Here are Graham's thoughts:
Halloween must be the most well-known, and notorious, of all the pagan
festivals, and is depicted in modern culture as an American invention,
preoccupied with fear, horror and celebrating evil.
truth is, as always, rather more complex. It is a Celtic festival, one
with ancient roots and a deep tradition behind it. Modern pagans
celebrate it as Samhain, and for them it marks the end of the year. To
explain some of the symbolism, I'm going to digress and explain the
concept of the Triple Goddess. I've mentioned it in other festivals,
but this seems like the right place to expand on it.
Goddess either represents three Goddesses, or more usually, three
aspects or faces of the Goddess. Virgin, Mother and Crone are the three
traditional names and refer to three stages of life. Starting with the
Virgin, or Maiden, this is a young woman, full of promise and life. She
is primarily concerned with enjoying life, dancing and courting. The
next phase is Mother, where the joy and exuberance of youth settles
into a more solid, deeper love and power. Finally, there is the Crone
phase, the old woman who can no long bear children. She has a vital
role in using her wisdom and experience to guide the Virgin and the
Mother through life. A key point in mankind's evolution was when life
expectancy increased to a point where there would be grandmothers. At
this point, productivity increased because the grandmothers could look
after the children while the mothers were farming. It also would have
increased the store of knowledge that was passed down from one
generation to the next.
As a further aside, there is a growing
understanding that our modern culture is out of balance. It worships
the Maiden, disregards the Mother and fears the Crone.
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