“The way stones settled in bonfires, the way nuts cracked in the hearth, the shape of kale stalks pulled from the ground, the people or sounds one encountered at the midnight hour at a crossroads or stile–all were windows to the future. Some of these rites foretold forthcoming deaths, a predictable message in view of the holiday’s long association with the dying, and one that in Ireland persisted in the aftermath of the potato famine of the mid-nineteenth century. But where killer epidemics declined in potency and the demographic fortunes of young people began to improve, at least after infancy, the spells and omens of Halloween increasingly focused upon future marriage prospects: who, when, whether one would marry; whether one’s partner would be handsome or faithful or chaste at marriage.”
Poetic Thoughts on Samhain by Nicholas Rogers. A window on the future? At RedMonk every day is Halloween.
photo credit – Pendragon Bonfire and Firework Display – 2nd Nov 2013.