Día de Muertos …

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Information  and images compiled by Acorn Thrower

“What’s …Día de los Muertos…?
Día de los Muertos — also known as “Día de Muertos,” or “Day of the Dead” in English — is a holiday with Mexican origins that is celebrated on November 1 – 2. … Día de los Muertos is a day to celebrate death — or, more specifically, the deceased —… Día de los Muertos has both indigenous origins from the Aztec festival for Mictecacihuatl, The Lady of The Dead, and Catholic origins from the Spanish conquistadors’ All Saints and All Souls Day.

 

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Wait, it’s a two-day Holiday?
Yes, the original Aztec holiday was actually a month long event, but when the Spanish conquistadores arrived and turned Mexico Catholic, the celebration became intertwined with All Saints Day (Nov. 1) and All Souls Day (Nov. 2). Traditionally, Nov. 1 is when you welcome the souls of children that have passed away, known as Día de los Inocentes (Day of the Innocents) or Día de los Angelitos (Day of the Little Angels). Nov. 2 is when the adult souls arrive.

 

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How do you celebrate the dead?
Those who celebrate Día de los Muertos will usually put up altars honoring those members of the family who have passed away. They decorate the altars with candles, sugar skulls, marigolds, food, beverages and clothes. These offerings, or “ofrendas,” are gifts for the dead and are usually a combination of his or her favorite things. Like the holiday itself, the altar also has mixed imagery of both indigenous and Catholic background. The graves of the deceased are also visited and honored with offerings as well as vigils.

 

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Would you have to go to Mexico to see these celebrations?
No, although Día de los Muertos is a Mexican National Holiday it is actually celebrated in other countries as well such as Guatemala, Brazil and Spain. It is also becoming more and more popular in the U.S. due to the large number of Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans.

 

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…Skulls?
Skulls are everywhere during Día de los Muertos. The origins trace back to the pre-Hispanic era, when they were kept as trophies and used during rituals.

 

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The most recognized skull on Dia de los Muertos is the Calavera Catrina. The image as we know it today originated with José Guadalupe Posada, a Mexican Artist who depicted a fancy female skeleton as a dig against the Europhile Mexican elite during the Porfirio Díaz dictatorship. It became an iconic image of the Mexican Revolution at the beginning of the twentieth century.

 

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But the actual Catrina is said to have originated thanks to the Aztec tale of Mictecacihuatl, the Lady of the Dead.”

By Ana Maria Benedetti

Why is Día de los Muertos celebrated?

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“Assured that the dead would be insulted by mourning or sadness, Dia de los Muertos celebrates the lives of the deceased with food, drink, parties, and activities the dead enjoyed in life. Dia de los Muertos recognizes death as a natural part of the human experience, a continuum with birth, childhood, and growing up to become a contributing member of the community. On Dia de los Muertos, the dead are also a part of the community, awakened from their eternal sleep to share celebrations with their loved ones.
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The most familiar symbol of Dia de los Muertos may be the calacas and calaveras (skeletons and skulls), which appear everywhere during the holiday: in candied sweets, as parade masks, as dolls. Calacas and calaveras are almost always portrayed as enjoying life, often in fancy clothes and entertaining situations.”

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“In many parts of Mexico, participants in Dia de los Muertos festivities wear shells or other noisemakers on their clothing and jewelry. Why?

Answers will vary! Consider the culture of the festival:
•    The dead are a part of the community, but invisible to the living. Shells and noisemakers will wake the dead from their sleep, and keep them close during the festivities.

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•    Many of the dead were musicians or enjoyed music and dancing.
•    Dia de los Muertos is a celebration, and music is an important part of the joyous atmosphere.”

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“A Dia de los Muertos altar for Mexican singer Juan Gabriel, created by Amparo de Jesús Rincón Pérez, of the National Council for Culture and Arts in Mexico City, and officials from the Dallas Mexican Consulate, at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas.

It’s not even celebrated in all of Mexico.

Isabel Montemayor, assistant professor and research associate for the Center of Mexican American Studies at the University of Texas at Arlington, said it is not as common for places in northern Mexico to celebrate, compared with southern Mexico in states such as Michoacan, Oaxaca and Veracruz.

It’s not a depressing holiday.

Montemayor said it’s a misunderstanding that the tradition is somber because death is involved. It’s quite the opposite, actually.

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“It’s a celebration of life. That’s why you see the bright colors and music. Yes, there’s some solemnity about it, but at the same time it’s a celebration of the individuals who lived,” Montemayor said.

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Ofrend

It’s not a shrine; it’s a very symbolic altar.

Shrines are usually sacred structures for a specific deity. Altars used for Dia de los Muertos are the centerpieces for the holiday.

 

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Rincón said the altars can vary in levels, but they are typically three-tiered to symbolize heaven, purgatory and earth.

 

The bread is round for a reason.

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Pan de muerto, or bread of the dead, may sound off-putting. But it’s a common treat made at panaderias, or Hispanic bakeries, for the holiday. The pastry is round to symbolize the circle of life, Rincón said.

 

What is la ofrenda?

 

You may see prepared meals, cigarettes or even a bottle of tequila on some altars. Those items are a part of la ofrenda, or the offering, which is a gift for the dead. It’s usually items that the deceased enjoyed the most. During the holiday, it’s believed the dead can savor their favorite things again.

The holiday coincides with the end of the agricultural cycle. Indigenous pueblos in Mexico saw it as a time to give thanks for the year’s harvest and honor their ancestors.” dallasnews.com

 

 

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For more on Día de los Muertos celebrations and tradition around the world go to Wikipedia.

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Día de los Muertos a woman dressed as a Caballero

 

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Calavera Catrina on a deck of playing cards.

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Honoring the ancestors

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More stunning calavera face painting

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Let these fellas play us out

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One final ancestor to honor

 

Images scoured from the internet.  The images belong to the photograhers or source holders.  All source material has a link in the body of the text.  All rights reserved to original publications.  Thank you for allowing me to share your words and work.

 

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All Saints Day was moved… How squirrelly? All Souls too…

A “Saintly” Squirrel in Stained Glass

All Saints day originally went my a different name, dedication Sanctae Mariae ad Martyres, based upon the pagan celebration of Lemuria both were held on May 13. “Some liturgiologists base the idea that this Lemuria festival was the origin of that of All Saints on their identical dates and on the similar theme of “all the dead”.” (Wikipedia All Saints Day)  Pope Gregory III in the mid-eighth century dedicated a day to the saints and their relics, November 1.

“The choice of the day may have been intended to co-opt the pagan holiday “Feast of the Lamures,” a day which pagans used to placate the restless spirits of the dead.  In Ireland All  Saints Day is celebrated on April 20th.  November 1 is all Saints Day, Tomorrow is All Souls Day.  I will cover both in this Blog as I will post it in the morning on All Souls day.

 

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Weeping Angel in Holy Light

 

 

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Weeping Angel During Day

 

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A classic Depiction of “All Saints”

100 points if you can name them all.   I have a friend. Maria B. who can name them all.

I am going to start with and bit of Truth, as it is what the fundamental beleif of my faith, Druid.  Though I have been in a Roman Catholic Church in the past year.  Long ago I converted from Roman Catholiscism to Druid.  I have released all of my past knowledge of the religion that no longer lightened my soul.   Thus there will be numerous instanaces of exerpting from other sources.  As I have been researching this topic I have fallen utterly in love with the pictures of lights to honor the dead.

 

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“The Catholic practice celebrates all those who have entered heaven, including saints who are recognized by the Church and those who are not.”  Catholic.org

Of Course where you have a room full of a christians you will have a similar number of perspectives on what a holy day means, as well as how to celebrate the holy day.

 

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“According to Mark Wood at Christian Today many evangelical protestants are uncomfortable with saints as it seems to rank some Christians more highly than others.

Thus many Christians extend the celebration of All Saints Day to everyone who is a Christian. ‘We are all saints, in a biblical sense,’ he writes.

‘So All Saints Day is a time to be thankful for all those Christians who have lived before us, whether they are officially saints or not. Some are the great teachers ad prophets from history.

Some are those who’ve taught and inspired us personally. ‘Some are our friends and family. We can thank God for their witness, and for the way they have transmitted the faith down the generations. We can learn from their lives. We can take time to be grateful for what we’ve received, and to recommit ourselves to follow in their footsteps.’

Kenya Sinclair, a writer at Catholic Online, echoes this sentiment saying All Saints Day is a ‘call to live as saints’.”  Metro.co.uk

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Prayer votive to the Saints

 

 

Fun Fact from Beliefnet.com

“New Orleans Saints

Did you know the New Orleans Saints was named after All Saints Day because of the huge Catholic population in New Orleans?”

 

Symbols for the Holy Days

Germans purely celebrate All Saints Day

All Saints’ Day is represented by paintings and images of many saints together. The saints may surround or look towards a figure representing Jesus and be accompanied by angels. Saints are often represented with a golden halo above or behind their heads.

 

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Two or more candle wicks dipped in wax and wrapped around a cone-shaped form

 

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Newweling preburning

 

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Newweling Burning

In some areas of Germany, a Newweling symbolizes All Saints’ Day. A Newweling is made of two or more candle wicks dipped in wax and wrapped around a cone shaped form. The form is removed before the candle is lit. Traditionally, each candle wick is dipped in red, white, blue, yellow or green wax and two or more different colors are used for each candle.

Toussaint

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“All Saints’ Day in France is locally known as “Toussaint” which is the contraction of “Tous les Saints”, meaning “All the Saints” in English. The solemnity takes place in Autumn on the 1st November and is a Catholic tradition of honouring the dead.

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French people commemorate their dead on the 1st of November. The catholic tradition makes a distinction between Toussaint (All Saints’ Day, on the 1st of November) from the “Commémoration des fidèles défunts” (All Soul’s day, on the 2nd of November). Dead relatives are supposed to be commemorated on the 2nd of November, but since Toussaint is a public holiday, French people honour their dead on the 1st of November. Members of a family usually gather to go to the cemetery together.

 

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They put chrysanthemum flowers on the grave and light candles to symbolise happiness in the afterlife.

 

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They can also attend special church services.

 

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Toussaint can be a very important moment for families. They can spend a day together in a respectful atmosphere which generally excludes usual family fights, even though regrets and sorrow can be a source of tension. Toussaint is an opportunity to strengthen family links spending a nice day together or expressing common grief.

Many different countries blur the lines of All Saints Day and All Souls Day, the Filipinos are another one of  these nationalities.

 

Undas or Undras

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“Most Filipinos go to the cemetery to visit the graves of deceased relatives and friends. Some prefer to go on Oct. 31st or Nov. 1st, while some go to the cemetery for three straight days. Others would spend the night at their loved ones mausoleum. Once we arrive, we clean the tombs, light up candles, offer flowers, and say a prayer for the souls of the departed.”

 

 

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“During this time, schools are on their semester break so it is also an opportunity for families to spend time together. Children would play with their cousins as the adults would exchange stories and play cards or mahjong (a game that originated in China). Back in the 80s, flying kites and catching dragonflies were favorite activities among the young. Filipinos, known for their love of singing, also bring guitars to serve as a means of entertainment while at the cemetery.

 

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As lunchtime approaches, everyone sets the table for the various dishes cooked for that day. It usually includes the deceased loved one’s favorite dish. We place a plate of food in front of the tomb or grave as offering for the soul of our relatives and friends. Priests would also go around the cemetery to offer prayers and bless graves.”

 

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“Many people go back to their home provinces for All Souls’ Day. If they can’t, they go to the church to light candles. Special masses are also held in memory of the departed.”

 

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“Aside from honoring the dead, Filipinos also use this time to unwind. “

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Polish and Hungarian Catholics also seem to blur the lines of the two holidays.

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“All Saints’ Day is celebrated solemnly in Poland. The first of November is a bank holiday during which people visit cemeteries and gather round their family graves, laying flowers and lighting candles.

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“The Roman Catholic tradition (Festum Omnium Sanctorum) honouring all saints, both known and unknown, is one of the most important Polish holidays. It was also recognized by the communist authorities of the Polish People’s Republic. They renamed it the “Day of the Dead” and treated it as a day of remembrance for the deceased.

People used to believe that on 1 November, the day the Church traditionally received offerings from believers to celebrate mass in memory of the dead, souls stuck in purgatory would roam around among the living.

 

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Pagan beliefs and celebrations have survived to the present day in the Podlasie Voivodeship, historically part of the eastern Slavic lands. Forefathers’s Eve, a tradition pre-dating Christianity commemorating restless souls, is still celebrated in some regions. In many villages, food, drink and prayers are still offered to the souls that have to atone for their sins, to help ease their anger and make their journey to heaven more comfortable. The tradition of a feast during which bread, eggs and honey are consumed has also been preserved. According to one superstition, a spoon which falls to the ground should not be picked up as it is thought to have been snatched by a dead soul searching for food.

 

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CHLEB SZWAJCARSKI aka. “bread of the dead”

In some villages in southern Poland, people continue to bake the “bread of the dead,” marked with a cross and prepared early enough so as not to torture souls which, it was believed, used ovens and chimneys as the shortest way to heaven. People used to share the “bread of the dead” with priests and beggars who would say a prayer for the dead.

 

All Saints’ Day is followed by the All Souls’ Day (Commemoratio Omnium Fidelium Defunctorum – Commemoration of All Deceased Believers). It was introduced by Odilio, an abbot from Cluny, in 993 to replace the pagan celebrations for the dead. Nowadays, on All Souls’ Day, Roman Catholics remember the dead and pray for their souls. The second of November is not a bank holiday in Poland, but practising Roman Catholics go to mass on that day.

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On 1 and 2 November Polish cemeteries are alight with hundreds of thousands of candles. The flower traditionally associated with All Saints’ Day in Poland is chrysanthemum.”

KAROLINA KOWALSKA

 

 

Hungarian All Saints Day

Halottak Napja

 

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Hungarians lanterns honoring the holy days

 

ALL SOULS DAY

Celebrated on November 2nd

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“All Souls’ Day is a Catholic tradition in which churches commemorate the dead by praying for their souls. Rituals include visiting family graves and remembering deceased relatives. However, this Christian holiday combines some rituals from the Pagan holiday Samhain as well as ancient Mexican traditions used to celebrate and remember dead ancestors.”

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“Altars are set up in homes to honor dead relatives. These are adorned with food and drinks (ofrendas), photos, candles, flowers, and candy skulls inscribed with the name of the deceased. Incense sticks are lit to help the departed find their way.”

 

“What Is All Souls Day (Commemoration of the Faithful Departed)?

All Souls Day History, Information, Prayers, Meaning, Traditions, & More

What is All Souls Day? It is when the Church commemorates and prays for the souls in Purgatory, who are undergoing purification before entering heaven. All Souls Day is celebrated on November 2nd, the day after All Saints Day. Prayers: All Souls Day Prayers

 

‘Just the facts’

Liturgical Color(s): Black, White, or Violet
Type of Holiday: A Special Class; Ranked With Solemnities because it takes precedence over a Sunday
Time of Year: November 2 (West), Eve of Pentecost (East)
Duration: One Day
Celebrates/Symbolizes: All the faithful departed
Alternate Names: Commemoration of the Faithful Departed; Commemoratio omnium Fidelium Defunctorum
Scriptural References: 2 Maccabees 12:44-45; Matthew 12:31-32; 1 Corinthians 3:13-15; 2 Timothy 1:16-18; 1 Peter 3:18-20

Data Points

All Souls Day directly follows All Saints Day, and commemorates the faithful departed, those individuals who die in God’s grace. Catholics believe that not everyone who is destined for heaven is immediately ready for the “Beatific vision,” i.e. the direct experience of God and his perfect nature in heaven, so they must be purified of “lesser faults,” and the effects of sin.

The Catholic Church calls this purification “purgatory.” The Catholic teaching on Purgatory essentially requires belief in two realities: 1. that there will be a purification of the souls of believers prior to entering heaven and 2. that the prayers and masses of the faithful in some way benefit those in the state of purification.

As to the duration, place, and exact nature of this purification, the Church has no official teaching or dogma, although Saint Augustine and others used fire as a way to explain the nature of the purification.

Many faithful Catholics, including Pope Benedict XVI, understand that Purgatory may be best thought of as an “existential state” as opposed to a temporal place (see Benedict’s Eschatology: Death and Eternal Life 230-231).

In other words, because Purgatory is outside created time and space, it is not necessarily accurate to speak of a location or duration of Purgatory. Nonetheless, the prayers and Masses of the faithful do have an impact on the purification that the faithful are undergoing in Purgatory. Many non-Catholics, including C.S. Lewis, have believed in Purgatory, and the official dogma of Purgatory is hardly offensive, even if the popular understanding of it has led to confusion. As a more everyday explanation, many liken Purgatory to a place or state where one gets “cleaned up” before entering into the presence of Almighty God.

The Church prays for, and remembers, the faithful departed throughout the entire year. However, All Souls is the general, solemn, day of commemoration, when the Church remembers, prays for, and offers requiem masses up for the faithful departed in the state of purification. Typically Christians will take this day to offer prayers up on behalf of their departed relatives and friends. Others may remember influential individuals that they never knew personally, such as presidents, musicians, etc. This may be done in the form of the Office of the Dead (Defunctorum officium), i.e. a prayer service offered in memory of departed loved ones. Often this office is prayed on the anniversary (or eve) of the death of a loved one, or on All Souls’ Day.

There are many customs associated with All Souls Day, and these vary greatly from culture to culture. In Mexico they celebrate All Souls Day as el dia de los muertos, or “the day of the dead.” Customs include going to a graveyard to have a picnic, eating skull-shaped candy, and leaving food out for dead relatives. The practice of leaving food out for dead relatives is interesting, but not exactly Catholic Theology. If all of this seems a little morbid, remember that all cultures deal with death in different manners. The Western aversion to anything related to death is not present in other cultures.

In the Philippines, they celebrate “Memorial Day” based loosely on All Souls Day. Customs include praying novenas for the holy souls, and ornately decorating relatives’ graves. On the eve of All Souls (i.e. the evening of All Saints Day), partiers go door-to-door, requesting gifts and singing a traditional verse representing the liberation of holy souls from purgatory. In Hungary the day is known as Halottak Napja, “the day of the dead,” and a common custom is inviting orphans into the family and giving them food, clothes, and toys. In rural Poland, a legend developed that at midnight on All Souls Day a great light shone on the local parish. This light was said to be the holy souls of departed parishioners gathered to pray for their release from Purgatory at the altars of their former earthly parishes. After this, the souls were said to return to scenes from their earthly life and work, visiting homes and other places. As a sign of welcome, Poles leave their windows and doors ajar on the night of All Souls Day. All of these customs show the wide variety of traditions related to All Souls Day.

‘A bit of History’

Christians have been praying for their departed brothers and sisters since the earliest days of Christianity. Early liturgies and inscriptions on catacomb walls attest to the ancientness of prayers for the dead, even if the Church needed more time to develop a substantial theology behind the practice. Praying for the dead is actually borrowed from Judaism, as indicated in 2 Maccabees 12:41-42. In the New Testament, St Paul prays for mercy for his departed friend Onesiphorus (2 Timothy 1:18). Early Christian writers Tertullian and St. Cyprian testify to the regular practice of praying for the souls of the departed. Tertullian justified the practice based on custom and Tradition, and not on explicit scriptural teaching. This demonstrates that Christians believed that their prayers could somehow have a positive effect on the souls of departed believers. Closely connected to the ancient practice of praying for the dead is the belief in an explicit state called purgatory. The New Testament hints at a purification of believers after death. For example, Saint Paul speaks of being saved, “but only as through fire” (1 Corinthians 3:15). Over time, many Church Fathers, including St. Augustine, e.g. in Enchiridion of Faith, Hope, and Love and City of God, further developed the concept of a purgation of sins through fire after death.

‘A bit More History’

In the early Church, departed Christians’ names were placed on diptychs. In the sixth century, Benedictine communities held commemorations for the departed on the feast of Pentecost. All Souls’ Day became a universal festival largely on account of the influence of Odilo of Cluny in AD 998, when he commanded its annual celebration in the Benedictine houses of his congregation. This soon spread to the Carthusian congregations as well. The day was celebrated on various days, including October 15th in 12th century Milan. Today all Western Catholics celebrate All Souls’ Day on November 2, as do many Anglicans, Lutherans, and other Christians. Initially many Protestant reformers rejected All Souls’ Day because of the theology behind the feast (Purgatory and prayers/masses for the dead), but the feast is now being celebrated in many Protestant communities, in many cases with a sub-Catholic theology of Purgatory. Some Protestants even pray for the dead; many Anglican liturgies include such prayers. While the Eastern Churches lack a clearly defined doctrine of Purgatory, they still regularly pray for the departed. …”

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Hand made paper machete lantern

 

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An All Souls Day Festival

 

 

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The Dearly Departed watching over the families who have come to visit

The Faith of Ages… as old as a Great Oaks probably older…definitely older

A Druid Samhain…. About My the symbol of my faith and my favorite holy days. Part 1 of 2

Though not all druids are from the same branch of the oak tree. I will talk about the other druids of different branches our faith, in a later blog post in an effort to “get er dun’ “as it were.  Druids as a people of faith tend to have more group participation and much more focus on maintaining heritage of their faith.  There are under 10 branches of Druidry or Druid faith branches globally to my knowledge, but in the interest of brevity and getting on with the focus topic I will cover the symbol of my faith, how Druids honor Samhain, and what it means to us.

 

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This is my tree spirit peeking out at you.

I love squirrels. They are forest tenders.

 

 

I will quickly do my best to speak quickly to the one symbol of my faith.  I will have to continue writing on Tuesday next week and post on Wednesday morn.

 

Triskelion

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Ancient Triskelions from the Celts of Gallia

 

 

 

Modern Triskelion

 

 

The Triskelion as a 5 pound in circulation 2017 coin of the realm

 

 

 

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Triskelion on a water wheel on the Isle of Skye

 

 

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Triskelion on Churches across Great Britain.

Most of these churches were erected on sites holy to the Druids

The Triskelion was easy to adopt into the Christian faith to represent the Trinity, thus subsuming the locals religion and converting the Celts to a new faith.

 

My symbol, the druidic symbol has two names the Triskelion and Triquetra. Triskelion means “three-legged” A being with three legs always must be in motion, in action. This is the founding concept of my faith, as it is the faith of the Natural world. The natural world is always in motion. Always dying, seeding, growing, birthing, blooming, striving, flying, germinating, thriving, harvesting, seeding, and dying again and again, and again…. eternally turning the cycle of life or you may know the Latin phrase ad infinitum or in Gaulish it would be said infinitamente. All life begins and ends with death. Death is what fuels the next cycle, it provides fecundity of the materials that nourish the Earth.

 

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Triquetra – the Trinity Knot

“Also known as The Trinity Knot. Like all Celtic knots the triquetra is constructed of one continuous line interweaving around itself symbolising no beginning or end, an eternal spiritual life.

The Celts favoured the idea that everything important in the world came in threes; three stages of life, three elements, three domains; earth, sea and sky, past, present and future. The triquetra is sometimes drawn weaving around a circle, symbolising the unity of the three parts.”

From Ireland Calling

 

Though I was taught the three domains are Land, Sea, and Sky.  I am unsure as to the awareness of the ancien Celtic people’s perception of Earth rather than Land, even though Druids were noted astronomers.

 

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Triquetra

 

 

The Public Face of the Triquetra

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The Triquetra has been used in the media to portray Witches as Good, though it has nothing to do with Wicca or Witchcraft.

The Triquetra were used instead of a Pentacle, because the Pentacle is associated with the devil and evil.  The Witches in the Charmed series were good characters who did Hollywood magic.

 

 

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 The Charmed Book of Shadows

(A tome that Witches and Wiccans keep the records of their spell research, spells, and rituals)

 

 

Symbols that regularly get mistaken for Triquetra or Triskelion

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 A Tribal Valknut not to be confused with a Triskelion

 

Traditional Germanic Valknut, A symbol of the Asatru Belief

 

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A Migi Mitsudomoe sp?

A Shinto “Fire Wheel”, another symbol that gets mistaken for a Triskelion.

This is a Shinto symbol of good fortune

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A Druid symbol of good fortune

 

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The end of Part 1 of 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pointy Witch Hats & Black Cats Part 2 of 2

A Wiccan Samhain Part 2 of 2

 

A wee bit o Wiccan Law or rather Rede, just so you know that Wicca, Wicce, or Witches as they choose to assign themselves.

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Just a bit of Squirrelin’ Around the Wich’s Hat to lighten the mood

 

And now the Rede en toto…

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Now on to How The Wiccans Celebrate Samhain

They set up your Samhain Altar…

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Basic Element Info

Air
Masculine, projective element connected to rational thought, the mind, intellect, wisdom, communication, etc.
Corresponding to the North, the winter season, middle of the night.
Earth
Feminine, receptive, connected to stability, practicality, materialism, the physical world, etc.
Corresponding to the East, to the spring season, to sunrise time,
Fire
Masculine, projective, connected to the will, passion, creativity, etc.
Corresponding to the South, to the summer season, to midday (noon).
Water
Feminine, receptive, connected to the emotions, intuition, mysterious, the subconscious, etc.
Corresponding to the West, to the fall season, to twilight time.

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Samhain is both last and first.

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Samhain is the ending and the beginning.

 

A Wiccan Ritual has a standard format for group rites.

  • A Circle is cast and elements called, the circle is sealed.
  • A Processional  – The Summoner of the rite sends out their page  to gather the coverners to ritual.  The Summoner rings a bell thrice to call the coven to the rite. The page sees to the coveners they are  asked to ground, center while focusing on the rite ahead. They then get ritually cleansed, generally smudging.  Next they are lead to the head of the path to the rite.
  • A door is cut to allow entry to the circle.  The covener enters and is greeted in turn by the priestess and then the priest (the order of who greets first is dependant upon the rite).  The door to the circle is sealed.
  • The Priest and Priestess lead a song, hymn, or chant and dance It is sung to honor the deity (ies) The dancing and singing may include instruments such as drums, tambourines, and finger cymbal. The song and movement build the energy to be utilized for the forthcoming magic work.  The dance always goes always desoil round the circle.
  • The Priest speaks about the shifting of the time and light
  • The Priestess speaks about the thinning of the veil and invites the ancestors and loved ones
  • Then an enactment of the Samhain rite occurs , honoring one of these energies or a few of these concepts: the final harvest, or death of the God, return of the dead to briefly rejoice, the creation of the world, with  chaos transformed to order,  or culling the weak animals that will not make it through the winter (this is the time of year to rid one’s self of weakness).  Enactment will take the form of a play, mime or dance.  At the end of the enactment a bell is rung seven times and
  • Then a convener speaks on how Samhain is perceived.
  • The Priest and Priestess respond
  • The coven reply
  • The Priest and Priestess respond
  • The coven reply
  • The Priest and Priestess respond
  • The coven reply
  • The Priest and Priestess respond
  • The coven reply
  • The Priest and Priestess lead a  dance around the circle
  • The Priestess takes up the symbol of the God and a sacred mystery of sacrifice is made going back and forth between Priestess and Priest. Covener stands by to light the cauldron.  The Coveners circle round to place an offering on or near the altar. They may kiss the Priest  and move back to their places, always moving desoil, as they pass the burning cauldron they may toss in their paper containing their weakness. The Priest contemplates, then removes the symbol of the God and dismisses the God.
  • The bell is rung nine times
  • Then follows the Ceremony of Cakes and Ale..
  • The circle is dismissed.
  • The feast (to ground out the energy of the rite ) occurs followed by  games and fun.
mostly researched  from Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft

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According to Scott Cunningham’s Living Wicca… Samhain symbolizes The end of Summer and the dead are honored.  Scrying by flame or mirror is recommended, leave offerings for the departed. Colors are orange and black.

 

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Online the consensus is that a Wiccan Samhain is one or two days around the 31st of October and the 1st of November.  Or takes place around the first full Moon of October, generally called the Harvest Moon. This year (2017) Samhain would have been at the top of the month if celebrated around the Full Moon.  The energy felt like Samhain to me.  This was the most intensely I have felt Samhain energy in quiet some time.

Here are two Wiccan Samhain rituals.

Take a few moments to watch and learn about Samhain by watching rites.

   A Wiccan Samhain Ritual

about 32 minutes

Cauldron Chat – 2015 Samhain Ritual

about 11 minutes

 

 

 

Pointy Witch Hats & Black Cats Part 1 of 2

…. A Wiccan Samhain Part 1 of 2

Important Details

Getting to know your Wiccan or Witch

Witch Hats

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Pointy Witches Hats

Earliest seen wearing of the Pointy Hats, now associated with powerful women was…

“But weirdly, one of the earliest incarnations of the conical headpiece is also one of the most familiar: Three female mummies uncovered in the Chinese region of Subeshi[PDF]—known as the “witches of Subeshi”—are famous for covering their hair with large funnel-shaped contraptions of black felt. They look like aunts in a fourth century B.C. outtake from Sabrina the Teenage Witch.” Katy Waldman from her blog  https://tinyurl.com/lzrljn3

 

A bit further along that the Mummies are the other two iterations of what is today typically worn by the modern Witch hat.

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First is the hennin.  The Hennin is where we see the great skyward reaching point of the classic witch hat derives.  A Hennin designated the person as being of noble countenance.

 

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The second chapeaux from this era of European fashion and culture was the Phrygian cap.    This particular head covering had a specific meaning for the wearer.  A person wearing a Phrygian cap represents liberty, sometimes noted as a liberty cap, “in artistic representations it signifies freedom and the pursuit of liberty.”

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cone of Power

Visual Representation of a Cone of Power

“Of course, most modern people who identify as witches don’t actually wear the stereotypical witch’s hat. (They don’t have to pull on flowing garments either, although certain rituals are associated with color-coded robes.) Still, the peaked cap holds special significance for some Wiccans, who see it as a visual representation of the Cone of Power they draw on for their spells.”

Katy Waldman from her blog  https://tinyurl.com/lzrljn3

bonfire

Bonfires are built to enhance airflow for even and safe burn; the optimal shape is a conical.

A bonfire can be seen to contain three of the traditional elements which Wiccans fundamentally use to direct power.  The fourth is ever-present as a guardian at the base of this luminous con of power.

Three is a number that is akin to the Divine Feminine (the power seen as creation.)

Most of the witches hats are worn by women or girls.

The witch hat, this tool taps into the divine femine power.

Art of Witches, Real Witches , and Film Portrayals of Witches

It is my theory that the witch hat embodies an idea drawn from it’s herstory. The Witch’s Hat represents the ennoblement of women as manifest liberty, thus creating the cone of power

88528bc11a2918f7d7aac509c0c55954A Witches  Hat Maze for you

The triple elements present in the luminous Cone of Power

Earth (the Wood),  Air / Oxygen (that empowers the fire to burn), and Fire (the energetic manifestation of the luminous Cone of Power

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The Cone of Power appears regularly in the form of the bonfires that are consecrated and blesses to enhance the positive magic or rather energy of the ritual. Generally the weather has turned cool on Samhain (last of October) so warmth is also a concern.

 

Familiars and Animal Companions

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Black Cats

Black Cats and Witches

Black Cats and Witches are a a dynamic part of the portrayal of a Witch, or rather a Wiccan.  Many who follow Wicca find or are found by an animal companion or rather a familiar.  Those companions will spontaneously manifest a bond or connection.  Now that said, not all black cats are familiars.

Not all familiars are cats.  I know of a few other species of familiars, a boa constrictor, a miniature goat, a pit bull, a shar pei,  a  dachshund, a parakeet, an iguana, a horse, and a rabbit.  Not every Wiccan has a familiar.

Finding or being found by a familiar has to occur as is naturally.  Animal companions are generally loving pets

I have been calling Wiccans witches. Not all witches are practitioners of the Wicca.   Only some Wiccans claim to be Witch.  Manners maketh Man, thus I ask you to be polite make inquires into how to address your local Wiccan or witch and what they feel the difference is to them.

 

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A Wiccan Memorial Day Honoring Fallen Pagan Soldiers

 Soldiers who will later be honored at Samhain to honor those who have gone before to The Summerland.

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Not all Witches choose to wear a Witch hats

 

Yes, I know I went on a tangent.

to be continued…

 

Squirrels in Pumpkins and Holiday Tales

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September flew by… I may have missed a couple of weekly posts, apologies.

Now we are in my very Favorite month, October.

To honor all of the various traditional celebrations of Spirit,

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Gourd

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and Bone;

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I will post blogs on the various way many different cultures, faiths, and traditions celebrate. There may be more than one a week

What I will cover for the celebrations of Spirit, Gourd and Bone:

  • Samhain in the Wiccan Tradition

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  • Samhain in the Druidic Tradition

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  • Halloween

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  • All Saints Day

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  • Dios Del las Muertos

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Blessings from the World Tree – Wiccaning of two youths



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Stephanie  quizzically inquiring me.

Will you perform a Wiccaning for my two  children Rosie, age 2 and Bear age 13?

Yes. I will bless and honor their purpose here on Earth, and dedicate them to the Lord and the Lady and announce before all that they shall be known in all deeds and rites as Rosie and Bear.

Yes, I will Wiccan your children.

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I shall call to the universe to have their divine promise recognized and bless them.

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And I shall present them to the Lord and Lady.

I am deeply honored that you asked me to Wiccan your children.

Acorn Thrower