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. “

Quoted text

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

Polish Wszystkich Swietych

“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

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Halloweeen… A modern Haunt from Spirits Long Past

 

 

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I saw this and had to share her with you!  Quiet the Trickster.

Curious Cat Interupting the Cannibal's dinner

You will be next my furry friend!

 Nom Nom Nom!

 

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 Squirrel Performing a Lobotomy

 

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Gods it sucks when my skin shrinks off of my skull, ….. soooo PAinFul!

Though not as bad a being conscious during a lobotomy?

 

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Man it is better than  Chthulu breaking out of your skin.

 

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  Or turning into a demon

 

 

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 This interaction eventually became a superb news article, …err photo opp.

 

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 Here is the haunting news picture.

 

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Almost as scary as the zombie squirrel is this lion squirrel.

 

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Though this Zombie squirrel is Terrifying maybe more so than the lion.

 

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 I thought this was Spooky Cool.

 

 

Many perspectives exist on Halloween’s formidable and sacred history.  Honestly as a Druid the one that feels the most true in my bones is from “Tlachtga: Celtic Fire Festival” by John Gilroy excerpted by newgrange.com. Here is part of the article that is on Newgrange.com

Tlachtga where the Great Fire Festival at Samhain was celebrated
Tlachtga where the Great Fire Festival at Samhain was celebrated.

As millions of children and adults participate in the fun of Halloween on the night of October 31st, few will be aware of its ancient Celtic roots in the Samhain (Samain) festival. In Celtic Ireland about 2,000 years ago, Samhain was the division of the year between the lighter half (summer) and the darker half (winter). At Samhain the division between this world and the otherworld was at its thinnest, allowing spirits to pass through.

The family’s ancestors were honoured and invited home whilst harmful spirits were warded off. People wore costumes and masks to disguise themselves as harmful spirits and thus avoid harm. Bonfires and food played a large part in the festivities. The bones of slaughtered livestock were cast into a communal fire, household fires were extinguished and started again from the bonfire. Food was prepared for the living and the dead, food for the ancestors who were in no position it eat it, was ritually shared with the less well off.

Christianity incorporated the honouring of the dead into the Christian calendar with All Saints (All Hallows) on November 1st, followed by All Souls on November 2nd. The wearing of costumes and masks to ward off harmful spirits survived as Halloween customs. The Irish emigrated to America in great numbers during the 19th century especially around the time of famine in Ireland during the 1840’s. The Irish carried their Halloween traditions to America, where today it is one of the major holidays of the year. Through time other traditions have blended into Halloween, for example the American harvest time tradition of carving pumpkins.

Two hills in the Boyne Valley were associated with Samhain in Celtic Ireland, Tlachtga and Tara. Tlachtga was the location of the Great Fire Festival which begun on the eve of Samhain (Halloween). Tara was also associated with Samhain, however it was secondary to Tlachtga in this respect.

The entrance passage to the Mound of the Hostages on the Hill of Tara is aligned with the rising sun around Samhain. The Mound of the Hostages is 4,500 to 5000 years old, suggesting that Samhain was celebrated long before the first Celts arrived in Ireland about 2,500 years ago.

Celtic Earth Works on the Hill of Tara
Celtic Earth Works on the Hill of Tara

The Diwali Festival

The Hindu Diwali (Divali, Deepavali) Festival known as the Festival of Lights occurs about the same time as Samhain. Diwali marks the Hindu New Year just as Samhain marks the Celtic New Year, could it be that Diwali and Samhain have a common root in antiquity?

Samhain / Halloween

An excerpt from Tlachtga: Celtic Fire Festival by John Gilroy.

The Festival of Samhain marked the end of the Celtic year and the beginning of the new one and as such can be seen to the equivalent of New Year’s Eve. We have seen how the Celts believed that night preceded day and so the festivities took place on the Eve of Samhain. There is no doubt that that this festival was the most important of the four Celtic Festivals. Samhain was a crucial time of year, loaded with symbolic significance for the pre-Christian Irish. The celebrations at Tlachtga may have had their origins in a fertility rite on the hill but it gathered to itself a corpus of other beliefs which crystallised at the great Fire Festival.

The perceptible, and apparent, decline in the strength of the sun at this time of year was a source of anxiety for early man and the lighting of the Winter Fires here symbolised mans attempt to assist the sun on its journey across the skies. Fire is the earthly counterpart of the sun and is a powerful and appropriate symbol to express mans helplessness in the face of the overwhelming sense of the decay of nature as the winter sets in.

Now the sun has descended into the realm of the underworld, the forces of the underworld were in the ascendency. The lord of the underworld, unfettered from the control of the sun, now walked the earth and with him travelled all those other creatures from the abode of the dead. Ghosts, fairies and a host of other non-descript creatures went with him. The Lord of the Dead in Celtic mythology can be identified as Donn.

Mythology tells us that when the invaders of Ireland known as the Miliseans landed at the Boyne, they made their way to Tara. Once there, they were advised by the Druids that they should return to their ships and sail off the shore to the length of nine waves. When they were on the sea a great storm arose which scattered their fleet. The commander of one of the ships was Donn. His ship was broken to pieces in the storm and he himself drowned along with twenty four of his comrades. He was buried on the Skellig Islands off the coast of Kerry.

Thanks  and many blessings too Newgrange.com for providing this profound article.

 

Spiorad na Samhna — Origins of Halloween

This short Irish film traces origins of Ireland’s biggest Halloween Carnival in Derry back to troubled years of 1980s. It also traces origins of Halloween to the Celtic festival of Samhain.
From Livescience.comHistory of  Halloween by Benjamin Radford, Live Science Contributor | September 18, 2017 10:40pm ETHalloween is the season for little ghosts and goblins to take to the streets, asking for candy and scaring one another silly. Spooky stories are told around fires, scary movies appear in theaters and pumpkins are expertly (and not-so-expertly) carved into jack-o’-lanterns.Recently, creepy clowns seem to be doing some real terrorizing: In August of 2016, locals in Greenville, South Carolina, reported a clown who was allegedly trying to lure children into the woods; then in September, a teen reported a knife-wielding clown in Summitville, Tennessee. Local and state officials in many areas urged people to report suspicious clown sightings. And in South Florida, some stores pulled clown costumes from their shelves and Broward County police advised people not to dress up as the masked grinners, according to the Miami Herald.In 2017, the clowning continued. A movie based on the classic Steven King story “It” was remade and released in the United States on Sept. 8. In the movie, a demon that takes the form of a clown lures children into the sewer with a red balloon. In Lititz, Pennsylvania, police responded to reports of over 20 red balloons tied to sewer grates, according to CBS News. People dressing as clowns remains a popular way to scare. Children in North Dakota, for example, were targeted in May by a knife-wielding clown with a boa constrictor and in September, Australia saw an increase of clown sightings before Halloween.Amid the silly and scary antics, Halloween is much more than just costumes and candy; in fact, the holiday has a rich and interesting history.SamhainHalloween, also known as All Hallows’ Eve, can be traced back about 2,000 years to a pre-Christian Celtic festival held around Nov. 1 called Samhain (pronounced “sah-win”), which means “summer’s end” in Gaelic, according to the Indo-European Etymological Dictionaries. [13 Halloween Superstitions & Traditions Explained]Because ancient records are sparse and fragmentary, the exact nature of Samhain is not fully understood, but it was an annual communal meeting at the end of the harvest year, a time to gather resources for the winter months and bring animals back from the pastures. Samhain is also thought to have been a time of communing with the dead, according to folklorist John Santino.”There was a belief that it was a day when spirits of the dead would cross over into the other world,” Santino told Live Science. Such moments of transition in the year have always been thought to be special and supernatural, he added.Halloween provides a safe way to play with the concept of death, Santino said. People dress up as the living dead, and fake gravestones adorn front lawns — activities that wouldn’t be tolerated at other times of the year, he said.But according to Nicholas Rogers, a history professor at York University in Toronto and author of “Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night” (Oxford University Press, 2003), “there is no hard evidence that Samhain was specifically devoted to the dead or to ancestor worship.”According to the ancient sagas, Samhain was the time when tribal peoples paid tribute to their conquerors and when the sidh [ancient mounds] might reveal the magnificent palaces of the gods of the underworld,” Rogers wrote. Samhain was less about death or evil than about the changing of seasons and preparing for the dormancy (and rebirth) of nature as summer turned to winter, he said.Though a direct connection between Halloween and Samhain has never been proven, many scholars believe that because All Saints’ Day (or All Hallows’ Mass, celebrated on Nov. 1) and Samhain, are so close together on the calendar that they influenced each other and later combined into the celebration now called Halloween.Costumes and trick-or-treatingThe tradition of dressing in costumes and trick-or-treating may go back to the practice of “mumming” and “guising,” in which people would disguise themselves and go door-to-door, asking for food, Santino said. Early costumes were usually disguises, often woven out of straw, he said, and sometimes people wore costumes to perform in plays or skits.The practice may also be related to the medieval custom of “souling” in Britain and Ireland, when poor people would knock on doors on Hallowmas (Nov. 1), asking for food in exchange for prayers for the dead.Trick-or-treating didn’t start in the United States until World War II, but American kids were known to go out on Thanksgiving and ask for food — a practice known as Thanksgiving begging, Santino said.”Mass solicitation rituals are pretty common, and are usually associated with winter holidays,” Santino said. While one tradition didn’t necessarily cause the others, they were “similar and parallel,” he said.Tricks and gamesThese days, the “trick” part of the phrase “trick or treat” is mostly an empty threat, but pranks have long been a part of the holiday.By the late 1800s, the tradition of playing tricks on Halloween was well established. In the United States and Canada, the pranks included tipping over outhouses, opening farmers’ gates and egging houses. But by the 1920s and ’30s, the celebrations more closely resembled an unruly block party, and the acts of vandalism got more serious.Some people believe that because pranking was starting to get dangerous and out of hand, parents and town leaders began to encourage dressing up and trick-or-treating as a safe alternative to doing pranks, Santino said.However, Halloween was as much a time for festivities and games as it was for playing tricks or asking for treats. Apples are associated with Halloween, both as a treat and in the game of bobbing for apples, a game that since the colonial era in America was used for fortune-telling.  Legend has it that the first person to pluck an apple from the water-filled bucket without using his or her hands would be the first to marry, …read moreChristian/Irish InfluenceSome evangelical Christians have expressed concern that Halloween is somehow satanic because of its roots in pagan ritual. However, ancient Celts did not worship anything resembling the Christian devil and had no concept of it. In fact, the Samhain festival had long since vanished by the time the Catholic Church began persecuting witches in its search for satanic cabals. And, of course, black cats do not need to have any association with witchcraft to be considered evil — simply crossing their path is considered bad luck any time of year.As for modern Halloween, Santino, writing in “American Folklore: An Encyclopedia” (Garland, 1996), noted that “Halloween beliefs and customs were brought to North America with the earliest Irish immigrants, then by the great waves of Irish immigrants fleeing the famines of the first half of the nineteenth century.  …read moreAuthor BioBenjamin Radford, Live Science ContributorBenjamin Radford is the Bad Science columnist for Live Science. He covers pseudoscience, psychology, urban legends and the science behind “unexplained” or mysterious phenomenon. Ben has a master’s degree in education and a bachelor’s degree in psychology. He is deputy editor of Skeptical Inquirer science magazine and has written, edited or contributed to more than 20 books, including “Scientific Paranormal Investigation: How to Solve Unexplained Mysteries,” “Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore” and “Investigating Ghosts: The Scientific Search for Spirits,” out in fall 2017. His website is http://www.BenjaminRadford.com.

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Jack O’ Lantern Cake

 

A powerful cadre of Nutty Wizards and Witches

 

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Something Wicked this Way Comes

Hopefully this Jack o’Lantern will scare the Wickedness away

 

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Should the Pumpkin Fail then how about we go to a more traditional spirit ward?

 

So recently, as in a few days ago, I fell in love with the most magnificent tiny black cat I have ever beheld.  In honor of said cat I bring you my black cats of Halloween favored images

 

In Honor of the Best and ONLY Cat I will ever feel is Awesomamazing

 

 

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I love Ravens

 

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A little more squirrelly magic!

 

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Wizard really getting into her work.

 

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A Batty Pumpkin

 

 

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Frankenpumpkin

 

 

Someone Took his Broom and Hat away!  RUN!     ……… no Really RUUUUUUN!

 

A beautifully illustrated Halloween story book with animals

 

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Better Watch out for Spirits

 

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Or Werewitches passing as Squirrels

 

 

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Be sure to wear your costume to go undetected by EeVIL Spirits

 

So that you can go seeking treats in Safety

 

 

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May your Halloween be filled with Magic

 

 

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 And be Happily Haunted
The Multifaith perspective on Halloween is under development as a new blog post.

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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Another Bit of Weather & POP Gets the Thanks… Personal updates and late posts

Squirrelecain named Erma

Thanks to Sponge bob Square pants for the image.

 

Another bit of Weather Irma is headed to Cuba, Florida, Puerto Rico. Please take a moment to send these folks our thoughts, prayers (if that is your thing) and well wishes.

 

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Thanks Zen Folio for the great image!

 

Irma is presently Cat 5. It seems to have stabilized at the top most Hurricane category.

Hopefully we do not go into science fiction Category 6 or GODS forbid worse that are beyond our present scale.

There is some variability of Irma’s Path, so Houston and the Gulf Coast may be hunkering down and going up our trees to hold on again for the next big wind and rain. The wind is what concerns this squirrel, as the ground is already mush and a strong wind could easily take down the whole forest of Trees, which could fall.

 

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Prince of Peace Roman Catholic Church started  receiving donations just as Harvey was heading out on Late Monday. Without a whisper from the Holy See this group of Parishioners and those who lived around the church stacked the walls of the church to the ceiling. Donations of relief supplies were coming in faster than they could be sorted.

Thank you squirrels that Pray together!

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Footnote: Acorn Thrower skipped a week of posting due to her Squirrel-mate having a Salsa Dancing Heart (Arrhythmia), on the normal writing day. It took three days to get my mates Blood pressure under control and out of the trees in height.(systolic and diastolic) on Thursday my mate Patrick’s heart got back to the standard 4/4 rhythm.

There was much stress to me Acorn Thrower and doctor recommended staying at home to work which occurred.  Patrick was working from home for about two weeks when Harvey blew in and had  him further his time working from home, as much as one can during a hurricane. Patrick was so anxious to go into work he went in to the office the Friday prior to Labor Day.