Honouring Our Ancestors at Samhain! Follow the #TarotBlogHop!

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Samhain, All Hallow's Eve, Halloween, Day of the Dead and the Celtic New Year are different names for the same Feast Day/Sabbat/Holiday. The celebrations are virtually the same: the "thinning of the veil," the honouring of the ancestors and the preparations made for the "Dark Time" or the cold part of the year--the season of winter. Currently, we celebrate this holiday on October 31st with the calendar we use now. Centuries ago, there were no calendars and most people did not read or write. Therefore, the calendar these people used was made up of the cosmic changes in the sky. The actual Halloween is when the Sun enters 15 degrees of of Scorpio, an Astrological point in time also called the "Cross Quarter Day."
Samhain Fires
In ages past, this holiday was a brilliant fire festival with happiness attached to it and poignant sadness as well. Those who could not survive the winter, gave themselves up to the fires; the old, the sick, the weakly infants, animals that could not be tended to or were not strong enough to survive the horribly harsh conditions. It was a serious matter of survival and only the strong ones would be able to make it until Spring! The customary nightly visits to households to get food & drink or "trick or treating" is said to be based on the Celtic custom of the "Man in Black." He was a surreptitious pagan/witch/wiccan messenger who would travel from one community to another to exchange oral information about upcoming gatherings, this was rarely written down--as it was dangerous in those days to worship the old Gods and Goddesses and it had been made into a crime by the Church. Others say that the custom originated in the last several centuries--of children who would dress up as the saints and go from house to house and then receive treats as rewards for their costumes. And we all know how the church liked to co-opt the pre-Christian, Pagan feast days and traditions!
Dumb Supper

I like to think that these customs came from the Old Ways, before Christianity had taken hold throughout Europe. Divination is a huge part of this holiday and the most common forms of Divination during this special time of the year are Scrying, the Tarot, Astrology, Runes, Oracles, Pendulum (yes or no questions), walking the Labyrinth, consulting with a Medium or groups may gather and have a Dumb Supper. The Dumb Supper is a lavish meal with a place setting for each person who has been lost that year (more common with family groups), or just one place setting for all of the Spirits--more for a community of people that are participating together. Food and drink is passed, even to the vacant places at the table. Everyone who attends eats the meal together in silence and waits for the Spirits to speak. This is a great custom of honouring the Spirits of our Ancestors and gives them the ability to communicate with us while the veil is thin and while it is easy for them to travel from the ethers to this Earth plane. 
Symbols of Samhain

As a Tarot Reader, Astrologer, Lenormand and Oracle Reader and a Rune practitioner, Divination is a very popular thing to do at this time of the year. People who would normally not want a reading will get one during this time. Or a House Blessing. Or they want to schedule a reader for their parties. Scrying with a smoked mirror or using a pendulum is great for parties with lots of people. Or "line strings" to answer specific questions with a tiny Lenormand Deck that you can fit into an evening bag works well, too. I use several different Tarot spreads specifically at this time of year for clients or if I am reading at gatherings.  One of my favorites during this holiday is the Astrological Spread and this uses uses Tarot and Astrology together in a circle that duplicates the twelve Houses on a printed Astrological Chart. How many cards you use in each of the Houses is up to you--you can make this type of spread your own. If the info from the reading is written down by the querent (I highly recommend that they do this), it is amazing to see how accurate this reading is as the year progresses--it gives the querent a personal forecast for the upcoming year. Many times the ancestors will appear in this type of reading in the 12th House of the spread. Or in the 3rd House for the querent's siblings, 4th House for the querent's mother/grandmother or the 10th house as the querent's father/grandfather. 

***Info on Mercury Retrograde transit. It is good to read up and be prepared!
Mercury starts it's retrograde motion on October 31st in the sign of Scorpio and will go until November 20th--then will be stationary for several days and resume it's forward motion again. The affects of this transit will last a bit longer while we on planet Earth are in Mercury's "shadow."
Saami Tipi (aka "Lavvu") and the Northern Lights

Switching gears: studying my ancestors and where my family comes from is a huge past time for me and I am always on a quest to learn more--I am signed into several genealogy websites. Our ancestors experienced such hardships in the past--harsh weather, illness, survival, fluctuating geopolitical situations--it is a wonder that any of us are here at this time. Life wants to live! I always knew I had indigenous blood lines because of my connections to nature and thought perhaps through my mother's line from France to Quebec in the 1600's and possible intermarriage with the First Nations there. Well, as far as I can tell presently, that never happened. A big surprise was what a recent DNA test revealed. French, Northern European, Irish, Scottish and Saami--the only indigenous people still left in Europe is my bloodline. The fact that this line also came through my mother AND father was very significant to me--and powerful!

The Saami live in the Arctic north of Norway, Sweden, Finland and northwest Russia (they used to be called Laplanders--now that is considered a derogatory term now as it referred to a torn or patched piece of clothing). They experienced hostility, killings, being forbidden to speak their languages or use their Shaman drums, forced assimilation, kidnappings of their children and forcing them to attend Nordic/Scandinavian schools, and "the bottle, the Bible and the bayonet," by their colonizers; the same playbook that the indigenous peoples of North America, Australia and many other places throughout the world went through. The Sami are still fighting for their rights; their right to herd reindeer, for environmental protections over their lands, waters, the preservation of the Arctic snow and ice for their survival and their own self-determination as an indigenous people based on human rights.

The medicine of the Saami Shamans is very powerful! Just recently an oracle deck was created by one of the Saami Shamans (or Noaidi) living in Norway--Astrid Ingebjørg Swart. She has sent me one of these decks and I use it constantly. You can check out my description and review of her deck or purchase it HERE.

An interview I did with one of Saami people's world renowned musicians and cultural ambassadors, Mari Boine is HERE. There are a lot of Shamanistic elements to her music, she uses the Shaman drum and she speaks with great authority and knowledge of her people's culture. Click the link above to read more my interview with Mari Boine for more information.
Take a listen to one of Mari Boine's songs:
"Hear the Voices of the Foremothers" or "Gula Gula"
I am last on this list...so you can go to the:
A Saami Shaman Drum with Pictographs.
The diamond at the center symbolizes the Sun and it's life giving energy.
The Sun is the most important deity in the Saami culture.


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