During the night of Samhain, the Celtic precursor to today’s Halloween, the borders between life and death temporarily disappeared, and the wealth and wisdom of the sidh, or fairy folk, were available to any who were intrepid enough to dare enter their realm. Markale enriches our understanding of how the transition from the light half of the year to the dark centered on this festival during which everyday existence stopped and consciousness opened to a world impossible to experience at any other time.

JEAN MARKALE--poet, philosopher, historian, and storyteller--has spent a lifetime researching pre-Christian and medieval culture and spirituality. He is the author of more than forty books, among which are The Druids, The Grail, The Great Goddess, The Celts, Merlin, Women of the Celts, Courtly Love, The Epics of Celtic Ireland, and King of the Celts. He is a specialist in Celtic studies at the Sorbonne and lives in the Brittany region of France.

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Book Description Inner Traditions Bear and Company, United States, 2001. Paperback. Condition: New. Original ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. A comprehensive examination of the rituals and philosophies of the Celtic holiday of Samhain, the inspiration for Halloween. - Presents the true meaning of this ancient holiday and shows how contemporary observances still faithfully reflect the rituals of pagan ancestors. - Explains why this holiday, largely confined to the English-speaking world since the advent of Christianity, has spread throughout the rest of Europe over the last two decades. One of humanity s most enduring myths is that the dead, on certain nights of the year, can leave the Other World and move freely about the land of the living. Every year on October 31, when the children of the world parade through the streets dressed as monsters, skeletons, and witches, they reenact a sacred ceremony whose roots extend to the dawn of time. By receiving gifts of sweets from strangers, the children establish, on a symbolic plane that exceeds their understanding, a fraternal exchange between the visible world and the invisible world. Author Jean Markale meticulously examines the rituals and ceremonies of ancient festivities on this holiday and shows how they still shape the customs of today s celebration. During the night of Samhain, the Celtic precursor of today s holiday, the borders between life and death were no longer regarded as insurmountable barriers. Two-way traffic was temporarily permitted between this world and the Other World, and the wealth and wisdom of the sidhe, or fairy folk, were available to the intrepid individuals who dared to enter their realm. Markale enriches our understanding of how the transition from the light to the dark half of the year was a moment in which time stopped and allowed the participants in the week-long festival to attain a level of consciousness not possible in everyday life, an experience we honor in our modern celebrations of Halloween. Seller Inventory # AAS9780892819003

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Book Description Inner Traditions Bear and Company, United States, 2001. Paperback. Condition: New. Original ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. A comprehensive examination of the rituals and philosophies of the Celtic holiday of Samhain, the inspiration for Halloween. - Presents the true meaning of this ancient holiday and shows how contemporary observances still faithfully reflect the rituals of pagan ancestors. - Explains why this holiday, largely confined to the English-speaking world since the advent of Christianity, has spread throughout the rest of Europe over the last two decades. One of humanity s most enduring myths is that the dead, on certain nights of the year, can leave the Other World and move freely about the land of the living. Every year on October 31, when the children of the world parade through the streets dressed as monsters, skeletons, and witches, they reenact a sacred ceremony whose roots extend to the dawn of time. By receiving gifts of sweets from strangers, the children establish, on a symbolic plane that exceeds their understanding, a fraternal exchange between the visible world and the invisible world. Author Jean Markale meticulously examines the rituals and ceremonies of ancient festivities on this holiday and shows how they still shape the customs of today s celebration. During the night of Samhain, the Celtic precursor of today s holiday, the borders between life and death were no longer regarded as insurmountable barriers. Two-way traffic was temporarily permitted between this world and the Other World, and the wealth and wisdom of the sidhe, or fairy folk, were available to the intrepid individuals who dared to enter their realm. Markale enriches our understanding of how the transition from the light to the dark half of the year was a moment in which time stopped and allowed the participants in the week-long festival to attain a level of consciousness not possible in everyday life, an experience we honor in our modern celebrations of Halloween. Seller Inventory # AAS9780892819003

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Book Description Inner Traditions Bear and Company, United States, 2001. Paperback. Condition: New. Original ed.. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. A comprehensive examination of the rituals and philosophies of the Celtic holiday of Samhain, the inspiration for Halloween. - Presents the true meaning of this ancient holiday and shows how contemporary observances still faithfully reflect the rituals of pagan ancestors. - Explains why this holiday, largely confined to the English-speaking world since the advent of Christianity, has spread throughout the rest of Europe over the last two decades. One of humanity s most enduring myths is that the dead, on certain nights of the year, can leave the Other World and move freely about the land of the living. Every year on October 31, when the children of the world parade through the streets dressed as monsters, skeletons, and witches, they reenact a sacred ceremony whose roots extend to the dawn of time. By receiving gifts of sweets from strangers, the children establish, on a symbolic plane that exceeds their understanding, a fraternal exchange between the visible world and the invisible world. Author Jean Markale meticulously examines the rituals and ceremonies of ancient festivities on this holiday and shows how they still shape the customs of today s celebration. During the night of Samhain, the Celtic precursor of today s holiday, the borders between life and death were no longer regarded as insurmountable barriers. Two-way traffic was temporarily permitted between this world and the Other World, and the wealth and wisdom of the sidhe, or fairy folk, were available to the intrepid individuals who dared to enter their realm. Markale enriches our understanding of how the transition from the light to the dark half of the year was a moment in which time stopped and allowed the participants in the week-long festival to attain a level of consciousness not possible in everyday life, an experience we honor in our modern celebrations of Halloween. Seller Inventory # BTE9780892819003

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