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A Welsh Bonfire Divination

A WELSH BONFIRE DIVINATION

 

In days of yore, it was a common practice in North Wales for families to take white stones—each one bearing the name of a different family member or a symbol marked to represent each person in the family—and cast them into a Halloween bonfire at the onset of the witching hour. On the morning of November 1, after the bonfire had died out, the ashes would be anxiously searched in the hopes of finding the white stones. It was believed that if any of the stones were missing, the persons whom they represented would die during the coming year.

 

Witch’s Halloween: A Complete Guide to the Magick, Incantations, Recipes, Spells, and Lore 
Gerina Dunwich
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Throwing the Shoe Divination

THROWING THE SHOE DIVINATION

 

The Irish have a simple method of divination known as “throwing the shoe.” A person wishing to know his future removes one of his shoes on Halloween night and tosses it over the roof of his house. If the shoe lands pointing away from the house, this is a sign that the wearer will soon be traveling in that direction. If the shoe lands pointing toward the house, no travel is forecast within the coming year for the wearer. Good fortune is indicated if the shoe lands with the sole down. However, if it lands with the sole up, this is said to be a sign of impending misfortune or even death.

 

The divinatory practice of “throwing the shoe” is mentioned in the court records of a seventeenth-century witchcraft trial held in the Orkney Islands of northeast Scotland: “Peter Holland’s wife came to the said Helen, the said Peter being sick, and asked at her whether or not her husband would die or live. The said Helen commanded her to take his left foot shoe and cast it over the house, and said if the mouth of it fell up, he would live, and if down he would die.”

 

Another Halloween divination involving footwear calls for a girl to remove both of her shoes upon retiring to bed on Halloween night and place them at right angles to one another to form the letter T. The following incantation must then be repeated:

 

I CROSS MY SHOES IN THE SHAPE OF A T,

HOPING THIS NIGHT MY TRUE LOVE TO SEE,

NOT IN HIS RICHES OR HIS WORST ARRAY,

BUT IN THE CLOTHES HE WEARS EVERY DAY.

 

The apparition of the girl’s future husband is then supposed to appear by her beside or come into view if she looks over her right shoulder. Oftentimes, he will show himself to her in a dream. If no apparition appears, this indicates that she will not marry before the next Halloween.

 

Witch’s Halloween: A Complete Guide to the Magick, Incantations, Recipes, Spells, and Lore
Gerina Dunwich
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The Lost Meaning of Halloween

The Lost Meaning of Halloween

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The Fantasy and Folklore of All Hallows

The Fantasy and Folklore of All Hallows
by Jack Santino

 

Halloween had its beginnings in an ancient, pre-Christian Celtic festival of the dead. The Celtic peoples, who were once found all over Europe, divided the year by four major holidays. According to their calendar, the year began on a day corresponding to November 1st on our present calendar. The date marked the beginning of winter. Since they were pastoral people, it was a time when cattle and sheep had to be moved to closer pastures and all livestock had to be secured for the winter months. Crops were harvested and stored. The date marked both an ending and a beginning in an eternal cycle.

The festival observed at this time was called Samhain (pronounced Sah-ween). It was the biggest and most significant holiday of the Celtic year. The Celts believed that at the time of Samhain, more so than any other time of the year, the ghosts of the dead were able to mingle with the living, because at Samhain the souls of those who had died during the year traveled into the otherworld. People gathered to sacrifice animals, fruits, and vegetables. They also lit bonfires in honor of the dead, to aid them on their journey, and to keep them away from the living. On that day all manner of beings were abroad: ghosts, fairies, and demons–all part of the dark and dread.

Samhain became the Halloween we are familiar with when Christian missionaries attempted to change the religious practices of the Celtic people. In the early centuries of the first millennium A.D., before missionaries such as St. Patrick and St. Columcille converted them to Christianity, the Celts practiced an elaborate religion through their priestly caste, the Druids, who were priests, poets, scientists and scholars all at once. As religious leaders, ritual specialists, and bearers of learning, the Druids were not unlike the very missionaries and monks who were to Christianize their people and brand them evil devil worshippers.

As a result of their efforts to wipe out “pagan” holidays, such as Samhain, the Christians succeeded in effecting major transformations in it. In 601 A.D. Pope Gregory the First issued a now famous edict to his missionaries concerning the native beliefs and customs of the peoples he hoped to convert. Rather than try to obliterate native peoples’ customs and beliefs, the pope instructed his missionaries to use them: if a group of people worshipped a tree, rather than cut it down, he advised them to consecrate it to Christ and allow its continued worship.

In terms of spreading Christianity, this was a brilliant concept and it became a basic approach used in Catholic missionary work. Church holy days were purposely set to coincide with native holy days. Christmas, for instance, was assigned the arbitrary date of December 25th because it corresponded with the mid-winter celebration of many peoples. Likewise, St. John’s Day was set on the summer solstice.

Samhain, with its emphasis on the supernatural, was decidedly pagan. While missionaries identified their holy days with those observed by the Celts, they branded the earlier religion’s supernatural deities as evil, and associated them with the devil. As representatives of the rival religion, Druids were considered evil worshippers of devilish or demonic gods and spirits. The Celtic underworld inevitably became identified with the Christian Hell.

The effects of this policy were to diminish but not totally eradicate the beliefs in the traditional gods. Celtic belief in supernatural creatures persisted, while the church made deliberate attempts to define them as being not merely dangerous, but malicious. Followers of the old religion went into hiding and were branded as witches.

The Christian feast of All Saints was assigned to November 1st. The day honored every Christian saint, especially those that did not otherwise have a special day devoted to them. This feast day was meant to substitute for Samhain, to draw the devotion of the Celtic peoples, and, finally, to replace it forever. That did not happen, but the traditional Celtic deities diminished in status, becoming fairies or leprechauns of more recent traditions.

The old beliefs associated with Samhain never died out entirely. The powerful symbolism of the traveling dead was too strong, and perhaps too basic to the human psyche, to be satisfied with the new, more abstract Catholic feast honoring saints. Recognizing that something that would subsume the original energy of Samhain was necessary, the church tried again to supplant it with a Christian feast day in the 9th century. This time it established November 2nd as All Souls Day–a day when the living prayed for the souls of all the dead. But, once again, the practice of retaining traditional customs while attempting to redefine them had a sustaining effect: the traditional beliefs and customs lived on, in new guises.

All Saints Day, otherwise known as All Hallows (hallowed means sanctified or holy), continued the ancient Celtic traditions. The evening prior to the day was the time of the most intense activity, both human and supernatural. People continued to celebrate All Hallows Eve as a time of the wandering dead, but the supernatural beings were now thought to be evil. The folk continued to propitiate those spirits (and their masked impersonators) by setting out gifts of food and drink. Subsequently, All Hallows Eve became Hallow Evening, which became Hallowe’en–an ancient Celtic, pre-Christian New Year’s Day in contemporary dress.

Many supernatural creatures became associated with All Hallows. In Ireland fairies were numbered among the legendary creatures who roamed on Halloween. An old folk ballad called “Allison Gross” tells the story of how the fairy queen saved a man from a witch’s spell on Halloween.

O Allison Gross, that lives in yon tower
the ugliest witch int he North Country…
She’s turned me into an ugly worm
and gard me toddle around a tree…
But as it fell out last Hallow even
When the seely [fairy] court was riding by,
the Queen lighted down on a gowany bank
Not far from the tree where I wont to lie…
She’s change me again to my own proper shape
And I no more toddle about the tree.
In old England cakes were made for the wandering souls, and people went “a’ soulin'” for these “soul cakes.” Halloween, a time of magic, also became a day of divination, with a host of magical beliefs: for instance, if persons hold a mirror on Halloween and walk backwards down the stairs to the basement, the face that appears in the mirror will be their next lover.

Virtually all present Halloween traditions can be traced to the ancient Celtic day of the dead. Halloween is a holiday of many mysterious customs, but each one has a history, or at least a story behind it. The wearing of costumes, for instance, and roaming from door to door demanding treats can be traced to the Celtic period and the first few centuries of the Christian era, when it was thought that the souls of the dead were out and around, along with fairies, witches, and demons. Offerings of food and drink were left out to placate them. As the centuries wore on, people began dressing like these dreadful creatures, performing antics in exchange for food and drink. This practice is called mumming, from which the practice of trick-or-treating evolved. To this day, witches, ghosts, and skeleton figures of the dead are among the favorite disguises. Halloween also retains some features that harken back to the original harvest holiday of Samhain, such as the customs of bobbing for apples and carving vegetables, as well as the fruits, nuts, and spices cider associated with the day.

Today Halloween is becoming once again and adult holiday or masquerade, like mardi Gras. Men and women in every disguise imaginable are taking to the streets of big American cities and parading past grinningly carved, candlelit jack o’lanterns, re- enacting customs with a lengthy pedigree. Their masked antics challenge, mock, tease, and appease the dread forces of the night, of the soul, and of the otherworld that becomes our world on this night of reversible possibilities, inverted roles, and transcendency. In so doing, they are reaffirming death and its place as a part of life in an exhilarating celebration of a holy and magic evening.

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Incense of the Day for October 30th – Hecate Incense

Incense of the Day

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HECATE INCENSE

1/2 tsp dried bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried mint leaves
1/2 tsp dried thyme
pinch of myrrh resin
pinch of frankincense resin
13 drops Cypress oil
3 drops Camphor Oil

To honor Her, burn at crossroads or during ritual at the waning of the Moon.

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Gemstone of the Day for October 30th – Pyrite

Gemstone of the Day

Pyrite



The name Pyrite comes from the Greek word “pyr” (fire) because pyrite emits sparks when struck by steel.

Hardness: 6–6.5          
Specific Gravity: 4.95–5.10         
Chemistry:  FeS2 Iron Sulfide       
Class: Sulfides              
Crystallography: Isometric Diploidal               
Cleavage: Indistinct                
Fracture: Very uneven, sometimes conchoidal              
Streak: Greenish-black to brownish-black                               
Luster: metallic


Healing: Pyrite is used to tprevent and to treat DNA damage. It is also used in the treatment of Bronchitis and other lung diseases. And it is used to lower fevers and related inflammation.

Magical Workings: Pyrite is an excellent stone to use when shielding against negative energy. Carry this stone when engaged in hazardous types of work. Pyrite is also useful in memory enhancement.  It helps one to communicate more openly and honestly, providing both emotional and physical protection. Pyrite is also used to ease the discomfort of menstruation. 
Folks in ancient Mexico made scrying mirrors out of pyrite; they were created by polishing one side flat, to use for  scrying, while the rounded side was carved with mystical symbols to assist in the scrying process. 
Pyrite is associated with the astrological sign of Leo and vibrates to the number 3.

Chakra Applications: Pyrite is used to open and energize the Kundalini/Root chakra. Pyrite also vibrates to the solar plexus chakra, thus strengthening ones will.

Foot Notes: Pyrite’s metallic luster and pale-to-normal, brass-yellow hue have earned it the nickname fool’s gold because of its resemblance to gold. Pyrite is the most common of the sulfide minerals. Pyrite is usually found associated with other sulfides or oxides in quartz veins, sedimentary rock, and metamorphic rock, as well as in coal beds, and as a replacement mineral in fossils.
Source:
Author: Crick
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Herb of the Day for October 30th – Valerian

Herb of the Day

 

Valerian

All-Heal, Garden Heliotrope

 

Medicinal Uses: One of natures most effective herbal tranquilizers. The roots are used for nervous tension, anxiety and insomnia. A powerful root for the nerves, valerian should not be taken for longer than a few weeks, as it can become addictive. It helps cure depression when taken once or twice. It is a good sedative for such conditions as neuralgia, hypochondria, insomnia, and nervous tension. It also appears to have real benefits in cases of sciatica, multiple sclerosis, shingles, and peripheral neuropathy, including numbness, tingling, muscle weakness, and pain in the extremities.  
                     
The tea is strengthening to the eyesight, especially when problems are due to weakness in the optic nerve. Valerian has been used as an anticonvulsant in epilepsy. It slightly slows the heart and thus is a good remedy for palpitations. Simmer two teaspoons of the root in a pint of water for twenty minutes, and take one-fourth cup, cold, four times a day. The tincture may be taken twenty drops in water, three times a day.  
                                                                       
The root is simmered with licorice, raisins, and anise seeds to make a cough sedative. The scent is very attractive to rats and is used to bait traps. Valerian is a warm and spicy herb that has a stimulating effect on the brain as well as being a sedative. If a person has a hot constitution it will be especially stimulating and may negate the calming and sedative quality. A hot constitution is one that is prone to constipation, dryness, redness in the eyes and skin and a warm body temperature (a cold constitution has the opposite qualities).                                                                             
Valerian is useful as a digestive aid, is helpful in cases of gas, diarrhea, and cramps, and alleviates the pain of ulcers. In the respiratory tract, it is believed to be of benefit in reducing the discomfort of asthma attacks. Valerian is used for irritability, mild spasmodic affections, epilepsy, migraine headaches, croup, hysteria, vertigo, nervous cough, delirium, neuralgia, muscle cramps, colic, panic attacks, emotional stress, PMS, menstrual cramps, despondency, insomnia. A marvelous remedy for fevers. Will often clear a cold overnight. Good for expelling phlegm from throat and chest. Will expel worms when everything else fails. Excellent for shortness of breath and wheezing. Tea can be used as an enema for pinworms and tape worms and externally as a wash for sores, wounds, chronic skin diseases, and pimples. Combines with with lemon balm, hops, passion flower and scullcap.

Valerian produces depression when taken over a longer period. Valerian is best suited to individuals with cold, nervous conditions. Those with heated conditions can experience opposite (stimulant) effects. Valerian may increase the effects of anti-anxiety medications or painkillers. It may also react with antiepileptic drugs. Valerian is contraindicated in pregnant and breast feeding women.

Magickal uses: Powdered valerian may be used as a substitute for graveyard dust to repel unwanted presences. Valerian is added to the chalice as an herb of peace. Valerian is a frequent ingredient in love and harmony spells and potions, including spells for sexual love. It is used to aspurge the ritual space and in incense for purification. Even though this is a rather foul smelling herb it is hung in the home as protection from lightning and the Greeks used sprigs of it at windows to keep evil out. For protection from evil and magick, use Valerian in sachets, amulets, or talismans and carry it with you. To prevent unwanted visitors, sprinkle powdered herb on your front stoop and say their name. For eliminating troubles, write the trouble on parchment paper, then burn and mix the ashes with powdered herb, then bury. Sachets placed around the home help protect the home from lightening strikes.  
                
Being an herb of peace, place some in the vicinity of a quarreling couple. Add it to love sachets and it is said if a woman wears a sprig of it, it will cause men to “follow her like children.” It will also help insomnia by placing it in the pillow. A few leaves placed in the shoes protect against colds and flu.  
                                                                           
To find out if your love is reciprocated, bend a plant in the direction of their home.  If the plant continues to grow in that direction, you are loved in return.  Growing the plant on your property ensures harmony with your spouse.           Valerian stalks can be dried and soaked in tallow or oil, then used as a torch for spells and rituals.  The torch can then be used to light sacred fires.  Meditation in the light of a torch improves clarity for a given situation. Valerian is ruled by Venus and its Element is Water.

Properties: Calmative, antispasmodic, nerve tonic, nervine, sedative, anodyne, and carminative, aromatic, emmenagogue. Contains active components are called valepotriates. Valerianic, formic and acetic acids, essential oils, resin, starch, a glucoside, and 2 alkaloids (chatrine and valerianine).

Growth: Valerian is a tall perennial herb found in damp, elevated areas and grasslands. It consists of a long stem (3-5 feet in length) with pointed dark green leaves. It blooms in the summertime, with small, fragrant flowers (white, light purple or pink) that can reach four inches in diameter. A native of damp woods, roadsides, and riversides.

Harvest in the fall. Do not boil the root.

To obtain the maximum benefit take 1 tbsp. of fresh juice daily. The latter is often prescribed as a cure for insomnia, where its great value is that it calms the mind without having a narcotic effect. Non-addictive.

Drying roots is different from drying leaves. Roots should be dried at a high temperature, such as 120 degrees F. until the roots are brittle. If they are rubber-like, they should be dried longer. Store roots after drying to keep free from moisture.

Infusion: steep 1 tsp. root in 1 pt. boiling water. Take cold, 1 cup per day, or when going to bed.

Cold extract: use 2 tsp. roots with 1 cup water; let stand for 24 hours and strain. Take 1/2 to 1 cup when going to bed.

Tincture: take 20 drops on sugar or in water, 3 times a day.
Source:
Author: Crick
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Deity of the Day for October 30 – Cernunnos

Deity of the Day

Cernunnos

 

Cernunnos is a Celtic god associated with sexuality, fertility, the hunt, and the underworld. He was worshipped by the iron age Celts all across Europe as late as the first century CE, and his worship must have begun centuries before that.

Cernunnos is a Romanized name meaning “Horned One.” The name is most likely derived from “cornu,” the Latin word for horn. The Romans had a habit of changing local names to fit the Roman pattern: most Roman names end in “us.” Thus “Cernunnos” was probably the new Romanised name given by the Gauls to all their very old horned gods, in which case its use may have been widespread through out Gaul after it became a Roman province.

The images of Cernunnos are unusually consistent. He is usually portrayed as a mature man with long hair. He is usually bearded, although the most well known image of him on the Gundestrup Cauldron features him clean-shaven. His main attribute is his horns, those of a stag. He wears a torc (an ornate neck-ring worn by the Celts to denote nobility). He often carries other torcs in his hands or hanging from his horns. He is usually portrayed seated and cross-legged, in the meditative or shamanic position.

Cernunnos is nearly always portrayed with animals, in particular the stag. Less often he is associated with other beasts, including bulls, dogs and rats. He is also frequently associated with a unique beast that seems to belong only to him: a serpent with the horns of a ram. The serpent was commonly associated with death and the otherworld, and is hence described as cthonic. Cernunnos carries it in his left hand, and in his right he carries a torc, the Celtic symbol of nobility, the symbol of having been initiated into that special state.

It is frequently mentioned how major a god Cernunnos was in the Celtic pantheon. However, this is based on artwork, not literary sources. There is, in fact, only one known actual mention of Cernunnos in history – his name is inscribed above the head and shoulders of a stag-horned figure from ancient Gaul. The presumption of his widespread cult comes from the multitude of images similar to this monument. The named Gaulish figure is of a balding, bearded, elderly god. Other depictions identified as Cernunnos display a variety of ages.

Lord of the Hunt

Always bearing the horns of a stag, Cernunnos is identified with the hunted, which in turn identifies him as hunter as well – shamanistic practices across the world bear witness to the concept that in order to catch your prey, you must identify in spirit with the prey.

God of Sexuality, Fertility, and Abundance

Stags are sexually aggressive creatures, and the antlers can certainly be considered phallic, marking Cernunnos as a god of fertility and abundance. This aspect is represented in other symbolism as well: cornucopiae, fruit, grain and coins.

Lord of the Underworld

Along with knowledge, the serpent is also a frequent symbol of death. The cycle of hunter and hunted of course intimately revolves around death and life from death. As Herne the Hunter, generally considered to be the British Celtic version the same figure, he is the leader of the Wild Hunt.

 

 

Source:
WikiPagan

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