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Magickal Musings From Infinite Flame

Samhain 2010
Define "wicked".......


Finally, a Samhain Newsletter

So I’m looking back at past newsletters and realized I’ve never written one for Samhain/Halloween. I’ve sent my dark moon newsletter close to it but never addressed the actual holiday. It’s only the biggest holiday for witches, after all : )

It’s also the busiest holiday. For me, anyway. Not only do I dress up to greet the trick or treaters but I have to plan and set up our ritual. I’m extra thorough with my cleaning beforehand since guests are coming, both living and dead. Extra protections are invoked to keep mischievous spirits away while letting those invited in. And the pumpkin. Can’t forget to carve the pumpkin. For the past few years my pumpkin carving ritual goes something like this: cut the top and gut the pumpkin, rinse the seeds and put in the oven, turn on Nightmare Before Christmas, and carve away while listening to Jack Skellington and his friends sing frightfully fun songs. Sometimes I carve mini pumpkins into tea light holders too.

At this time of year, I can wear my cute witchy tee-shirts (any other time someone always says "Halloween isn’t until October"), I can state I am a witch and get a smile instead of a weird look, and my house looks normal as the candles, broom by the door, and witch dolls and collectibles seem to blend in with the Halloween decorations. I love my Halloween stuff, some of it stays out all year.

On Halloween night, I don my special Samhain witch outfit (a costume I bought years ago with huge bell sleeves and a tattered looking hem), spider web nylons, and big black witches hat. I decorate my porch (unless there is rain) and hand out chocolate eye ball candies (one year I heard a kid tell his mother "the witch is giving out eyeballs! Cool!" so I get them every year). No green makeup, no stereotypes, just promoting that witches are people too in a subtle way. And I love seeing the kids in their costumes! Adorable little batmen, witches, princesses, vampires, and one year there was a little pink poodle jumping down the street. When the weather is nice, I sit on the porch. There was an owl living the woods and I used to hear it while out there.

And for some reason, every year on Halloween my porch light acts up! It refuses to stay on and I have to keep an eye on it all night. One year when Alicia was here, the light was burned out. I had no idea how to change it. So we took turns standing on a chair trying to get the porch light open to get to the bulb. We were dressed as witches. It must have looked pretty funny. How many witches does it take to change a light bulb? hee hee. I ended up taking a lamp that looks like a movie camera (from my video store days) and hanging it on the porch light to create a porch light. Then the next night when I told my boyfriend it needed to be changed, it came on. Spooky.

Welcoming Loved Ones From Beyond

The biggest theme of Samhain is the thinning of the veil. This time of year has been associated with honoring the dead way before the costumes and candy came about. Before the Christians taught us to be afraid of ghosts, people invited the spirits of loved ones to visit and an extra place was set at the table for them. It was a time to be reunited and remember the good times spent, stories were shared and for a little while the pain of separation was eased. In Mexico they still have this custom and El Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) is a big celebration where chocolate skeletons and bread skulls are the norm. Some families still go to a relative’s gravesite at night with a picnic to share with the deceased. While I’m not suggesting we do anything like this, I do believe it is very important to include some form of honoring or communicating with loved ones who have passed over in your Samhain celebration.

Before I started hosting the holidays, I celebrated them alone. The first time I remember honoring a relative is when my Aunt Susie died. She was the fun aunt, my mom’s younger sister. She, my sister, and I used to go out to the local bar and dance the night away in the early 1990’s. We shared an interest in astrology and divination cards. When she died, I got her astrology stuff, a couple of decks, and her set of runes. She died in January of 2000 of cancer. I was very upset and missed her terribly. That same year I purchased the book "Halloween" by Silver Ravenwolf. In it, she has a whole chapter on honoring the dead. So on Samhain eve of 2000, after the trick or treating had finished, I did my first ritual honoring the spirit that was Susie based on the rituals in that chapter. I did not write down what I did, it was very personal and I didn’t see the need. I also remember telling my sister about it a year or two later, and saying how it helped me feel better communicating with her that way. My sister now attends my rituals and I think the Samhain celebrations help her too.

For our first group ritual in which we honored the deceased, I had read a ritual that described passing a candle around the circle while each member names those they wish to honor. I liked this and purchased a black pillar candle specifically for this purpose. I cleansed it, consecrated it, and dedicated it to Hecate. Since Hecate is "my" Goddess, I choose to work with Her as She is a Goddess of the Underworld. If you decide to do something like this, you can dedicate the candle to whomever you wish or just empower it to aid communication with the dead. I wrote a spell to invoke the candle. During the ritual, I speak the spell and then pass the candle. Each person names those they wish to honor, I wait and speak mine last. As my sister and I are both present, we name different relatives as I see no reason to name someone twice. We then pause for a moment to communicate with those who choose to appear (we do not demand or conjure any spirit to appear, leaving it open to the spirit to come and go as it pleases). You could drag this out by writing your lineage ahead of time and naming every name on your family tree but I do not recommend this for a group ritual as no matter how dedicated to the craft you are, someone speaking forever while you are waiting your turn causes the mind to wander and the energies to scatter. If your group consists only of family members, then the family tree idea could be used, with each member reading a “branch” or going around the circle several times with each person saying one name at a time, going back further in time with each pass. (Hey, that sounds cool, too bad my sister is the only member of my family that would also think so, well, maybe my mom too)

Of course, I want to recommend our Samhain Candle for your celebration, which is already empowered to communicate with the dead. It would work great as the fire candle in your ritual, that’s what we use it for. It would not work so great to pass around as the container becomes hot once lit.

Here is the spell I wrote for the black pillar candle we use:

At this time when the veil is thin
No circle is needed to call our kin
We call to those whom we love
Join us below, then back above

Hecate, guide the spirits of those named here this night
To be with us once more until morning’s light

The phrase "no circle is needed" was used because the first time we did this, we were sitting on the floor around my coffee table and it is not possible to create a circle around it. Also because inviting your ancestors can be done without a circle. And "join us below then back above" goes against the underworld theme but does fit in with the thinking that the spirits of our loved ones watch over us, ......and I had to rhyme something with "love" : )

Last year when we did our Samhain ritual, one of the names was my Aunt Debbie who died in May. I inherited her cat, Sandy. As soon as the names were called and I was about to set the candle down and have us silently communicate, Sandy suddenly started meowing. She came into the kitchen and our circle, going to a spot a few feet from my right side. She was making all kinds of noises and looking up like someone was there, but she was looking away from all of us. She stayed for a few minutes then quieted down. We went ahead with our ritual and when I opened my eyes after talking with relatives, she was back on the couch. Sandy has ignored every other ritual or circle I have done in this house. This was the only time she did anything like this. I can’t wait to see what happens this year.......

2014: The next year, 2011, was 2 months after Brian died. I still included this in our ritual but I went first and broke down when saying his name. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do in a ritual but I was determined to do it. I had them continue as I cried. He was there in spirit and had a message for me. In 2012 I didn't cry but it was still hard on me. His presence was very comforting. Don't let your grief stop you from doing rituals like this, they aid the healing of your heart.

Witches Brew

This is a recipe that originated from the "Halloween" book by Silver Ravenwolf. We have had this at our Samhain celebration in past years and it is very good.

1 gallon apple cider
1 orange
1 star fruit (the original recipe calls for apple)
3 cinnamon sticks (or ground cinnamon to taste)
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (or to taste)

Pour apple cider into a large pot. You want to put the juice of the orange and the peel in the brew. I have an orange peeler tool that I use to cut the peel into strips and then gently pull it off the fruit. I then squeeze the juice from the orange and discard the pulp. Add the peel to the pot. Cut the star fruit into slices to resemble stars and add that. Break cinnamon sticks in half and add them to the brew along with the nutmeg. Warm over low heat for 2 hours, do not boil. Stir often.

This is the blessing/spell to say while stirring:

From the moon to the vine
From the vine to the fruit
From the fruit to this brew
May the Lady send her blessings
May the Lord grant your desires

The original recipe also adds rose petals to be sprinkled into each serving. If you choose to use petals, best to use those you yourself or someone in your group has grown and picked themselves. If you purchase them, be sure they are free of pesticides and additives often found in commercial dried petals.

Happy Hauntings!
~~~ Rhiannon Rose @-^--



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Symbols of Samhain:

  • Orange
  • Black
  • Pumpkin
  • Jack-o-Lantern
  • Skeleton
  • Skull
  • Witches
  • Broom Stick
  • Black Cat
  • Cauldron
  • Apple
  • Pomegranate
  • Bonfire
  • Ghost
  • Bat

Samhain Energies:

  • Thinning of the Veil
  • Divination
  • Remembering Ancestors
  • Honoring the Dead
  • Focus Moves Inward
  • Preparing for the Long Winter

     

    Credit and
    Butt-Kissing

    Halloween by Silver Ravenwolf

    Not used for this newsletter but also a good read:
    The Pagan Book of Halloween and/or A Witch's Halloween by Gerina Dunwich (they are the same book under different titles, something I found out after purchasing the second one)

    The Wiccan Year by Judy Ann Nock

    A Year of Ritual by Sandra Kynes


    Song Quote

    'Twas a long time ago,
    Longer now than it seems
    In a place that perhaps you've seen in your dreams
    For the story that you are about to be told
    Began with the holiday worlds of old
    Now, you've probably wondered where holidays come from.
    If you haven't I'd say it's time you begun.

    Boys and girls of every age
    wouldn't you like to see something strange
    Come with us and you will see,
    this our town of Halloween
    This is Halloween, this is Halloween,
    pumpkins scream in the dead of night
    This is Halloween, everybody make a scene,
    trick or treat till the neighbours come and die of fright
    It's our town, everybody scream,
    in this town of Halloween

    I am the one hiding under your bed,
    teeth ground sharp and eyes glowing red
    I am the one hiding under your stairs,
    fingers like snakes and spiders in my hair

    This is Halloween, this is Halloween,
    Halloween, Halloween, Halloween, Halloween

    In this town we call home,
    everyone hail to the pumpkin song
    In this town, don't we love it now,
    everybody's waiting for the next surprise
    Round that corner, then,
    hiding in the trash cans,
    something's waiting now to pounce and how you'll..
    Scream, this is Halloween,
    red and black and slimy green,
    Aren't you scared?
    Well, that's just fine,
    say it once, say it twice,
    take a chance and roll the dice,
    ride with the moon in the dead of night
    Everybody scream, everybody scream,
    in our town or Halloween

    I am the clown with the tear-away face,
    here in a flash and gone without a trace
    I am the who when you call "Who's there?",
    I am the wind blowing through your hair
    I am the shadow on the moon at night,
    filling your dreams to the brim with fright

    This is Halloween, this is Halloween,
    Halloween, Halloween, Halloween, Halloween

    Tender lumplings everywhere,
    life's no fun without a good scare,
    that's our job but we're not mean
    in our town of Halloween
    In this town, don't we love it now,
    everyone's waiting for the next surprise
    Skeleton Jack might catch you in the back
    and scream like a banshee,
    make you jump out of your skin!
    This is Halloween, everybody scream,
    won't you please make way for a very special guy
    Our man Jack is king of the pumpkin patch,
    everyone hail to the pumpkin king
    Now, this is Halloween, this is Halloween,
    Halloween, Halloween, Halloween, Halloween
    In this town we call home
    everyone hail to the pumpkin song
    La la la la la, ...

    Nightmare Before Christmas Theme by the entire "cast"


     

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