The Sabbats

Samhain Ancestor Meditation

Samhain Ancestor Meditation

Calling Upon the Ancient Ones

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Ritual to Honor the Ancestors at Samhain

Ritual to Honor the Ancestors at Samhain

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Samhain History

Samhain History

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Samhain is the final turn of the wheel before the year begins again. Celebrated as the witch’s New Year, Samhain is the other point on the wheel at which the veil between the worlds grows thin. Celebrated on October 31, Samhain is a solemn ritual wherein the witch acknowledges those who have passed on to the spirit world. Stories are told, names are called, libations are poured, and the spirits are invited to take part in the ritual. Beloveds are remembered , ancestors are honored, and the spirit world is thought to coexist with the earthly plane more closely than usual. When one calls upon the departed spirit of a loved one on Samhain night, it is not at all unusual for the departed person to show up and make his or her presence known in some way. In our modern society, Samhain is celebrated as Halloween, when encounters with witches are common and carved pumpkins glow to light the way for benevolent spirits and to frighten away the undesirable. In the Christian church, the day after Samhain, November 1, is celebrated as All Saints’ Day, and November 2 is All Souls’ Day, both days honoring those who have departed the earthly realm.



A Witch’s Grimoire: Create Your Own Book of Shadows
Judy Ann Olsen
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Samhain Ritual – Remembering the Dead



Samhain was a traditional time for honoring the dead among the Celts. Those who welcomed the departed spirits would set out a meal for them. Many considered the visiting dead to be friendly and welcomed their presence with respect and a noted absence of fear. For this ritual, you will need these things:

Photos or images of departed loved ones

Other mementos, objects, or reminders to place on the altar

Special foods that departed loved ones enjoyed in life


Pomegranate and apples

Chalice with wine or fruit juice

Sage or incense

Take a moment to ground and center your energy. You can do this by practicing deep-breathing exercises and burning a little of your favorite incense. Adorn your altar with photographs and other tokens of loved ones who have died. Set out apples and pomegranates, the fruits of the season, as an offering to the goddess. Darken the room; let it be illuminated only by candles. Do a brief purification ritual, such as a smudging ceremony, and call the quarters. You may invoke the directions in this manner:

“I call upon the spirits of the eastern realm, the ethereal wind whose invisible and unseen form is known by the movement it creates. Kind spirits, travel on the winds of fate to enter into this temple. You are most welcome here on this night of nights.”

“I call upon the spirits of the southern realms, the fire that consumes the phoenix. Through death we are reborn. Through fire we are purified until nothing but our original and untainted essence remains . The fire of the spirit may change, but it may never be extinguished. Familiar spirits, I beckon you towards the candles’ glow. Enter into this temple tonight. You are most welcome here.”

“I call upon the spirits of the western realm, the deep mysteries of the water. Beloved spirits, many tears I have shed at your passing from this realm. By the water that is my blood, I ask for your presence here tonight. Sail upon the sea of mystery and enter into this temple. You are most welcome.”

“I call upon the spirits of the northern realm, the mighty earth. Divine earth spirit, who cradles the bones of the dead, I bid you reveal the mysteries that you contain. The earth that I walk upon and adore is the same earth that houses the remains of my beloveds and the bones of my ancestors. I ask for your blessing as you descend into this temple. Gentle spirits of the earth, you are most welcome here.”

Since Samhain is a sabbat of great power where spirits are known to be in contact and communication with the earthly realm, it would behoove you to do a protection spell or speak a charm banishing any unwanted guests and preventing unwelcome spirits from entering into your sacred space:

“Elemental spirits, protect me that no harm may come to me, nor to my beloveds! Spirits of air, blow hard and strong that all evil may disappear and be gone. Spirits of fire, may you burn so bright that malevolence is consumed in your brilliant light. Spirits of water, your power can drown. May wickedness never dare to come ’round. May the spirits of earth with their strength and their starkness stand between me and the agents of darkness!”

• Invoke Hecate or a goddess from a pantheon with which you resonate that embodies the crone aspect, for this is her time.

• Choose a comfortable sitting position and think of all your beloveds who have passed on to life beyond the veil. Say their names aloud. Tell their stories. Speak the dates of their births and of their deaths.

• Let the memories wash over you like waves of the ocean. Remember the things that they enjoyed in this life. What were their favorite foods, or their favorite music? Partake of these things yourself to honor their lives and to strengthen your connection to them. Death does not end a relationship, but it can certainly make communication more difficult, especially for those that do not possess the talents of the spiritual medium.

• Say aloud things you have left unsaid. Do not feel shame or sorrow. You can be sure that tonight, the spirits are listening.

• Turn your focus onto your own lineage. Think back until you can see your nearest relatives who are deceased. They may be your parents, your grandparents, or your great-grandparents.

• Picture your ancestors in your mind. It does not matter if you do not have a photographic image of them or a clear idea of what they may have looked like. Close your eyes and breathe and ask them to make themselves known to you.


• Trust the images that come to you as coming from them . Let them know that you are seeking them out, welcoming them into your home with honor and remembrance.

• Imagine what their lives may have been like, what sacrifices they must have made for you to be in the place where you are now. Think of the lands that they traveled across and picture the landscape as it might have been during their lifetime.

• Think about how the actions of distant people far across time in another land have shaped your reality and the world as you know it today. Take a journey in your mind. Imagine what brought your ancestors to the choices that they made in life. Who preceded them? What continent did they originate from?

• Follow this thread as far back as it will take you. Open your mind to possibilities and let your imagination guide you. Allow yourself to trace your line even further until you are able to imagine the creation of Earth itself.

• Follow your connection to your ultimate origin from primordial Earth to the cosmos. Know that we are all one, that all life is interconnected and that death is not an end, but an awakening into a new reality and a continuation of our spiritual evolution.

• Let your candles burn down late into the night. Watch as the wax drips, pools, and then cools . Allow yourself to grieve for the separation that death creates, but remember that death is not the end. Just as matter cannot be created or destroyed, but merely changes from one state to another, believe that it is much the same for your corporeal body, which is but a temporary home for your undying spirit. Shakespeare so eloquently described death as “a sea change into something rich and strange.”

• Bask in the presence of your departed friends. Embrace the memories of family long gone once again. This is their night. Welcome the echoes of voices long ago silenced into your mind.

• Raise a chalice in their honor and enjoy the things they loved while on earth. Pour a libation into the earth , or into a houseplant as the case may be. Acknowledge the changing times. The harvested fields are reaped and lay barren as winter’s grip begins to take hold. The veil between the worlds is very thin , and the faeries make their presence known.

• Cut a segment of your pomegranate. Peel off some of the white skin and place a few of the seeds upon your pentacle or another small dish upon your altar. Hold your hands over the seeds and give them a blessing , such as this one:

“How brief is the beauty of the fruitful earth . Her time of flowers and fruits now comes to an end. In the name of the radiant Maiden and Queen of the Underworld, Persephone, I welcome the coming darkness.”



Provenance Press’s Guide To The Wiccan Year: A Year Round Guide to Spells, Rituals, and Holiday Celebrations 
Judy Ann Nock
Categories: Articles, Daily Posts, The Sabbats | Tags: | Leave a comment

Meditation for Samhain – Descend to the Realm of Hecate



In this trance journey through the deep earth , you will discover the realm of Hecate, the Crone Goddess of Wisdom. She is the dark face of the goddess, and many fear her. It is Hecate who attends women in childbirth, and it is she whom we will face at the end of our life’s journey. Take this opportunity to name and face your fear. Is it advanced age? Death? To create positive change, you must honor her with respect to receive her blessing and aid.


• You are standing in a vast and empty field. The last of the harvest has been cut and gathered and stands drying in the barn . In the distance, an orchard of apple trees stands fruitless, save for the last few fallen apples of the season that rest on the ground as if the very wind has made an offering to the earth mother.

• You face the setting sun, which sinks lower in the sky, illuminating the painted leaves that rush by. A strong wind from samhain the east is at your back, and the tumultuous journey of the swirling leaves echoes a feeling from deep within your soul.

• You feel the earth start to tremble. It is as if you are standing on a fault line and the tectonic plates have begun to shift . You experience a sense of exhilaration, as if a mighty change is about to occur. Your intuition proves to be absolutely correct.

• You watch in amazement as the earth opens before you. What began as a rumble , then a crack emanating from the very place where you stand, turns into a deep chasm. You peer inside, noticing the vast network of roots still clinging to the earth from stalks long since cut.

• You take a step into the gap in the earth. You notice small tunnels made by burrowing insects and small animals. A family of chipmunks huddles together, bracing for the coming cold. You feel no fear, only curiosity as to the secrets of the dark earth.

• You are compelled to go further. You step carefully, loosened rocks tumbling on ahead to unseen realms. You notice the colorful striations in the rocks as you descend. Pockets in the matrix reveal glittering crystals, so perfectly formed they look as though they had been deliberately placed along your path.

• Light begins to fade as the surface of the Earth retreats into the distance, but you forge ahead, led by the sensation that a great mystery is being revealed to you. You feel the pulsating rhythms of the Earth itself and a great truth is affirmed for you. The earth is alive and teeming with life. As it is above, so it is below.

• You are enveloped in the darkness, when, strangely, you begin to perceive a light . This seems as strange and fantastic as the journey you are presently undertaking. The faint light of a gently glowing ember guides you along your path until you find yourself unexpectedly facing a woman. Her hair is long and white, and her face is etched with the songs and stories of a thousand lifetimes. You recognize her instantly. She is the grandmother of all, the ancient crone of your imaginings.

• You stop and stand before her in awe. At her feet is a large black cauldron. Beneath the cauldron is the fire that led you to her. Without speaking, her voice appears in your mind and she asks you why you have come to her. You reply, “I seek to learn the mysteries of the earth and to honor you with respect.”

• She nods and stirs the cauldron and asks, “Who are you?” You pause because you know her question is more profound than it seems. She is not asking your name. She is asking you to name the desire of your soul, to make a connection between yourself and the divine, to acknowledge yourself as an integral part of the earth you have chosen to penetrate and explore.

• You answer wordlessly, “I do not know.” She stops stirring the cauldron and bids you to gaze into its depths. You do not know the liquid that it contains, but it swirls around as though she was still stirring it.

• You see your own face reflected on the surface, and as the surface churns, your appearance begins to change. You see yourself as a very young person, full of energy and vitality. Then the image begins to change again before your eyes. You see yourself as a mature person, fulfilled and happy.

• Another spiral sweeps this vision from your eyes and you are revealed this time as an old person with the light of a lifetime dancing in your eyes. You look up into the eyes of the crone and you hear a voice inside your head. You are not certain if it is your own voice or that of the manifestation of the goddess before you, but you cannot argue with its message: “I am the Maiden, seeker of Wisdom. I am the Mother, giver of Wisdom. I am the Crone, keeper of Wisdom.”

• You understand that this truth has been revealed to you through the woman standing before you. She is the woman you will one day become, just as surely as the reflections in her dark cauldron are aspects of yourself as well. By approaching her with honor and respect instead of fear, you have enabled yourself to embody this truth and you know it is now time for you to leave the underground realm of darkness and mystery.

• You now realize that in the span of your own lifetime, however long or short, you have already learned many things, taught many things, and have much still to learn. As the maiden, you learned how to navigate through all of life. You began life as a helpless infant and learned independence. At the same time, you taught your parents how to nurture and ultimately how to let go. As the mother, you nurtured dreams of your own and shared your wisdom with others . As the crone, most of your lifetime lies behind you. You own all of your achievements, triumphs, and trials. And there is still more that you desire from life. You have already died and been reborn many times within this one lifetime.

• With this realization, you face her one last time. Her visage vanishes before your eyes, as does her cauldron and its reassuring glow. You are alone and standing in near-total darkness, yet you feel a comforting warmth about your shoulders. You turn around and see that the glowing embers that lit the cauldron have been replaced by the waning rays of the setting sun, seemingly miles away, dancing on the surface of the Earth as you remain far beneath.

• You begin the slow ascent back up to the surface of the world. You pass by the glittering gems hidden deep within the matrix, a tangible testament to the power of change. Years of pressure and temperature changes have yielded something unique and beautiful in a purely natural state, a treasure meant for your eyes alone.

• You climb higher and notice again the colorful striations in the compacted soil and marvel at the intricate network of deep roots that penetrate the dark earth, as complex and thick and sturdy as any oak branch that weaves its way through the sky. The earth is living all around you, home to insects and small animals and all kinds of plants, forming delicate connections never seen by light of day or by the light of the moon.

• You emerge just as the sun makes its final descent below the horizon, bathing the field in the magical purples of twilight. The brightest stars are becoming visible now. You notice that the wind has shifted and now blows from the west.

• You smile as you stand among the swirling leaves that come rushing towards you. Your change has come.


Provenance Press’s Guide To The Wiccan Year: A Year Round Guide to Spells, Rituals, and Holiday Celebrations
Judy Ann Nock
Categories: Articles, Daily Posts, Meditation, The Sabbats | Tags: | 1 Comment

Set Yourself Free Ritual for Samhain



Remembering Andromeda’s narrow escape, use the energy and inspiration of the stars to break through your own psychic bondage and release yourself from figurative chains that may be holding you back. Samhain is an ideal time for taking an inventory of life and releasing old patterns that may no longer prove useful.

Start by gathering your tools. You will need these things:

A ball of red yarn





Take a ball of red cotton yarn or thread and cut it into nine-inch pieces. It is important that you choose a natural substance for this exercise. Avoid synthetics like acrylic or polyester.


As you knot the ends of each piece of yarn together, forming a circle, give each one a name, something in your life that you feel is holding you back. Perhaps it is a past hurt that you have been dwelling on. Maybe you have some regrets in life. Whether it is pain or grief or regret that binds you, it is now time to lay these down. It takes a certain kind of strength to carry a burden, but an even greater strength to cast it away.


Use as many or as few pieces as you need. Put them around your wrist and tell them specifically, “_____, I have carried you long and far. Your burden has been my teacher, and I accept your lessons. Now I summon the strength to release you, for your presence serves me no longer.”


Take your athame and begin cutting through the circlets. As the blade is invariably dull, this will be no easy task. Be persistent, and as you cut away your symbolic bonds, imagine yourself separating from your actual bonds. Nothing worth doing is ever easy, and this small struggle is representative of something much greater: the individual, which is you, accepting responsibility and influence over the events of life, which is magic.


When your bonds have been cut, burn them in your cauldron, saying, “I send you back to the dark mother, to be consumed by the flames of transformation. You are purified and changed forever in this fire, reduced to your pure and simple essence. You are no longer bound to me. I send you back to the mother, and away you will go, that something new and blessed in me shall grow.”


When the flames subside and the cauldron cools, gather the ashes in a small pot and take them outside. Determine which way the wind is blowing and stand with the wind at your back. Blow the ashes into the air. Let them dissipate and vanish. Prepare yourself to make a new start.


Provenance Press’s Guide To The Wiccan Year: A Year Round Guide to Spells, Rituals, and Holiday Celebrations
Judy Ann Nock


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Phoenix Rising Meditation for Samhain



As we honor the dead on Samhain, it is important to acknowledge the intensity of emotion that comes with confronting death. Use this meditation if you are confronting grief or another emotional situation that requires insight and compassion. Sit comfortably and close your eyes. Ground and center your energy. Breathe rhythmically as you imagine yourself in a topiary garden, standing among tall hedges.

• Beneath your feet is the soft earth, blanketed with the tender green of lush grass. You wander among carefully trimmed bushes with leaves so dense that you cannot see through the hedges. They are unusually tall, and you cannot see over them. You cannot tell where one ends and another begins. It is as if living walls surround you.

• You take cautious steps along a turning path that does not seem to end. Time feels suspended. Each step could be a hundred steps, and you feel as though you have been wandering far too long. If you have made any progress at all finding your way out, it is indiscernible.

• You feel lost and confused, each new direction looking exactly like the turn that preceded it. You begin to feel that you will never leave this garden. Although it is beautiful, it is too overwhelming because your feelings of uncertainty and loss are dominant.

• Suddenly, above your head you feel a cool breeze that gradually begins to strengthen in its intensity. Your heart begins to pound, so loud that it seems to be outside of yourself. You then realize that the sound is not coming from within your own body, but rather from the wind that you feel above your head.

• You turn your gaze upwards and are amazed to learn that the sound and the wind are the beating of powerful wings. Above you flies the form of a creature, the likes of which you have never seen. It is a bird! A fantastic bird, so large that the gigantic hedge seems no more than a tiny perch beneath the great expanse of its wings.

• From its majestic wingspan, the mighty flight feathers project with a multitude of shining opalescent hues. You see brilliant blues iridescent with shades of rose and violet. Your eyes follow this amazing display of color to the soft down feathers at the base of the wings. They appear velvety and are a deep royal purple. Elegant curling plumage like that of a bird of paradise extends to the scarlet tail feathers.

• Your jaw drops, and the creature alights on the top of the hedge and cranes its graceful neck, folding in its wings and bringing its face very close to yours . In its golden beak, you see the radiance of the sun itself. The metallic color blends in with the delicate feathers of its face that range from shimmering gold to a shining yellow. On its crest, you can see deep reds that change to bright orange and rosy pinks. But you are most struck by the eye of the phoenix. It looks at you so intently with eyes the color of the Mediterranean Sea; the irises are clear bright blue and watery , the pupils, only a slightly darker blue.

• You are awestruck and mesmerized by its eyes. You begin to see reflections appear, and you know it is because this gentle creature is feeling the uncertainty in your soul, and reflecting this back to you with kindness and compassion.

• You see familiar images, as if you are gazing into a pool of blessed water. Faces of loved ones. People who have helped you in the past. Tender memories that you had once forgotten now come alive. The phoenix meets your gaze and sheds a glistening tear. The tear falls over you and you are bathed in a fragrant aspersion of comforting empathy. You realize that the phoenix is feeling what you feel.

• On some level, in your distress you have summoned the phoenix to come to your aid, and indeed it has. Carefully, it lifts you on to its mighty back and spreads its shimmering wings.

Together, you soar upwards through the clear blue sky, the winds of change touching your face causing tears of joy and release to stream from your eyes. You turn your head to look down.

• Beneath you, you see the labyrinth that you previously stumbled through, only now from your lofty vantage, you can easily see the way out. You are free of the maze and its resolution is obvious.

• Unexpectedly and without warning, you are standing in the garden once again. The phoenix is high overhead and you squint your eyes against the glare of the sun. It becomes more and more difficult to see as the sun seems to shine brighter and brighter until the fantastic bird is no longer discernible at all.

• You can barely see its outline against the sun when suddenly it seems to erupt in a fireball so large and bright that it makes the light of the accompanying sun seem pale in comparison. You shield your eyes and turn away, but the image seems burned into your retinas . Every time you blink, you see the phoenix.

• The sensation begins to fade a little, and you take your first steps. You are confident and reassured now. Every few steps, you see the light of the phoenix behind your eyes. You understand that this light is leading you along the pathway out of the labyrinth . You simply follow it. You are on your way home.

Provenance Press’s Guide To The Wiccan Year: A Year Round Guide to Spells, Rituals, and Holiday Celebrations
Judy Ann Nock
Categories: Articles, Daily Posts, Meditation, The Sabbats | Tags: | Leave a comment

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