The Sabbats

Wishing You & Yours A Very Magickal Samhain & A Happy Halloween!

Samhain Comments & Graphics

This is the night when the gateway between

our world and the spirit world is thinnest.

Tonight is a night to call out those who came before.

Tonight I honor my ancestors.

Spirits of my fathers and mothers, I call to you,

and welcome you to join me for this night.

You watch over me always,

protecting and guiding me,

and tonight I thank you.

Your blood runs in my veins,

your spirit is in my heart,

your memories are in my soul.

With the gift of remembrance.

I remember all of you.

You are dead but never forgotten,

and you live on within me,

and within those who are yet to come.

– H/T to Patti Wigington, Paganism Expert for

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Samhain Activities

Samhain Activities


  • Bob for Apples

Drink apple cider warmed and spiced with cinnamon to honor the dead. Bury an apple or pomegranate in the garden as food for spirits passing by on their way to be reborn.

  • Carve a Jack-o-Lantern.

Pick a spirit candle. This is a white candle anointed with patchouli oil. Say: “With this candle and by its light, I welcome you spirits this Samhain night.” Place it inside the jack-o’-lantern.

  • Set out a Dumb Supper.
  • Have a New Years party to celebrate the turning of the wheel!
  • Make a mask of your shadow self.
  • Make a besom, or witches broom.
  • Make a witches cord as an expression of what you hope to manifest in the year ahead.

Let this be the traditional time that you make candles for the coming year, infusing them with color, power, herbs, and scent depending on its purpose.
Enjoy the trick or treating of the season. Wear costumes that reflect what we hope or wish for in the upcoming year.
Make resolutions, write them on a small piece of parchment, and burn in a candle flame, preferably a black votive candle within a cauldron on the altar. This is like New Year’s resolutions; as for many Samhain is the New Year.
Divination – Samhain is the beginning of the pagan year; divinations were done to see the future of the coming year. It is said that this is the time of the Crone and it is incumbent upon us to see whatever wisdom she is willing to part with on our behalf. Many types of divination are practiced for Samhain. Dark Mirrors – Fire or Water Scrying – Tarot cards – and of course the Crystal Ball.

Make masks and costumes representing the different aspects of the Goddess and God, and wear them to your rituals, or use them to decorate your altar area.

Toll “Lost in the Dark” bells.



Solitary Activities

  • Try Hanging out with friends and dressing up to go see the Rocky Horror Picture show (I’ve never done this, but some of my friends do!!)

  • Private Meditation

  • Hold a private ritual and focus on the traditional themes for Samhain, such as Life, Death and Rebirth. 

  • Try learning a new form of divination to practice and then try to see what the coming year has in store for you.

  • Clip articles from the newspaper that have things to do with paganism and put them in a scrapbook.

  • Eat some candy!! (My personal favorite, lol!)

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The Dumb Supper

The Dumb Supper


Samhain is a celebration of death, and as such it is marked by several traditions. One of these is the Feast of the Dead, sometimes called the Dumb Supper. This has many variations — from a complete meal shared by the living, with places set at the table for the dead, to the simple leaving of cakes and wine, or any similar combination, by the fireside on Samhain Night. And this is the most traditional time for communication with the dead. For this reason, after welcoming them into your Samhain Circle through the Western Gate, the direction of death, you can allow the spirits of the deceased to communicate with you if they so desire. One method is the wineglass.

Similar to a ouija board but without the undeserved sinister reputation, the wineglass is just that, an inverted wineglass (the champagne type is better than the wine type, as t is less likely to tip). The glass is surrounded by a circle of letters. An alphabet in Gothic style drawn on squares of white paper helps to create an appropriate atmosphere.

It must be mentioned here that many occultists turn up their noses at such devices as the ouija board, the pendulum board, and, no doubt, the wineglass, preferring instead personal mediumship, or channeling, as it is currently being called. But we believe that entities willing to take control of the body or voice of another individual cannot be of the highest calibre. Nor is every scene that passes before the inner eye psychic or spiritual, or the motivations that created them always spiritually pure. This is not to say that we do not believe in either channeled information or that which is received psychically. We most certainly do, but we have seen many instances of self-delusion, which is one of the greatest barriers to true spiritual development.

The wineglass, on the other hand, has several built-in safety devices. It cannot be easily operated alone, so spiritual possession is less likely, and since two or more people are operating it, self-delusion is not so easy. It is interesting to note, too, that the wineglass brings with it some intrinsic symbolism. It is a vessel or container for wine, itself a symbol for spiritual awareness, so the wineglass is a container for spiritual knowledge.

The wineglass can be used within the Samhain Circle. The four quarters of the Circle may be marked with candles in jack-o’-lanterns, and an extra candle, an indigo blue one (the colour symbolizing the higher spiritual planes), should also be lit. This candle might be anointed with oil and marked with a rune such as û` that describes the travel between the planes. After a moment of meditation each person present places a fingertip on the upturned base of the wineglass and the traditional “Is anyone here that wishes to give us a message?” is asked. Then as the glass slides from one letter to the next, rapidly spelling out messages, read the words. You may find it easier to use a tape recorder because it can get confusing. At this, the most solemn of Pagan festivals, the messages are often personal and profound. from:


“Wheel of the Year” by Pauline Campanelli

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Ushering In The New Year

Samhain Comments & Graphics


Welcome winter, waning season,

Now with night the new year comes;

Hail the horse’s head with blessings —

Blessings be on those who bide here

And indeed on all the world!

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.ALL HALLOW’S EVE by Mike Nichols

Samhain Comments & Graphics


by Mike Nichols


Halloween. Sly does it. Tiptoe catspaw. Slide and creep. But why? What for?

How? Who? When! Where did it all begin? You don’t know, do you?’ asks

Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud climbing out under the pile of leaves under the

Halloween Tree. ‘You don’t REALLY know!’

–Ray Bradbury from ‘The Halloween Tree’


Samhain. All Hallows. All Hallow’s Eve. Hallow E’en. Halloween. The most magical night of the year. Exactly opposite Beltane on the wheel of the year, Halloween is Beltane’s dark twin. A night of glowing jack-o–lanterns, bobbing for apples, tricks or treats, and dressing in costume. A night of ghost stories and seances, tarot card readings and scrying with mirrors. A night of power, when the veil that separates our world from the Otherworld is at its thinnest. A ‘spirit night’, as they say in Wales.

All Hallow’s Eve is the eve of All Hallow’s Day (November1st). And for once, even popular tradition remembers that the Eve is more important than the Day itself, the traditional celebration focusing on October 31st, beginning at sundown. And this seems only fitting for the great Celtic New Year’s festival. Not that the holiday was Celtic only. In fact, it is startling how many ancient and unconnected cultures (the Egyptians and pre-Spanish Mexicans, for example) celebrated this as a festival of the dead. But the majority of our modern traditions can be traced to the British Isles.

The Celts called it Samhain, which means ‘summer’s end’, according to their ancient two-fold division of the year, when summer ran from Beltane to Samhain and winter ran from Samhain to Beltane. (Some modern Covens echo this structure by letting the High Priest ‘rule’ the Coven beginning on Samhain, with rulership returned to the High Priestess at Beltane.) According to the later four-fold division of the year, Samhain is seen as ‘autumn’s end’ and the beginning of winter. Samhain is pronounced (depending on where you’re from) as ‘sow-in’ (in Ireland), or ‘sow-een’ (in Wales), or ‘sav-en’ (in Scotland), or (inevitably) ‘sam-hane’ (in the U.S., where we don’t speak Gaelic).

Not only is Samhain the end of autumn; it is also, more importantly, the end of the old year and the beginning of the new. Celtic New Year’s Eve, when the new year begins with the onset of the dark phase of the year, just as the new day begins at sundown. There are many representations of Celtic gods with two faces, and it surely must have been one of them who held sway over Samhain. Like his Greek counterpart Janus, he would straddle the threshold, one face turned toward the past in commemoration of those who died during the last year, and one face gazing hopefully toward the future, mystic eyes attempting to pierce the veil and divine what the coming year holds. These two themes, celebrating the dead and divining the future, are inexorably intertwined in Samhain, as they are likely to be in any New Year’s celebration.

As a feast of the dead, it was believed the dead could, if they wished, return to the land of the living for this one night, to celebrate with their family, tribe, or clan. And so the great burial mounds of Ireland (sidhe mounds) were opened up, with lighted torches lining the walls, so the dead could find their way. Extra places were set at the table and food set out for any who had died that year. And there are many stories that tell of Irish heroes making raids on the Underworld while the gates of faery stood open, though all must return to their appointed places by cock-crow.

As a feast of divination, this was the night parexcellence for peering into the future. The reason for this has to do with the Celtic view of time. In a culture that uses a linear concept of time, like our modern one, New Year’s Eve is simply a milestone on a very long road that stretches in a straight line from birth to death. Thus, the New Year’s festival is a part of time. The ancient Celtic view of time, however, is cyclical. And in this framework, New Year’s Eve represents a point outside of time, when the natural order of the universe dissolves back into primordial chaos, preparatory to re-establishing itself in a new order. Thus, Samhain is a night that exists outside of time and hence it may be used to view any other point in time. At no other holiday is a tarot card reading, crystal reading, or tea-leaf reading so likely to succeed.

The Christian religion, with its emphasis on the ‘historical’ Christ and his act of redemption 2000 years ago, is forced into a linear view of time, where ‘seeing the future’ is an illogical proposition. In fact, from the Christian perspective, any attempt to do so is seen as inherently evil. This did not keep the medieval Church from co-opting Samhain’s other motif, commemoration of the dead. To the Church, however, it could never be a feast for all the dead, but only the blessed dead, all those hallowed (made holy) by obedience to God – thus, All Hallow’s, or Hallowmas, later All Saints and All Souls.

There are so many types of divination that are traditional to Hallowstide, it is possible to mention only a few. Girls were told to place hazelnuts along the front of the firegrate, each one to symbolize one of her suitors. She could then divine her future husband by chanting, ‘If you love me, pop and fly; if you hate me, burn and die.’ Several methods used the apple, that most popular of Halloween fruits. You should slice an apple through the equator (to reveal the five pointed star within) and then eat it by candlelight before a mirror. Your future spouse will then appear over your shoulder. Or, peel an apple, making sure the peeling comes off in one long strand, reciting, ‘I pare this apple round and round again; / My sweetheart’s name to flourish on the plain: / I fling the unbroken paring o’er my head, / My sweetheart’s letter on the ground to read.’ Or, you might set a snail to crawl through the ashes of your hearth. The considerate little creature will then spell out the initial letter as it moves.

Perhaps the most famous icon of the holiday is the jack-o-lantern. Various authorities attribute it to either Scottish or Irish origin. However, it seems clear that it was used as a lantern by people who traveled the road this night, the scary face to frighten away spirits or faeries who might otherwise lead one astray. Set on porches and in windows, they cast the same spell of protection over the household. (The American pumpkin seems to have forever superseded the, European gourd as the jack-o-lantern of choice.) Bobbing for apples may well represent the remnants of a Pagan ‘baptism’ rite called a ‘seining’, according to some writers. The water-filled tub is a latter-day Cauldron of Regeneration, into which the novice’s head is immersed. The fact that the participant in this folk game was usually blindfolded with hands tied behind the back also puts one in mind of a traditional Craft initiation ceremony.

The custom of dressing in costume and ‘trick-or-treating’ is of Celtic origin with survivals particularly strong in Scotland. However, there are some important differences from the modern version. In the first place, the custom was not relegated to children, but was actively indulged in by adults as well. Also, the ‘treat’ which was required was often one of spirits (the liquid variety). This has recently been revived by college students who go ‘trick-or-drinking’. And in ancient times, the roving bands would sing seasonal carols from house to house, making the tradition very similar to Yuletide wassailing.

In fact, the custom known as ‘caroling’, now connected exclusively with mid-winter, was once practiced at all the major holidays. Finally, in Scotland at least, the tradition of dressing in costume consisted almost exclusively of cross-dressing (i.e., men dressing as women, and women as men). It seems as though ancient societies provided an opportunity for people to ‘try on’ the role of the opposite gender for one night of the year. (Although in Scotland, this is admittedly less dramatic – but more confusing – since men were in the habit of earing skirt-like kilts anyway. Oh well…)

To Witches, Halloween is one of the four High Holidays, or Greater Sabbats, or cross-quarter days. Because it is the most important holiday of the year, it is sometimes called ‘THE Great Sabbat.’ It is an ironic fact that the newer, self-created Covens tend to use the older name of the holiday, Samhain, which they have discovered through modern research. While the older hereditary and traditional Covens often use the newer name, Halloween, which has been handed down through oral tradition within their Coven. (This is often holds true for the names of the other holidays, as well. One may often get an indication of a Coven’s antiquity by noting what names it uses for the holidays.)

With such an important holiday, Witches often hold two distinct celebrations. First, a large Halloween party for non-Craft friends, often held on the previous weekend. And second, a Coven ritual held on Halloween night itself, late enough so as not to be interrupted by trick-or-treaters. If the rituals are performed properly, there is often the feeling of invisible friends taking part in the rites. Another date which may be utilized in planning celebrations is the actual cross-quarter day, or Old Halloween, or Halloween O.S. (Old Style). This occurs when the sun has reached 15 degrees Scorpio, an astrological ‘power point’ symbolized by the Eagle. This year (1988), the date is November 6th at 10:55 pm CST, with the celebration beginning at sunset. Interestingly, this date (Old Halloween) was also appropriated by the Church as the holiday of Martinmas.

Of all the Witchcraft holidays, Halloween is the only one that still boasts anything near to popular celebration. Even though it is typically relegated to children (and the young-at-heart) and observed as an evening affair only, many of its traditions are firmly rooted in Paganism. Interestingly, some schools have recently attempted to abolish Halloween parties on the grounds that it violates the separation of state and religion. Speaking as a Pagan, I would be saddened by the success of this move, but as a supporter of the concept of religion-free public education, I fear I must concede the point. Nonetheless, it seems only right that there SHOULD be one night of the year when our minds are turned toward thoughts of the supernatural. A night when both Pagans and non-Pagans may ponder the mysteries of the Otherworld and its inhabitants. And if you are one of them, may all your jack-o’-lanterns burn bright on this All

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Samhain Comments & Graphics



To those whose feet are stilled

And those who laugh with us no more

To you we say, our love was with you here

And goes with you hence

To that place where you rest and revel.

May the dark Lord and sweet Lady

Guide your feet along the rocky paths

To the place where all is fresh and green

And lover, friends and ancestors wait

With open arms to greet you.

Go in peace, and with our blessing

Be rested and return when the Lady deems it fit

With the countless turns of the Great Wheel

We shall miss you

We shall meet you again in the green places of Her domain

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The God at Samhain

The God at Samhain


The aspect of the God at Samhain is the Horned God, the stag whose antler are fully developed. In ancient times, people depended on hunting for their food. The Horned God was the God of the hunt, and he represents the animal that gives its life so we can be fed.

Today, most of us buy our meat at the store, and some of us are vegetarians. But even the vegetables and grains were once alive. The Horned God reminds us that our lives are gifts given to us by other living beings. Because all food is a gift of a life, it is sacred. We treat food with respect.

We feel close to the Horned God by stopping for a moment before eating, to thank the plants and animals that have given their lives to be our food. We also say thanks for the work of all those who grew and harvested that food.

In our family, we take the opportunity of the Thanksgiving holiday (which does fall during the Samhain season!) to honor the Horned God, to give thanks for the “harvest” of the past year.

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The Goddess at Samhain

The Goddess at Samhain


The aspect of the Goddess at Samhain is the Crone. The Crone is the Old one, who teaches us wisdom and helps us let go when we need to change and grow. Growing older means losing something as well as gaining something. The Crone teaches us that letting go is a natural part of life.

When we let go, we make space for something new, just as when a person dies, they make room for another person to be born. When we let go of the old year, let it die, we make room for the new year to be born.

The time between Samhain and Winter Solstice (Yule) is the waiting time, like when a babe is in the womb, not yet ready to be born. We don’t yet know what the new year will bring, but we can dream, and imagine, and plan!

We can feel close to the Crone at this time of year by spending some time with an older person. Visit your grandparents, or an elderly neighbor, who can tell you stories about their life. Knit or Crochet blankets to donate to a retirement home at Yule.

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