Na Oidnche Shamna

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Na Oidnche Shamna

(Scottish Celtic  – It’s Samhain Night)


‘Tis now the hour of the Witch.

Dance ’round the pyre without a stitch,

To lift yon veil, open the door,

With sacrifice and apple core

Enjoin the circle, writhe and twist.

Na Oidnche Shamna.

Beneath the darkest Samhain night

Do deeds begin too full of fright.

Midst The Festival of the Dead,

Departed souls art joined and fed,

Whence dost Crom Crauch lear in delight.

Na Oidnche Shamna.

To propitiate Aos Si,

Wear thy masks and dance with great glee.

Then offer fairies tasty treats,

Carve grim pumpkins, hang ghostly sheets,

Ensures tomorrows destiny.

Na Oidnche Shamna.

This service in the forest knells,

Sings out with songs and witch’s spells.

‘Twas needed to bring in New Years.

Facillitates whilest fears it clears,

As morning brings forth ringing bells.

Na Oidnche Shamna.


Author Notes

Samhain is the pagan precursor to Halloween. According to Wikipedia, Samhain is an ancient Celtic, Druidic holiday or Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the “darker half” of the year. It is celebrated from sunset on 31 October. It was the time when cattle were brought back down from the summer pastures and when livestock were slaughtered for the winter. Special bonfires were lit. These were deemed to have protective and cleansing powers and there were rituals involving them. Samhain was seen as a time when the spirits or fairies (the Aos Sí) could more easily come into our world. Most scholars see the Aos Sí as remnants of the pagan gods and nature spirits. Offerings of food and drink were left for them. The souls of the dead were also thought to revisit their homes. Feasts were had, at which the souls of dead kin were beckoned to attend and a place set at the table for them. At Samhain, it was believed that the aos sí needed to be propitiated to ensure that the people and their livestock survived the harsh winter. Divination rituals were also a big part of the festival and often involved nuts and apples. Some say that when you cut an Apple correctly, the core forms a perfect pentagram. In the 9th century, the Roman Catholic Church shifted the date of All Saints’ Day to 1 November, that day after All Hallow’s Eve to celebrate as a holy day. Samhain in ancient Ireland was associated with the god Crom Cruach. The texts claim that King Tigernmas (Tighearnmhas) made offerings to Crom Cruach each Samhain, sacrificing a first-born child by smashing their head against a stone idol of the god.

This poem is writtem in quintains of aabba rhyme scheme (5 line stanzas) with a Gealic refrain meaning “It’s Samhain Night”.

Apple Core – refers to the Pagan ritual of offering an apple to feed the visitors.

Crom Crauch – an ancient celtic god

Aos Si – the spirits or fairies

Propitiate – appease, or reduce anger

Ringing bells – represents the Church holy day

Knell – open area in a woods

Pyre – large bonfire

Festival of the Dead – Halloween, All Hallow’s Eve, All Souls Day, Samhain

‘Tis – it is

Yon – over there

Enjoin – join up, become part of

Midst – among

Art – are

Whence – there

dost – do or does

Thy – their

‘Twas – it was

Whilest – while

This picture was provided courtesy of Yahoo Images


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Synergy of Poetry and Verse. Author, Poet, Photographer

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