The link between Juniper and the festival of Samhain

The link between Juniper and the festival of Samhain

Halloween: a modern version of an ancient festival

Juniper – Juniperus communis is what makes gin - gin. But did you know that Juniper is a sacred plant and is interwoven within our own Scottish indigenous roots. Its name in Gaelic was Samh and among its many uses it was used for Celtic ceremonies. It gives off minimal visible smoke but is very aromatic and would have been used for purification and to aid our ancients in clairvoyance and to stimulate contact with the Otherworld specifically at the Samhain festival. And when was that - I hear you ask? Why Halloween of course.

The Celtic festival of Samhain starts on the evening of the 31st October and occurred about half way between the Autumn equinox and the Winter solstice and was traditionally a time of feasting and the lighting of sacred fires.

Samhain was a threshold or "liminal" festival, when the boundary between our world and the Otherworld thinned, meaning the Sìth: the Scottish fairies and supernatural beings could more easily come into our world. Our Celtic ancestors appeased the Otherworld with offerings of food and drink, to ensure that they and their livestock survived the winter. The souls of the dead could also pierce the veil between worlds and revisit their homes seeking warmth and family so a place was set for them during the meal. In Scotland, our tradition of "guising" on All Hallows Eve became part of the festival from early medieval times where folk would wear costumes reciting verses in exchange for food as they traversed their communities door-to-door. The costumes may have been a way of imitating, and disguising oneself from, the Sìth abroad at night. The American traditions on Halloween obviously derived from Irish and Scottish early settlers.

So rather than setting fire to some some juniper, why don't you kick back and pour yourself a glass of our Organic Wild Gin, unique to our Scottish heritage, turn the lights off and watch something really scary this All Hallows Eve.

You can buy or find out more about our Organic Wild Gin infused with all the Scottish "weeds" that grow in abundance in our Garden here.


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