Halloween: Divination Games

Last year I did a Halloween tradition for every week leading up to Halloween, this year I thought I’d take a look at one I didn’t even think about – divination games.

Divination games were a very popular part of the Halloween festivals in Ireland. These games were associated with the Gaelic Samhain or summer end festival. An important aspect of Samhain is the very brief connection it brings to the “other side”. This enables the summoner to communicate with the deceased. These summoners would use traditional objects such as apples and nuts in order to receive answers from the unknown. Most of these games originated from rural Scotland and Ireland. We see fewer of these practices in England.

It is surmised that these divination rituals were already a tradition by the late 18th century. Some were still practiced but had become Victorian parlor games mostly revolving around questions of marriage and love. These games were carried across the channel to the US and Canada along with the Scottish and Irish travelers that were travelling to the New World. These games also became popular in the Middle East, although these were carried out all through the year and the summoner used astrology to know when to practice divination.

You’d think that since it’s a season of death and horror, most of the divinations would be about death and tragedy. However, as we see in history, more of these games focused on love, luck and marriage. Although the idea of courtship and marriage was associated with holidays and Saints’ days all year round, it became more closely associated with Halloween since this particular holiday dealt more with young people.

There are many tools by which summoners can call up the dead. I mentioned apples and nuts, but in reality far much more exist. These items were apples, garden veg, candles. and mirrors.

There are many traditions around divining. Most of these surround who your future spouse will be. Activities such as Apple Seed Numerology, Kaling, Oat Pulling, Nut Burning and many more. Use the below link if you want to know what these games entailed. The Horror of Being Emily gives a lovely description of it.

Halloween Divination Games

Practicing divination isn’t only limited to Halloween. Plenty of nations all around the globe practice divination going as far back as the days of the first kings. When I read throughout history about the nations, it seems that most kings back then had sorcerers, astrologers and wise men to give the kings counsel. Sorcerers would have been men who divined from various meansĀ  what the kings should do regarding certain matters. Reading the stars, alchemy, necromancy are only a few examples of methods by which they could divine. There are so many more.

I often get scared when I hear about people playing these games. You do not know what is being summoned and that scares me. You won’t ever find me near a Quiji board or playing any games related to tampering with the spiritual realm.

God bless you and keep you safe and sound this season of witches and wizards.

The First Teachers

Since today is officially Teacher’s Day, I thought I’d take a look at the first teachers in history.

It’s a widely known fact that the first teachers were the priests and prophets of old. In the Jewish culture it was the mothers who taught their children of their religion and taught their daughters how to run the house and raise the children. Boys were taught everything they needed to know by the priests in the synagogues and became very knowledgeable in the Word as well as a wide range of other subjects they would later use in their lives.

In the Middle Ages, episcopal schools were set up by the Greeks and Romans. Basic reading, writing and counting (as well as rudimentary Latin) were taught by the bishops in what were the first primary schools. They were read sacred texts (no doubt the Scriptures) with a global method using whole sentences to teach their students. Children were sent to guilds once they were what was considered literate and thus able to learn their trade as an educated member. The family, however, was responsible for domestic skills.

If a child was able, they were sent to colleges or universities where they were taught subjects such as Latin, music and grammar.

It is no surprise to find out that the first private teacher in history was none other than Confucius (561 BC). This man has often been quoted. His words continue to influence us to this day. In his day, education was only available to members of high society. The schools were run by governmental officials and thus it was state policy that he, as an adolescent, wasn’t able to gain the education he longed for. However, Confucius found a work-around and started to work for a travelling noble from whom he gleaned the knowledge he needed and thus became a very sought after educator as he would teach any student who had a hunger for learning. This caused him to become very sought after as an educator for young men.

Since then many schools have come and gone. As an example, a brief 10-year stint for an Agriculture boarding school existed between the 1820s and 1830s.

The first education in America was brought by the Pilgrims in the 1600s with the establishment of the first public school in the year 1635. These schools were followed by “dame” schools. These schools were run by women in the community mostly from their kitchens. Another institution set up around thenĀ  was Latin Grammar schools for students seeking a higher education. In the year 1642 Boston, Massachusetts, passed a law that, if you weren’t educated, you would be apprenticed and taught a trade. They were followed by Virginia in the year 1646. In 1647, the Old Deluder Satan Act ruled that if a town contained more than 50 people, they had to hire a teacher and open a school so the children could learn to read and write. Towns of more than 100 had to hire a grammar schoolmaster who would prepare students to enroll at Harvard College.

As we can see from the above, education is a vital part of society whether you are in a trade or not. Today we celebrate all our teachers across the globe! You are truly worth your weight in gold. I pray God keeps you.

Have a Happy Teacher’s Day! God bless you all, my darling avidReaders.