Today is October 31, which means today is Samhain, a Celtic sabbat that should not be confused with Halloween, which also falls on October 31 but is Christian in its roots.
Samhain (pronounced saa-win) is celebrated from October 31 to November 1, and yes, November 1 is another Christian day of importance called All Souls Day.
Confused yet? Just wait.
Samhain marks the end of the harvest season and the start of the darkest time of year–winter. And…, it’s used as a time to connect with those who have passed into the afterlife because the veil between the world of the living and the world of the departed is at its thinnest at midnight on the 31st.
By now you may be saying, ‘Wait one darn-tooting second, River Lady, that’s Día de los Muertos you’re describing.’
Um, yes and no. You see, it’s all intertwined because some Christian missionaries decided to ‘educate’ the Celtic people. Yup, those Celts were too damn uneducated for the Christians and needed a good education about how the spirit world worked. Soooooo, Samhain got a makeover and became Halloween, one night to honor the spirits and the Christian feast of All Saints Day (also known as All Hallows – hallowed means holy) was assigned to November 1, also known as the The Day of the Dead.
Thus the Celts were somewhat allowed to keep their Samhain cakes and eat them too.
1/2 c veg. oil
4 sq unsweetened chocolate (4 oz) melted
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
Mix oil, chocolate, and granulated sugar. Blend in one egg at a time until well mixed. Add vanilla. Measure flour by dipping method or by sifting. Stir flour, baking powder, and salt into oil mixture. Chill several hours to overnight. Heat oven to 350 deg F [175 deg C]. Roll about a tablespoon of dough into a ball (yes, it’s messy). Drop balls into confectioner’s sugar & roll around until coated. Place about 2 inches apart on greased baking sheet. Bake 10-12 min. They will be a little soft but should not be mushy. Edges should be firm. Don’t overbake—these burn easily. Makes about 3 dozen. (Courtesy of http://recipesforapagansoul.weebly.com/samhain-oct-31.html)
What does this religious history lesson have to do with living in my little corner of the Concord River? Truthfully? Not much except that I’m pagan and this is my blog, meaning I get to write about whatever I want.
Therefore, I wish you a bountiful Samhain, a Happy Halloween, and may the loved ones you’ve lost bless you with their love.
Oh, one more thing about this magical night. It’s a full moon, called the Hunter’s Moon and (drumroll, please) it’s a rare Blue Moon. According to the Farmers’ Almanac the last Blue Moon to appear on Samhain was in 1944, and it won’t happen again until 2039.
See, I told you this was a special night.
Okay, now let’s catch up on the critters in my corner of the Concord River. I’ve received a few new visitors over the past month that I thought you’d enjoy learning about. First, White-throated sparrows have shown their sweet faces in my gardens.
These cute little birds have the call: Oh Sweet Canada. I don’t really hear it but who am I to argue with ornithologists?
I love to watch them dig under the leaf litter for seeds and small insects. One very good reason to not rake leaves.
A few Song sparrows came flying in, even a one-legged one.
I’m not sure why White-throated sparrows get a catch-phrase for their song and Song sparrows don’t. It doesn’t matter I guess, their call is still pretty.
While looking up at the songbirds gracing my corner of the world, I almost missed what was happening down at my feet. A nearby nest of Painted turtles hatched and three hatchlings ambled into my driveway.
I thought it was unusual for turtle eggs to hatch in Autumn but according to turtleguardians.com/2020/01/should-we-stay-or-should-we-go-now-a-painted-turtle-hatchling-dilemma/, the occurrence is quite common.
I also found a fourth hatchling smashed on the road. If the drivers speeding along Elsie Ave. aren’t willing to stop for large turtles, what makes me think a hatching stands a chance?
A part of me wanted to keep one of the turtles to raise but then I remembered Little Ducky…
… and I opted to give the hatchling freedom.
Needless to say the little guy might have stood a better chance with the road than my handling techniques.
A Purple finch stopped by for a quick snack of sunflower seeds then continued on his merry way to wherever he was going. They spend the year in my area so I’m confused why they don’t visit me more often. Perhaps it’s the brand of seed I offer.
The Slate-colored juncos are back. As with the Purple finches, juncos stay all year in my area and again, I don’t have a clue where they’ve been but one thing I do know is when they show up, so does the snow.
And bingo! Yesterday my little corner of the river received an October snowfall. About three inches of the heavy stuff flattened my hydrangeas.
You can view the carnage the snow created in this YouTube video. (By the way, have you subscribed to my YouTube channel yet?)
Before the snow arrived, my river was stunning, decked out in her Autumn colors…
…and she’s still a knockout dressed in her October whites.
The ducks are back.
Actually they came back for a couple of days after my last post when I wrote they were MIA, then they disappeared again, but now they’re back. I see a trip to the Essex County Co-op in my future. (Update: I did drive to the Co-op and while waiting to pull into the parking lot got rear-ended by a guy in a panel truck who was too busy texting to watch where he was driving. As luck would have it, two police cruisers were on the side of the road and the policeman saw the whole thing. Now I need a right rear quarter panel but, thankfully, no one was hurt. And I still got corn for the ducks.)
Last weekend my friend, Bob, helped me remove the roof to the screen house, and just in time too, what with all the snow flying around.
Harlee wasn’t too happy about what was happening since it meant nights sitting outside were over.
Today I received a treat. Do you remember that I wrote about Samhain being the time when the veil between the two worlds is at its thinnest? (You should, you just read it like five minutes ago or do you skip the words and just look at the pictures?) Well, this afternoon a flock of Eastern bluebirds came through my yard.
They stayed just long enough for me to snap a picture of two males and whisper hello to my sister. Before she dies she promised she’d return as a bluebird and today was the perfect day for her to, once again, deliver on her promise.
It’s time to wrap up this blog post. I’ll leave you with two things. First, this Samhain blessing:
The second thing I’ll leave you with is my thanks for following my blog. Please share the goodness.
Blessed be :}
Mi manchi, mio immortale.