Welcome, Darkest Night

Welcome, Darkest Night

by Janice Van Cleve

I love this season of growing dark. The night starts earlier to cast its blanket of quiet and peace upon the land and calls me to wrap up what I am doing. Early darkness coaxes me to sit down to supper at six o’clock instead of nine, so I can digest properly before I go to sleep. Longer nights delay the prodding light of morning, so I can grab a few more winks. It encourages me to work more efficiently with the daylight that I do have. The dark time of the year is a healthy time for me.

It is a healthy time for plants and animals as well. Perennials focus on building up their root systems during the dark time, and annuals spread their seeds. Leaves fall to the ground to be leached and composted into next year ‘s soil. Animals feast on the yield of crops and orchards and store up surplus to see them through the winter and spring. In the dark time, all nature refocuses on renewing itself, sloughing off that which is no longer necessary and nurturing the best for the new year.

For northern tribes who lived where night falls longest and deepest, the dark time of the year was a time of great creativity. Bards honed their songs and added new verses for the entertainment and education of their audiences. Farmers turned to woodworking to fashion furniture or to decorate the interiors of their homes. Tradespeople made cloth, tools, jewelry, clothes and other goods to sell the merchants when they returned in the spring. Cooks became more and more inventive as the darkness lingered and the variety in the larder grew more limited. Even today, most school and university classes are scheduled for the winter months. In the business world, new product releases from software to movies to automobiles are debuted during this time.

In short, the dark time of the year is a busy, industrious and very creative time for nature and for human activity. So why in modern society does it get such a bad rap? The ancients certainly figured out that spring followed winter every year, and they used their skills to create solstice calculators like Stonehenge to predict how much more winter they had left. Were they really immobilized in fear of the dark, waiting for solstice to give them hope of spring? Or, on the other hand, did they grumble at solstice that they only had a few more months to play, eat, sing and finish their carvings before they had to get back out and work the farm again? Ancient peoples, after all, did not create surpluses for profit or a year-round global economy. They simply raised enough to sustain themselves so they could devote their time to crafts and play.

Perhaps it was the new religion of Christianity that tried to separate light from dark, exalting the former and disparaging the latter. Perhaps it was Christians’ idea to create fear of the dark so they could make light seem like a sort of salvation. However, nature doesn’t seem to need saving from anything, except from human greed. Nature goes on, year after year, with summer and winter alternating appropriate to the latitude. Nature values the dark time as much as the light and uses both to its advantage. The dark time is healthy and wholesome. It is as necessary for life as rain and sun, decay and bacteria.

And so it is appropriate that our pagan new year starts with Samhain, the beginning of the darkest time of the year. We rest before we work. We focus inwardly before we focus on the wider world. We sleep, we feast, we meditate, and we renew ourselves so that when spring’s light returns and calls us to next year’s work we can respond with new health and strength. These are gifts of the dark time. We are fortunate to have them!

To Brew a Cauldron of Roots and Bones

To Brew a Cauldron of Roots and Bones

by Catherine Harper

When the year turns, the earth is less gentle, and the outdoors is no longer safe. The soft green woods of summer are now stripped bare and home to winds and rain. For light and warmth, we must retreat inside, even in the gentle clime of Puget Sound, where we are sheltered by the mountains and the extremities of season are kept at bay by the vast thermal mass of the ocean.

All at once, it seems, it is autumn, and past the drawn-out golden harvest and into the dark days and rain. There may be a few peppers and tomatoes left to us, but the season has turned from fruit to fallow. For the gardener, there are a few hardy greens, the squash lying amidst their shriveling vines and the late apples. For the forager, there are a few roots and the cool-weather fruiting of mushrooms. But the focus has changed from the fields and orchards to the kitchens, pantries and root cellars, from what is fresh to what can be saved for later use.

After the extravagance of the autumn harvest, it is a good time to contemplate the dark season. All that is left of the corn are the stalks in the field; in the orchard, the branches are bare. The supermarkets bring us strange and often illusory delights from far distant lands (yes, one can have hothouse strawberries in winter, or bland and mealy fruits picked too early and ripened far from their trees, but do the limp imitations you may purchase feed your body any better than they do your soul?). But you still may take a step back and look at the land around you, and recall both to the mind and table the humble foods that are still with us.

Consider, then, the onion.

The origins of onions are hidden back in the misty recesses of antiquity. There are wild onions known and enjoyed throughout the world, and by the time the pyramids were built the onion was widely cultivated. Herodotus records indeed that the builders of the pyramids sustained their strength on a diet of “radishes, onions and leeks,” and onions and bread were the staple diet of workers throughout the greater region. The Egyptians honored their onions, and were well-known in the ancient world for the quality of their leeks. But by the Roman period, while the leeks were considered a fit item for the tables of emperors, the onions, though grown in vast quantities, were confirmed in their place on the poor man’s table.

In the garden, it is easy to see why the onion has been so embraced by those lacking in both time and money. It is a hardy plant, resistant to disease and pests, and needing little in the way of cultivation. A bit of rich soil, perhaps a quick weeding once or twice during the year, and the tiny shoots you planted that looked like nothing more than frail blades of grass send up a tower of sturdy, pungent greenery, and then below ground swell into plump bulbs.

In our own kitchens, onions are ever present, and yet little regarded. They are so often used as a flavoring agent that I suspect few people realize how much they contribute to the bulk of a dish, and so ubiquitous that it’s easy to forget how much flavor they add, while their cousins garlic and shallot get most of the press. Few vegetables have ever carried so much weight with so little notice. In the store, there are always onions, vast piles of onions, cheap and long-lasting. Red onions and white, yellow onions in their darker skins, pearl onions and boiling onions, green onions, dried onions and french-fried onions.

I think too little thought often goes into the selection of onions. Red onions and white onions are sold, usually at a jacked-up price, peeled and trimmed, a form in which they must be kept refrigerated. This allows you to get a good look at the onions and is undoubtedly more convenient, if one is willing to pay twice the price and use the onion swiftly. The yellow onions, our local most common staple, are sold only untrimmed and often poorly sorted. And yet a good yellow onion will sit like a bronze pearl, filling its skin smoothly with no trace of bruising or of the black powdery mold that likely infests many of its neighbors. I have been laughed at by produce clerks for my careful selection of onions, but I have never regretted looking closely. (Onions in bags, while cheap and convenient, I have often regretted, in part because the bag often prevents close inspection, and onions only last a long time if they are intact.)

When I was first on my own, at 15 finding myself abruptly responsible for my own sustenance, I kept my ears always open as I made my way through the produce aisle. One day, I overheard a woman talking of the labor of feeding a family after a long day at work herself. “When I get home, sometimes I don’t know what I’m going to make, and no one else wants to wait at all. But my mother told me a trick — chop up and fry an onion in a pan, and you’ll buy yourself some time. When they smell that onion coming out of the kitchen, they’ll sit back and wait, because they know it’s going to be good.”

Or consider the venerable soup bone.

It is a curious reversal that the thrifty old art of boiling meaty bones for soup, and the great equalizer of the soup pot where the taste of the ingredients is shared by all even if the best pieces might not be, has become something of a mark of culinary distinction. True cooks now build their stock with love, patience, time and often fairly expensive ingredients. Indeed, it is common now for a stock to be made for soup, after which the meat the stock was drawn from is thrown away and replaced by fresh pieces for the finished product.

I can’t quite see that. From a technique point, yes, this is a fine way to build a soup, but to rob meat of its flavor and yet little of its nutrients and then to throw the meat away… perhaps there is a time and a place for such extravagance, but not in my kitchen, as late autumn mutters of the coming of winter. There are generations enough of hungry dead.

Soup bones are almost an anachronism to most home cooks. They come from a time when people were more comfortable with the animal origins of their meat, when larger roasts were more common and yet also more dear, and when people took care to extract all the nutrients they could from their food. Today, one is more likely to see beef “stew meat” for sale, though this ignores that the purpose of a soup bone isn’t only meat, but tendon, cartilage, connective tissue and even marrow. (A dear friend of mine, retired lawyer and accomplished Jewish mother, informs me that the curative powers of matzoh ball soup reside in the gelatin leached out of the chicken. I hesitate at such a reductionist explanation, but the theory is the same. A good rich homemade broth will thicken and even solidify when cold.)

Onion Lemon Soup with Mushrooms

This soup has Greek avgolemono in its ancestry, but it has become vegetarian and shifted its focus to include the onions and mushrooms that form the base of the stock. The onions must be thoroughly caramelized.

The dried mushrooms in this recipe can be six or so good-sized shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted in warm water and then sliced, or a slightly smaller quantity of dried porcini, matsutake or other strong-tasting wild mushroom — chantrelles, delicately flavored as they are, would be lost. One could also substitute a cup or fresh shiitake or porcini for both the dried and fresh mushrooms, or use some combination thereof. I’m afraid this really only qualifies as poverty food if you hunt your own mushrooms, considering the prices wild mushrooms command, though during my impoverished years I sometimes found dried mushrooms in the marked-down bin.

  • 1 or 2 large onions (yellow or white) chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 3 to 6 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, sliced
  • Dried mushrooms
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt, pepper
  • Juice of two lemons
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 quarts water, plus an additional &fraq14; cup

In a thick-bottomed pot, caramelize the onions in olive oil over medium heat until they are thoroughly brown. (If they begin to stick to the bottom of the pan too badly, you may deglaze the pan by pouring in a few tablespoons of water and stirring vigorously, until the water boils off and you resume caramelizing.) Add the garlic and mushrooms and continue to cook, stirring gently, until the mushrooms are tender.

Add two quarts of water, the rice and the bay leaf, bring soup to a simmer, and let it simmer for 20 minutes or so. Add salt and pepper, taste the broth and correct the seasoning if needed. (Add more salt, more mushrooms or perhaps a teaspoon or so of molasses.)

Remove pot from heat while you juice the lemons and separate the eggs.

Add lemon juice. Beat the egg yolks. Beat in about a quarter cup of lukewarm water. Then beat in a half-cup of broth from your soup. (The idea here is for the egg yolks to blend smoothly with the broth and not to cook too quickly.) Finally, whisk the egg and broth mixture into your soup, and return the soup to the burner, over medium low heat. Return to the barest simmer, gently, then remove from heat and serve

Beef Bone Barley

This soup is based on a savory, layered broth that still uses all of its edible parts. The bones and raw and roasted meat add richness and complexity to the broth.

  • 1 soup bone
  • 1 small package beef stew meat
  • 1 cup barley
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 or 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 or 3 carrots (optional)
  • 2 or 3 stalks celery (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 to 10 peppercorns
  • 1 glug of red wine, if available
  • Salt

For the soup bone, if you do not have easy access to a neighborhood butcher, nose around in your grocery’s meat department. Often bones for soup are hidden in the frozen section. I’d recommend a nice joint, if possible, and don’t worry too much about whether it has meat on it, as you’ll be adding meat later. Ox tails are never a bad thing, either, though they make for a very rich soup.

Cover your soup bone in cold water in a thick-bottomed pot, and then slowly heat the pot over a low burner. Seek a stable temperature just at the edge of simmering, cover and allow to stew overnight.

A few hours before dinnertime, remove the soup bone and discard. Add half your stew meat to the pot, and roast the other for some 20 minutes in a 350-degree oven. Add the roasted meat as well to the pot. Add the cup of barley, cover and continue simmering.

Forty minutes or so before dinner, add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, bay leaf and peppercorns. Add your glug of wine, and quickly cover and return to simmering.

In the last few minutes before serving, add salt, remove the bay leaf and taste the broth. Add more salt, wine or fresh ground pepper if needed.

About Samhain: A Guide to the Sabbat’s Symbolism

About Samhain: A Guide to the Sabbat’s Symbolism

by Arwynn MacFeylynnd

Editor’s note: Readers have asked for Widdershins to run a short piece in each paper to give a guide to the symbolism of the current Sabbat for new pagans and witches. Following is the first of these.

Date: October 31.

Alternative names: All Hallow’s Eve, Halloween, the Witches’ New Year, Third Festival of Harvest.

Primary meaning: Samhain, pronounced “sow-en” — not “sam hain” — marks the beginning of the cold months or winter; it is the Day Between the Years. Primary elements to contemplate are endings and beginnings, change, reflection and reincarnation. Celebrations honor the dead, ancestors, the wisdom of the Crone and the death of the God.

Symbols: Cauldrons, jack o’ lanterns, masks, balefires, besoms (brooms), bats, owls, ravens and the ever-present witch and black cat.

Colors: Orange, black, brown, golden yellow and red.

Gemstones: Carnelian, jet, obsidian and onyx.

Herbs: Aborvitae (yellow cedar), acorn, allspice, apple, autumn flowers, catnip, corn, chrysanthemums, dittany of Crete, fall leaves (especially oak), ferns, flax, fumitory, gourds, grains, hazel, heather, mandrake, mugwort, mullein, nightshade, pear, pumpkin, sage, straw, thistle, turnip, wormwood.

Gods and goddesses: Crone goddesses, the Father or dying gods, gods of the underworld or death including Arawn, Cerridwen, Cernunnos, the Dagdha, Dis Pater, Hades, Hecate, Hel, Inanna, Ishtar, Kali, Lilith, Macha, Mari, the Morrigan, Osiris, Pomona, Psyche, Rhiannon, Samana, Sekhmet, Teutates and Taranis.

Customs and myths: In England, it formerly was the custom to go “a-souling” on this night, asking for little “soul cakes” and offering prayers for the dead in return.

In the British Isles, lanterns carved out of turnips (in the New World pumpkins) were at one time used to provide light on a night when bale fires were lit, and all households let their fires go out so they could be rekindled from the new fire.

Another custom was the Dumb Supper, in which an extra plate was laid for the dead and the meal was eaten in silence. Bobbing for apples, roasting nuts in the fire and baking cakes that contained tokens of luck are ancient methods of telling the future now. Ducking for apples was a divination for marriage. The first person to bite an apple would be the first to marry in the coming year. Apple peeling was a divination to see how long your life would be. The longer the unbroken apple peel, the longer your life was destined to be.

In Scotland, people would place stones in the ashes of the hearth before retiring for the night. Anyone whose stone had been disturbed during the night was said to be destined to die during the coming year.

Communicating with the Spirits of the Departed

While it is true that Samhain is the time when the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest, you can converse with spirits of the departed at any time of the year. Prepare your altar as you normally do, but place several fresh apples upon it to represent the other-world. Also, use juniper and wormwood as your incense. Speak the name of the person you are trying to contact. State what you need to tell them or that you need to ask. Don’t expect a physical manifestation, but you will very soon find your response in your dreams.

By: Nuala Drago

Halloween Spell

For many witches throughout the world, Halloween is an ideal time to magically do away with weaknesses. The Celts of old, for instance, on Samhain slaughtered all livestock that were too weak to live through the coming winter. Using a quill pen and dragon’s blood ink, write upon a piece of parchment the weaknesses you wish to be rid of. As you concentrate on your intent, crumple up the paper in your “power hand” and toss it into a fire or set it ablaze by holding it above the flame of a black candle. Place it into a fireproof container such as a cast iron cauldron, and as the parchment burns away into ashes, so too shall your weaknesses be consumed by the flames of magic.


By: Gerina Dunwich

Inviting in your Ancestors

A good time to pay homage to you ancestors is just before Samhain. For this spell, gather at your altar or sacred space some black cloth, a black candle, a bowl of water, a feather, a citrine, amethyst or lapis lazuli crystal, and photos and mementos from your loved ones who have passed beyond. Place the black cloth on your altar or on the floor. Position the feather in the east, the candle in the south, the bowl of water in the west, and the crystal in the north. Arrange the photos and other objects in the middle as you chant or whisper: “May my loved ones touch me again—in the kiss of a breeze, in the light of candle flame, in the laughter of the rain, in the ground beneath my feet. Spirits of air, fire, water, earth, bring my loved ones close again.” You may want to hold a photo or object and take time to feel the spirit of your loved one.


By: Sedwin

Honoring Ancestors

Autumn is the season when the dark of the year arrives. It is a time to turn inward and reflect on our ancestors and on those we love who have crossed to the other side of the veil. Begin building energy to welcome your loved ones on Samhain by placing photos or mementos of them on a table, bookshelf, or windowsill in the east area of a room. (East is the direction associated with ancestors and family.) Along with ancestral photos, you may want to include goddess images of Hecate, Cerridwen, Kali, Inanna, or Cybele. Samhain is when the goddess enters her crone aspect as Dark Mother and Wise One. She takes away what she has created, but in her dark womb is the seed of the next New Year. All that is old is new again.
By: Sedwin

Samhain Prosperity Spell

Pass a skull (plastic or wax), some pumpkin spice and some dried pumpkin seed, a large white plate, a small bowl, a black bag, and a gold cord through incense smoke. Mix the seeds and spice in a bowl and stir counterclockwise to banish negativity, clockwise for the blessings of your ancestors. Place a list of your ancestors on the plate, and set the skull on top, sprinkling it with the seed and spice mixture. Hold your hands over the skull asking that your ancestors bring harmony and prosperity into your life, and cover the skull with the bag for seven days. On the seventh day, place the spice, seeds, and skull in the bag, and tie it all securely with the gold cord. Place it in the west part of your attic or basement. 

By: Silver RavenWolf

‘Twas the Night of Samhain

‘Twas the Night of Samhain


‘Twas the night of Samhain and all through the house,
Not a creatures was stirring except for my spouse.
The incense it burned in his cauldron so black,
For witchcraft and magick he’d a wondrous knack.
The circle was drawn with the athame of power,
The guardians were called to each quarter tower.
The Lord and the Lady attended our rite,
In wonder and glory and power and mite.
The dearly departed came as our guest,
To live once again after their rest.
We bid them goodbye with a tear in our eye,
Such a lovely presence of loved ones so nigh.
The candles danced in the flickering light,
With the Great Rite we bid them all a good night.
The guardians thanked, have all sped away,
The Lord and the Lady, thanks for the day.
The night of Samhain, Gods bless this house,
A circle of wonder ’round me and my spouse.

Prose Of The Season

Prose Of The Season


Druids would not know this night
And Witches would in wonder gaze
To see the festive costumed souls
That dash about the night in play
Where ancient magick ruled the land
Children’s laughter fills the soul
Yet in this way the night is honored
Much like the ancients long ago.

by David O. Norris, copyright 1999


Velinda held the flickering light
And cast grim shadows on the wall
While whispering stories in my ear
On Halloween so long ago.


The ghosts she conjured howled then
To match the winds that moaned outside,
Her Witches crossed the golden moon
On brooms above the clouds they’d ride.


That night I’d try my best to sleep
With thoughts of graveyards in my mind
I’d pull the covers o’er my head
To leave those visions far behind.


Now she’s living in New Hampshire,
Over forty years have passed us by
Still, on Halloween, I hear her whisper
And once again the Witches fly!

by David O. Norris, “Halloween 1953” copyright 1998

Witches’ hats and harvest moon
Ghosts that dance to haunted tune.
Apples, goodies, food galore.
Halloween has this and more.


Fairies, gnomes, and funny clowns
Mom and I go ’round the town.
Cats and pumpkins, friends to meet
Everyone says “trick or treat!”

~Author unknown

Just a little witch
on high
She’ll tell you that
your love is nigh
Your fortune on Halloween
when told
My secret will the witch unfold.

~from an Early Nineteenth-Century Halloween postcard


From Halloween by Silver Ravenwolf

Tarot Reading for the Season of the Crone

Tarot Reading for the Season of the Crone
This reading was done with The Druid Craft Tarot, by Philip and Stephanie Carr-Grom, with illustrations by Will Worthington.
Samhain, October 31, 2011
October 31st – November 5th
Queen of Cups
You are full of love and maternal instinct. You lead the way toward healing, connection with others and emotional happiness.
November 6th – November 12th
Four of Pentacles
You have the capacity to plan your finances wisely, or to build to ensure a strong foundation, but guard against a tendency toward avaricious greediness, if you have a foundation of loss or insecurity.
November 13th – November 19th
The World
You know you are complete, and you feel deep satisfaction and fulfillment. After such good work, it’s time to celebrate!
November 20th – November 26th
The Hermit
Turn inward, away from the distraction of the outer world, and seek guidance from a place of solitude. Don’t be tempted to make important pragmatic decisions, as now is the time to withdraw from the distractions of everyday life.
November 27th – December 3rd
Two of Pentacles
You may feel the need to seek balance in your life, but the best results may come from trust and playfulness, rather than caution and deliberation. Juggling may be a joy for you, rather than a burden.
December 4th – December 10th
The High Priestess
Tap into the power of reflection and depth, and rely on your dreams and your inner wisdom as the gateway to an initiation into higher consciousness.
December 11th – December 17th
Seven of Wands
Someone may challenge your leadership or engage you in a struggle, but you will find it exhilarating, as it will strengthen your abilities and your character.
December 18th – Yule, December 22nd, 2011
Though you have entered the darkness and sipped from the cup of silence, now you hear the call to awaken, and are re-born. You have chosen vibrant life!
HP Kerritwyn Ceannaire is the elected President of the Board, and the Head of the Order. She teaches White Moon lessons to women in The Sacred Three Goddess School, and to mtf transgendered seekers in the Rainbow Moon School.

The Wisdom of the Witch

 The Wisdom of the Witch


From “Griefdancer”, a poetic book on spiritual growth by Florence Mattersdorfer

What no one wants to hear,

Hearing that which is

Alive within the eye of
Any storm,

The living earth is the hearth
That is home.

Lighting a spell of thanks and in doing so
Releasing all worry,

The gods know as does she
That all is as it should be.

And, touching the earth with loving hands
Then crossing the stream with bare, cold feet,

She walks her sacred circle to honor all
And marks her altar with book and stone.

All hopes are cast with wand of birch
Into nature’s realm, her spiritual church.

And though possessing no material wealth
Wealth abounds around her and the wisdom
Of this witch.


Submitted by Florence Mattersdorfer

Samhain Blessings

Samhain Blessings
The festival of Samhain marks the end of the third and final harvest of the year. The last of the fruit and vegetables have ripened and are now stored away, the seeds set aside for Spring planting. The bright colours of Autumn leaves signal their death knell, and soon they are borne away on the cold and bitter winds. Left behind are the naked branches, skeletal limbs reaching up to the skies. It is a time of death and decay, and it is no surprise that our thoughts may gravitate toward sorrow and loss, for this is the beginning of the dark half of the year. It is not surprising that many cultures pay their respects to the ancestors and departed family members at this time of year.
It is customary to light bonfires on Samhain eve to burn away the miseries of the past year. Hearth fires are extinguished and relit with the Samhain flame, ensuring a fresh start to the New Year. People would often set up two bonfires side by side and walk through them as a purification ritual.
Ritual feasts to honour the dead often occur. A place at the table is reserved for the departed and stories are shared. This may also offer an opportunity to converse with the dead about unresolved issues and then let them go.
Dressing up in costumes is an ancient custom which is sometimes called Soul-caking. Mummers would visit houses and stage a play to honour the dead which consisted of a challenge, a battle, a death and a rebirth. Special cakes were handed out to the performers afterwards. Children would dress up and go door to door, offering songs in exchange for food or coins. Large turnips were hollowed out, carved with faces and placed in windows to ward off evil spirits.
It is said that the veil between the worlds is thinnest at this time of year and is an excellent time for divination. Toss a peeled apple over your shoulder, the shape that arises will be the first letter of your future spouse’s name. Egg whites dropped in a glass of water foretells the number of future children. Try tossing some nuts onto a fire, if the nuts stay together, so will you and your spouse. Or, try to pick up as many warm nuts from the fire as possible, an even number indicates faithful love, an odd number indicates betrayal. Toss a single nut on the fire and make a wish. If the nut burns brightly, the wish will come true. Another activity is to set out three bowls, one with clear water, one with cloudy water, and the third one empty. Determine what each of the bowls will mean, for example, the clear water indicates success, the cloudy water struggle, and the third failure. Or simply yes, no, maybe. Blindfold a friend and have her ask a question then dip a hand into one of the bowls discover the outcome.
Samhain, though primarily a festival of darkness and death, also marks a new beginning. This is the Witch’s New Year and though we may look on the past with regret and sorrow, we know that the Wheel continues to turn, and fresh opportunities for growth and transformation are immanent.

Today’s Goddess: Nicneven

Today’s Goddess: Nicneven
Halloween (Various Locations)
Themes: Protection; Ghosts; Divination; Peace; Winter
Symbols: Pumpkins; Gourds; Traditional Halloween Fare


About Nicneven: In Scotland, Nicneven is the Crone goddess of Samhain, which is the predecessor of modern Halloween festivals. Nicneven governs the realms of magic and witchcraft and also represents the imminent onset of winter.


To Do Today: In magic and Celtic traditions, this is the new year – a time when the veil between worlds grows thin and spirits can communicate with the living. Follow the usual customs of carving a pumpkin or turnip for protection and to illuminate the way for family spirits to join you in today’s celebrations.


In druidical tradition, Samhain was a time to rectify any matters causing dissent. Nicneven provides the magical glue for this purpose. Take a white piece of paper on which you’ve written the reason for anger in a relationship, then burn it in any hallowed fire source (the pumpkin candle, or ritual fires). As you do, ask Nicneven to empower the spell and destroy the negativity completely.


To inspire Nicneven’s wisdom or magical aptitude within, enjoy traditional Halloween fare – apple pie, for example, brings sagacity. Sparkling apple cider tickles magical energy. And root crops provide solid foundations and protection while magical creatures are afoot!.

By Patricia Telesco

Samhain Song


Samhain Song

“Soul! Soul! For a soul cake!
I pray you, good missus, a soul cake!
An apple, a pear, a plum, or a cherry,
Or any good thing to make us merry.
One for Peter, two for Paul,
Three for Them who made us all.
Up with the kettle and down with the pan.
Give us good alms, and we’ll be gone.”

~ Unknown


Seasons of the Witch


  • The Witches New Year.
  • Halloween
  • Samhain
  • Magic Day
  • Druid’s Samhain Autumn Sun Festival.
  • Ancient Roman Feast To Pomona.
  • All Hallow’s Eve, 10th Century.
  • All Saint’s Eve.
  • Old Celtic New Year’s Eve. Struggle Between Old & New Years.
  • Festival Of Inner Worlds.
  • Joseph Campbell, 83, Dies. Mythologist.1987
  • National UNICEF Day
  • Beggar’s Night
  • Apple & Candle Night (Wales)
  • National Caramel Apple Day
  • 10/31 eve to 11/2 eve: Old Sumerian & Canaanite-Hebrew fast recalling the descent of Inanna/Astarte (Goddess of Life) to the Underworld. Ereshkigal/Sheol (Goddess of Death and Rebirth) detained Her until She agreed to have Dumuzi/Baal (God of Life and Death) remain there each Winter.
  • 10/31 eve to 11/2 eve: Samhain–Old Celtic New Year and feast of Morrigan/Cerridwen (Goddess of Death) and Balor/Beli (the Holly King – God of the Waning Sun).
  • 10/31 eve to 11/2 eve: Old Teutonic fast marking Hod (God of Darkness) unintentionally killing Balder (God of Light), and devoted Nanna (Goddess of Flowers) dying of a broken heart.
  • 10/31 eve to 11/6 eve: Mid-Autumn/Day of the Dead/Hallowmas–Festival marking the transformation of life to death – the end of the agricultural year, departure of migrating and hibernating animals, and decay and death of vegetal and animal life. Observed by remembering departed ancestors and contemplating one’s own mortality.
  • Witchcraft Hysteria (This isn’t a game-very interesting) http://www.nationalgeographic.com/salem/index.html
Excerpted From GrannyMoon’s Morning Feast Archives, Earth, Moon and Sky and/or School of Seasons
Remember the ancient ways and keep them sacred!

Today Is: Moon Day

Energy: Female Ruler: The Moon – Rules emotions, protection, healing, and women’s mysteries – Use for magick involving the subconscious, healing, emotions, love, spirituality, healing wounds, children, small animals, women’s mysteries, the female side of men, mothers, sisters, female partners, wives, instincts

Today’s Magickal Influences: Agriculture, Domestic, Long Life, Medicine, Travels, Visions, Theft


Today’s Goddesses: Luna, Selene, Diana, Re, Gaelach, Ida, Artemis [Whom The Greeks Associated With Bast], The Witches, Yemaya, Erzulie, Bast


Incense: Myrtle


Perfumes: White Poppy, White Rose, Wallflower


Color of The Day: Silver, Grey, White


Colors for Tomorrow: Red


Lucky Sign: Monday Is The Lucky Day For The Sign of Cancer


Candle: White

Daily Feng Shui Tip for October 31st

BOO! Did I scare you? Do bats? I thought this would be a perfect day to share some secret Shui about what bats can do for you! In this philosophy bats play a legendary role. They are considered auspicious symbols of happiness and longevity. This last part is because of a bat’s ability to swallow its own breath so that they then live a very long life. They are also said to symbolize wealth, prosperity, the ability to deflect illness or any causes of unnatural death. Positioned in groups of five they symbolize the five Feng Shui blessings for abundance and fulfillment and will bring opportunities for fortune, recognition and rewards. Forget about that proverbial belfry, a family of bats taking up residence in your home is considered an exceptionally auspicious omen that heralds immense good fortune and huge success for all the members of the household. Happy Halloween!

By Ellen Whitehurst for Astrology.com

Your Daily Number for October 31st: 5

You may find your interests expanding today, and you’re probably going to be feeling more liberated than you have in a long time. New people, social gatherings, and possibly romance may broaden your horizon. Be careful not to over-indulge or become careless in the midst of so much activity

Fast Facts

About the Number 5

Theme: Resourceful, Adventure, Speculation, Travel
Astro Association: Taurus
Tarot Association: Hierophant

Today’s I Ching Hexagram for October 31st is 28: Excessive Pressure

28: Excessive Pressure

Hexagram 28

General Meaning: Something is out of balance. This hexagram points to some pressure that is threatening stability and needs correcting. But if a dam is about to burst, moving out of the way is the first priority.

When a person in a sagging mine shaft feels the earth begin to tremble, it is time for quick, instinctive action and nimble footwork. At a time like this, only extraordinary measures will work. When the roof is collapsing, run first, choose your destination later.

Extraordinary times bring out the best and worst in people. Natural disasters bring with them stories of great heroism — but also looting and rioting. When the pressure is on, powerful moments present opportunities to make positive gains. Everything is in a state of flux. One can either move towards positive change and improvement or towards stagnation.

This may be the moment you’ve been waiting for. Although a current challenge may seem to be more than you can handle, remember that a flood reaches its high-water mark for only a few brief moments, and then begins to subside. Action must be taken now to ensure opportunities for success later on. You will never discover the true extent of your own abilities until you, at least once in your life, dive into a crisis with complete abandon, dedicating every ounce of your energy, every fiber of your being, to the cause at hand.

Dare to win.