Saturday, 30 October 2010
Samhain and the Salem Trials.
Samhain is the Celtic feast of the dead.
There are so many customs, instead of boring you silly here are just a few things from Celtic tradition.
Soul cakes for deceased ancestors, a custom that has been transformed into giving treats to travellers who wander about on this night.
Samhain marks the beginning of the season of death which is Winter.
Fertile fields of Summer give way to the bare forests.
To celebrate this magical eve fires were lit on the sidh, or fairy mounds, in which the spirits lived.
A night of death and rebirth. Celtic tradition says that all those who die each year must wait till Samhain before crossing into the spirit world where their new lives begin.
I probably know more about the Salem Trials in America.
It all started in the Reverend Paris's kitchen, where Tituba a slave woman from Barbados, entertained the Reverend's daughter and her girlfriends during the cold winter months of 1691.( Soggibottom cottage was thirty years old. Spring Chicken of a cottage).
Are you sitting safely ?
Don't forget to be warm and cosy by the fire......
The girls asked Tituba, who knew methods of divination about their future husbands, a normal concern of most young girls.
In time the girls began to have fits, showed extreme moodiness, adopted odd postures and gestures and had visions. In Salem village this behaviour was interpreted by church leaders as the work of the devil.
Hearings were held over the next few months at which the girls and others who became afflicted with the same behaviour accused adult members in the community of tormenting them. (Teenage fad?)
As the winter turned into spring, natural misfortunes were blamed on the devil working through certain members of the village.
The theories of the day, the devil could work only through someone with that person's cooperation, someone who had made a pact with the devil. Someone who was a WITCH.
Accusations were made, people arrested, hearings were held. By Spring the jails were overflowing.
When the first real trials began Bridget Bishop was hanged after having been in jail since April.
In July Rebecca Nurse, Sarah Good, Elizabeth How, Sarah Wild and Susanna Martin were hanged.
August trials found John Willard, John and Elizabeth Proctor, George Jacobs, Martha Carrier and the Reverend George Burroughs guilty. All were executed, except Elizabeth Proctor, who was pregnant and given a stay of execution until her baby was born. (Good of them).
September sent Martha Cory, Alice Parker, Ann Pudeator, Mary Esty , Margaret Scott, Mary Parker, Wilmot Reed and Samual Wardwell to the gallows.
Matha Cory's husband, Giles was pressed to death beneath the weight of stones. At the end of the gruesome summer over a hundred people were still awaiting trial and several hundred others had been accused.
The question is, were the twenty people executed and the hundred accused really Witches ?
Or did they just hold on to their Celtic roots......
I'll never know................ Don't think you will either, but HAVE A REALLY SPOOKY HALLOWEEN.
British Winter time begins tonight.... so you have to put your clocks back.
If you don't know what Divination is, reading Harry Potter will enlighten you.