Tag Archive | Guising

Kindred Spirits

On Halloween I post a seasonal poem to celebrate this important day and the beginning of the Celtic winter. Bearing in mind the ghostly goings on that this night will hold I’ve given it the title Kindred Spirits. I hope you enjoy the read. 

Kindred Spirits. 


 the last day before the Celtic winter starts 

the time when  spirits walk among us 

on the evening of the day of the dead 

this is why we use disguises 

in the shape of masks and costumes 

to keep ourselves hidden from those 

who would do us harm

only those who guard us will know the real truth of our story 

they keep us safe as children when we go round the doors guising

on in later years 

when as adults we party with friends in  city centre bars

all they ask from us is 

that we hold them in our hearts

thoughout the coming year 

and get ready to celebrate the gatherings winter will bring 

remembering the coldest of seasons 

 is a time when the warmest of hearts join with loved ones 

to cherish memories made by kindred spirits

in stories songs and friendship

© Gayle Smith 2017


You Can’t Disguise The Language Of A Celtic Celebration As Scotland’s Clans Go Guising And Wont Be Tricked Or Treated

Hey everyone I am delighted to report that nobody came to my house trick or treating on Thursday. Now before you think I’ve turned in to a right wee frosty knickers, I think I better explain that I am actually a very welcoming woman, and had they turned up no guisers would have been turned away.

Note however I said guisers not trick or treaters. I think it is important to make a distinction between the two before yet another part of our cultural history is ripped off by americanisation. I say this because this is Scotland and we don’t do trick or treating our children go guising.

The clue to the difference lies in the names and the hidden meanings implied by them. Guising comes from the traditional Celtic festival of Sanheim and all hallows eve to give the night it’s more pretentious Oxbridge sounding is the night when the spirits of the dead walk among us and it was believed that they could take your soul back with them if weren’t disguised as one of them. This is why you’ll see ghosts, ghouls gremlins witches or warlocks walking our streets on this particular evening.
Of course you can use other disguises and many of us do when we attend parties and gatherings to celebrate the start of our winter.

Contrast the history behind this idea when compared to trick or treating. This phrase comes from the USA and to be fair it suits America and it’s pursuit of ruthless individualism and the American Dream. However this is Scotland and it this idea hidden behind this more aggressive language is if your nice to me I’ll treat you but if your not I’ll trick you actually sounds wrong on so many levels I don’t know where to start and you know what, I actually find it offensive. It’s almost like the idea that the petulant child gets wants what they want to shut them up rather being taught to enjoy themselves and have fun. It is in many like legalising the child’s right to commit mugging and encourages the idea that silence can be bought for a price. No wonder the ultra Conservative British Establishment encouraged their media to embrace it so readily.

The trick or treat idea also gives those who are less intellectually and culturally aware than the rest of us the somewhat ludicrous idea that Halloween is an American festival. As I said recently to someone of this ilk that may be true of trick or treat nonsense but halloween was celebrated for centuries before America existed.

I have to say the person concerned seemed confused at this idea and made an attempt to defend their position by saying oh but the Americans make a bigger deal of it than we do and that was what they liked about America they know to how celebrate something. My reply to what could best be described as an inane comment was that when you compare the population of Scotland 5.3 Million to the USA 270 Million then America can claim they make a bigger deal about everything. As for her claim that America knows how to celebrate, this is something I don’t dispute for a moment. Whether they have the faintest idea about what they are celebrating is another matter entirely but I don’t think they’ll be too bothered about that. However when it comes to halloween, good though his family may be at throwing a party Uncle Sam won’t trick or treat by disguising the language of a Celtic

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X