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The Celtic Zodiac | by Michæl Paukner
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The Celtic Zodiac

The Ancient Origins of Halloween

 

In today's world it is often difficult for us to imagine that there were ancient civilizations that came long before us, who were more aware and in tune with nature, astronomy and astrology than we are today with all of our advanced knowledge and technology.

 

Approximately one thousand years B.C., a religious order of Celtic priests known as the Druids lived in the British Isles. They used a lunar calendar that consisted of 13 months, with each month having within it 28 days, plus an additional day which was added to the calendar as in a leap year, to correspond to the solar/lunar year. This 13 month calendar was used by the Druids to calculate their year and important festivals. The Druidic religion focused on the natural and supernatural energies of the universe which they identified with the spirits of their sacred trees. These sacred trees formed the basis of the Druid astrological zodiac.

 

Celts believed that on the night before their new year, which they celebrated on Novermber 1, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31, the Druids celebrated Samhain (pronounced sow-in), when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For someone who's entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.

 

The term Halloween, originally spelled Hallowe’en, is shortened from All Hallows' Even – e'en is a shortening of even, which is a shortening of evening. This is ultimately derived from the Old English Eallra Hālgena ǣfen.

 

The Real Story of Halloween: www.history.com/content/halloween/

 

© Copyright 2009 Michael Paukner. All Rights Reserved.

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Taken on October 31, 2009