The Watering Hole, Monday, October 31,2016: The Bonfires of Samhein

Two thousand years ago at this time of year, Druids would gather on the Hill of Tlachtga in medieval Ireland to light a bonfire that began a ritual throughout the country. The light would call on other people to light their own bonfires. It was the start of the season of darkness, and people celebrated with dances and feasts around the fires. The fires were to honor Samhein (pronounced sow-in), the god of Darkness and Winter. Many of the rituals associated with the celebration in America of Halloween can be traced back to these Celtic ones. You can learn more about all of these at Smithsonian Magazine.

Personally, I don’t play dress up games. I spend the entire year trying to make people believe I’m somebody I’m not (just like everyone else) that I don’t feel any desire to add a costume to it on one particular day of the year. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s just not for me. Then again, I’m kind of anti-social in a lot of ways like that. I don’t go along with what everybody else is doing, often because I see it as silly and pointless, or possibly even dangerous. (Pokemon Go has already gotten some people killed.) I realize it’s just a diversion and people can find them fun, but sometimes they can become too pervasive and counterproductive to a functioning society. Is it really a good idea that young people gather together in public to stare at their phones? But I suppose the rituals of American Halloween aren’t too terrible. It’s just a good idea that people understand them, and how they compare to one’s own beliefs, especially where Religion is concerned.

For example, if you acknowledge the observation of Halloween, then you acknowledge the existence of other gods since this was a celebration of one of them. For many Conservative Christians, this is against their belief in God as the only God. I hesitate to point out to them that this is not correct at all, and even the God they worship said so. His First Commandment was to have no other Gods before Him. That doesn’t mean to deny the existence of other gods, but just not to put any of them ahead of this particular god (on account of his constant problem with the deadly sin of Jealousy.) But since they celebrate the holiday anyway and perform the pagan rituals, it’s just another example of their religious hypocrisy. I just hope there aren’t too many kids dressing up as Donald Trump. It would indicate a generation of kids totally lost to the idea of sense, reason, and logical thinking.

Lastly, I wouldn’t be me without a little nerd joke once in a a while, so…

Why do programmers confuse Halloween and Christmas? Because OCT 31 = DEC 25.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss ancient gods you’ve worshiped, or any other topic you wish.

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22 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Monday, October 31,2016: The Bonfires of Samhein

  1. Around our neighborhood, there are only a few houses decorated, including ours. Kids will be coming around dressed up in all kinds of outfits and having fun collecting stuff to rot their teeth.
    I wanted to build a shrine dedicated to Crom, the gloomy god of Cimmeria, complete with giant sword covered in gore, but the missus exercised her veto power.
    Stay Safe tonight!

  2. “…have no other Gods before Him”

    I never thought of it that way before — the so-called christian’s one and only god clearly states that even he/she/it believes there are other gods. Ha!! 😆

    You made my day, Wayne!

      • Be careful what you wish for. You could end up with the Vikings’ offensive line. Of course, in our case, it’s the scheme. Last year they played the same five guys all year and they were O.K run blocking and sucked at pass blocking. This year they are playing their 4th and 6th offensive tackles and they are downright pathetic and ineffective both run blocking and pass blocking. How bad are they? Less than 2.5 yards per carry and 9 of the 19 sacks Bradford has taken were in less than 3 seconds!

  3. Obama should give a pardon to Clinton right after the election. Shut all this down. As he accepts Comey’s resignation.

    • Maybe, except that in order for someone to accept a presidential pardon, they have to admit to doing whatever it was they did in violation of the law. If she actually did not break the law, then there is nothing for which to pardon her. If she did break the law, she would have to admit as much. The only exception to this that I am aware of is Nixon. Nixon never wanted to admit he did anything wrong, but he accepted Ford’s blanket pardon anyway. In fact, I think the pardon was one of his terms for resigning, except that he wouldn’t admit wrongdoing. (“When the president does it, that’s means it’s NOT illegal.”)

      • Wouldn’t she also have to be tried and convicted? Or maybe the pardon thing is like a get out of jail free monopoly card..?

        • Nixon wasn’t tried or convicted. The House had voted to send Articles of Impeachment and that’s when he resigned. but Ford’s pardon was for “any offenses” he may have committed. It was the ultimate blank check because, IIRC, it did not specify any actions connected to Watergate (or anything related to it.) Nixon could have been pardoned for killing someone years earlier. Except that he would have had to admitted that when he accepted the pardon, even though he didn’t admit jack shit.

          The Constitution grants the President the power to pardon, but as with everything else in the Constitution it’s up to Congress to spell out how that worked. Nixon and Ford did not follow the law in that regard so, technically, one could argue that Nixon’s pardon was null and void. I say convict him anyway.

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