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Blessed Be everyone!
Next week is one of my favorite holidays, Samhain! (Pronounced “sow-en”)
What is Samhain you ask? You probably know it better as Halloween or All-hallows-eve. Every year on October 31 (or May 1, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere) the Pagan Sabbat called Samhain gives people the opportunity to celebrate the cycle of death and rebirth. For many Pagan and Wiccan traditions, Samhain is a time to reconnect with our ancestors, and honor those who have died, similar to Dias de Los Muertos.
It is also considered the Witches New Year because according to the Celtic calendar, Sunset on Samhain is the beginning of the Celtic New Year. “This is a good time for us to look at wrapping up the old and preparing for the new in our lives. Once you’ve gotten all that unfinished stuff cleared away, and out of your life, then you can begin looking towards the next year” (Patti Wigington).
One of the things me and my family like to do is create an ancestral alter with images of our loved ones who have passed and decorate it with leaves, gourds, some food like homemade bread as an offering and 1 lit black candle to honor the dead. We also sometimes have a big bonfire outside, but this year we might not since there’s been so much rain lately, and I’m going to try to create a besom!
But the best thing we do is take a road trip to the cemetery and visit my mom’s relatives. It feels surreal when you go to a cemetery on Samhain. I would describe it as a weighty feeling on your chest and a warm prickly feeling on your skin. Every time we leave after leaving offerings on the graves, I have a head ach that won’t go away until we get home. But then a sense of peace washes over and the pain is forgotten. I don’t know why that happens but I’m okay with it.
This year’s Samhain is…going to be rough because I’ve finally gotten up the strength to put up my Mush-Mush’s picture up on my alter this year. It’s an old Polaroid of her smoking a cigarette and wearing my favorite shirt she had: a tank top with all of the classic movie monsters on it like The Mummy, Dracula, Frankenstein and others. It’s almost been two years but every time I look at it I can’t help but get misty eyed.
Well…I’ll keep you guys posted as to what happens and also I’ll be posting something really cool this weekend so expect that…
This is a video of one of the people (besides my amazing mom) who has inspired me the most in my Craft; Charming Pixie Flora.
Flora is such an amazing person that I actually found by accident. Last year I was looking for some recipes for some stuff to make for Mabon (Witches Thanksgiving, will talk about that in another post) and one of her videos came up on YouTube.
She has been a Natural Witch for almost six years and has a wealth of knowledge. This is Charming Pixie Flora’s recipe for ‘Witches Brew’ a drink that is great for the fall holidays and as an ale substitute for the ale portion of Sabbat and esbat celebrations. Sabbat and esbats are the times that Wiccans and pagans set aside to celebrate the Wheel of Life, the lunar calendar, and the changing seasons.
And since Samhain (Halloween) is coming up I thought this would be a great way to start off. If you want to throw a spooking party, this is a great way to add some witcheyness to the festivities. Or you can make it anytime and enjoy. Everyone should check out Flora’s YouTube channel at Flora\’s Family Footsteps
*I have no rights to this video, all credit goes to Flora*
1 Gallon Apple Cider
3 Cinnamon Sticks
3 Slices Ginger
1 Handful Dried Rose Petals
1 TBS Spice (your choice)
-First pour the gallon of apple cider into a very large cooking pot (one that can hold a gallon of liquid or more.)
-Add in a hand full of dried rose petals (you can buy these at any health food store by the bag . Or at a New Age shop, but they will be more expensive. )I have a wonderfully giant rose-bush outside my bedroom window. (It’s wonderful waking up every morning to the sweet scent of tea rose wafting through your bedroom, placing a cocoon of sweetness around you..sorry) I collect the blooms and petals from every summer, dry and use them (AFTER washing them of any germs! I just spray them with water and pat them dry. Gives me peace of mind)
-Next slice a whole apple horizontally, it shows the star or pentacle of seeds that’s in every apple. Apples have been used in sacred rites and fortune-telling for centuries because of its association with the harvest and many Goddesses. It is really amazing to see (or I’m just that easily amazed)
-Add in the slices of oranges, cinnamon sticks, and slices of ginger to the mix. In the video, Flora uses nutmeg for her spice of choice but for me personally and my family prefer to add coriander. When freshly ground it gives off a pungent citrus and floral small that reminds me of oranges and lilac.
-Stir the amber liquid (don’t get too excited, brisk stirring + scalding hot liquid= @#$!) about every twenty minutes and let it simmer on the stove for about 2 hours. During this time the apples with cook down and start to crumble and become something close to the consistency of apple sauce. That’s okay it only adds the texture of the drink.
WARNING! Cooking this will make your house small so AMAZING! Every year I make this (since I am designated kitchen witch for many of the sabbats) the sugary sweetness tantalizes everyone out of their rooms and into the kitchen wondering what’s going on. We have very small ranch-style house so it makes EVERYTHING take on that old-country sweet apple farm smell.
-After man-handling all family members out of the kitchen, now it the hardest part, the waiting. I usually sit in the kitchen with one of my many romance novels (yes, I read romance. Don’t just me.) and play the waiting game.
After your two hours are up, serve to your guests or rowdy family members. You can strain it if you want but I like having bits of flavors burst in your mouth while drinking.
I know I haven’t been posting anything really pertaining to writing or Wicca lately but right now that is going to change as for now. Today I want to put something to rest that a lot of pagan newbies worry a lot about.
As me and my mom are eclectic Wiccans we do many rituals for different things. We do rituals for luck, celebration the sabbats, esbats, all sorts of stuff. And as many know we have a little child as well. So there is a higher chance that whatever we are doing at that moment in time will come to a stand still with these few little words “Ooh, what are you doing?” “Ooh, what’s this thing?” “Ooh, can I play with the stick?” (it’s a wand but he thinks it’s a stick)
Last night we (me and Mom) decided to go outside (it was gorgeous outside!) and do a nighttime ritual with our new bonfire pit ( the caldron we call it be cause it really looks like a caldron) for good fortune for the family and us. This is a parody of what happened…
Mom (standing to the north, I in the south invoking our circle): “Oh Goddess we ask of you…
Little Bro:”What are you doing”
Me: “We’re doing our ritual, shhh”.
Mom: Again we ask the God and Goddess…
Little Bro; “Can I play with the stick?”
Me (glaring): “No, shut up. And it’s a wand, not a stick”.
Little Bro: “But I wanna play with it!”
Mom: “Don’t tell your brother to ‘shut up’. Do you want to be a part of our ritual, sweetie?”
Little Bro: *nods*
(We finally get the circle cast and say our blessings and say thanks to the God and Goddess when in the middle…)
Little Bro: “Are we done yet?”
Me and Mom :”No.”
Little Bro (after about two-minute of silence) :”I’m bored!”
(Little brother runs out of the circle , which he isn’t suppose to, to instead roll around in the mosquito infested grass and get his clothes dirty and sing at the top of his lungs)
Rituals aren’t ment to be perfect. If they were they wouldn’t half as interesting and just because you get interrupted or a magick malfunction, as I like to call it, happens it doesn’t make the spell any less potent. It’s the energy and you acknowledgement of the energies and divine forces you invoke that matter. Every you do is between the Goddess and the God, and they don’t care if you look like a fool or screw something up. Laughter is one of the things that they hold dear and they know how much work you put into everything you do. I felt the energy yesterday and I know, yet it was comical, but the Gods and Goddesses need to laugh too…
My parental units came home with gifts from Wally World for me and Middle Brother (he’s techically my little brother but what can you say to a seven year old with a Napolean complex?) I had to share because they are so cute! Let the fashion show begin!!!
To the right (at least my right) is an orange t-shirt with a coven of witches out and about causing the Goddess only knows what mischief with the words “Girls Night Out”. I love it!
To the left (my left people) is a lovely purple t-shirt that bears the words “Witch in Training”. My mom’s idea of a joke 🙂
Sadly, I couldn’t find an image of my most favorite of the lot my “Werewolf” t-shirt but picture this with me…picture a brownish grey backdrop with a larger than life black outline of a werewolf’s head right ou front, ready to rip the throat out of anything or any one. At the bottom hem we have smaller black outlines of a eery forest with a werewolf howling to the full bright moon…Dracula eat your heart out!
For the past 3 weeks I have been witness to the epidemic that has struck my town and it could be starting in yours. I have been seeing grave stones popping up in front of houses, skeletons swaying jauntily in store fronts, and 16 ft tall inflatable pumpkins and Grim Reapers barely balancing on the front lawn. Yes, it is….premature decoration!
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love Halloween/Samhain…I mean LUV IT!!! I’m talking wearing witch stockings year round loving it . It’s my favorite holiday of the year. But check the date, it is September. Not October.
I don’t know why it perturbs me so much, but when I see green still on the trees and feel the warm summer breeze on my sun burn, it just doesn’t scream (literally!) Treat or Treat. You are allowed to prepare the decorations, make plan out a strategy on what you’re going to do for decorations and what goes where. But PLEASE don’t bring out the spider webs and blow up dolls till October 1st.
I understand that everyone is excited and wants to ‘get it done’ by early September, but try to hold out as long as you can. I’m going to tell you what Queen Victoria told her subjects over hundred years ago.
Think of England and everything will be okay:)
Now with that being said…YAY HALLOWEEN!!! October is my favorite month of the year and I can already feel it coming. For many reasons: the cool beauty of Autumn, the sweet taste of candy corn, warm apple cider, and the 24 hour blood and gore horror images on every channel!! Even on Discovery. Some of the stuff they show daily is scary enough ( the mating of parasites *shiver*), I love watching the Extreme shows that show the Extreme Haunted Houses, Extreme Halloween, The Most Haunted Places in the World *sigh dreamily* It’s awesome.
Also it’s the time of year for Samhain. I and my mom pronounce it SOW-IN but some people say SAM-HAIN it’s all good. Samhain is known as the Witches New Year, the most important harvest festival of the year. The sun is dying and the world is becoming darker, going to sleep to be reborn at Yule (Christmas). Me and Mom aren’t really sure what we’re going to do this year but i will update on that! We usually get the altar set up with gourds and little kick-knacks that represent different things. We visit the cemetery to pay homage to our ancestors that have passed, similar to Day of the Dead, and come home and watch every B-rated horror film known to man. Perfect end to an autumn night…good times.