Some Thoughts About Celebrating Samhain

Samhain is a day of reflection of the past year while celebrating the new. It is a day that whatever has not been harvested from gardens, fields, bushes, and trees get left for the wildlife and Fea Folk. It is also a day to communicate with those who have crossed the veil into the Summerlands. Many pagans and witches say it is the day and/or night to honor only those that have crossed in the last year but I do not go along with this way of thinking. While those who have passed since November 1, 2020 up to today do need more comforting and remembering them then those that have crossed over in other years past. The farther back in time you go to those who have crossed before the last year the more chance there is that they will be forgotten totally.

Hypothetically, if crossed the veil say 30 years ago or longer and each generation after you talk about you less and less as each year passes soon you will be forgotten completely. That one reason I have my Book of Shadows and Family Grimoire as one book that I hope keeps growing after I am gone. I have also placed pictures of ancestors at different ages as well as pictures of myself alone and with family members both ancestors and descents. In the section for ancestors I have included a picture of their headstone and where it can be found if I know.

So this Samhain when you are setting the extra place at the table, lighting a candle for each ancestors name, or however you choose to honor your ancestors (remember an ancestor does not have to be blood related they can be anyone in your life that help to mold you into the person you are today.) Set one more place, light one more candle, or whatever your tradition to remember your ancestors is for those who names have been forgotten since the first Homosapien of any branch of the human gene pool lived.

I implore you all to remember that we all can trace our lineage back to this mish mash of a gene pool and that the energy that runs through us connects us to every other living things and not just on Mother Earth. So the next time you have a negative thought about someone for any reason at all remember you are also having that negative thought about yourself.

I picked this song to be included in this post because for me it helps me to remember those, female or male or other, who otherwise might be forgotten

Grandmother

I wish all my family, which means everyone reading this post and by blood, a happy and blessed Samhain.

 

Lady Beltane 2018

Samhain treats and beverage ideas

Samhain is a time to remember our ancestors, but it is also a time to celebrate. So this week I wanted to pass on a few nontraditional ideas. Have fun with family and friends but Most Importantly; Be Smart!

HOW TO CREATE A FOG EFFECT

Read more: How to Create a Fog Effect for Your Halloween Punch – Drink of the Week http://www.drinkoftheweek.com/how-to-create-a-fog-effect-for-your-halloween-punch/#ixzz3oxxJP1HZ Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Follow us: @dotw on Twitter | drinkoftheweek on Facebook

How to Create a Fog Effect for Your Halloween Punch. Jonas Halpren Dry ice turns an ordinary party punch into a spooky Halloween brew!

Instructions:

Start with 2 punch bowls of different sizes. The smaller bowl will hold the actual punch while the larger bowl will hold the smaller bowl and the dry ice. With tongs or gloved hands (dry ice can freeze your skin), place chunks of dry ice in the bigger container. Place the smaller bowl on top of the dry ice. There is no need to add extra ice to the punch as the dry ice will cool the punch nicely.

Just before serving, pour some hot water over the dry ice. Continue to add hot water and dry ice as needed.

Be very careful when using dry ice! Handle only with tongs or heavy gloves! Do NOT put the dry ice directly in the punch or touch it with bare skin. It will burn! Dry ice should also NOT be ingested. Update: Where can you find dry ice? Dry ice can be found at liquor, grocery and some specialty party stores. Check out dryicediretory.com to find dry ice near you. Check out our collection of Halloween punch recipes! Read more at: https://tr.im/1mPMh

Ghostly PEEPS® Brownies

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Ghostly PEEPS® Brownies

<img src=”/-/media/Images/Shared/NativeAds/BrandingHeaders/PCH_mobile.jpg” alt=”Party Crusher Halloween” /> Party Crusher Halloween

  • Prep Time10 min
  • Total Time2 hr 40 min
  • Servings 16
 

Ingredients

 1box (18.3 oz) Betty Crocker™ fudge brownie mix

Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on brownie mix box

2/3 cup white vanilla baking chips, if desired

3/4 cup Betty Crocker™ Rich & Creamy vanilla frosting
16 PEEPS® marshmallow ghosts

Directions

  • 1 Heat oven to 325°F. Spray bottom of 8-inch square pan with cooking spray.
  • 2 In medium bowl, stir brownie mix, water, oil and eggs until well blended. Spread in pan. Sprinkle baking chips evenly over batter.
  • 3 Bake as directed on box for 8-inch square pan. Cool about 1 hour 30 minutes before frosting.
  • 4 Spread with frosting. Cut into 4 rows by 4 rows. Place marshmallow on each brownie.
  • WWW.Tablespoon.com

SPOOKY EYEBALLS MARTINI

We fashioned Spooky Eyeballs out of radishes, olives and grapes and added them to a traditional martini for a creepy cocktail for your next grown-up Halloween party.

Ingredients

Radish Eyeballs

2 round radishes

1 large pimiento-stuffed green olive, cut in half crosswise

Grape Eyeballs

2 large seedless black grapes
2 small cranberries or blueberries

Olive Eyeballs

2 jumbo pitted ripe olives

2 small ready-to-eat baby-cut carrot

Cocktail

2 1/2 oz  (5 tablespoons) gin or vodka

1/2 oz (1 tablespoon) dry vermouth

Directions

  • 1 To make each radish eyeball, peel radish, leaving streaks of red skin for “blood vessel” effect. Cut off one tip of radish about 1/4-inch deep. Using small melon baller or paring knife, scoop out small hole from sliced tip side; place olive half in center. Place in martini glass.
  • 2 To make each grape eyeball, carefully peel back skin of grape from one edge. Using small melon baller or paring knife, cut small hole in center of exposed flesh. Place small cranberry or blueberry in hole. Skewer grapes onto toothpick; place in martini glass.
  • 3 To make each olive eyeball, place baby carrot in pitted hole of olive. Cut off carrot flush with end of olive. Skewer olives onto toothpick; place in martini glass.
  • 4 To make cocktail, place several ice cubes in cocktail shaker or mixing glass. Add gin and vermouth. Cover; shake (or stir) 30 seconds. Strain into martini glass and serve.
  • WWW.Tablespoon.com

DRAGON’S BLOOD PUNCH

Serves 20-25

Ingredients:

1- 46 oz can Red Punch, 1- 46 oz can Apple Juice, 1- 46 oz bottle Cranberry Juice, 1- 2 liter bottle Ginger Ale, Ice Cubes

Berry Vodka optional),

Orange Liqueur (optional)

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in large punch bowl or cauldron. Add ice and stir.

For grownups version: Add 4 cups Berry Vodka and 1/2 cup of Orange Liqueur.

WWW.foodnetwork.com

Please remember Brothers and Sisters to be smart and have a designator driver or at least stay where you’re at for the night, if you are going to drink alcohol. You all mean too much to me, to have something awful happen to you or to someone else.

Best Blessings To You All,

SunRay Sorceress

 

 

 

 

Candles for the Ancestors

Candles for the Ancestors

I am the Acting Chief Druid for the White Oak Exploratory Group.  We follow the AODA (Ancient Order of Druids in America).  An Exploratory Group means that none of our members are far enough along in their studies to petition the Grand Grove for a charter for a study group.

We use the Opening and Closing that is done by the AODA and can be found at this link:  http://aoda.org/Study_Groups_Groves.html  We wrote this ritual for Samhuinn because we chose to celebrate the eight Sabbats.

Grove Set Up

Altar

table

cloth

cauldron w/sand and censer

dish of incense

charcoal and tongs

cauldron w/votive candle

lighter and passflame

cauldron w/water

cauldron w/salt or earth

Chief Druid

staff and board

reading stand

 

Telluric Holy Days

Hirlas  (drinking horn or cup):

·        Samhuinn: apple cider (NW)

seasonal symbol:

·        Samhuinn: evergreens

Druid of Air

sword in sheath

Pendragon

sickle

mistletoe or other plant

Individuals

white robe

cord belt

Samhuinn – Candles for the Ancestors

Those that wish to may anoint themselves with Samhain Oil.  We also have a small votive candle for each person sitting on the altar that they may light for an Ancestor.

Chief

*

Welcome to our Samhuinn ritual, in which we will welcome and honor our ancestors, those who have gone before us and made us who we are. After a period of meditation, each of us, beginning with the Herald, will go to the altar and light a candle for our personal ancestors, whether of blood, or mind, or heart.

All

Period of quiet meditation. 

For those who practice color breathing, the color for Samhuinn is violet (purple).

Herald

With this candle, we illuminate the grove as a beacon to those who have passed who we love and cherish.

All

Each person in turn goes to the altar and lights a candle.

Almoner

Goes to the altar and raises the hirlas so that everyone can see it.

The hirlas is the horn of plenty, which we share in honor of the Earth, the Holy Kindreds, and in celebration of community.  From the Earth, her never failing promise; from the Holy Kindreds, the gifts of will and grace; from the community, fellowship.  I receive these gifts with thanks, and from all that is given, I give in turn.

All

The Almoner drinks from the hirlas, then passes it to the next person.  When it returns to the Almoner, s/he replaces it on the altar.

Pendragon

In this season of growing darkness, let us meditate on all that we have shared this day.

All

Period of quiet meditation.

Chief

We thank those who’ve gone before us and continue to guide us in our lives and spiritual growth. Please abide with us tonight as we feast in your honor.

We then sat around a table and shared a meal…a Dumb Supper in which no one spoke until dessert.

Samhain, Let’s Celebrate !!

There are many ways to celebrate Samhain: I’ve listed a few here..

Putting Samhain Back Into The Season – By C. Austin

Keep it simple! It is the act of doing that is important, not the polish of the finished product or event. Always be sure to take appropriate precautions – Fire and Child Safety Are A Must.

Nature:

#1. Ceremoniously finish cleaning up your garden or lawn by October 31.

#3. Preserve flowers, a grain sheaf or garden produce for enjoyment in the coming winter season, as well as to insure successful planting in spring.

#5. Plant flower bulbs for Samhain – observe the moment when the bulbs rest within the welcoming underground of the Goddess.

#10. Organize a night or daytime nature walk to sharpen the senses, to the passage of time and season.

Celebrations:

#2. Bake a cake with one token (Wrapped in wax paper, large enough to prevent swallowing) in it. The recipient of this piece becomes the ” Lord (or Lady) of Misrule”, for Samhain evening. He or she is given a staff or wand (a stick with crepe paper, streamers, or some other inexpensive decoration or paint will do) and is thereby  permitted to rule over the proceedings, interrupting whenever they feel, leading the dances and games, etc.

#3. Hold your own individual ceremony, light a bonfire or candle and welcome the tides of time.

#4. Celebrate year-end by volunteering, by your self or with friends to complete a helpful  community project by Samhain.

#7. Make costumes or just masques with friends or by yourself. Gather paints, colourful leaves, feathers, beads, acorns, corn leaves and other bits to resemble any creature, animal or bird (otherworldly or otherwise) that you admire. Or even create an entirely original masque with designs or numbers and such on it, that are special to you.

Divinations:

#2. Walnuts or hazelnuts roasted in a fire or on the stove top will glow steadily to represent true love, while those that crack and pop reflect loves decline.

#3. Empty a walnut shell, affix a small candle (birthday cake size) within the shell and light it. Set it afloat in a long tub, a wading pool or pond. Name each walnut boat for a member of the party and watch as the boats navigate towards or away from each other, signifying the course of fate.

#8. Make a Samhain light by hollowing out an apple and putting a candle in it.

#9. Carve a “jack-o-lantern” out of a pumpkin, turnip or beet.

#11. When kindling a bonfire, place stones within the bonfire signifying people present – when the fire is ashes, note weather any of the stones are missing or misplaced – a portent of ill fortune to come.

#15. Bring the magick of reflective water indoor. Look in a mirror as you comb your hail and be aware of images that appear behind you or in your mind, that foretell the future (as the looking glass holds the reflection of your soul, so it is bad luck to drop or break a mirror. The particular mirror and comb to be used, should be utilized only for this type of scrying).

Feile na Marb – Supper For The Dead

#1. Light a candle or jack-o-lantern and keep it glowing late into the night.

#2. On October 31 make a simple display of photographs and/or tokens of loved ones since passed. Write a brief message to each, burn the message in your bonfire or jack-o-lantern at evening’s end to send the message to the otherworld.

#3. Leave or designate an empty chair(s) at your table. Leave a bit of food and drink for visiting spirits, as well as any token or special object they loved in life. (In the morning, throw food away, as spirits will have thankfully absorbed its essence).

merganser.math.gvsu.edu/myth/samhain.00.html
For an extended version of this, pop on over through the link I provided above. Have a great time this Samhain.
Next I’ll be posting Fun Recipes and Potions for your Samhain festivities!!
Best Blessings To You All,
SunRay Sorceress

Samhuinn Crystal Infused Ritual Oil

Samhuinn Crystal Infused Ritual Oil

Hematite-ground stone

Black Obsidian-Clairvoyant but grounding, sees things within our self

Pumpkin spice

Hazelnut base

Cinnamon

Nutmeg

Anoint objects

© 2015 Wolf Woman Ways

Samhain -Day 2

Samhain (Ancestor Connection Anointing Oil)

 You will need to make hematite gem elixir water as well as obsidian gem elixir water first.  I would suggest using the indirect method as to not harm the stones.  Put water in a glass jar and set the stone next to the water and set outside…you can charge them with either the sun or the full moon, whichever your own intuition tells you.

1 15ml amber bottle

Several hematite and snowflake obsidian chips (small stones to fit in bottle)

Hazelnut oil

10 drops cinnamon bark essential oil

10 drops clove oil

7 drops each of hematite & snowflake obsidian gem elixir water

Directions:

  1. Add your stone chips to the bottle first
  2. Pour the oil into glass bottle
  3. Add drops of essential oil and the gem elixirs
  4. Cap the bottle & shake to mix everything together and label the bottle
  5. Shake before each use to mix the oils

You can now either anoint yourself with the oil or use it on any tools you are using for your ritual.

© 2015 Wolf Woman Ways

Fire Scrying

As the power of the Sun fades, we embrace the harvest season and the decline of the fire element. This is a perfect time, as we approach the introspective tide of winter, to scry with flame. On a night close to the New Moon, cast a circle of protection, and light a purple candle. Sit silently and breathe deeply, allowing your conscious mind to grow quiet. Gaze at the candle flame and permit your thoughts to drift by without judgment. Soften your focus and relax your vision. Concentrate only on the flame. Ask a question. Observe the flame expectantly, and open your observations to your intuition. Invite the flame to impart images. Write down your insights, and carefully date your interpretation for future reference. Perfect to do on Samhain eve…

~ by: Karri Allrich

 

The Old Ways: Hallows

by Doug and Sandy Kopf

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Samhain (pronounced Sow-wen), also called Hallowmas, is the final festival in the Witches’ year. It is celebrated on October 31st. The word Samhain means ‘Summer’s End’. It is the first day of Winter and the Witch’s New Year. In earlier agricultural societies, Samhain was also the end of the Harvest, the time to put aside the seed corn for the coming Spring. It was a time for feasting, too, as the weaker animals were culled and killed. Only the livestock most likely to make it through the hard Winters were spared. Feasts consisted of any parts of the animal that couldn’t be salted and preserved. It was also considered by the Celts to be one of the Spirit Nights. It was a time to remember the ancestors and tell stories about them. At this time, when the Veils are thin, we honor our ancestors and invite them to attend our celebrations.

Although the modern calendar counts four cross-quarter seasonal celebrations, some early Celts recognized only two: Gamain (Winter’s End), on May 1st, and Samhain (Summer’s End), on November 1st. As Gamain (or Beltane) is marked by the rising of the Pleiades, so Samhain is marked by it’s setting. Many of the old Festivals were timed according to the movement of the stars, a calendar available to everyone, even to the illiterate peasantry.

Now, we are aware of howling winds, the days are short and the nights are long. Fruit trees are bare and Winter coats come out of mothballs. Storm clouds gather in the sky. Coming home in the evenings, we are aware of the darkness, the light disappearing earlier with each passing day. Checking our supermarket shelves, very little is available in the way of fresh produce. More and more often, we find ourselves in front of the frozen food counter (for some of us, our only encounter with ice)! This is not a subtle seasonal change, even in the city.

Today, at Halloween, you probably open your door and dispense candy and treats to children in adorable or frightening costumes, as their parents watch, in both pride and concern, from a respectable distance. But why do they do it? Well, today, they do it because children love candy and are game for any excuse to play dress up. (Wait a minute…that applies to most of the adults we know! Modify that to read ‘people’ love candy and costumes, not just children!). However, that wasn’t the real reason for going house to house at Samhain.

The earlier custom was called Soul-caking. Soul-cakers would go to each house, singing either a begging song or a plea for prayers for the dead. They would put on a mummers play for the residents of the house, which would consist of a challenge, a battle, a death, and a magical revival. Specially-made cakes were given to the Soul-cakers at the conclusion of their performance. Soul-caking is still the custom at Antrobus, in Cheshire, but there has been a change or two. Instead of going house-to-house, the Soul-cakers go pub-to-pub, by car! Leaving cakes and wine out for visiting ancestors is also an old custom that has carried over into many British households, even today.

The Hooden Horse, a similar but more threatening counterpart of the Beltane ‘Obby ‘Oss, is another Samhain tradition. The Hooden Horse often accompanied the Soul-cakers, with its head made from the skull of a horse, its eyes from bottoms of glass bottles and a hinged lower jaw that could snap or bite. It was held by a man, draped in a blanket or a sheet, known as the ‘Hoodener’. The origins of the word Hoodening are unknown. It may have come from ‘Wooden’ horse or ‘Woden’s horse’, or possibly from ‘Robin Hood’s horse’. According to Janet and Colin Bord (‘Earth Rites’), it most likely meant ‘hooded’, referring to the covered Hoodener. There are thirty-three recorded sites in Kent for Hooden Horse performances, but they are all before the turn of the century. The custom has been revived in Folkestone and Charing, during this century.

Like the more comic ‘Obby ‘Oss, the Hooden Horse has, as companions, a groom with a whip, several musicians and a man dressed in women’s clothing, called ‘Mollie’, who carries a besom (broom). They go from house to house and are rewarded with food and drink. The horse snaps it’s jaws and chases young women, while being restrained by the groom. In Cheshire, the horse is attached to the Soul-caker’s mummers play.

The name Soul-caking probably came from the Christian All Souls Day, but it is obviously a carryover of an earlier custom. The Church adopted November 2nd as All Souls Day in the year 998 c.e., but Frazer shows, (in ‘Adonis, Attis, Osiris’) that this was simply another case of the Church creating a holiday to explain the Pagan customs they were unable to suppress. All Saints Day, on November 1st, was recognized in the seventh century, when the Pantheon in Rome was turned into a place of Christian worship and dedicated to Mary and all the martyrs. This was probably a first attempt that didn’t quite work. The Reformation abolished All Souls Day in the Church of England, but Anglo-Catholics have revived it. All Saints Day still exists as a date in the Christian calendar.

At this time of celebration, Christians in many countries leave lamps and candles burning overnight to commemorate the dead. This reminds us of the Egyptian Feast of Lamps, thought to have been approximately November 8th, during which lamps were also burned through the night in honor of the dead. So, in this case, the Christian custom may have been had it’s origins in the Egyptian one.

In Mexico, November 2nd is a National holiday. This is The Day of the Dead. For the week preceding the Festival, the face of Death can be seen everywhere, in the form of fantastic skulls and skeletons decorating store windows and homes. In the bakeries, you will find decorated loaves in the shapes of men, women, children and animals. These fancy breads are ‘ofrendas’ or ‘offerings to the dead’. They are placed on elaborate Day of the Dead altars in every home. These gifts are offered to those who have crossed over, along with the favorite foods of the departed loved ones, who are thought to visit on this day. Elaborate receptions are held to welcome them. The offerings of food are first given to the dead, then eaten by the living.

The souls of small children are called ‘angelitos’ and they arrive earlier, on October 31st. The little one are given toys and sweets and parents light fireworks to guide the souls of their lost children. These celebrations also include visits to cemeteries and parades in honor of the dead. The Day of the Dead customs are recognized by the Catholic Church, but their Pagan origins are hard to ignore.

Bonfires were part of the Samhain celebrations (this is another of the four great Fire Festivals) in many areas. They were prepared during the day and lit at dusk on a hilltop, if possible. Celebrations were held round the fires and apples and nuts were roasted. This was a time when the spirits were nearby and the events of the coming year could be foretold. Marked stones were cast into the fire and the prophecies made according to the condition of the stones in the morning. If a stone could not be found the next day, it was believed that the person would soon die. These fires were believed to consume all the miseries of the year gone by, and leave the people free to make a fresh start for the New Year.

Often, an effigy was burnt in the fire, representing any malevolent forces which might have been causing ill to the community. This effigy was called ‘The Hag’. In recent centuries, it has come to be called ‘The Witch’. Why did they change the effigy’s name to ‘Witch’? Because, during the Burning Times, Samhain was thought to be the best time to burn the real thing!

It was felt that Witches, who were well hidden through the rest of the year, would venture out of hiding for this, the most important gathering of the year. (At Samhain, they might be able to get aid from the spirits of the dead in handling their many problems, or throw those problems into a bonfire to be consumed.) Therefore, this was the time to burn Witches, because it was the time to FIND Witches. (And there were nice, ready-made fires, too!)

We queried a friend in England as to whether the bonfire custom existed anywhere, today. She replied:

“In a village with which I am familiar, picture this event. The celebrations have of course been moved to November 5th, and called Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes Night, but a bonfire is built, as it used to be. It is composed of anything for which the villagers have no further use, broken equipment, tree prunings, ancient furniture – just about anything which will burn. The children carry lanterns made from hollowed out swedes (no pumpkins here!!) There is a fireworks display, after which they all go into the village hall for the feast. What do they eat? Sausages, stew, potatoes, parkin (cake), toffee and apples. The sausages and stew contain meat which could not be preserved; the stew contains offerings from various farmers who have grown swedes (rutabagas), carrots etc. The ladies in the village cook potatoes (also donated by the farmers) in their skins and bring them to the hall. Everyone talks to everyone else; those who have not met socially for a long time get caught up on family news, and tell stories about what has happened to them during the year. After the feast, people wander to the fire, and can be seen quietly gazing into it What are they seeing? Pictures? Do these pictures mean anything to them?”

“Isn’t this familiar? The bonfire and fireworks to send help to the declining sun, the feast, the stories, divination in the fire, and the mutual support and co-operation. We still hold parties, where we bob for apples, roast chestnuts, tell ghost stories and sing the old songs. Food and wine is left on the hearth for our unseen kinsfolk, past, present or future!”

Guy Fawkes Night is a commemoration of the famous ‘Gunpowder Plot’ which occurred on November 5, 1605. According to Trefor Owen (‘Welsh Folk Customs’), the Samhain festivities were moved to this date in 1758. He refers to a letter, written by William Morris in that year, stating that this year the bonfires and nut-burning had moved to the new date, for the first time. November 5th is in keeping with this cross-quarter Festival, because if you divide the year between the Equinox and the Solstice, you will come up with something closer to the 5th than to the 31st or the 1st. It seems to us that Samhain in England isn’t gone, it’s just wearing a bit of a disguise!

In Wales, this night was ‘Nos Galan gaeaf’ or ‘Calan gaeaf’, (the eve of the Winter Kalend) and the feast was ‘ffest y wrach’, (The Hag’s Feast). As the fires burnt low, people would call out ‘Home! Home! Let each try to be first! May The Tail-less Black Sow take the hindmost’, and run as fast as they could for the safety of their homes. Not only would the good spirits aid them, but bad ones would harass them, and they felt safe only as long as the fire burned. The ancient Celts saw this as a very dangerous time of year, indeed, when all manner of spirits ran rampant. Their rituals served to protect them, as well as aid them.

Samhain, when people felt a closeness to the Otherworld, was seen as a time for divination of all sorts. Many of these activities can be tried in our celebrations today. One tradition, from Merioneth, in Wales, is the ‘mash of nine sorts’. The ingredients for this dish are potatoes, carrots, turnips, peas, parsnips, leeks, pepper, salt and enough milk to bring it to a good consistency. A wedding ring is carefully hidden in the mash. All participants stand around it, spoons in hand, and eat. The fortunate person who finds the ring will be first to marry and will have good fortune.

Another divination game requires placing three bowls on a table. One is filled with clear water, one with cloudy water and one with earth (or with nothing at all). A contestant is then blindfolded and asked to dip his or her hands into one of the bowls. A prophecy is based on the choice. The clear water signifies success throughout life, the cloudy water means marriage, followed by strife and the other bowl signifies death before marriage. We would think that other meanings could be applied to the choices, though.

Of course, apples are involved in many of the traditional Samhain games. Did you know that both bobbing for apples in a tub and catching an apple suspended from a string are very old traditions? Here’s another form of this game, but look out, it won’t be easy. A stick is suspended from the ceiling with a string tied around the middle. An apple is attached to one end of the stick and a lit candle to the other. Spin the string so both items are rotating, then try to catch the apple in your teeth. Good luck!

Samhain is also known as ‘Nutcrack Night’ in parts of England, because of the many divination games using nuts. One that is simple is to toss a nut into the fire and see how it burns. If it burns brightly, the thrower’s wish will come true. If not, it won’t. Another idea is to see how many nuts can be picked up in one hand. An even number indicates a faithful love, an odd number is betrayal.

On Okinawa, an Asian island, this is the time of Obun, an Ancestors Worship Festival. The Okinawans prepare special packets consisting of ‘Spirit Yen’ (incense wrapped in white rice paper) and put them out with fruits and flowers to honor their ancestors. The Spirit Yen is burnt as an offering at the end of the celebration.

Samhain is a Festival that has survived ’round the world. Call it by any name you like, but whether you bob for apples, practice some of the many forms of divination, light a fire (or just a candle) or spend the evening greeting costumed children at the door, you are celebrating in The Old Ways. Celebrate with your Honored Dead and have a wonderful Samhain (and May The Tail-less Black Sow take the hind-most!).

Summerlands

“Shining bright against the sky,
they never seem to fade or die
And as they glow throughout the night,
Round the world they go in flight”
-Peter Fein

~ Three Stages of Life by Klimt

There were many symbols sacred to the Celts. The number three was evident in many of their spiritual practices,
for instance, the three worlds:

The Upperworld (Sky)

The Middle World or Earth (Land)

The Lowerworld or Underworld (Sea)

The Celts determined that the rise to the Summerland was by accessing the Sky, while entrance into to the Lowerworld or Underworld was admitted through the Sea or by mounds known as Sidhe (shee). The Underworld does not refer to ‘hell’ as the Christian beliefs, but rather a place of rest to await and be reborn. The Celts did not believe in an all-evil entity such as the Christian devil.

Reincarnation seems to be one of the most controversial spiritual topics of our time. Hundreds of books are being published on the subject as if the Western world had only recently discovered this ancient doctrine.

Reincarnation is one of Wicca’s most valuable lessons. The knowledge that this life is but one of many, that when the physical body dies we do not cease to exist but are reborn in another body answers many questions, but raises a few more.

Why? Why are we reincarnated? In common with many other religions, Wicca teaches that reincarnation is the instrument through which our souls are perfected. One lifetime isn’t sufficient to attain this goal; hence, the consciousness (soul) is reborn many times,each life encompassing a different set of lessons, until perfection is achieved. Perhaps being an “old soul” means one is a slow learner. No one can say how many lives are required before this is achieved. We are human and its easy to get caught up in our day to day dramas.

A man could even become his own daughter by dying before she is born and then entering her body at birth. Some tribes avoid eating certain animals because they believe that the souls of their ancestors dwell in those animals.

 

In Wicca, we seek to strengthen our bodies, minds and souls.We certainly live full, productive earthly lives, but we try to do so while harming none, the constant One upsmanship, intimidation and looking out for number one slows this journey down.

 

The soul is ageless, sexless, non-physical, possessed of the divine spark of the Goddess and God.Each manifestation of the soul(i.e: Each body it inhabits on earth) is different. No two bodies or lives are the same. If this wasn’t so,the soul would stagnate.The sex, race, place of birth,economic class and every other individuality of the soul is determined by its actions in past lives and the lessons necessary to the present.

 

As an aid in learning the lessons of each life, a phenomenon exists which has been called karma. Karma is often misunderstood.It is not a system of rewards and punishments,but a phenomenon that guides the soul toward evolving actions. Thusly, if a person performs negative actions, negative actions will be returned.Good brings good.With this in mind, there’s little reason to act negatively.

 

 

Karma means action,and that’s how it works. It is a tool, not a punishment. There’s no way one can “wipe out”karma, and neither is every seemingly terrible event in our lives a byproduct of karma.

 

We learn from karma only when we are aware of it. Many look into their past lives to discover their mistakes,to uncover the problems inhibiting progress in this one. Trance and meditation techniques can help here, but true self-knowledge is the best means of accomplishing this.

 

What happens after death? Only the body dies. The soul lives on.Some Wiccans say that it journeys to a realm variously known as the Land of the Faerie ,the summerland, and the land of the young. This realm is neither in heaven nor the underworld. It simply is-a non-physical reality much less dense than ours. Some Wiccan traditions describe it as a land of eternal summer, with grassy fields and sweet flowing rivers, perhaps the earth before the arrival of humans. Others see it vaguely as a realm without forms, where energy swirls coexist with the greatest energies-the Goddess and God in their celestial identities.

 

One day you may “know”, not believe, that reincarnation is as real as a plant that buds, flowers, drops its seed, withers and creates a new plant in its image. Reincarnation was probably first intuited by earlier peoples watching nature. Until you’ve decided for yourself, you may wish to reflect upon and consider the doctrine of reincarnation.

 

~ Vienna by Klimt

 

“We are not human-beings having a spiritual experience,
but we are spiritual-beings having a human experience.

~ Deepak Chopra

 

~ The Waiting by Klimt

Where we come from, where we go . . . beyond punishment and judgments there is acceptance and unconditional love, from where we separated us. Life never starts, never ends, just its expression does change, which makes us believe we die, or we take birth.

All the ancient peoples of the world believed in the reality of reincarnation and a majority in this world still does. Buddhists, Hindus, Druids, Celts, Britons, Gallics, Platonists, Pythagoreans, many gnostic Christians, are only some of the people that hold to this doctrine. Add the Inca and Maya civilizations, the old Egyptians, the Roman poets Vergil, Lucretius, Horatio, the Stoics, and the list is still not completed! Also the Jewish Sohar, the famous Kabbalistic book, contains references to reincarnation.

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Spiritualist Seance Invocation

There is a land where we all go,

Where never the frost or cold winds blow.
And friends remembered reunite,
where those who hate, forget their spite.
In glow, surround these gentle beings,
we call you now to bless our meetings,
Heaven’s promise, our spirits thrive,
So now for the living, let the dead come alive.
Greetings spirits, Speak now to us?’

From “The Spirit Speaks! Weekly Newspaper” 1901
~ Revised by Barbara Morris