Catholic Samhain 31 Oct 07
A soft night, high cloud and a strong continuous breeze set the scene for Halloween or Catholic Samhain. I left west Dublin at about 6:30pm and headed towards Navan town on my way to Tlachtga. As I passed the Hill of Tara and went through the proposed crossing point of the forced M3 double troll road with the existing N3 � I saw the first big fire of the night outside of Dublin.

I was annoyed at this fire because the flames were dirty dark red with black plumes and they were coming from land owned by Cathal McCarthy just in front of the Tara na Ri pub. This piece of land has been proposed as a civic dump and it is right beside the Gabhra stream that is sacred to the Celtic Goddess and the proposed / forced 30 acre interchange roundabout. From a casual drive by glance it seemed that there was disposal of toxic waste under the cover of Halloween fires. I drove on.

I went through Navan and on to Athboy, a kind of long way around but I was checking out road works, new roundabouts and assessing my route plan for the Dark Moon of Samhain on the 9th of November. The damn M3 has ripped apart many beautiful places and removed many mature roadside trees and displaced known landmarks with new roundabouts and diversions. I knew where I was going but the landscape has changed forever.

As I arrived in Athboy I saw a pair of flame taper holders make their way out of the village common and up to the Hill of Ward. It is said by some that the Hill of Ward is a corruption of the Hill of the Bard and to others it is known as the Hill of the Earth Energy Goddess or Cnoc Tlachtga. I drove by the roadworks and went slowly up the hill. About half way up at the old well there was the usual gathering of people around the well as the storyteller entertained the crowd of about 30 or 40 people including children with the old stories by their torchlight on the dark night. I drove on and went to the crossroads on top of Tlachtga, who is the Celtic Goddess of Samhain where I parked next to the water chlorination plant. I put on my robes and gloves and got my staff and walked in to the ancient temple site.

It was lit up with a petrol generator humming away and a string of lights leading into the field showing the way to the temple. The same man organises this every year and he always lights only half the path by electricity. The second half is lit by flame torches. I climbed over the stile carefully as I was wearing my full robes and walked in about 100 yards where I met Carmel. She held a burning candle in a jam jar lantern and asked if I would bless this new fire spirit. With a smile I held my hand to the jar and gave my blessing and best wishes. She asked if we would meet later on Tara and I smiled and said yes we would.

I walked on to the temple of Samhain on Halloween. There is a triangulation point on the highest mound inside the five ring ceremonial enclosure and it was here I settled as I had done on previous Catholic Samhains. The fire was well lit at this stage, up off the ground on a carefully made base and big enough to hold a substantial fire. A small group were tending this when we all heard the singing of the main group enter the field. This was the group from the well mentioned earlier and they passed by me with smiles and nods. They made circle around their fire and their lady leader read a story of Tlachtga to them. When she had finished she asked for Tlachtga to join them, three times she asked and then from the darkness a light appeared in the east and a lady holding the energy of Tlachtga arose and joined the group and thanked them for attending. This ended the play. They had tea and coffee and some just sat near the fire. Fireworks were going off in a 360* horizon but it was quite peaceful at Tlachtga. The main players came and set candles at the triangulation point and I said, �well done Ladies� and they said thanks back. My partner Niamh then joined me after she had driven for an hour having just left work. All ended � we exited the hill in darkness because the generator was hunting (starving for fuel) so I turned it off and the quiet was pleasing to all � we then drove to Tara.

When we got to Tara we saw that there was quite a gathering of mostly local young men and women and that parking was hard to get but as I pulled up to the entry to Tara I found a very nice space that put a smile on my face� Members of the Vigil Group, including Carmel and Debbie, greeted us and some of the English supporters we have met before who have joined the cause to Save Tara Valley also came over to say hello and hug / shake hands. There were fireworks going off and drumming could be heard and a positive spirit of being free on Tara was all around us. We gave two gifts to Debbie � a laminated version of http://www.druidschool.com/site/1030100/page/926796 and a copy of the �The Serpent and the Goddess� by Mary Condron, we asked that she share these gifts around. This book is a powerful read.

Then we went up on the Hill of Tara to see and feel the spirit of the gathering. Debbie went off to organise one of the beacon fires. Carmel was busy making connections and Phoenix was trying to sort out who should be where and which fire keeper would attend�. Niamh and I went into the darkness and walked away happy to be �not organising� for a change and we made our way over to the processional cursus called the banqueting hall. There was a giant tent set up in the cursus � a kind of geodesic dome tent with an open mouth, we saw a group watching a child dancing seanos style to hand made music and we could see that being was the focus and that even though drink was all around the energies were about just being on the hill.

We wandered up to the top of the cursus to the gravel patch where we have held our moonthly ceremonial fire and ritual of protection for Tara since Samhain 03 and saw a log fire flaming away. We stood separate, beside the giant thorn and watched for 20 minutes trying to feel the vibe. Our fires are in a cauldron with a steel basin underneath to catch all embers � but their fire on Catholic Samhain was on the actual gravel patch at the top of the cursus before the Rath of the Synods. I know that no damage would be done to archaeological monuments as this gravel patch was laid to allow access for ambulances to the 100 acres of the Hill of Tara. Only wild wood was being burned and there was an experienced fire keeper making sure that the fire material was kept clean. We were pleased to see the natives and our overseas neighbours celebrating together and we mused on the background incarnational astrological connectivity that they must all share.

We left the hilltop and walked slowly back to the car- park. My robes billowed in the strong southwesterly wind as we headed northeast and this attracted some visitors, some of whom who spoke Gaelic to us and we exchanged blessings with these people we had never met before. We met the Vigil Group again in the car park and exchanged information and new ideas and plans and set our next meeting time and date. We were having a laugh while being serious and feeling positive about the group intent when we saw fireworks exploding against the old de-consecrated protestant St Patrick�s church. Some group had the idea to shoot fireworks against the OPW / Duchas Interpretive centre (the old de-consecrated protestant St Patrick�s church) probably as some kind of protest� They never think these things through � any action like this can justify the state high fencing the hill and restricting access. As we left � a team of committed Save Tara Vigil Keepers were heading up to stop this expression of anger. No one was in charge � the best idea was the nearest to having �some one in charge� and as we left we were happy that this was to be shared with the �rocket launchers�. Just as we got our robes and coats off we were met by one of the videographers who has put so many videos online and she shared all our hopes and concerns. We left the hill of Tara at 10:40 and drove home to west Dublin and I wrote this article. Maybe there is extra to report but we left and drove home.

For me personally the big thing is the growth of Pagan Spirituality in Ireland can now be seen as happening in giant surges. When I look back over the last 5 years I can see a huge shift in the freedom of expression among the freedom inclined. I know that the nurturing of Pagan Spirituality in Ireland is in direct response to freedom from dogma and the church of fear loosing its grip on the hearts and souls of the �ordinary� people of Ireland. The increased amount of people celebrating Halloween or Catholic Samhain at appropriate sacred sites is a most beautiful sign. In time I hope they can escape the fake calendar and align with the star calendar (sidereal time) as used by their ancestors and then a major illusion will simply dissolve as the people connect to Source once again. Any thing that resists change will collapse, while those who surf change can be seen as dancing in the Light.

1/11/07 Con Connor.
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