Greetings once again,
The seasons turn towards the winter months and we find ourselves indoors, protected from the harshest of weather. I usually spend my time reading, learning new skills and gaining knowledge, reflecting on what I have achieved this year while contemplating what I want to achieve next year and remembering those who have died; leaving this journey to start a new one.
So, I was browsing the net this morning – there’s a lot of stuff out there about Samhain/Halloween, isn’t there – and came across this rather lovely post by an English witch, Rachel Patterson. I’ve read many of her articles published in Pagan Dawn (the magazine of the Pagan Federation) and found them all to be well written, informative and always interesting. I hope you enjoy this article as much as I did.
(I’ve put a link to Rachel’s website at the bottom of this post, should you want to check her site out yourself)
31st October/1st November
(pronounced sow-een or sow-ain)
Samhain is generally celebrated on 31st October, when most people celebrate Halloween. Although it is also celebrated on 1st November as well. It is the end of summer and marks the last harvest. It is also a time when the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest, a time when we can connect with spirit.
We celebrate Samhain to mark the last harvest but also to honour our ancestors and those that have gone before us. At this point in the year our ancestors would have taken their cattle and livestock to be slaughtered and then preserved to last them over the coming dark winter months.
For witches Samhain also marks the end of the old year and the beginning of the new. A time to reflect on what we have achieved over the preceding months and a time to make resolutions and plans for the following ones.
I always celebrate this Sabbat with added enthusiasm as 31st October also marks my birthday. Even as a child I was given gifts of witches, dragons and faeries because of the date my birth fell upon, guess it was a sign LOL! I always decorate our front bay window with a mixture of traditional witch’s tools but also with some fun Halloween decorations as well. We always have lots of trick or treaters too so the evening is usually great fun adding in some form of divination and also honouring of the dead as well.
I am sure you will know the symbols for Samhain already but here are the ones I associated with this Sabbat: pumpkins, gourds, black pointy hats, broomsticks, black cats, bats, skeletons, skulls, spiders, wolves and moons.
In the garden:
Not a lot going on in the garden at this time of the year, if you have been lucky enough not to get a frost yet some of the late flowers might be struggling through still, but generally a time to finish tidying up and getting everything ready for the winter slumber.
Mugwort, allspice, mandrake, sage, rosemary, chrysanthemum and deadly nightshade.
Pumpkin (of course!), apples, root vegetables, mulled wines, meat, candy, ale, cider and mushrooms.
Black, orange, white, silver, gold and red
All forms of divination.
Make a witches ladder adding your intent for new projects for the coming months.
Make resolutions, write them on small slips of paper and then burn them in a candle flame.
Make an ancestors altar, this can be as simple as a photograph of a grandparent that has passed over. Find a suitable space, a shelf or a small table but don’t put your ancestor altar in the bedroom. Use a black or white cloth as the base and put out photographs of your ancestors, you could also add a crystal ball if you have one. You can also add mementos if you have them, old pieces of jewellery and ornaments you have inherited. Add white candles. Leave offerings of food or drink and make sure to change them regularly.
To read what Rachel Patterson comes up with for Day 2 click this link