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October 14, 2002 c.e.

Thoughts for the Waning of the Year


Survival

     Well, we did it. We celebrated our 1 year anniversary last month. We've been through many changes during the course of the past year, but have ended up better than ever. I look forward to reporting the same news after our 20 year anniversary. Server problems have continued to plague us, but not to the extent that we experienced while on our old server. In time, the Forest will move to a new server again; to "my" server. However, I am postponing the task for as long as possible due to the time needed for a successful transfer.


New Stuff

     As many of you have no doubt noticed, we have a new forum. "The South Park" was added for 2 reasons; first, it was a direct response to the email from "WindWillow/Loz." Primarily though, I created the forum as a place for all of us to be a little less restrained. For this reason, if anyone is offended by vulgar language, discussions about sex, debates about politics, or any other such material, you might want to avoid The South Park. That is the reason I have set it up as a closed forum where access must be requested. I honestly don't think anyone in the Forest will be offended, but I felt it was safer this way just in case.
     If you are really, really wanting a spell for something, this is the place to discuss it. Personally I don't believe in using the spells of others, but I know some might want a "reference" spell to consult while creating your own, or even to use as is. By posting it in a closed forum, we prevent the worry of being held liable for any bad things that might happen due to someone inexperienced using a publicly posted spell.

     I am debating about adding a parenting/kitchen witch-type forum. It is something that I think we need. If anyone is interested in moderating such a forum, email me.


Personal Stuff

     What a year this has been! I have gone from working as an auto mechanic, to working as a web designer for the state. Meanwhile, I also started a web design/web hosting company, and will soon be selling computers and parts, also. I can't remember when I've ever been so busy.

      As some of you might know, I occasionally like to list my year's accomplishments & defeats; not as a way to brag, as I normally can't stand bringing attention to myself, but as a way of updating my friends on what has been going on with me. Since I am terrible about returning emails, and therefore don't "ramble" much, this is my forum to talk to all of you at once.

     What did I do this year? Here's the short list: Seems like a reasonably productive year to me.


Samhain (interpolated from another site)

     The thing people seem to wonder most about Samhain is, How is it meant to be pronounced? This depends on exactly where you are. In Ireland, it is pronounced, "sow-in." In Wales and England, it is traditionally, "sow-een." And in Scotland, because Scots love to be different, it is, "sav-en." Of course, if you happen to be speaking to an American non-pagan, it is typically pronounced "Sam-hane."

     Samhain is celebrated on October 31st, a date familiar to most people in the Western world today. Although Samhain is considered a cross quarter holiday, the cross quarter does not fall on October 31st, but occurs whenever the Sun reaches 15 degrees in Scorpio. This is usually sometime in the first week of November and coincides with the Catholic holiday of Martinmas.

     Samhain is one of the most popular of the Pagan Holidays. There are three reasons for this. The first is simply that it's fun (although many would argue not as enjoyable as Beltaine). The second is that it is the one holiday that the general public recognizes as a pagan holiday (even if they do have plenty of misconceptions about it) and loves to celebrate anyway. The Christian church of old decided, in the grand tradition of the times, that the people could be allowed to keep the holiday they were so fond of. However, it needed a new name. They also decided that instead of being a holiday to celebrate all of the dead (for obvious reasons, the Church wished to focus on that part of the holiday), it should only mark the "holy" amongst the deceased. Hence, the holiday comes down through history as Halloween.

     Samhain is obviously the end of the "summer" half of the year. (The Celtic people divided the year into two parts, summer and winter.) It is the last harvest before the snows. It is the dark opposite of Beltaine, announcing the rule of Darkness and celebrating the Crone. It is also considered to be the first of the new year. Since the Celts viewed time as circular rather than linear, The night that is at once the end of the year and the beginning was considered to be "outside" of time. For this reason, Samhain is a holiday of divination and a time of the dead. A night of contradiction where life and death, opposites but part of the same thing, were celebrated side by side.

     The most well known aspect of Samhain is it's role as the Feast of the Dead. It is a night to honor the ancestors, to celebrate their lives, and to toast their memories. It is an evening for families to gather and hear tales of Great Grandfather's life and the legends of the Old King and his knights. It was believed that on this night, the dead could return to earth to visit with the living. It was considered polite to set places at the table for those recently deceased and to leave food for them and for wandering souls. Lights may be placed in windows and along roads to help guide the spirits out for the night. This was the beginnings of the ever popular jack-o-lantern. Lights where places in gourds so that the wind would not extinguish them and they were left as guides and as wards to protect the household from any vindictive souls who may have tracked them down.

     The other role of Samhain is slightly less known, possibly due to the adamancy to the Catholic church against divination. At Samhain, the veil between worlds is at its thinnest, which is why the dead can cross over on this eve. It also means that it is easier to see into the future. It is a night to cast runes, deal cards, and scry. It is also a night to make decisions. The Celts have a tradition that is the root of the modern New Year's Resolution. The tradition states that on this day, one should reflect on the negatives in ones life and perform a ritual asking the Crone to help in dissipating them.

     This was "borrowed" from the following site: http://ladyhedgehog.hedgie.com/samhain.html The changes I made were mainly to the rather poor grammar and spelling. The rest of her site is....ummmmm....interesting. You might want to explore it a little further.


Postscript

     I think I'll make this newsletter/update-type thing a regular feature. If anyone has anything they would like to see in the next issue, let me know.
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