Samhain: Information and Ideas

Chat about pagan and Wiccan holidays.
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smogie_michele
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Samhain: Information and Ideas

Post by smogie_michele »

In my own personal practice, I enjoy focusing much of my attention to any upcoming turning of the Wheel of the Year; I feel it helps keep me connected to my spiritual path. I wrote this for two reasons: 1) to serve as an informational piece for those who may be new to this path and 2) to be a conversation started for those who have been practicing for many years now. I hope you all enjoy it!


Every October I feel a new surge of energy- something that makes me feel extra “witchy.” Part of me believes that it is the crisp, cool weather that breathes life into me… Another part of me thinks it is all the Halloween décor for sale. Regardless of why I get that surge of feeling, I believe that all other witchy people feel it, too. Whether or not you have been practicing the craft for many years now or you are just beginning to dip you toes into these waters, Samhain is a wonderful time of the year to connect to your spiritual path.

When is Samhain?
In the northern hemisphere, traditionally, it is November 1st, but the celebration often began after sunset on October 31st. For our southern hemisphere companions, Samhain is celebrated on May 1st. For my own practice, I celebrate on Halloween.

Why do we celebrate Samhain?
Samhain, meaning summer’s end, is the last of the three harvest holidays. The leaves are changing color, our fields are producing the last of their crops, and we are beginning to move forward into longer and cooler nights- officially propelling us into the dark half of the year. Additionally, we believe that the veil between the living and the spirit world is at its thinnest, allowing us to honor and reconnect with our ancestors before they move on.

In both respects, it is quite clear that we honor death during this time of year; be it the death of the land and crops or a loved one. However, this celebration isn’t as morbid as some may think! Though we honor those that have passed, we do so by celebrating the life that was once had- It can truly be a happy time.

Symbols of Samhain
Using traditional Samhain colors, herbs, symbols, etc. can help give a boost of energy to your ritual- or at the very least brighten up you altar!

Colors: focus on black, orange, brown, gold
Stones: Onyx, Jet, and Bloodstone
Food and Herbs: Pumpkins, turnips, apples, mugwort, rosemary, garlic, sage, catnip

Celebration Ideas

We all celebrate differently, but these are a few ways I like to spend my time leading up to and the day of this holiday.

Make lanterns out of gourds: This is a no brainer- most of us do every year anyways. If you are feeling adventurous, try to make a few smaller “candle holders” out of turnips- the original jock-o-lantern. I’m NOT that adventurous, so I stick to my regular pumpkin. We carve the pumpkins as a family, carving faces into some of them and protective sigils in others. We use pumpkins and other gourds because they are the most durable crop we have available to us around this time of year.

Bake pumpkin seeds: You just carved that pumpkin, right? Waist nothing! Clean and toast your pumpkin seeds as a delicious, family friendly snack. You can also set aside a few seeds to be used in your Samhain ritual- get creative!

Leave baked goods as an offering: If you are planning on celebrating your departed loved ones, make sure to leave a place at the table for them! I make many different recipes of bread and bake apple pies (or any other seasonal baked good that comes to mind) and I be sure to leave enough for any loved ones who may be visiting. I believe it is a good way to show them that I still value them and will always leave a spot in my heart for them.

Revamp your altar: Using traditional Samhain colors and herbs, redo your altar and make it picture perfect for the season. I buy a few of the tiny pumpkins and other squash that are sold at grocery stores and place them all around my altar. I also add a few framed pictures of departed family members to my altar with black and gold ribbon and the name tags of beloved pets who have crossed that rainbow bridge.

Break out your Tarot Cards: Or any other divination tool you might have. Because of the mass amounts of spiritual energy in the air, this is an ideal time to practice divination. Personally, I like using Oracle Cards or my pendulum while holding a pouch of mugwort- an herb that is widely used for its properties in divination.

Get a witches’ broom: Not too long ago, I bought a cheap witch broom from Michaels and decorated it the fabric and ribbon. I use it around this time of year to “Sweep” away any nasty energies that may be lingering around my house.

Play with your kids and family: Go trick or treating, dress up with them, eat too much candy, go to a haunted house, watch the scary movies, etc. Though we honor death this day, we do so my celebrating life- so go live! While I believe that it is important to make time to partake in Samhain rituals, don’t lose sight of the friends and family you have in front of you. Be silly, make memories and laugh with them.

Have fun this Halloween!

All information used was gathered through my collection of pagan books, but I primarily focused on Wicca: Year and a Day by Timothy Roderick and my own Book of Shadows- a collection of information that I have been accumulating for nearly ten years now, so I apologize if I cannot correctly source where I have gotten some of this information.
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Re: Samhain: Information and Ideas

Post by firebirdflys »



DUMBSUPPER

We have made it a tradition in our group to hold a dumbsupper.
Place setting for the ancestor
Place setting for the ancestor
This is the Holiday to break out the fine china in my house, the ancestor has a place of honor some where at the table or if we are a large group the table becomes the altar and we eat in the yard.
It's called dumbsupper because the dead do not generally speak in tearms of this earth. So we fall silent in order to be open to messages from beyond the veil. The whole meal is consumed without speaking, (makes for creative ways to ask for the salt and pepper!) The Priest or Priestess invokes sacred space and invites conversation from loved ones who have passed, then a bell is rung and the dumb tounge begins. During the meal all take turns leaving offerings from their own plate and drink at the the place setting of the ancestor, there one make take some time to commune or remember. Pictures and other memorabilia decorate this ancestor area of honor. The bell can be rung to bring us back or sometimes, towards the end, someone will accidentally (or purposely ) break the silence and the dumb time is over.

(Edit...this was redone becaue the innitial post disappeared, not nearly as great as the first time :annoyed:
Here is some other stories about ancestors.
http://www.patheos.com/Pagan/Topics/Rem ... -Ancestors
many Samhain blessings,
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Kassandra
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Re: Samhain: Information and Ideas

Post by Kassandra »

.


Nice post, smogie_michele.
firebirdflys wrote:crap...everything I typed disappeared) ill come back later :evilwitch:
Ha, boy have I done that before.



.

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Re: Samhain: Information and Ideas

Post by bluejay_1919 »

This is a great topic. Thanks for a the little tid bits of I found on Samhain. I love the idea of the broom and I think it would be a fun way of letting my children participate.

@firebirdflys that is a beautiful table setting. Another idea I've heard of before but you've inspired me to actually do it this time, for my father who has passed.

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Re: Samhain: Information and Ideas

Post by Aesennyll »

I love the decorations. That really puts me in the spirit of the Hoilday. Think I'll dig the stuff out today :fairy:
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smogie_michele
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Re: Samhain: Information and Ideas

Post by smogie_michele »

I've been using the past few days to work on my memorial altar that we are setting up for my wedding in December- just a small table with pictures of loved ones who are no longer with us. While the wedding is well past Samhain, working on it now feels special to me :)
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Re: Samhain: Information and Ideas

Post by T'a Nuk »

Great stuff! This time of year is also a great time to be outside in the beautiful fall colors. You can gather acorns and leaves, pretty seed pods, wild fruit and rose hips, or just feel the season around you. It is easier to see all the birds and animals with the diminishing foliage and we are rewarded with beautiful sunsets in the fall. Very inspiring on lots of levels.

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Re: Samhain: Information and Ideas

Post by firebirdflys »

I love gathering rose hips :D

Here is a traditional jack o' lantern, they used to be carved out turnips and rutabagas
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We have gotten much more ornate...
Here's some amazing pumpkins!
https://images.search.yahoo.com/yhs/sea ... rt=mozilla

WOW!
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Re: Samhain: Information and Ideas

Post by smogie_michele »

That turnip looks terrifying... I'll definitely be seeing it in my sleep tonight...
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firebirdflys
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Re: Samhain: Information and Ideas

Post by firebirdflys »

Yae it do...Eeeeeek. :surprisedwitch: nice to frighten gouls off eh?

Now for something completely different....
phpBB [video]

FUN STUFF!!!
Decorate your House!
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Re: Samhain: Information and Ideas

Post by SpiritTalker »

:shock:
:surprisedwitch:
:mrgreen:

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Re: Samhain: Information and Ideas

Post by smogie_michele »

I'm planning on taking full advantage of November 1st Halloween shopping and stocking up for next year!!

The menu for Monday night will include a ton of roasted garlic and honey root veggies! It is getting close!!
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Re: Samhain: Information and Ideas

Post by firebirdflys »

Oh ya, great idea. :fairy:
I'm so happy. ... I found a great goul last year in the 75% mark down bin. He's flying happily in the den this year, looking very scary with is flashing red eyes and terrifying screech. (Clap and /or noise activated) and it has an off switch, thank god.
Wheeeeee... Getting close indeed. I cleaned up the cat cemetery yesterday, rearranged the plants some, trimmed some unruly bush, made it so you could sit at the table, pulled bunches of weeds and dry out nasturtium which is already coming back with that little drop of rain we had, set out fresh water and lit a candle. Hard for me to believe still that all my boys had to leave in the same year, It was an emotional clean up to be for sure. I've been seeing them all around the house since I've been back from Mom's. In places they wouldn't have been in life...it's weird.
Additionally , this place has become rather "active" since then as well. Yesterday a solar light, the cheep ones you stick in the ground, hit me in the shoulder in the house as I exited the back door, where the heck did that come from I thought???...I still don't know...that has me pretty well freaked out. About a half hour later in the yard a plant shot off the shelf at me, I was moving something below it not touching the plant, and it didn't just fall over, it shot off the shelf, but I caught it before it hit the ground, that was weird too.
The noises in the house are waaaaaaay busier than normal. I can hear things sliding then hitting the ground yet there is nothing there. And stuff is just randomly falling over that is really there for no aparent reason.
Yep, the veil is thinning.... I'm not terribly worried about all this...it's just interesting. Sheilds Up! Yeeee Haa!!
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Re: Samhain: Information and Ideas

Post by firebirdflys »

VISIT A CEMETERY

I went to the cemetery today, the one that was next to my old house. My best freind from elementary school is there (aged 12) as are my girl-friends mom and her brother (aged 18) and my husbands younger sister (aged 14) and his aunt and uncle. It's a nice location and a good place to go to think. I visit this group of people when I go there, even though there are several others there I was less close with that are buried there. I think about the good times with these people and other relatives that are gone, but I am also there contemplating the change in my life I must go through this time of year. What is so frightening to me within myself that I must face this time around the cycle?
These are the questions to face at the Samhain bone-fire.

Go to an old Cemetery and dine with a stranger (bring a picnic), be curious about the lives they must have lived, think about how you would wish your life to be, what would make it better? What are you willing to release to achieve it?

Here a great ghost town cemetery in about the most remote yet historical places in California.
http://www.bodie.com/History/Cemetery/

Samhain blessings,
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Re: Samhain: Information and Ideas

Post by smogie_michele »

For my bachelorette party last weekend, we did a walking ghost tour. It was super interesting to be with so many people who were so willing to connect to the departed.

Firebird, How did your dumb supper go?
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