The Life of the Dead

For Hallowmas and All Saints Day, my first post reblogged: “There are three deaths: the first is when the body ceases to function. The second is when the body is consigned to the grave. The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time.”

elle cuardaigh

“The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.” ~Marcus Tullius Cicero

Last week we celebrated (in one form or another) Hallowmas. No one calls it that anymore. Here in America it’s mainly an all-out candyfest called Halloween. I have nothing against candy. In fact, I have been known to demand certain taxes on my children’s trick-or-treat haul regarding dark chocolate. And I like seeing the little ghosts and princesses and superheroes that knock on my front door. We’re known as a good house to visit, because we give lots of treats.

But that’s not what this series of holy days was supposed to be about.

Samhain in Ireland and elsewhere was the “between time” when herds were moved from high summer pastures to low winter ones. “Between” meaning the day fell halfway between autumn equinox and winter solstice. In pre-Christian times, the calendar and peoples’…

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