November 1st, 2006

Madonna del "Magnificat" (detail)

The Day Following Samhain/Halloween

In the very early days in Ireland there was a custom among the nobles and the learned people to have a festival three days before and three days after Shamhain, each three years. At that festival they made peace with each other and entered into new friendships and alliances. After this festival they assembled to ratify and renew laws.

“It was their custom at the Feis of Tara to pass six days in feasting together before the sitting of the assembly: three days before Samhain and three days after it, making peace and entering into friendly alliances with each other.”
- Geoffrey Keating, Forus Feasa ar Eirinn

The daytime after the festive night of Samhain was a solemn time, in which people brought themselves in alignment with the darker half of the year, the work that waited and the blessings that would come. They finished unfinished buisiness and ordered their affairs.

My question today -for which the tarot inspires the answer- is: “How can I bring myself into alignment with the dark half of the year that has started today?”

I have pulled grail ten (the equivalent of Ten of Cups), as an answer, from the Arthurian Tarot. This card came as quite a shock. 


It’s sunny, summery and carefree atmosphere makes me aware how burdened I feel, and how I long for a life free of worries. In a reading with someone this morning came -quite coincidental- the same card on the table (to be exactly: Ten of Cups, the equivalent). For this person Ten of Cups was not the way to go, for me grail ten is just what I need: enjoying myself, setting my eyes on a sunny road. In this manner I can bring myself into alignment with the cold and dark next half of the year. Oh yes, and the grail is hidden in that tower.

From and inspired by: Caítlin Matthews, The Celtic Spirit, Harper Sanfrancisco, 1999.