With what people now call, Halloween, been and gone, it is time to come off the candy high and really take a look at the real meaning of Halloween.
I am a Pagan by religion and I have been for almost half my life. Pagans call Halloween Samhain and Samhain (pronounced ‘sow’inn’) is a very important date in the Pagan calendar for it marks the Feast of the Dead. Many Pagans also celebrate it as the old Celtic New Year (although some mark this at Imbolc). It is also celebrated by non-Pagans who call this festival Halloween.
1) The pumpkin God, Samhain ( pronounced Sam’hane) DOES NOT exist.
2) Pagans DO NOT sacrifice babies or animals on Halloween. The Wiccan Rede states “Do what thou wilst, but harm none.”
3) Pagans DO NOT worship the Devil or Satan on Halloween.
4) PAGANS ARE NOT SATANISTS.
These myths have been perpetuated by people who have seen too many horror movies and the Christian idea of horrific and mythical forms of Satanism.
Background on Samhain:
Symbolism of Samhain:
Third Harvest, the Dark Mysteries, Rebirth through Death.
Symbols of Samhain:
Gourds, Apples, Black Cats, Jack-O-Lanterns, Besoms.
Herbs of Samhain:
Mugwort, Allspice, Broom, Catnip, Deadly Nightshade, Mandrake, Oak leaves, Sage and Straw.
Foods of Samhain:
Turnips, Apples, Gourds, Nuts, Mulled Wines, Beef, Pork, Poultry.
Incense of Samhain:
Heliotrope, Mint, Nutmeg.
Colors of Samhain:
Black, Orange, White, Silver, Gold.
Stones of Samhain:
All Black Stones, preferably jet or obsidian.
It is generally celebrated on October 31st, but some traditions prefer November 1st. It is one of the two “spirit-nights” each year, the other being Beltane. It is a magical interval when the mundane laws of time and space are temporarily suspended, and the Thin Veil between the worlds is lifted. Communicating with ancestors and departed loved ones is easy at this time, for they journey through this world on their way to the Summerlands. It is a time to study the Dark Mysteries and honor the Dark Mother and the Dark Father, symbolized by the Crone and her aged Consort.
Originally the “Feast of the Dead” was celebrated in Celtic countries by leaving food offerings on altars and doorsteps for the “wandering dead”. Today a lot of practitioners still carry out that tradition. Single candles were lit and left in a window to help guide the spirits of ancestors and loved ones home. Extra chairs were set to the table and around the hearth for the unseen guest. Apples were buried along roadsides and paths for spirits who were lost or had no descendants to provide for them. Turnips were hollowed out and carved to look like protective spirits, for this was a night of magic and chaos. The Wee Folke became very active, pulling pranks on unsuspecting humans. Traveling after dark was was not advised. People dressed in white (like ghosts), wore disguises made of straw, or dressed as the opposite gender in order to fool the Nature spirits.
Things to do on Samhain:
ALTAR: Altar candles should be:
- orange, representing the magic of fire and the remaining fire in autumn leaves;
- black, to absorb light and keep you warm for the coming winter; white, to send out energy;
- silver and gold, representing the moon and sun.
- Decorate with autumn leaves and flowers, gourds, squashes, corn. As this is the meat harvest, you may also include an animal talon, horn or feather.
SPELLS: At Samhain, cast spells to keep negative things from your past (evil, harm, greed, corruption, betrayal) out of your future. Cast spells to contact the dead and receive ancient knowledge.
Scrying: This is one of the best times for scrying. You can use a black mirror or a black or very dark bowl filled with water, if you have a cauldron that would be better. Place lit candles nearby and gaze into the mirror or the bowl.
Bobbing for Apples: Place a large tub, preferably wooden, on the floor, and half fill it with water. Tumble in plenty of apples, and have one person stir them around vigorously with a long wooden spoon. Each player takes their turn kneeling on the floor, trying to capture the apples with their teeth as they go bobbing around. Each gets three tries before the next person has a go. Best to wear old clothes for this one, and have a roaring fire nearby so you can dry off while eating your prize!
If you do manage to capture an apple, you might want to keep it for a divination ritual, such as this one:
The Apple and the Mirror: Before the stroke of midnight, sit in front of a mirror in a room lit only by one candle or the moon. Go into the silence, and ask a question. Cut the apple into nine pieces. With your back to the mirror, eat eight of the pieces, then throw the ninth over your left shoulder. Turn your head to look over the same shoulder, and you will see and in image or symbol in the mirror that will tell you your answer.
(When you look in the mirror, let your focus go “soft,” and allow the patterns made by the moon or candlelight and shadows to suggest forms, symbols and other dreamlike images that speak to your intuition.)
On this night of Samhain I mark your passing,
O Sun King, through the sunset into the Land of the Young.
I mark also the passing of all who have gone before, and all who will go after.
O Gracious Goddess, Eternal Mother, You who gives birth to the fallen,
teach me to know that in the time of the greatest darkness there is
the greatest light.
WICCA AND SAMHAIN
The most important of the Neo-Pagan religions is Wicca (meaning “Wise ones”); Wicca is one of the largest neopagans religions.
Samhain is one of the eight annual holidays, observed as part of the Wiccan Wheel of the Year. Which is a term for the annual cycle of the Earth’s seasons because natural processes are seen as following a continuous cycle. The progression of birth, life, and death, as experienced in human lives, is echoed in the progression of the seasons. Wiccans also see this cycle as echoing the life, death and rebirth
Samhain is considered by most Wiccans to be the most important of the four ‘greater Sabbats’. It is generally observed on October 31st in the Northern Hemisphere, starting at sundown.
Samhain is considered by most Wiccans as a celebration of death and of the dead, and it often involves paying respect to ancestors, family members and other loved ones who have died. In some rituals the spirits of the departed are invited to attend the festivities. It is seen as a festival of darkness and death, which is balanced at the opposite point of the wheel by the spring festival of Beltane, which Wiccans celebrate as a festival of life and fertility.
Pagans consider Samhain the most magical night of the year. It occurs exactly opposite of Beltane on the Wheel of the Year. It is a night of glowing jack-o-lanterns, tricks or treats, and dressing in costume. A night for telling chilling ghost stories by the fire. And a time for seances, tarot card readings and scrying with mirrors. It is upon this night, that the veil which separates our world from the Otherworld is at its thinnest, making it a Night of Power.
I found this site – Samhain Recipes very good for recipes for tonight. Samhain runs for two days. Yesterday and today.
So there you have it, that is what I do on All Hallows Eve – Samhain and before you say anything, I am NOT a Satanist, I am not evil and I am not antichristian. You have your beliefs and I have mine. Respect that.