“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
OCTOBER – THE BLOOD MOON
October is a busy month. Originally the eighth month of the year (octo being eight) in the Roman calendar, it was set back to the tenth month around 700 BCE, when King Numa Pompilius revised the calendar and added January and February. Its astrological sign is Libra, the scales (September 23 – October 23), a cardinal air sign rules by Venus.
The ancient Egyptians celebrate the Festival of Het-hert or Hathor, on October 4th. The Romans celebrate Meditrinalia on October 11th, the tasting the new wine for the first time and honoring Jupiter as god of the wine. And the Celts close out their year at Samhain on October 31st.
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 otherworld 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 of the year is Samhain or Halloween. The veil thins, and we feel the presence of our ancestors and those we cherish who have passed over. Many seasonal decorations can help do this. The jack-o’-lantern illuminates a path so the spirit 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. Also we set a place at the table for them and celebrate with them the passing of another season and the closing of another year.
The name of October’s Full Moon, the Blood Moon, comes from the urge to connect with our 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.
—Excerpt from Llewellyn’s 2018 Witches’ Spell-A-Day Almanac
Article Entitled “October” by Boudica
The Blood Moon
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, and 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: use colors like dark blue, black, and various purples in your altar decor or candle magic, to symbolize the darkening of the skies this time of year.
- Gemstones: Obsidian, amethyst, and tourmaline are all associated with Samhain and the October full moon; these are stones often connected to magic that protects us from evil or negative energies.
- Trees and flowers: Apples and yew are two of the many trees tied into the Samhain season. You can also incorporate sacred flowers such as marigolds and chrysanthemums, which come in handy when working with the spirit world. In some traditions, they’re a centerpiece for funeral decorations or grave memorials.
- Gods: Herne, Apollo, Cernunnos, and Mercury are representative of the late harvest season.
- Herbs: Use apple blossom, pennyroyal, mint family, catnip, and Sweet Annie in your magic this time of year.
- Element: Air is often tied to October’s full moon, so focus on magic related to communication, wisdom or the powers of the mind. Air carries away your troubles, blows away strife, and carries positive thoughts to those who are far away.
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.
Festival: Samhain (All Hallows’ Eve, Halloween). Symbols include apples, pumpkins, squashes, crows, bats, ghosts, and black cats.
Moon name: Hunters’ Moon. Other names include Travel Moon, Blood Moon, Harvest Moon, 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.
Flowers: Red roses and sedum.
Herbs: Rosemary and sage.
Scents: Nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger.
Colors: Black, red, and orange.
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.
—Hedgewitch Book of Days: Spells, Rituals, and Recipes for the Magical Year
Symbols for the Month of October
October’s Festivals: Samhain, All Hallows’ Eve, Halloween
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
Gyfu (September 28 – October 12)
Wyn (October 13 – October 27)
Hagal (October 28 – November 12)
Opal and Tourmaline
October’s Birth Flower
Red roses and Sedum
“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
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
- 12: Birthday of occultist Aleister Crowley, 1875
- 18: Birthday of Nicholas Culpeper, noted herbalist, in 1616
- 20: Birthday of Selena Fox of Circle Sanctuary
- 24: Full moon–Blood Moon at 12:45 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.
- 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
“Your tombstone stands among the rest;
neglected and alone
The name and date are chiseled out
on polished, marbled stone
It reaches out to all who care
It is too late to mourn
You did not know that I’d exist
You died and I was born.
Yet each of us are cells of you
in flesh, in blood, in bone.
Our blood contracts and beats a pulse
entirely not our own.
Dear Ancestor, the place you filled
one hundred years ago
Spreads out among the ones you left
who would have loved you so.
I wonder if you lived and loved,
I wonder if you knew
That someday I would find this spot,
and come to visit you.”
– Dear Ancestor
Celebrating the Witches’ New Year
The fields are bare, the leaves have fallen from the trees, and the skies are going gray and cold. It is the time of year when the earth has died and gone dormant. Every year on October 31 (or May 1, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere) the Sabbat we call Samhain presents us with the opportunity to once more celebrate the cycle of death and rebirth. For many Pagan traditions, Samhain is a time to reconnect with our ancestors, and honor those who have died. This is the time when the veil between our world and the spirit realm is thin, so it’s the perfect time of year to make contact with the dead.
Rituals and Ceremonies
Depending on your individual spiritual path, there are many different ways you can celebrate Samhain, but typically the focus is on either honoring our ancestors, or the cycle of death and rebirth. This is the time of year when the gardens and fields are brown and dead. The nights are getting longer, there’s a chill in the air, and winter is looming. We may choose to honor our arncestors, celebrating those who have died, and even try to communicate with them. Here are a few rituals you may want to think about trying for Samhain–and remember, any of them can be adapted for either a solitary practitioner or a small group, with just a little planning ahead.
- Start off by decorating your altar with symbols of the Samhain season, representing symbols of death, the harvest season, and tools of divination. You may also want to incorporate some Samhain prayers into your rituals, or perform a quiet Samhain Ancestor Meditation.
- Plan your ritual festivities with ceremonies that celebrate Celebrate the Harvest’s End or honor the ancestors of your family and community. You can also perform a God and Goddess Ritual for Samhain or do a ritual that marks the Cycle of Life and Death.
- If you have young Pagans in your family, there are different ways you can celebrate Samhain with kids, including planning a family Samhain Cemetery Visit.
- Finally, if you’re involved in your community, consider a ritual to Honor the Forgotten Dead.
Samhain Magic, Divination and Spirit Work
For many Pagans, Samhain is a time to do magic that focuses on the spirit world. Learn how to properly conduct a seance, how to do some Samhain divination workings, and the way to figure out what a spirit guide is really up to!
If you’re thinking about holding a seance or a dumb supper, you’ll want to be sure to read about the different types of spirit guides and how to find yours. If you find yourself wondering about whether that spirit guide is something else entirely, you’ll need to know how to get rid of unwanted entities.
Pagans have a view of death and the afterlife that is a little different than our non-Pagan friends. In fact, divination with the spirit world is a popular magical activity around Samhain. You might want to try using a scrying mirror or even a Ouija board.
Last but not least, familiarize yourself with some of the Sacred Plants of the Samhain Sabbat.
Traditions and Trends
Interested in learning about some of the traditions behind the celebrations of the late harvest? Find out why Samhain is important, learn why black cats are considered unlucky, how trick-or-treating became so popular and more!
Samhain has a rich history, going back a long time. This is the season of Cailleach Bheur, the Hag in Scottish folklore, and a time when the many gods and goddesses of death and the underworld are recognized. However, keep in mind that Samhain is the name of the holiday, and not a Celtic death god.
Learn about Bat Magic and Legends, as well as some of the spooky traditions surrounding Black Cats, Jack o’Lanterns, and the practice of trick-or-treating. In many cultures, spider magic becomes prevalent around Samhain, and you may notice a lot of owl activity outside.
Because this is a time when many of us honor our dead, it’s a good time to think about how we take care of those who have crossed over, and how many Pagan societies have venerated their ancestors.
Brush up on your Samhain Superstitions, and read some spooky poems… just in case things go bump in the night! In fact, if you like vampire stories, while they’re not part of Paganism or Wicca, they definitely seem to be popular at this time of year.
Crafts and Creations
As Samhain approaches, decorate your home (and keep your kids entertained) with a number of easy craft projects. Start celebrating a bit early with these fun and simple ideas that honor the final harvest, and the cycle of life and death.
Bring the season into your home with these 5 Easy Samhain Decorations, or create some Magical Samhain Goodie Bags for Pagan Kids in your life.
Feasting and Food
No Pagan celebration is really complete without a meal to go along with it. At Samhain, celebrate with foods that celebrate the final harvest, and the death of the fields by making Soul Cakes, soups, Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake, baked apples, and even ghost poop for dessert
Patti Wigington, Author
Published on ThoughtCo.com
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
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.
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