Samhain: The Roots Of Halloween

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Samhain was the entry point into winter, a time of hardship, cold and hunger.. It was also a time of introspection, of communing with the dead and the otherworld – themes that have somehow survived albeit distorted, into the modern era.’ The modern celebration of Halloween is derived from the ancient festival of the dead known in Ireland as Samhain. It is from Ireland that most of the Halloween traditions we have are inherited, through the diaspora. Delving into the ancient past, this book uncovers the history of this festival in Britain and Ireland, including the forgotten goddess Tlachtga and the sacred temple of the Druids in county Meath, named after her, where the first Halloween fires were first lit.


Luke Eastwood’s book is filled with the long-forgotten lore of this very important festival, brought back to life. He gathers information from many different sources and brings it all together in this informa- tive work which should be read by all who celebrate the festival of Samhain. Well researched and well written, this work is a little gem for all who follow a Celtic spirituality.

Jo van der Hoeven, author of Zen Druidry and The Stillness Within.

An eloquent, evocative and well researched book which restores Tlachtga to her rightful place at the centre of the memories, traditions and celebrations of the ancient Fire Festival of Samhain, the Celtic New Year . One to be savoured.

Dr Karen Ward, Co-Founder of Slí An Chroí Irish Celtic Shamanism, author and editor of Soul Seers: an Irish Anthology of Celtic Shamanism.

Luke Eastwood gives a thorough and comprehensive overview of the origins and traditions of Samhain in Ireland, especially in relation to Tlachtga, an ancient site, the importance of which is largely forgotten and Samhain’s modern reincarnation as Halloween internationally.

Treasa Kerrigan - Archaeologist, Tour Guide, Bean Draoí

An excellent and comprehensive exploration of this fascinating subject.

Philip Carr-Gomm, author of Druid Mysteries


Samhain: The Roots of Halloween, is a fascinating new book about Samhain - the Ancient Irish festival at the end of October. It also looks at Samhain's connection to Halloween, which takes place on the eve of the Catholic feast day of All Hallows. In the book, pagan author Luke Eastwood searches for archaeological, historical, folkloric and literary evidence of what really went on in Samhain customs in the past...I’ve read it and it’s fascinating. While I don't think the book is likely to end all arguments about the origins of our modern-day Halloween customs, I do strongly recommend it for an in-depth look at what has now been discovered about Ancient Irish Samhain.
A Bad Witch's Blog

This is a really appealing look into the customs and traditions lying behind the festival of Samhain. Author Luke Eastwood goes into this subject in great depth and digs into Irish mythology in a deep and well researched waythat provides insight into the history of the subject and the history of Ireland itself. Much use is made of the Irish language Gaelic and concepts and ideas from Irish paganism.The author contends that the English language alone is not enough to carry all of the meaning: that British Paganism has borrowed many ideas from the Irish, and Druidry as we understand it now is indebted to Irish paganism. In order to understand Samhain you have to know about Irish paganism as its meaning is so tied into the culture and history. Place and location are very important: the author mentions Tlachtga and a number of other sacred locations. the artwork is important to giving it the right evocative feel. The cover art is nicely super-natural yet soft enough to be considered comforting. There are many black and white illustrations which show key ideas, concepts, locations and practices and help further understanding in a way which complements the text. After reading this book you will comeaway with a much deeper understanding of Samhain, its meaning and where it comes from. Touchstone Magazine this most important time of year is celebrated now by the new Druids and neo-pagans. The bibliography at the end offers me a lot more reading into the Irish path of Druidry. Overall, this book of some 140 pages has caused me to look hard at my own presumptions. It’s offered me a different viewpoint and I will need to read the book again in full, and probably from time to time as a reference. The Druid Network

To select the topic of Hallowe'en is a very brave undertaking and a great deal of very interesting information is imparted in this book. Attention to the highly significant and important site of Tlachghta is very welcome, and an overview f its importance in the context of Hallowe'en makes for enjoyable reading. Welcome too, is the intention of the book to dispell the notion that Hallowe'en is an Irish 'invention'. Overall it is a pleasant read with extensive detail, making it a very good introduction to the festival in Ireland, with some lovely complementary illustrtions by Elena Danaan. History Ireland