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The Pagan Mysteries of Halloween: Celebrating the Dark Half of the Year

3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  93 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
A comprehensive examination of the rituals and philosophies of the Celtic holiday of Samhain, the inspiration for Halloween.

• Presents the true meaning of this ancient holiday and shows how contemporary observances still faithfully reflect the rituals of pagan ancestors.

• Explains why this holiday, largely confined to the English-speaking world since the advent of Christia
Paperback, 154 pages
Published August 1st 2001 by Inner Traditions
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The Halloween Tree by Ray BradburySomething Wicked This Way Comes by Ray BradburyDracula by Bram StokerFrankenstein by Mary ShelleyThe Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Bo Hampton
Best Halloween Books
79th out of 389 books — 466 voters
Death Makes a Holiday by David J. SkalHalloween by Lesley Pratt BannatyneTrick or Treat by Lisa MortonHalloween by Nicholas RogersThe Pagan Mysteries of Halloween by Jean Markale
Nonfiction Halloween
5th out of 28 books — 12 voters

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Oct 31, 2015 L.A. rated it really liked it
This poetic little romp through history is actually a bit more scholarly than Markale's detractors might give him credit for: although he does cite his own previous work an awful lot, there's a body of French scholarship referenced in the bibliography that's not to be sneezed at, and he references the big players (Eliade, Evans-Wentz, Frazer, etc.) as well, so there's that for anybody worried about unfounded fluff.

For the rest of us, this is a nice little meditation on how a pagan holiday morphe
Eric Hoefler
Apr 08, 2010 Eric Hoefler rated it it was ok
Some interesting historical information, but too many tangents for my taste without any strong sense of a unifying argument.
Samuel Barrera
Jul 01, 2014 Samuel Barrera rated it did not like it
Shelves: couldnt-finish
I got about 20 pages into this book and realized I had learned next to nothing. The author's writing seems more like the ramblings of an unfocused mind. I'm sure the author knows quite a bit about the roots of Halloween, but didn't seem to know how to convey that information. I will not be finishing this book as I'm sure there are others that contain the same, but better presented, information.
Jody Mena
Jun 01, 2015 Jody Mena added it
Shelves: nonfiction
Some might find this book a bit dry, but I couldn't put it down. Remarkably informative, this book, while it talks less about Halloween than I thought it would, is certainly a one stop cache of information about the history of the highly stigmatized and vastly misunderstood holiday of Samhain and other aspects of Celtic society. It also draws some fascinating conclusions about Celtic influences on the culture and religious practices of today. By the end of the book, I was saddened by the decline ...more
Aug 30, 2014 Alison rated it really liked it
A bit academic, but otherwise a very good read, with lots of interesting information.
Crazy Uncle Ryan
Sep 25, 2008 Crazy Uncle Ryan rated it liked it
Shelves: halloween, history
This was a bit of a hard read. I enjoyed it but there were some rather tedious passages. I suppose in a book like this that has to be expected because the origins of Halloween are so complex that any writer would need to spend a lot of time explaining Samhain’s meaning and background in order to have any hope of explaining Halloween. I wish the author had spent a little more time explaining how modern Halloween practices and traditions relate to those of Samhain. Taken for what it is this book w ...more
Definitely an interesting book with lots of information. It is less about Halloween, but it is more to do with the traditions and others things that have inspired the Halloween we know today. Good read.
Oct 20, 2011 Pam rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011, history
REALLY dry, and the writing style felt really disjointed and hard to follow... He was just all over the place most of the time.
Mar 30, 2016 Corey rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Don't think I can finish this one. Very dense with many tangents on folk tales. Interesting read for the right person.
Jul 11, 2009 Linda rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fic
Why we celebrate the way we do.
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Jean Markale is the pen name of Jean Bertrand, a French writer, poet, radio show host, lecturer, and retired Paris high school French teacher.

He has published numerous books about Celtic civilisation and the Arthurian cycle. His particular specialties are the place of women in the Celtic world and the Grail cycle.

His many works have dealt with subjects as varied as summations of various myths, th
More about Jean Markale...

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“. . .legends, which in the etymological sense are what one should pass on, are only the symbols of a tradional truth transported from one generation to the next.” 5 likes
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