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 ChristiaA 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....
|Title||:||The Pagan Mysteries of Halloween: Celebrating the Dark Half of the Year|
|Number of Pages||:||154 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Pagan Mysteries of Halloween: Celebrating the Dark Half of the Year Reviews
This poetic little romp through history is actually a bit more scholarly than Markale's detractors might give him credit for: although he does cite his own previous work an awful lot, there's a body of French scholarship referenced in the bibliography that's not to be sneezed at, and he references the big players (Eliade, Evans-Wentz, Frazer, etc.) as well, so there's that for anybody worried about unfounded fluff.For the rest of us, this is a nice little meditation on how a pagan holiday morphed into what we now call Halloween. Origins of ancient customs are plumbed and, where not possible to verify, speculated about. We learn exactly how All Saints' Day came into being, and why; we also learn that ASD and Halloween are really two sides of the same coin, if you stop and think about it for a second, and we don't have to keep barking at each other all the damn time about it. Jon Graham's translation is surprisingly lovely--surprisingly because most French to English translations completely lose the music of the original French. Here, however, you can hear what the original might sound like in the careful choice of tuneful phrases. Footnotes are sprinkled liberally throughout the text, and there is an extensive section of endnotes, as well as a bibliography in the back. If history, mythology, and/or are your cup of tea, this is a good seasonal pick to curl up with and daydream.
Some interesting historical information, but too many tangents for my taste without any strong sense of a unifying argument.
Some might find this book a bit dry, but I couldn't put it down. Remarkably informative, this book, while it talks less about Halloween than I thought it would, is certainly a one stop cache of information about the history of the highly stigmatized and vastly misunderstood holiday of Samhain and other aspects of Celtic society. It also draws some fascinating conclusions about Celtic influences on the culture and religious practices of today. By the end of the book, I was saddened by the decline of the mysterious and beautiful ancient culture, but I was uplifted by the idea that its legacy has survived today in some of our own traditions. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about the Celts, the Gaels, Ireland's roots in general, the driving ideas behind their rites and rituals. This book is definitely getting added to my collection! Enjoy!
This was a bit of a hard read. I enjoyed it but there were some rather tedious passages. I suppose in a book like this that has to be expected because the origins of Halloween are so complex that any writer would need to spend a lot of time explaining Samhain’s meaning and background in order to have any hope of explaining Halloween. I wish the author had spent a little more time explaining how modern Halloween practices and traditions relate to those of Samhain. Taken for what it is this book was well written and informative.
I got about 20 pages into this book and realized I had learned next to nothing. The author's writing seems more like the ramblings of an unfocused mind. I'm sure the author knows quite a bit about the roots of Halloween, but didn't seem to know how to convey that information. I will not be finishing this book as I'm sure there are others that contain the same, but better presented, information.
Definitely an interesting book with lots of information. It is less about Halloween, but it is more to do with the traditions and others things that have inspired the Halloween we know today. Good read.
Why we celebrate the way we do.
A bit academic, but otherwise a very good read, with lots of interesting information.
Don't think I can finish this one. Very dense with many tangents on folk tales. Interesting read for the right person.
REALLY dry, and the writing style felt really disjointed and hard to follow... He was just all over the place most of the time.