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Blessed Be everyone!

photo by:willowgrovemagick.com

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…

Blessed Be!

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When I first started on my path, I read a lot of books on Wicca and Paganism. One custom that many write about is the giving of an offering to the G&G as a way of saying ‘thank you for everything’ or as a way of asking for help with something.

But one thing that I noticed is that in one book, the writer would say ‘offering’ while another author would use the word ‘sacrifice’.  Now I don’t know about anyone else, but when someone uses the terms ‘pagan’ and ‘sacrifice’ in the same sentence, some might get the wrong idea…like boiling bunnies or chaining a virgin to a stone slab.

There is a difference between an offering and a sacrifice. The lines between them can be confusing at times but there is a difference.

 A sacrifice is what the word means: the person is giving something up that is vital to THAT person. I mean the person that is making the sacrifice. You sacrificing your big sister’s mp3 player to the G&G by throwing it into the river and asking for a good grade in math is not a sacrifice because you didn’t give up anything. The most popular example of sacrifice is a sacrifice of blood. YOUR BLOOD! Not the blood of some poor helpless living creature. Blood is considered a sacrifice because you are giving a part of yourself up, a part of your essence. It is the reason why many ancient civilizations used human and animal sacrifices, because a living beings life essence it a very powerful form of magical energy.

An offering is the giving of something that you have in abundance. Many pagans have alters that they store their offerings on like freshly cut flowers, flower petals, salt, bits of bread or fruit, etc.

 Food is one of those confusing things that many question is it an offering or a sacrifice? Food is more accessible today than it was a thousand years ago,  where the giving of food was a much bigger deal.  When I do offerings, I like to use things from around the house that I know no one else will use. Such as the ends of a loaf of bread, cornmeal, fallen rose petals from our garden outside, leftover candy from holidays, etc.

So that is the difference between an offering and a sacrifice.  I hope I was clear enough, Blessed Be 🙂

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