Saturday, September 17, 2011
The Wheel turns and turns, and the year begins, ends, and begins again.
Samhain is the last harvest celebration.
Samhain is the night when the Old King dies, and the Crone Goddess mourns him greatly during the next six weeks. Samhain is the day on which the Celtic New Year and winter begin together, so it is a time for both beginnings and endings.
It is also the day we honor our dead. Now, while the veil between the worlds is thinnest, those who have died in the past year and those who are to be reincarnated pass through. This is the most magical time of the year, and one of the most dangerous for the inexperienced.
This festival is also known as Hallowe'en, and All Hallows Eve. It usually takes place on or near October 31.
For the Samhain altar: Decorate with autumn flowers, small pumpkins, Indian corn, and gourds.
Cauldron with black votive candle for petition magick (for writing resolutions on a strip of paper and burning in the candle flame)
Divination or scrying devises -- tarot, obsidian ball, pendulum, runes, oghams, Ouija boards, black cauldron or bowl filled with black ink or water, or magick mirror, to name a few
An animal horn, feather or talon as a power symbol (Samhain is tradtionally the meat harvest)
Traditional Herbs - Rosemary (for remembrance of our ancestors), Mullein seeds (a projection for abundance), mugwort (to aid in divination), rue, calendula, sunflower petals and seeds, pumpkin seeds, turnip seeds, apple leaf, sage, mushrooms, wild ginseng, wormwood, tarragon, bay leaf, almond, hazelnut, passionflower, pine needles, nettle, garlic, hemlock cones, mandrake root. At Samhain, witches once gave one another acorns as gifts. During the Burning Times, giving someone an acorn was a secret means of telling that person you were a witch. Acorns are fruits of the oak, one of the most sacred trees to the ancient Celts. They are symbols of protection, fertility, growth, values, and friendship.
Traditional Incense - -
Myrrh or Patchouli
Candle Colors - black, brown, golden yellow, orange, red, silver, and white. .
Magickal Stones - Black obsidian, smoky quartz, jet, amber, pyrite, garnet, granite, clear quartz, marble, sandstone, gold, diamond, iron, steel, ruby, hematite, brass
Hecate, Cerridwen, Arianhod, Persephone, the Morrigan, Edda, Lilith, Arawn, and Nefertum. Any God representing death or rebirth.
At Samhain, witches cast spells to keep anything negative from the past -- evil, harm, corruption, greed -- out of the future. Cast spells to psychically contact our deceased forebears and retrieve ancient knowledge, thus preserving the great Web that stretches through many generations of human families.
- Make resolutions, write them on a small piece of parchment, and burn in a candle flame, preferably a black votive candle within a cauldron on the altar.
- Wear costumes that reflect what we hope or wish for in the upcoming year.
- Carve a jack-o-lantern. Place a spirit candle in it.
- Enjoy the trick or treating of the season.
- Drink apple cider spiced with cinnamon to honor the dead. Bury an apple or pomegranate in the garden as food for spirits passing by on their way to being reborn.
- Do divinations for the next year using tarot, a crystal ball, flame, pendulum, magick mirror, black bowl, runes, Ouija boards, or a black cauldron filled with black ink or water.
- Set out a mute supper.
- Make a mask of your shadow self.
- Make a besom, or witches broom.
- Make a witches ladder for protection or as an expression of what you hope to manifest in the year ahead.
- Find a magick wand of oak, holly, ash, rowan, birch, hazel, elm, hawthorne or willow.
- Let this be the traditional time that you make candles for the coming year, infusing them with color, power, herbs, and scent depending on the magickal purpose.
Meat dishes (especially pork), rosemary (for meat seasoning), pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, roasted pumpkin seeds, mulled cider with spices, candy apples or other apple dishes, potatoes, roasted pumpkin seeds, nuts (representing resurrection and rebirth), especially hazel nuts and acorns.