Finally, a Samhain Newsletter
So Im looking back at past newsletters and realized Ive
never written one for Samhain/Halloween. Ive sent my dark moon
newsletter close to it but never addressed the actual holiday. Its
only the biggest holiday for witches, after all : )
Its 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. Im 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.
Cant 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
At this time of year, I can wear my cute witchy tee-shirts (any
other time someone always says "Halloween isnt 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 relatives gravesite
at night with a picnic to share with the deceased. While Im 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 moms younger sister. She, my sister,
and I used to go out to the local bar and dance the night away in the
early 1990s. 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 didnt 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, thats
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 mornings 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 cant 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.
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 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.
~~~ Rhiannon Rose @-^--