The Pagan Mysteries of Halloween

Celebrating the Dark Half of the Year
By (author) Jean Markale

Other books by this author

The Pagan Mysteries of Halloween
Celebrating the Dark Half of the Year
By (author) Jean Markale

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Pages : 160

Book Size : 6 x 9

ISBN-13 : 9780892819003

Imprint : Inner Traditions

On Sale Date : August 01, 2001

Format : Paperback Book

One of humanity's most enduring myths is that the dead, on certain nights of the year, can leave the Other World and move freely about the land of the living. Every year, on October 31, children of the world re-enact a sacred ceremony whose roots extend to the dawn of time. Author Jean Markale meticulously examines the rituals and ceremonies of ancient festivities on this holiday and shows how they still shape the customs of today's celebration.
Description

About The Pagan Mysteries of Halloween


A comprehensive examination of the rituals and philosophies of the Celtic holiday of Samhain, the inspiration for Halloween.


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


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


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

Table of Contents

Table of content


Introduction

1. The Celtic Festival of Samhain
The Festival of Samhain in the Celtic Calendar
The Rituals of Samhain
Death and Rebirth of the King

2. The Fantastic Night
The Liturgical Games of Samhain
The Interconnection with the Other World
The Abolition of Time
The Profound Meaning of Samhain

3.
The Festival of All the Saints
The Dating of All Saints' Day
The Festival of the Dead
Purgatory
The Protectress of the Anaons

4. The Shadows of Halloween
The Permanence of Halloween
The Diffusion of Halloween
Beliefs, Rituals, and Spells

Conclusion: Exorcising Death

Notes

Bibliography

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

Reviews

Book Praise

Book Praise

". . . an informative consideration of the enduring myths surrounding the October holiday."
The Midwest Book Review, November 2001

"This is a well-written, intellectual book."
PagaNet News, Volume IX Issue III

"Here is a book that is scholarly in its study of a pagan holiday, written by one of Europe's leading experts on Celtic culture."
Aquarius, March 2002

"All in all, this book provides some useful and well-researched information."
Rachel Wren, New Witch

“. . . should be in the library of every group working in a Celtic system, as well as in the library of many elders who are looking for something more than the usual, superficial treatment of Celtic beliefs. . . . it is a well of knowledge which should not be passed over lightly. Take the time to read and absorb the information herein and you will be more than amply rewarded.”
Mike Gleason, Witchgrove, March 2007

"The Pagan Mysteries of Halloween shines a broader light on a very popular and generally lighthearted holiday, giving it more meaning and form than what we are accustomed to."
Nellie Levine, Mind Body Spirit Odyssey, October 2010
Back Cover

Back Cover Copy

CELTIC STUDIES / HOLIDAYS

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

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

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

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