As Halloween is approaching, it recently occurred to me that The Fool card of the soon-to-be-released Blood Moon Tarot is a wonderful depiction of the ancient Samhain (Samain) and All Hallows Eve, from which our modern Halloween traditions have evolved.
SAMHAIN – ALL HALLOWS EVE – HALLOWEEN
There is credible evidence that it all began 4500+ years ago, back in the ancient mists of time. But we do know for certain that by around 2000 years ago, the Celts in ancient Ireland were celebrating the end of the harvest season, the end of the year, and the beginning of a new year, with the Samhain (Samain) festival. To them, this was the division of time when the current year ended, moving from its light second half into the dark first half of a new year. Their traditions had night preceding day, just as in Nature, where life gestates in the darkness of the womb, the earth or the egg until it births forth into the light.
At the beginning of each new year, it was believed the veils between the worlds of the seen and unseen were very thin, allowing the spirits to pass between worlds. As things were in suspension on this night – neither of the last year nor yet of the new one – they could be very unstable. It was believed that ghosts and other spirits – not necessarily friendly – were afoot. Accordingly, family ancestors were honored with food and celebration and welcomed inside, while bonfires were lit outside to scare away any evil spirits that might decide to come to the party. Treats of various kinds were offered as a way to appease the evil spirits and masks and costumes were worn as a way to further deter them. And should anyone wearing a mask and costume happen upon any evil spirits during the night, the masks and costumes could also act as protection to fool the evil spirits into thinking the people wearing the costumes were evil spirits themselves. It seems probable that the costumes, masks and treats for appeasement have evolved into the “trick or treat” of our modern Halloween.
Christianity eventually incorporated the honoring of the dead into their All Saints (Hallows) Day on November first. The Halloween we celebrate today was brought over with the Irish immigrants and has evolved from that ancient tradition of honoring and celebrating the dead. Even the name is a derivation of the ancient ‘All Hallows Eve,‘ which meant the night before All Hallows Day. ‘All Hallows Eve’ became ‘Hallow E’en,’ and eventually became the single word, ‘Halloween.‘
THE FOOL CARD of the BLOOD MOON TAROT
So how does The Fool card of the Blood Moon Tarot factor into things? Take a look at the card. On the dark side, spirits are part of the wall, the darkness and the door that is open. Many hands and shadowy figures appear in the darkness. A woman’s hooded head is at the top of the opening, as if she is showing the small figure at the bottom of the image the way to go. This is where the veil is thin and the figure can see and pass through to the other side. Or is it perhaps the other way around, where the figure has just passed through the veil, into the darker side? Are those benevolent figures in the darkness or do they intend to do the traveler harm?
Since this is The Fool card, it is quite possible that the creator of this deck had none of this in mind when she drew this card but, my goodness, it sure does fit the story of Samhain (Samain) and All Hallows Eve. On the other hand, the story of The Fool is that of stepping into the unknown, trusting all will be right. We see that in this card, too. Hopefully the ancestors are there to guide The Fool on the journey, whichever direction the journey goes.
Sam Guay is the artist and creator of the Blood Moon Tarot. Planned for release in Nov 2018, the card images I have seen of this deck are different, sometimes spooky, and definitely compelling. If you are interested in purchasing this deck, it is currently only available through her website on Kickstarter.
The photos used for this post are from her website.
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