The Pagan Studies Samhain

Our little celebration here at the American Academy of Religion annual meeting, during which we Pagan scholars and friends discard our tweed jackets and switch to Samhain black, made it to The Huffington Post.  (Scroll to the bottom.) Thanks, Grove, I think.

It’s another example of how Wicca, in particular, is becoming the new Other in the religious landscape, elbowing aside the Jews, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and anyone else who fills the blank of, “But how will the _________  react?”

‘True Samhain’ is Friday

Now that the costumes are put away, note that Samhain calculated astrologically (Sun at 15 degrees of Scorpio) falls on Saturday, Nov. 6, at 6:42 a.m. Greenwich time, which would be roughly midnight on Friday here in the Mountain Time Zone.

Last year Peg and I had a little blog-discussion of the two dates.

Scott Monahan’s archaeoastronomy page lets you calculate to the minute.

Check his “In the Movies” link for archaeoastronomical critiques, such as this one of National Treasure.

Gallimaufry with Snow

Snow has been falling all day, and I am working on a lengthy book review, so here are some links:

• Sannion has the best idea for a New Testament zombie novel, and everyone wants him to write it. Already, I would not look at the book of Acts the same again ever.

• Hrafnkell Haraldsson has produced a string of thought-provoking posts, so go read A Heathen’s Day.

• Witchdoctor Joe writes on “Samhainophobia Vs Samhainsensationalism.”

• The photo is part of our outdoor shrine.

• I have visited England twice but never been to Glastonbury. Still, I keep an eye on its thriving retail scene through this blog.

It’s That Time of Year!

Are you ready for the cameras and notepads? It’s the time of year when journalists notice the Pagans!

ReligionLink is on the job with story ideas. At least they admit that they are recycling their resource list from 2004. (No, that’s not my telephone number anymore, sorry.)

“Oh, my” indeed.

Today is Samhain, Really, Unless It’s Not

We celebrate the holy day commonly called Samhain not on one day, but on several. In other words, there is no one contemporary Pagan liturgical calendar.

As I write this, the actual moment in the solar cycle is about an hour away, according to Scott Monahan’s useful archaeastronomy site. (Scott is also the videographer of the epigraphers arguing for ancient Celtic visits to America: Here is his latest YouTube video.)

So take your choice: the Pagan festival occurs on (1) the night of October 31st, (2) November 1st, (3) the full Moon nearest to November 1st, (4) a weekend night nearest to November 1st, (5) the day or night when the Sun is at 15 degrees of Scorpio in the tropical zodiac, halfway between the fall equinox and the winter solstice (Northern Hemisphere). Number 5 is happening right now.

I wonder if the push for official work-and-school-recognized Pagan holidays will force us to pick one of five choices and live with it.

Recently, an old friend complained in someone’s blog comments that our holy day was being “commercialized.” I beg to disagree. Let a thousand Spirit World stores open selling plastic tombstones and sexy witch costumes. The popular holiday of Halloween provides a sea in which we swim.