A Joyous and Blessed Samhain

May your dance be one of joy with your ancestors and friends who have crossed the veil. Please kind in mind when honoring ancestors they do not necessarily have to be related by blood or family ties, an ancestor can be anyone who at some point in your life made a difference in it.

An example of a none blood/family ancestor – About a year and a half after my father crossed into the Summerlands I started taking oil painting lessons I was about 13 years old. My teacher was in her Crone years but her love and patience she embraced me with, plus her time spent teaching me, along with others in my class, instilled in me the real beauty of creating something going from my imagination out on to a canvas that I could see. Her warmth and love of art made a big difference in my life when I needed to become a child again instead of an adult taking care of my mother because her grief was almost completely oppressing her.

Samhain Customs and Folklore by Patti Wigington

Interested in learning about some of the traditions behind the celebrations of the late harvest? Let’s look at some of the customs and folklore behind the Samhain season – learn why black cats are considered unlucky, how trick-or-treating became so popular and more!

There’s been a rumor going around for ages that Samhain is the name of a spooky Celtic death god. Totally not the case at all, but let’s take a look at where this misconception originated, and why it’s perpetuated by some groups of evangelical Christians.

Jack O’Lanterns

One of the most enduring symbols of Halloween is the jack o’lantern. Carved pumpkins are a mainstay of the Samhain season, and for some folks, the more elaborate the carved design, the better! School children are alternately delighted and terrified by them — but how did the whole idea of carving up a pumpkin evolve in the first place? Let’s talk about the legend of the Jack O’Lantern!

Samhain is a time rich in superstition and spooky stories. From divination to ghost tales, let’s look at some of the best-known superstitions of the Samhain season!
There are 19 parts to this article to see the other 16 please click on the following link:

 

Samhain Lore (October 31st)

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Samhain, (pronounced SOW-in, SAH-vin, or SAM-hayne) means “End of Summer”, and is the third and final Harvest. The dark winter half of the year commences on this Sabbat.

It is generally celebrated on October 31st, but some traditions prefer November 1st. It is one of the two “spirit-nights” each year, the other being Beltane. It is a magical interval when the mundane laws of time and space are temporarily suspended, and the Thin Veil between the worlds is lifted. Communicating with ancestors and departed loved ones is easy at this time, for they journey through this world on their way to the Summerlands. It is a time to study the Dark Mysteries and honor the Dark Mother and the Dark Father, symbolized by the Crone and her aged Consort.

Originally the “Feast of the Dead” was celebrated in Celtic countries by leaving food offerings on altars and doorsteps for the “wandering dead”. Today a lot of practitioners still carry out that tradition. Single candles were lit and left in a window to help guide the spirits of ancestors and loved ones home. Extra chairs were set to the table and around the hearth for the unseen guest. Apples were buried along roadsides and paths for spirits who were lost or had no descendants to provide for them. Turnips were hollowed out and carved to look like protective spirits, for this was a night of magic and chaos. The Wee Folke became very active, pulling pranks on unsuspecting humans. Traveling after dark was was not advised. People dressed in white (like ghosts), wore disguises made of straw, or dressed as the opposite gender in order to fool the Nature spirits.

This was the time that the cattle and other livestock were slaughtered for eating in the ensuing winter months. Any crops still in the field on Samhain were considered taboo, and left as offerings to the Nature spirits. Bonfires were built, (originally called bone-fires, for after feasting, the bones were thrown in the fire as offerings for healthy and plentiful livestock in the New Year) and stones were marked with peoples names. Then they were thrown into the fire, to be retrieved in the morning. The condition of the retrieved stone foretold of that person’s fortune in the coming year. Hearth fires were also lit from the village bonfire to ensure unity, and the ashes were spread over the harvested fields to protect and bless the land.

Various other names for this Greater Sabbat are Third Harvest, Samana, Day of the Dead, Old Hallowmas (Scottish/Celtic), Vigil of Saman, Shadowfest (Strega), and Samhuinn. Also known as All Hallow’s Eve, (that day actually falls on November 7th), and Martinmas (that is celebrated November 11th), Samhain is now generally considered the Witch’s New Year.

Symbolism of Samhain:

For the rest of this article please click on the following link: https://wicca.com/celtic/akasha/samhainlore.htm

Harvest Festival RItual and Celebration on the Night Before Samhain for Covens or Families

This ritual is for the third harvest festival on the night before Samhain. It does not include anything towards horoning our ancestors but is enjoyable for children just learning the Pagan path.

What you will need:

A Space outdoors

Some type of Fire

A Pumpkin carve by each person participating

An Altar set up with minimal tools (Atheme or Ceremonial Knife, Cauldron, Autumn fruits and or vegetables your family or coven members will like to eat raw Something to represent each Element and the Goddess and God you choose to invite to celebrate with you. For suggestions check out this website http://www.goddess-guide.com/harvest-goddess.html )

A Cutting Board

The Ritual Ideas

Please make any changes to this ritual that would fit in with your personal path better.

Start the fire in the middle of where the sacred circle will be made. Set up the altar approximately 5 to 6 feet or more in behind the fire (you want enough room between fire and altar for people to be able to walk through safely). You want the South part of the altar to be in line with the fire you have made (in some places this may have to be done in a grill because fire pits or rings are not allowed.) Remember it is safety  and abiding by locals laws that must come first when first lighting the harvest fire. Set the Altar up as you would for any ritual using the friuts and vegetables to decorate it.

Next make a path wide enough for two adults to walk it side by side using the carve pumpkins on either side of it to light the way to where the circle will be. How far apart they are depending on how big of a space you have to work with, how many carved pumpkins you have and how far apart they are to be spaced. (Some years we have each had to make to pumpkins because we were given a large field to use for the night and it was almost a mile to where the circle was being held. Another year with my children our six pumpkins were about a foot apart because the path to our backyard was so short.)

This is also a fine night to dress in a costume as this is more a festival ritual to have fun and celebrate the last harvest then a serious ritual to honour our ancestors. Make sure if costumes are worn especially by children that the distance between the fire and altar is large enough that a stray sash, cape, skirt, etc can not catch fire on accident.

To walk the path of pumpkins start with the High Priestess and High Priest walking side by side, then next comes the Priestess and Priest and then the rest of the coven preferably in man and woman couples if possible with any children walking in front of adult coven members or paired with them.

If this is being done by your family have mom and dad or whichever parent or whatever adult is the head of the household be first in line, the children will follow with another adult at the end of the procession to the circle.

Everyone enters into where the sacred circle will be cast around the altar and fire entering from the south. The High Priestess and High Priest stop at the opening to the circle area and welcomes each person with the words “Merry meet may you enter into this sacred space with perfect love and perfect trust.” (The people do not have to have perfect love and trust in the High Priestess and High Priest but in the ritual that is taking plaace and their own spiritual path).

Once everyone has entered into the area the High Priestess will cast the circle and High Priest will call the Watchtowers. If you are doing this as a family you can decide who does these things.

Now the High Priestess blesses the Fire and altar. Using these words –

I bless this fire to keep our home warm and the lights on through out the cold months to come. To purifiy and prtect us. So mote it be.

Next the Fire Element on the Altar is blessed with the same words.

Next in a single file line each person passes through the area between the fire and altar fire. After a person has passes through the fires they go back to where their place had been in the circle.

The High Priestess and High Priest stay behind the altar to bless the fruits and vegetables and to call upon the harvest goddess and god to do the same. The High Priest blesses the furits and vegetables by say “From Mother Earth and the Elements we have been given this great bounty. We thank them for the nourishing things that will help to sastain us through the long, cold months. So mote it be.” The High Priestess then calls upon the harvest goddess to enter the circle and bless the harvest. USing these words “_________ please bless this food and empower it to help nurish and sastins us through the long, cold months.” The Hig Priest calls upon the harvest god to bless the harvest. Using these words “________ please bless this food and help empower it to help nourish and sustain us through the long, cold months. So mote it be.”

Next the fruit and vegetables on the altar are cut into individula pieces so each member of the coven or family gets a piece. With one small piece of each left over as an offering to the Goddess and God called up, Mother Earth and the Elements. After everyone has finished their portions the entire coven says “This is or offering to Mother Earth, the Elements, Goddess called in and God called in foour thanks for your help in the growing of this food and for the havest that it brought to us. We thank you for your power and help in making this food to help us through the long, cold winter months. So mote it be.” Place the food offereing on the ground to be eaten by wildlife.

After this the High Priest will dismiss the Watchtowers and the High Priestess will close the circle. Now it is time to take down the altar and stoke up the fire. Have some warm cider or hot chocolate or whatever you feel like drinking, enjoy the fire, tell stories or sing songs. This is a time for jubliation and merriment in celebration that the harvest season is over and help keep you warm thoughout the cold months from the love and postitive energy being brought about by spending timwith friends and/or loved ones.

Samhain – 2015

“Samhain – Endings and Beginnings”

“The third and final harvest festival, as know as “The Witches” New Year, celebrates both the end of the old year and the beginning of the new, On this day, the veil between world is at its thinnest, and so we use this time to speak to those who have come before us: our ancestors, our beloved dead, all who are no longer with us. Some celebrate with a Dumb Supper, a traditional meal eaten in complete slience, with plates set out for those we have lost. Others set up a special altar with candles honoring the dead, often decorated with pictures or tokens to represent each individual. Some use this night for divination, which is enhanced as the veil is thin.

This is a bittersweet holiday when we say goodbye to those we’ve lost in the year gone past as well as mourn whatever goals we didn’t achive, But it is also a celebration of the coming year, full of hope and anticipation. We wipe the slate clean, dancing around a bonfire in celelbration of the Goddess in her Crone persona; full of wisdom and ready to sustain us as we move inti the darkness of winter. She teaches us that dark is nothing to fear, only a quite place where we can rest until we are ready to begin again.”

Copyright Deborah Blake Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2015 Page 113

Samhain – Flashback 2014

“Samhain – Divining the Unseen”

“At Samhain, the veil between the worlds is thinnest. The ordinary and extraordinary meet. Death and life touch at the edges. Mysteries drop hints. These factors make divination easier now, and traditional Samhain activities include various forms of it. Nuts may be placed in the coals of a fire to divine the future of a relationship. Scrying in a mirror or bowl of water is another popular option. An apple peel thrown on the ground reveals symbolic shapes. Of course, tarot cards also suit the occasion.

Celebrate the mysteries this Samhain. Choose from mystical colors such as purple, gold, silver, and black. Decorate the covenstead with lace veils and velvet drapes. Cobwebs of paper, string, or floss evoke the Fates who spin the thread of the future. The Norse god Odin traded an eye to the Norns to gain wisdom. In Greek mythology, Apollo is associated with the oracles. The Sumerian goddess Inanna also relates to prophecy and visions.

Consider a ritual that enacts visiting a sacred oracle. Lead coveners into a softly lit space where they can consult a priest or priestess who is skilled in divination or psychic arts. Use drums or bells to summon people back out..”

Copyright Elizabeth Barrette Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2014 Page 115

Samhain – Flashback 2013

“Halloween decorations are rife with symbols of the Crone goddess, and these trendy dark and gothic trappings are great for working transformation magick with her. Consider those ebony and amethyst candleholders, sparkling black tapers, candles shaped like skulls, silk but real looking ravens and crows. This Samhain, why not go all out with a Crone altar dedicate to the Greek goddess Hecate? Hecate is a Triple Goddess and also patron of Witches, sorcerers, and magicians, Tonight the veil between worlds is at it’s thinnest. Spirits walk, the Old Ones are out among us, and magick is ripe. Call upon Hecate for the wisdom to work with these types of energies.

Samhain has come, the veil between the worlds is thin,

Chilly winds now blow, and fallen leaves do spin.

With this Crone altar, I celelbrate your special time,

This Samhain spell is now cast with the sound of rhyme.

Hecate, light my path on this magickal night,

Grant me your courage and grace, wisdom and insight.”

COpyright Ellen Dugan Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2013 Page115

Samhain – Flashback 2012

“Samhain is an ancient Celtic festival that marked the end of one year and the start of the nextThe name mean “summer’s end” and marks the start of the dark half of the year. The herds now return to the village, and all plants had to be gathered. All necessary herbs, fruit, nuts, and berries were collected for winter’s store.

With the veil between the worlds at its thinnest, interactions between humans and the sacred other world of occurred on Samhain. As a New Year’s festival, many special ceremonies took place and offerings were made to the gods. Purification rites helped prepare for the year to come. Sacred myths were recited – what had been in the past was being re-created once more. And finally, divination took place to see what was to come.

At Samhain, prepare yourself for the next sacred cycle. Take an oath to the gods to give up or do something special, as an offering. Speak your oath aloud three times in the presence of a sacred flame. Then take a purifying bath and put on your finest garb. Stand before the Old Gods with respect and humility, and ask them to give you a vision to guide you on your path.”

Copyright Sharynne MacLeod NicMhacha Llewellyn’s Witchces’ Datebook 2012 Page 115

Samhain – Flashback 2011

“Every Samhain marks the passage of the year, and those who parted ways during the journey of that year. While popularly we do enjoy the frivolity of the ghosts and goblins, the silly costumes, and the sugar highs, the underpinnings of this holiday are quite serious. While Christians have All Soul’s Day on November 2, to Wiccans, October 31 is the day you just might hear and see the souls in their march to lands hidden beyond the knowledge of the lving. This is the time to clean the graves of your ancestors, and to make right any debts you may still owe. If you have access go to a river or creek and recite the names of your beloved dead, starting with the people who have passed most recently. As you speak, throw a leaf, flower, or branch in the water to represent their boat as they travel down the river of souls. When you finish, watch your vessels float away and listen carefully for what the dead may have to say to you. This is a time to make peace and to forget old wrongs – the sins have died with the person, leaving you behind to make you own world right. When you return home, sit down for a quite meal with those you love most.”

Copyright Diana Rajchel Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2011 Page117