- What do you do to celebrate Samhain?
- What activities do you do?
- What recipes do you make?
A quick lil cultural lesson:
As many know, the October 31st (Halloween in Christianity, Samhain in Celtic-rooted neopaganism) is the day when the veil between the worlds is thinnest. Spirits walk the earth: some loving, others not as desirable. Both ancestors, loved ones, and malignant entities move among us. The rituals held by witches on this night are to honor and welcome certain spirits, while warding and protecting from others. Candles are lit in both respect and protection. Witches would come home from the sacred rite bearing altar candles. They would then carve out a protective charm, a pumpkin, with a face scary enough to frighten even the most malicious of spirits, and then place the protective candle inside.
Placed by the main entry of the house, this jack’o-lantern charm protects the household and all its inhabitants.
Samhain (Celtic New Year)
Other Names: Hallowmas, All Hallow’s Eve, Halloween, Samhuinn.
Date: October 31, November 2, November 4, or when the sun is at 15 degrees Scorpio.
Meaning of the Word: Celtic, meaning “Summer’s End”. There is no historical record of a Celtic God called Samhain or Lord of the Dead - this was erroneously coined by researchers in the 1700s.
Primary Focus: Transformation, regeneration, honouring the dead, divination, honouring the harvest, preparing for the winter.
Age of Holiday: Second oldest unbroken holiday in the European world - approximate age is 6,000 years.
Popular Mythos: Cerridwen’s Cauldron of Transformation; Feeding the Morrigan; Sniggling the Cailleach; Festival of the Dark Goddess.
Astrological Sign: 15 degrees Scorpio.
Planetary Ruler: Pluto (modern) or Mars (classical)
No one has described Samhain better to the public than Ronald Hutton, professor at the University of Bristol. With his kind permission, the following is taken from his excellent book, The Stations of the Sun.
Hallowe’en developed from the Celtic feast of Samhain (pronounced “sow-in”), which marked the end of summer and the beginning of winter. For the Celts, Samhain was the beginning of the year and the cycle of the seasons. Samhain was a time when the Celts acknowledged the beginning and the ending of all things. As they looked to nature, they saw the falling of the leaves from the trees, the coming of winter and death. It was a time when they tuir Gods and Goddesses seeking to understand the turning cycles of life and death. Here, on the threshold of the cold barren winter months, it was also a time of feasting and celebration as the weakest animals were culled to preserve valuable foodstuffs, and provide food to last until the following spring… For the Celts, Samhain was a time when the gates between this world and next were open. It was a time of communion with the spirits of the dead, who, like the wild autumnal winds, were free to roam the earth. At Samhain, the Celts called upon their ancestors, who might bring warnings and guidance to help in the year to come.
Forests misty, dark and deep
the door between the worlds release
loved ones, family, favoured pets,
to join me in this Evening’s fest.
The birth of new, the death of old
I will this cycle to unfold.
Each leaf that drifts upon the ground
will bury all that is unsound
and in its place will rise anew
the gift of love the whole year through.
With harvest gold and autumn sun
I reap the best that I have done.
And as the days grow shorter still
with longer nights and winter’s chill
I’ll work to build a better place
for every soul and human race.
Wild autumn winds and crone’s dark voice
speak to me of widsom’s choice
let me hear your words of fate
so I know which path to take!
Those of you who went before
Speak to me from crossroad’s door
whisper words of love and care
let me know that you are there.
Insert divinatory work here, then continue with the remainder of the work.
Magickal Ideas for your Samhain Sabbat Ritual
. Care a pumpkin and empower it to repel negativity.
. Build or erect a shrine to your ancestors.
. Add divination to your ritual.
. Fill a small plastic pumpkin with gold-wrapped candy and empower for prosperity.
. Research your family history and make a litany out of the names for your ritual.
. Make a family photo album or poster to place in your room. Bless during ritual for family harmony.
. Set a place at the dinner table for the recently deceased. If the lost one is a pet, place their favourite food on a plate and put it where their bowls used to be.
. Place small jack-o’-lanterns at the four quarters.
. Place crossed brooms at the four quarters.
. Build your altar out of hay bales.
. Visit the cemetery and place flowers on the graves of deceased loved ones.
. Remember that Samhain is a fire festival that signals personal closures and occurs in Scorpio, a mutable, watery sign that has the ability to rebuild what is needed and toss what is not. Ruled by Pluto and Mars (modern and classical planetary rulers of the sign, respectively), there is much you can accomplish during this time period.
It is traditional on Samhain night to leave a plate of food outside the home of the souls of the dead. A candle placed in the window guides them to the lands of eternal summer, and burying apples in the hard-packed earth “feeds” the passed ones on their journey.For food, beets, turnips, apples, corn, nuts, gingerbread, cider, mulled wines and pumpkin dishes are appropriate, as are meat dishes.
Queen of Pentacles Conjure & Witchery Blog: Starting a Magical Apothecary At Home sur We Heart It. http://weheartit.com/entry/10859023/via/blackrose87
Place upon the altar apples, pomegranates, pumpkins, squashes and other late autumn fruits. Autumn flowers such as marigolds and chrysanthemums are fine too. Write on a piece of paper an aspect of your life which you wish to be free of: anger, a baneful habit, misplaced feelings, disease. The cauldron or some similar tool must be present before the altar as well, on a trivet or some other heat-proof surface (if the legs aren’t long enough). A small, flat dish marked with an eight-spoked wheel symbol should also be there.
Prior to the ritual, sit quietly and think of friends and loved ones who have passed away. Do not despair. Know that they have gone on to greater things. Keep firmly in mind that the physical isn’t the absolute reality, and that souls never die.
Arrange the altar, light the candles and censer, and cast the Circle.
Recite the Blessing Chant.
Invoke the Goddess and God.
Lift one of the pomegranates and, with your freshly-washed white-handled knife, pierce the skin of the fruit. Remove several seeds and place them on the wheel-marked dish. Raise your wand, face the altar and say:
On this night of Samhain I mark your passing,
O Sun King, through the sunset into the Land of the Young.
I mark also the passing of all who have gone before,
and all who will go after. O Gracious Goddess,
Eternal Mother, You who gives birth to the fallen,
teach me to know that in the time of the greatest
darkness there is the greatest light.
Taste the pomegranate seeds; burst them with your teeth and savour their, bittersweet flavour. Look down at the eight-spooked symbol on the plate; the wheel of the year, the cycle of the seasons, the end and beginning of all creation.
Light a fire within the cauldron (a candle is fine). Sit before it holding the piece of paper, gazing at its flames. Say:
Wise One of the Waning Moon,
Goddess of the starry night,
I create this fire within your cauldron
to transform that which is plaguing me.
May the energies be reversed:
From darkness, light!
From bane, good!
From death, birth!
Light the paper in the cauldron’s flame and drop it inside. As it burns, know that your ill diminishes, lessens and finally leaves you as it is consumed within the universal fires.
If you wish, you may attempt scrying or some other form of divination, for this is a perfect time to look into the past or future. Try to recall past lives too, if you will. But leave the dead in peace. Honour them with your memories but do not call them to you. Release any pain and sense of loss you may feel into the cauldron’s flames.
Works of magic, if necessary, may follow.
Celebrate the Simple Feast.
The circle is released.
When I first got into Wicca, I was really confused about doing things “right.” Some authors said to do it one way, others another, and it was really confusing with no “standard protocol” like I was used to in Christianity. But now I’m realizing you don’t have to let anyone tell you:
- Which gods to worship or how many
- Which supplies you need, how few or how many
- Which supplies to use
- How fast you should get into it
- The “right” way to set up your altar (there are guidelines, but they’re by no means set in stone)
- How often you should practice magic (though there are again guidelines to follow)
- What tools to use for your Book of Shadows and other information
- The speed at which you take in information and learn magic
I guess I’m saying that while there are guidelines, getting caught up in “shoulds” defeats the purpose and makes it really stressful. Some authors would say you shouldn’t have any supplies; others advocated going out and buying a whole esoteric shop! But really just do what works for you, go at the speed you need to, and as long as you aren’t harming anyone (hence the Reed) don’t get too caught up in “shoulds.” It also pays to consult several sources on different practices and not just one.
(22) Tumblr en We Heart It. http://weheartit.com/entry/77647823/via/AmandaMai92