In Ireland there are three Samhains each year � Catholic Samhain, Lunar Samhain and Solar Samhain. An explanation is needed, as the reality of time control / distortion by the Church of fear is undone. Catholic Samhain is one of those phrases like �political honesty� or �military intelligence� in that none of these pairs of words sit together easily. Catholic does not honour Samhain as it is the main festival of the Celt and the Roman Church sought to eradicate this way of spirituality since it got the upper hand. But, the native traditions of Ireland were not fully wiped out by the Church and they have begun to re-emerge once again. The problem is that the Church has twisted the calendar and now many people seek to celebrate Catholic Samhain on the Friday or Saturday nearest to the 31st October or 1st of November. This is the grass roots re-emergence of our native traditions and is not to be shunned or attacked in any way � but their mistake on timing must be acknowledged so that it may be corrected..
The main differences that will be noticed between Catholic Samhain and the Lunar and Solar Samhain are that on the Catholic event � a) any wood will be burned along with tyres, mattresses etc, b) there will be rockets fired off to scare the spirits / fairies away, c) the actual festival purpose has been distorted in its timing, d) it is now even related to Guy Fawkes night in the UK, e) excessive drinking and abuse of animals, f) car stealing and burning in the main towns and cities.
Along with this is the native desire to reconnect with our ancient traditions. This will be seen best in the countryside. The true tradition of Samhain is the end and start of the New Year for the Celtic Irish people and the Honouring of the Dead because this is the Festival of Death and Rebirth. Our ancestors reckoned time by nights and not by days. Terms like fortnight (two weeks of nights) show this to us. They also reckoned the year by the start of the dark half at Samhain, the second bright half was honoured at Beltinne / Bealtine.
To really understand what determined the timing for Samhain etc for our ancestors we need to look away from Catholic Calendars. In this website there is a detailed explanation of the Eightfold Solar Year of the Tuatha De Dannan. This is also available as a lecture and slide show to interested groups. The clue lies in the timing set by the alignment of the ancient passage Cairns such as Newgrange. Newgrange is a modern name meaning �new farm� and does not describe the temple at all. Br� na Boinne however does � it is a magical otherworld palace of plenty and happiness. We have many stories about Dagda, the good God and his residence at the Br�. The Sun on the winter solstice shines up the 66 ft passage to the centre of the main chamber. This Sun crosses the dormant Volcano � Lambay Island as it makes this alignment. This solstice alignment is sidereal time and it is properly measured when specific stars in the belt of the Zodiac line up. For the winter solstice we wait until the sun reaches 30* of Sagittarius / 0* of Capricorn. Next year for instance this sidereal event takes place on the 22nd of December 2006 at 00:24 but in 2005 it happens on the 21st of December at 18:37 when it is actually dark as measured from Greenwich. So as you can see this event does not have anything to do with the modern Catholic Calendar.
The charts below shows the Catholic celebrations and the Celtic Celebrations they tried to displace. Many of the Catholic celebrations are moveable but the Sunrise point over Lambay Volcano is not. The Celtic and pre-Celtic festivals are aligned to the Sun rising with a specific degree of the Belt of the Zodiac in the background and this is shown with two markers i.e. the Belt of the Zodiac and the East of North coordinates � these do not change when a human makes a calendar.
Catholic Ceremonies to displace the Celtic Ceremonies -
Christs Birthday 25 Dec
Candlemas 2 Feb
Easter 25 Mar
Pentecost / Ascension May/June
Feast of St. John 24 June
Assumption Day 15 Aug
Michaelmas / Nativity of Mary 8 Sept
All Souls Day/ All Saints Day 1 Nov
Celtic Ceremonies centered on Tara based on Solar Alignments over Lambay Volcano -
Winter Sun Standing 0* Capricorn 135*EoN 20 / 23 Dec
Imbolg 10* Aquarius 117*EoN 30 Jan / 2 Feb
Spring Equinox 0* Aries 88*EoN 20 / 22 Mar
Beltine 10* Taurus 60*EoN 30 Apr / 2 May
Summer Sun Standing 0* Cancer 45*EoN 21 / 22 June
Lughnasa 10* Leo 60*EoN 30 July / 2 Aug
Autumn Equinox 0* Libra 88*EoN 20 / 23 Sept
Samhain 10* Scorpio 117*EoN 30 Oct / 2Nov
Samhain has its own alignment similar to the Winter Solstice at Newgrange (Br� na Boinne). This is at a Passage cairn called Cairn �L�. This cairn is found in the Hills of Loughcrew, which is also called Sliabh na Caillighe or the Hills of the Witches but the proper translation of the old Irish name is the Hills of the Veiled Ones. This huge stone mound with its passage and chamber is unique in Ireland because it is the only one to have a Quartz Standing Stone inside it. On Samhain the Sun and Moon line up over Lambay Volcano to send their energies onto this Quartz Stone inside the Cairn. These Standing Stones act as acupuncture needles activating the earth energy in a region. If you visit this area you will be directed to Cairn �T� and not to cairn �L� and even if you are smart and ask to get directions you will not get much help from the authorities. This is because the family who owns the land do not want visitors to walk on their grass. The local man who owns the other hill (Cairn �T�) is often about to give direction to Cairn �L� and he tells the story of the Nappers (owners of the land at Cairn �L�) as only being here since Cromwell times (late 1600�s). It is a good story and I�ll let him tell it to you. The gate to Cairn �L� is locked and the key is not available to anyone. On Catholic Samhain the key holder opens the gate and a select group gets access.
My understanding is that Cairn �L� is older and more important than Newgrange because of the complexity of temples at Cairn �L� and the fact that the alignment is for the start / end of the Celtic Year. Be assured however that this alignment predates Celts by thousands of years.
The range of hills that are called Loughcrew / Sliabh na Callighe / the Hills of the Witches form a border for the ancient land of the tribe called the Laigin. The other three borders are the Boyne and two of its tributaries � the Blackwater and the Yellowford Rivers (sometimes called Tremblestown River). These rivers in times past were the main highways of transportation. The Yellowford River runs by the Hill of Tlachtga and would have been the means by which the new flame (that was made on Tlachtga every Lunar Samhain) was brought quickly to Tara. Tailte is the location of the Irish games that predate the Olympics and it is found on the Blackwater River. I hope the sacred landscape of our magical ancestors is beginning to open up for the reader at this stage.
The Yellowford River starts on the western slopes of the Hills of the Witches and then goes to the Hill of Tlachtga (Athboy) and into the Boyne and up to Tara. The Blackwater rises on the eastern slopes of the Hills of the Witches and joins the Boyne at Navan. Inside this was the territory of a magical race that had the respect of all the High Kings of Ireland. It was this group who created the sacred new flame every Lunar Samhain. This was then brought to Tara (which is outside the borders of the three rivers and the hills) and given to the High King. He then gave it to the people who were in attendance and they then brought this sacred druidic fire with the High Kings permission back to their Tuatha or clan / tribe.
The best way to stress the importance of this enclosed area is to tell the story of the last High King of Ireland without opposition � Rory O�Connor, died1198. I trace my ancestry back to this man and beyond. When he was high King he was without opposition. This is a crucial definition. He was able to call a gathering at Tlachtga and Tara and Tailte. People came of their own free will and the �games� were held at Tailte, a great assembly of petty Kings and Bishops was held at Tlachtga and Rory held court on Tara. This Oenach or festival was held around the sacred lands I have been describing in this essay and because many people attended Rory was a High King without opposition. A point to note � even though the �druids� were supposed to have gone at his time the acknowledgement of the High King still took place as it used to at the sacred lands of the Laigin bordered by the Yellowford, Blackwater and Boyne Rivers with the Hills of the Witches.
So I am clearly stating that over 800 years ago the Bishops had to go to Tlachtga (a druidic centre) to honour a High King. I am also telling you that this sacred hill is still venerated by Catholics who feel their genetic calling to the ways of their ancestors but that they now visit on the wrong day. Samhain is when the new or dark moon lines up over Lambay Volcano to send its focused energy up the passage of Cairn �L� onto a quartz standing stone inside the many roomed chamber and not on any calendar made by man. As an astrologer I know this as sidereal or true time and it is the portal or gateway to connect with the guardian of the sacred temples of our magical ancestors. Step into true time and meet some old friends.