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Samhain/Hallowe'en                    

Here are Graham's thoughts:
Halloween must be the most well-known, and notorious, of all the pagan festivals, and is depicted in modern culture as an American invention, preoccupied with fear, horror and celebrating evil.

The truth is, as always, rather more complex. It is a Celtic festival, one with ancient roots and a deep tradition behind it. Modern pagans celebrate it as Samhain, and for them it marks the end of the year. To explain some of the symbolism, I'm going to digress and explain the concept of the Triple Goddess. I've mentioned it in other festivals, but this seems like the right place to expand on it.

The Triple Goddess either represents three Goddesses, or more usually, three aspects or faces of the Goddess. Virgin, Mother and Crone are the three traditional names and refer to three stages of life. Starting with the Virgin, or Maiden, this is a young woman, full of promise and life. She is primarily concerned with enjoying life, dancing and courting. The next phase is Mother, where the joy and exuberance of youth settles into a more solid, deeper love and power. Finally, there is the Crone phase, the old woman who can no long bear children. She has a vital role in using her wisdom and experience to guide the Virgin and the Mother through life. A key point in mankind's evolution was when life expectancy increased to a point where there would be grandmothers. At this point, productivity increased because the grandmothers could look after the children while the mothers were farming. It also would have increased the store of knowledge that was passed down from one generation to the next.

As a further aside, there is a growing understanding that our modern culture is out of balance. It worships the Maiden, disregards the Mother and fears the Crone.
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