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Monday, October 18, 2010

Magical practices for your All Hallow’s Eve

Listen! The wind is rising,
And the air is wild with leaves,
We have had our summer evenings,
Now for October eves!
~ Humbert Wolfe (1885-1940)

Samhain, or Halloween, is the day we honor our dead. On this day the veils between the worlds of dead and living are sheerest; those who died in the past year and those who are to be reincarnated pass through. The doors of the sidhe-mounds are open, and neither human nor faery need any magical passwords to come and go. Our deceased ancestors are more accessible during the time of the dying of the land, the final harvest of the northern growing season. It is a day to commune with the dead and a celebration of the eternal cycle of reincarnation.

On Samhain, the sun is at its lowest point on the horizon as measured by the ancient standing stones of Britain and Ireland, the reason the Celts chose this sabbat rather than the first of January as their new year. To the ancient Celts, this holiday divided the year into two seasons, Winter and Summer. The Celtic New Year is a time for both beginnings and endings. 

Practices to call upon the magic of the holiday:
  • Bury an apple or pomegranate in the garden as food for spirits passing by on their way to being reborn.
  • Place offerings of milk and barley outside under the stars to ease restless ghosts’ hunger, prevent their mischief, and to accrue their blessings.
  • Drink apple cider spiced with cinnamon to honor the dead.
  • Have a mute supper.
  • Make a mask of your shadow self.
  • Let this be the traditional time that you make candles for the coming year, infusing them with color, power, herbs, and scent depending on the magical purpose.
  • Wear costumes that reflect what we hope or wish for in the upcoming year.
  • If you (or your story characters) aspire to be a witch give gifts of acorns to other witches. Fruits of the oak, one of the most sacred trees to the ancient Celts, they are symbols of protection, fertility, growth, values, and friendship. 
  • Carve a jack-o-lantern. Place a spirit candle in it.
  • Do divinations for the next year using tarot, a crystal ball, flame, pendulum, magick mirror, black bowl, runes, Ouija boards, or a black cauldron filled with black ink or water.

A few more complex Samhain rituals:

Ritual for the Dead

1.      In a sacred space or ground, use a candle to burn white sage to appease the spirits of Summer.
2.      Carve the initials of your lost loved one(s) in a black candle.
3.      Add favorite elements of that loved one to your altar, such as flowers, wine, favorite foods, etc. 
4.      Read each name (from Remembrance list).
5.      Gather a cauldron or other fire proof vessel and burn a dried candlewick leaf (mullein)
or bay leaf for each name of honor.
6.      A dried rosemary bundle is burned last to remember them all.
7.      You may then save all the ashes, hardened candle drippings, left over herbs, and add them to a black cloth or bag. This is an amulet and can be worn or saved to honor those remembered.
Note: Do NOT let your Samhain candle burn out, as it is considered bad luck on Samhain, let it burn at least till morning light.
            ~ adapted from Barbara Morris

Simple Samhain Magic Spell
This Fall Magic Spell clears out unwanted influences and focuses spiritual attention on what is good in life. This celebrates the change from one season to the next, summer to winter.
1.    Decorate an altar with a clean cloth, candles of orange and/or white, and autumn fruits.
2.    Set a chalice filled with wine or cider, along with a small bowl of sea salt, on the altar. Take two sheets of paper and a pen.
3.    Light the candles, and, if desired, burn incense such as myrrh or patchouli.
4.    Write out a few undesirable aspects and influences of life from the previous few months on a single sheet of paper.
5.    On another sheet of paper write out the key new elements of life that would be welcome. Write these as positive statements, in the present tense.
6.    Using words which feel natural and appropriate, express the sincere desire to be rid of the undesirable elements of life, speaking each one individually. Visualize clearly being free of them.
7.    Scrunch the undesirable list into a tight ball. If it is possible to burn it safely then do so. Otherwise simply discard the ball into a waste bin without burning.
8.    Drink of the chalice to celebrate being free of these shackles!
9.    Pause in reflection for a few minutes, visualizing the positive elements to be welcomed.
10.    Again using natural and sincere language, express the reality of the list of positive elements.
11.    Scatter a little sea salt over the list, and fold the paper so as to capture the salt in an envelope-like packet.
12.    Put the packet into clothing close to the skin, extinguish the candles and incense, and set off to celebrate the evening!

Samhain Mirror Incantation

Recite this incantation before scrying into your black mirror on All Hallow’s eve...
"Mirror of shadow, reveal what I seek.
Powers of old, secrets so deep.
East then South, West and North.
Watch tower guards, I call you forth.
Traveling sphere, no harm to fear.
Circle protects, here and there.
Stars beyond, from Pluto's realm,
Scorpio rules God's golden sun.
By the power of three times three,
Lord and Lady, so mote it be." 
 ~ Barbara Morris

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...
~ Karri Allrich

Communing with the dead, banishing troublesome ghosts, commemorating the beginning of a new year … or simply trick or treating … enjoy the magic of Samhain.

Art credit: witch painting by Myeclecticmind


William and Anna Patterson said...

Thanks for sharing this with us on Face book. I found your blog very intriguing.

Julianne said...

Love the intriguing article, Marsha. :) Thanks for sharing. Have a very happy Samhain!

Marsha A. Moore said...

Thanks Anna and Julianne! It's fun to learn some of the fantasy practices of old.

Savanna Kougar said...

Marsha, thanks, I always love learning more about these kinds of practices.

Maeve said...

Wonderful post, Marsha, listing the auld ways and practices. I really enjoyed it.

Marsha A. Moore said...

Thank you, Savanna and Maeve, for stopping by. Happy Samhain to you both!