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Author Topic: "Samhuinn" God  (Read 1200 times)

Nymree

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"Samhuinn" God
« on: April 25, 2019, 03:56:47 pm »
I came across this in a Celtic myth collection, The Mammoth Book of Myths and Legends by Peter Berresford Ellis:

"Now the feast of the god Samhuinn drew near. This was the great feast which marked the beginning of the New Year, the period of blackness." (p.300)

It's (I think) an oral story written down in a Scottish Celtic context, and it's the first time I've come across Samhain referred to as a deity. I tried a Google search without much coming up, but did come across an article ("The myth about the "Celtic god of the dead."" on the site Religious Tolerance) which mentioned that the idea of Samhain as a god is a myth brought about by poor scholarship in the 18th c. and continued by conservative Protestants. If there was any figure relating to the name, it would've been a minor hero by the name of Sawan and not a deity.

I was curious about if anyone else has come across this sort of thing/if it's cropped up anywhere else? I wasn't sure if I should dismiss the appearance of the god title in the myth collection as just buying into the poor scholarship, but the other article would suggest so. (I did read around and it comes up in another article, mostly in a dismissive tone).

What are peoples thoughts and experiences with this? It's completely new to me and I was surprised to hear it was something used in quite a negative context to spread misinformation.

Klaw

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Re: "Samhuinn" God
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2019, 04:35:47 pm »
I came across this in a Celtic myth collection, The Mammoth Book of Myths and Legends by Peter Berresford Ellis:

It has been many years, so I don't remember sources, but this kind of negative perception, which has also been expressed in music and tv shows, has been around for a long time.

I was reading about the origins of Halloween from the perspective of it replacing Samhain. Some of what I read said that at some point Samhain began being referred to as a reason to be scared when the veil was thin and in some cases was portrayed as a version of satan. Supernatural also did an episode from the perspective of Samhain being a God.

Ragnell

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Re: "Samhuinn" God
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2019, 08:50:12 pm »
It has been many years, so I don't remember sources, but this kind of negative perception, which has also been expressed in music and tv shows, has been around for a long time.

I was reading about the origins of Halloween from the perspective of it replacing Samhain. Some of what I read said that at some point Samhain began being referred to as a reason to be scared when the veil was thin and in some cases was portrayed as a version of satan. Supernatural also did an episode from the perspective of Samhain being a God.
Whoops, you got hold of some inaccurate information.  Samhain is not, and never was, a deity. It means "Summer's End".  If you hear someone refer to Samhain as a god you know you're dealing with a rookie.

Klaw

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Re: "Samhuinn" God
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2019, 09:37:57 pm »
Whoops, you got hold of some inaccurate information.  Samhain is not, and never was, a deity. It means "Summer's End".  If you hear someone refer to Samhain as a god you know you're dealing with a rookie.


Oh I know, the first post asked for similar experiences. I personally have never believed Samhain was a god, but the idea isn't that uncommon especially to nonpagans.

Starlight

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Re: "Samhuinn" God
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2019, 01:46:50 am »
Supernatural also did an episode from the perspective of Samhain being a God.

I remember that episode. They called him Sam Hain. Name and surname, no less!
What you seek is seeking you. - Rumi

Zlote Jablko

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Re: "Samhuinn" God
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2019, 02:42:30 am »
Whoops, you got hold of some inaccurate information.  Samhain is not, and never was, a deity. It means "Summer's End".  If you hear someone refer to Samhain as a god you know you're dealing with a rookie.

Or outdated sources. A lot of the first references to pagan survivals in folk tradition were made by people who had a sum under of them. Sometimes it was church officials condemning the practice, or overly enthusiastic folklorists.

Something similar happens with Russian festivals. People will sometimes use the term “Kupala” as the proper name of a deity, especially writing in the  19th century or earlier. However, it comes from the verb for “bathe” and refers to the ritual bathing on midsummer, or to midsummer itself.

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