Because they were farmers, Celts worshiped Baal, the powerful sun god who made crops grow. But Baal had power only half the year, and come the end of October, the winter god began his six-month reign. He was the Prince of Darkness. He was the Lord of the Dead. He was the god who killed crops and brought cold, black nights. His name was Samhain, or Summer's End... November 1...marked the end of autumn and the start of winter, so that's when Celts held their ancient harvest festival of Samhain. It was a supernatural time when barriers between them and the underworld vanished. Of all the nights of the year, sunset October 31 to sunrise the next morning was most feared. Evil spirits summoned by the Lord of the Dead where everywhere... To drive the evil spirits away. Celts gathered together around blazing bonfires. (p. 20-21)-my favourite quote from Hangman (gory horror) by Michael Slade (the father - daughter writing team of Jay and Rebecca Clark).
The deity most commonly worshiped by the ancient Canaanite people. Baal was a god of fertility and also of storms. The Hebrew word baal simply means "lord" and is often used to mean owner, master, husband or even man... In Canaanite mythology, Baal was part of an extended pantheon... According to the myth, Baal gained his preeminence in Canaanite worship by overcoming forces that sought to destroy the equilibrium and security of the world... In the Bible, Baal is seen as a rival to Israel's God. Not surprisingly, nearly every reference to Baal in the Scriptures is negative, bearing witness of the harsh fact that the Israelities were continually attracted to his worship. (p. 51)
-Reader's Digest's Who's Who in the Bible: An Illustrated Biographical Dictionary
At Samhain (October 31), the Wicca say farewell to the God. This is a temporary farewell. He isn't wrapped in eternal darkness, but readies to be reborn of the Goddess at Yule.
Samhain, also known as November Eve, Feast of the Dead, Feast of Apples, Hallows, and All Hallows, once marked the time of sacrifice. In some places this was the time when animals were slaughtered to ensure food throughout the depths of winter. The God -- identified with the animals --fell as well to ensure our continuing existence.
Samhain is a time of reflection, of looking back over the last year, of coming to terms with the one phenomenon of life over which we have no control -- death. The Wicca feel that on this night the separation between the physical and spiritual realities is thin. Wiccans remember their ancestors and all those who have gone before. (p. 70 - 71)
-Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham
I have over twenty submissions currently in publishers' slush piles. If you want to know how I did that, be sure to read my next post.
After a very productive Spring/Summer, I've entered a creative lull. It's not that I'm not working. It's not that I don't have plans. (In fact, I am working in dribs and drabs on four writing projects.) It's just