October, the Tenth Month of the Year of our Goddess, 2017

“Smoke hangs like haze over harvested fields
The gold of stubble, the brown of turned earth
And you walk under the red light of fall
The scent of fallen apples, the dust of threshed grain
The sharp, gentle chill of fall.
Here as we move into the shadows of autumn
The night that brings the morning of spring
Come to us, Lord of Harvest
Teach us to be thankful for the gifts you bring us
The bounty of your sacrifice
The warmth and the light of friends gathered around the bounty of the earth.
Dionysus, Osiris, Cernunnos, Dumuzi, Frey,
Lord of the grain,
Welcome!”

–   Autumn Equinox Celebration

October – The Blood Moon

October is the tenth month of the year, its name derived from the Latin work meaning “eight,” as it was the eighth month of the Roman calendar. Its astrological sign is Libra, the scales (September 23 – October 23), a cardinal air sign ruled by Venus. In October we enter the glorious late afternoon of the year. Bittersweet berries turn brilliant orange, and the woodland blazes with vibrant colors reminiscent of a Persian carpet.  As October passes the door to the other world opens wider. We become more receptive to spiritual energies and feel drawn to bond with our ancestors. The main holiday of October, and one of the most magickal nights of the year, is Samhain or Halloween. This is a traditional time to honor our ancestors. Many seasonal decorations can help do this. The jack-o’-lantern illuminates a path so the spirits of our ancestors can find their way. Apples are used to feed the dead, so leave an apple near your door or on a plate at your table. The name of October’s Full Moon, the Blood Moon, comes from this urge to connect with ancestors. When the Blood Moon rises, it smolders like an ember in the autumn sky. She is a beacon, for spiritual energy. Thank her by leaving an apple beneath a tree or by burning some dried wormwood in a dish and meditating on your deceased loved ones.

The Blood Moon of October

In October, we see the Blood Moon travel through the sky.

This moon is also called the Shedding Moon or the Falling Leaf Moon, depending on where you live. In many places, it’s the Hunter’s Moon – it’s no coincidence that hunting season is in the late fall. Coming right before Samhain, this is a time when the nights are crisp and clear, and you can sense a change in the energy around you.

October Full Moon Correspondences

  • Colors: Dark blue, black, purples
  • Gemstones: Obsidian, amethyst, tourmaline
  • Trees: Apples and yew
  • Gods: Herne, Apollo, Cernunnos, Mercury
  • Herbs: Apple blossom, pennyroyal, mint family, catnip, Sweet Annie
  • Element: Air

How to Celebrate the October Full Moon

This is the time of year for hunting and gathering, stocking up on provisions, and making plans for the coming winter. The dark and cold nights are a reminder that for our ancestors, this was a time to consider mortality – those who failed to plan accordingly in late fall could freeze or starve to death before winter ended.

Set aside a few hours to can your garden vegetables, hang the last of your herbs to dry someplace indoors, and begin figuring out what sorts of things you can do over the winter to help keep yourself warm and well fed. If you knit, sew, or crochet, stock up on yarns and fabrics so you can begin working on new projects when it’s too chilly and dark to do anything outside.

Keldayra is a Pagan who lives in Oklahoma, and she says, “Where I live, the cold weather comes in with a vengeance, and it’s often unexpected. I usually spend my evenings in October and November knitting blankets in front of the fire – they keep me warm, give me something to do with my free time, and I get the added bonus of having a bunch of handmade gifts to give out when Yule arrives.”

You may also want to use this moon phase to do a ritual honoring your ancestors. Work on your genealogy, dust off the family heirlooms, and hang some photos of your clan and kin around the house. Decorate your altar with symbols of the Samhain season, as well as with items that help you connect to all of those in your bloodline.

Tenae, over at The Witch of Howling Creek, says of October’s full moon, “The Blood Moon refers to the final harvest: not in fact, an agricultural harvest, but that of the last meat of the year before winter returns. Appropriate, of course, as Samhain is the final harvest festival. You can, of course, interpret the Blood Moon many ways however. You might take it literally and spend the day mixing your own sausage … or preparing items for simple winter meals such as stew, chili or tomato meat sauce.

You could take it to mean familial blood and perform a ritual to honor your ancestors … [or] a protection rite for your home and family or simply share a meal together.”

Keep in mind that this is the season when the veil between our world and the spirit world are at its thinnest. Use this time for spiritual growth — if there’s a deceased ancestor you wish to contact, this is a great month to do it. Hold a séance, work on your divination, and pay attention to messages you get in your dreams.

—Patti Wigington, Author

Published on ThougthCo

October’s Correspondences

Festival: Samhain(All Hallow’s Eve, Halloween). Symbols include apples, pumpkins, squashes, crows, bats, ghosts and black cats.

Moon name: Hunters’ Moon. Other names include Travel Moon, Bloood Moon, Harvest Mon and Dying Grass Moon.

Astrological signs: Libra, September 21 – October 20; Scorpio, October 21 – November 20)

Birthstones: Opal and tourmaline.

Nature spirits: Goblins and ghouls.

Animals: Cat and bats.

Birds: Crow and raven.

Trees: Yew.

Flowers: Red roses and sedum.

Herbs: Rosemary and sage.

Scents: Nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger.

Colors: Black, red, and orange.

Goddess: Hecate

Powers: Death and rebirth; transformation and wisdom; a time when the veil between worlds is thinnest.

Other: St. Francis’ Day, Apple Day, Punky Night, Halloween.

Symbols for the Month of October

October’s Festival: Samhain(All Hallow’s Eve, Halloween)
Symbols include apples, pumpkins, squashes, crows, bats, ghosts and black cats.

 

October’s Sign of the Zodiac
Libra (September 21 – October 20)
Scorpio (October 21 – November 20)

 

October’s Celtic Tree Astrology
Gort (Ivy) September 30 – October 27
Ngetal (Reed) October 28 – November 24

 

October’s Runic Half Months
Gyfy (Septermber 28 – October 12)
Wyn (October 13 – October 27)
Hagal (October 28 – November 12)

 

October’s Birthstones
Opal and Tourmaline

 

October’s Birth Flowers
Red roses and Sedum

 

October’s Goddess
Hecate

 

Other: St. Francis’ Day, Apple Day, Punky Night, Halloween.

 

October‘s Folklore

“Rain in October means wind in December.”

“When berries are many in October, beware a hard winter.”

“If the October moon comes with no frost, expect no frost till the moon of November.”

“In October, dig your fields, and your land its wealth shall yield!”

 

Folklore Courtesy – Hedgewitch Book of Days: Spells, Rituals, and Recipes for the Magical Year
Mandy Mitchell

Calendar of Events for October

  • 1: Birthday of Isaac Bonewits, founder of Ár nDraíocht Féin
  • 3: Roman Festival of Bacchus, god of vines, vegetation, and wine
  • 5: Full moon — Blood Moon at 2:41 pm. It’s the dark half of the year, and the veil between our world and the spirit world is thin. Focus on divination, communication with departed ancestors, and psychic messages this month.
  • 12: Birthday of occultist Aleister Crowley, 1875
  • 18: Birthday of Nicholas Culpeper, noted herbalist, in 1616
  • 20: Birthday of Selena Fox of Circle Sanctuary
  • 27: Celtic Tree Month of Ivy ends
  • 28: Celtic Tree Month of Reed begins
  • 31: Samhain, the witches’ new year
  • 31: Beltane (Southern Hemisphere), a feast of fire and fertility
  • 31: Covenant of the Goddess formed in 1975

Patti Wigington
Published on ThougthCo

“As I went out walking this fall afternoon,
I heard a whisper whispering.
I heard a whisper whispering,
Upon this fine fall day…

As I went out walking this fall afternoon,
I heard a laugh a’ laughing.
I heard a laugh a’ laughing,
Upon this fine fall day…

I heard this whisper and I wondered,
I heard this laugh and then I knew.
The time is getting near my friends,
The time that I hold dear my friends,
The veil is getting thin my friends,
And strange things will pass through.”

– The Veil is Getting Thinner

Samhain

The History Behind Samhain

Samhain is known by most folks as Halloween, but for many modern Pagans it’s considered a Sabbat to honor the ancestors who came before us, marking the dark time of the year. It’s a good time to contact the spirit world with a seance, because it’s the time when the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest.

Selena Fox of Circle Sanctuary says, “The timing of contemporary Samhain celebrations varies according to spiritual tradition and geography.

Many of us celebrate Samhain over the course of several days and nights, and these extended observances usually include a series of solo rites as well as ceremonies, feasts, and gatherings with family, friends, and spiritual community. In the northern hemisphere, many Pagans celebrate Samhain from sundown on October 31 through November 1. Others hold Samhain celebrations on the nearest weekend or on the Full or New Moon closest to this time. Some Pagans observe Samhain a bit later, or near November 6, to coincide more closely with the astronomical midpoint between Fall Equinox and Winter Solstice.”

Myths and Misconceptions

Contrary to a popular Internet-based (and Chick Tract-encouraged) rumor, Samhain was not the name of some ancient Celtic god of death, or of anything else, for that matter. Religious scholars agree that the word Samhain (pronounced “sow-en”) comes from the Gaelic “Samhuin,” but they’re divided on whether it means the end or beginning of summer.

After all, when summer is ending here on earth, it’s just beginning in the Underworld. Samhain actually refers to the daylight portion of the holiday, on November 1st.

All Hallow Mass

Around the eighth century or so, the Catholic Church decided to use November 1st as All Saints Day. This was actually a pretty smart move on their part – the local pagans were already celebrating that day anyway, so it made sense to use it as a church holiday.

All Saints’ became the festival to honor any saint who didn’t already have a day of his or her own. The mass which was said on All Saints’ was called Allhallowmas – the mass of all those who are hallowed. The night before naturally became known as All Hallows Eve, and eventually morphed into what we call Halloween.

The Witches’ New Year

Sunset on Samhain is the beginning of the Celtic New Year. The old year has passed, the harvest has been gathered, cattle and sheep have been brought in from the fields, and the leaves have fallen from the trees. The earth slowly begins to die around us.

This is a good time for us to look at wrapping up the old and preparing for the new in our lives. Think about the things you did in the last twelve months. Have you left anything unresolved? If so, now is the time to wrap things up. Once you’ve gotten all that unfinished stuff cleared away, and out of your life, then you can begin looking towards the next year.

Honoring the Ancestors

For some of us, Samhain is when we honor our ancestors who came before us. If you’ve ever done genealogy research, or if you’ve had a loved one die in the past year, this is the perfect night to celebrate their memory. If we’re fortunate, they will return to communicate with us from beyond the veil, and offer advice, protection and guidance for the upcoming year.

If you want to celebrate Samhain in the Celtic tradition, spread the festivities out over three consecutive days. You can hold a ritual and feast each night. Be flexible, though, so you can work around trick-or-treating schedules!

Samhain Rituals

Try one—or all—of these rituals to celebrate Samhain and welcome the new year.

  • Celebrating the End of the Harvest
  • Samhain Ritual for Animals
  • Honoring the Ancestors
  • Hold a Seance at Samhain
  • Host a Dumb Supper
  • Honor the God and Goddess at Samhain
  • Celebrating the Cycle of Life and Death
  • Ancestor Meditation

Halloween Traditions

Even if you’re celebrating Samhain as a Pagan holiday, you may want to read up on some of the traditions of the secular celebration of Halloween. After all, this is the season of black cats, jack o’lanterns, and trick or treating!

And if you’re worried that somehow you shouldn’t celebrate Halloween because it’s somehow disrespectful to your Pagan belief system, don’t worry – it’s entirely up to you, and you can celebrate if you like…

or not! Go ahead and decorate to your heart’s content; you’re even allowed to have silly green-skinned witch decorations.

Patti Wigington
Published on ThoughtCo

Ritual to Honor the Ancestors at Samhain

For many modern Pagans, there has been a resurgence of interest in our family histories. We want to know where we came from and whose blood runs through our veins. Although ancestor worship has traditionally been found more in Africa and Asia, many Pagans with European heritage are beginning to feel the call of their ancestry. This rite can be performed either by itself, or on the third night of Samhain, following the End of Harvest celebration and the Honoring of the Animals.

First, decorate your altar table — you may have already gotten it set up during the End of Harvest rite or for the Ritual for Animals. Decorate your altar with family photos and heirlooms. If you have a family tree chart, place that on there as well. Add postcards, flags, and other symbols of the country your ancestors came from. If you’re lucky enough to live near where your family members are buried, make a grave rubbing and add that as well. In this case, a cluttered altar is perfectly acceptable — after all, each of us is a blend of many different people and cultures.

Have a meal standing by to eat with the ritual. Include lots of dark bread, apples, fall vegetables, and a jug of cider or wine. Set your dinner table, with a place for each family member, and one extra plate for the ancestors. You may want to bake some Soul Cakes.

If your family has household guardians, include statues or masks of them on your altar.

Finally, if a relative has died this year, place a candle for them on the altar. Light candles for other relatives, and as you do so, say the person’s name aloud. It’s a good idea to use tealights for this, particularly if you have a lot of relatives to honor.

Once all the candles have been lit, the entire family should circle the altar.

The oldest adult present leads the ritual. Say:

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 us.
Tonight we honor our ancestors.
Spirits of our ancestors, we call to you,
and we welcome you to join us for this night.
We know you watch over us always,
protecting us and guiding us,
and tonight we thank you.
We invite you to join us and share our meal.

The oldest family member then serves everyone else a helping of whatever dishes have been prepared, except for the wine or cider. A serving of each food goes on the ancestors’ plate before the other family members recieve it. During the meal, share stories of ancestors who are no longer among the living — this is the time to remember Grandpa’s war stories he told you as a child, tell about when Aunt Millie used salt instead of sugar in the cake, or reminisce about summers spent at the family homestead in the mountains.

When everyone has finished eating, clear away all the dishes, except for the ancestors’ plate. Pour the cider or wine in a cup, and pass it around the circle (it should end at the ancestor’s place). As each person receives the cup, they recite their genealogy, like so:

I am Susan, daughter of Joyce, the daughter of Malcolm, son of Jonathan…

and so forth. Feel free to add in place names if you like, but be sure to include at least one generation that is deceased. For younger family members, you may wish to have them only recite back to their grandparents, just because otherwise they can get confused.

Go back as many generations as you can, or (in the case of people who have done a lot of genealogy research) as many as you can remember. You may be able to trace your family back to William the Conqueror, but that doesn’t mean you have it memorized. After each person recites their ancestry, they drink from the cider cup and pass it to the next person.

A quick note here — many people are adopted. If you are one them, you are fortunate enough to be able to choose whether you wish to honor your adoptive family, your biological family, or a combination of the two.

If you don’t know the names of your birth parents or their ancestry, there’s nothing wrong with saying, “Daughter of a family unknown.” It’s entirely up to you. The spirits of your ancestors know who you are, even if you don’t know them yet.

After the cup has made its way around the table, place it in front of the ancestors’ plate. This time, a younger person in the family takes over, saying:

This is the cup of remembrance.
We remember all of you.
You are dead but never forgotten,
and you live on within us.

Tips:

  • If you didn’t do a separate ritual for animals, you can add photos and candles for deceased pets to your family altar.
  • If you like, you may wish to follow this ritual with a Seance.
  • If your children are younger, and you’d like to include them in a short ritual, consider holding an Ancestor Ritual for Families With Children instead.

Patti Wigington
Published on ThoughtCo

Samhain Ancestor Meditation

Calling Upon the Ancient Ones

Samhain is known as the night when the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest. It’s a time to sit back and honor the spirit world, and call upon those ancestors who came before us. After all, if not for them, we wouldn’t be here. We owe them something, some gratitude for their ability to survive, their strength, their spirit. Many Pagans choose Samhain as a time to honor their ancestors.

If this is something you’d like to do, you can celebrate with a ritual or by hosting a seance or dumb supper in their honor:

  • Honoring the Ancestors at Samhain
  • Host a Dumb Supper
  • How to Hold a Seance

In addition to these more formal rituals, you may also want to take some time alone for a quiet meditation. This is a point in the Wheel of the Year when the spirit world is a bit closer than normal, and if you’ve never tried to contact your ancestors before, now is a good time to do it.

When performing an ancestor meditation, people experience different things. You may find yourself meeting a specific person that you are aware of in your family history — maybe you’ve heard the stories about great-uncle Joe who went out west after the Civil War, and now you have the privilege of chatting with him, or perhaps you’ll meet the grandmother who passed away when you were a child. Some people, however, meet their ancestors as archetypes.

In other words, it may not be a specific individual you meet, but rather a symbol — instead of adventurous great-uncle Joe, it may be a non-specific Civil War soldier or frontiersman. Either way, understand that meeting these individuals is a gift. Pay attention to what they say and do — it may be that they’re trying to give you a message.

Setting the Mood

Before you perform this meditation, it’s not a bad idea to spend some time with the tangible, physical aspects of your family. Bring out the old photo albums, read through wild Aunt Tillie’s diary from the Great Depression, get out your grandfather’s old pocket watch that almost sank with the Titanic. These are the material things that connect us to our family. They link us, magically and spiritually. Spend time with them, absorbing their energies and thinking of the things they’ve seen, the places they’ve been.

You can perform this ritual anywhere, but if you can do it outside at night it’s even more powerful. Decorate your altar (or if you’re outside, use a flat stone or tree stump) with the symbols of your ancestors — the photos, journals, war medals, watches, jewelry, etc. No candles are necessary for this meditation, but if you’d like to light one, do so. You may also want to burn some Samhain spirit incense.

Claiming Your Birthright

Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Think about who you are, and what you are made of, and know that everything within you is the sum of all your ancestors. From thousands of years ago, generations of people have come together over the centuries to create the person you are now.

Think about your own strengths — and weaknesses — and remember that they came from somewhere. This is a time to honor the ancestors who formed you.

Recite your genealogy — aloud if you like — as far back as you can go. As you say each name, describe the person and their life. An example might go something like this:

I am the daughter of James, who fought in Vietnam
and returned to tell the tale.
James was the son of Eldon and Maggie,
who met on the battlefields of France,
as she nursed him back to health.
Eldon was the son of Alice, who sailed
aboard Titanic and survived.
Alice was the daughter of Patrick and Molly,
who farmed the soil of Ireland, who
raised horses and tatted lace to feed the children…

and so forth. Go back as far as you like, elaborating in as much detail as you choose. Once you can go back no further, end with “those whose blood runs in me, whose names I do not yet know”.

If you happened to meet a certain ancestor, or their archetype, during your meditation, take a moment to thank them for stopping by. Take note of any information they may have given you — even if it doesn’t make sense just now, it may later on when you give it some more thought. Think about all the people you come from, whose genes are part of you. Some were great people — some, not so much, but the point is, they all belong to you. They all have helped shape and create you. Appreciate them for what they were, with no expectations or apologies, and know that they are watching over you.

Patti Wigington
Published on ThoughtCo

Witchy Ways to Celebrate October

Decorate your home and altar with all things Samhain! Use pumpkins, squashes, and apples as your focus, and light red, black, and orange candles.

Burn nutmeg and cinnamon incense, or sage for wisdom.

Work with the children if you can, and celebrate the old Samhain traditions.

Cook a favorite meal for a departed loved one and gather the family to talk about that person or pet.

Try divination and record your results in your Book of Shadows.

Connect with your ancestors; meditate on how they lived and what this time of year meant for them.

Celebrate the death and rebirth of the earth by tying up loose ends and starting anew.

—Hedgewitch Book of Days: Spells, Rituals, and Recipes for the Magical Year
Mandy Mitchell

We are Witches
We walk the path of the Old Gods
From this moment forth
We will not walk alone
Together, we will worship
Together, we will practice our Craft
Together, we will learn and grow
We vow to work, from this day forward
In perfect love and perfect trust
According to the free will of all
And for the good of all
Creating only beauty
Singing in harmony
Our song upon the Earth
Love is the law and love is the bond
In the name of the Goddess and the God
So do we vow, and so mote it be.
–Circle, Coven, & Grove: A Year of Magickal Practice
Deborah Blake
 

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