You Call It Hallowe’en… We Call It Samhain

You Call It Hallowe’en… We Call It Samhain

by Peg Aloi

 

October 31st, commonly called Hallowe’en, is associated with many customs, some of them mysterious, some light-hearted, some of them downright odd. Why do we bob for apples, carve pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns, and tell ghost stories on this night? Why do children go door-to-door asking for candy, dressed in fantastical costumes? How is Hallowe’en connected to All Soul’s Day, celebrated by some Christian denominations on November 1st? And what is the significance of this holiday for modern-day Witches?

A Brief History of Hallowe’en

Hallowe’en has its origins in the British Isles. While the modern tradition of trick or treat developed in the U. S., it too is based on folk customs brought to this country with Irish immigrants after 1840. Since ancient times in Ireland, Scotland, and England, October 31st has been celebrated as a feast for the dead, and also the day that marks the new year. Mexico observes a Day of the Dead on this day, as do other world cultures. In Scotland, the Gaelic word “Samhain” (pronounced “SAW-win” or “SAW-vane”) means literally “summer’s end.”

Other names for this holiday include: All Hallows Eve (“hallow” means “sanctify”); Hallowtide; Hallowmass; Hallows; The Day of the Dead; All Soul’s Night; All Saints’ Day (both on November 1st).

For early Europeans, this time of the year marked the beginning of the cold, lean months to come; the flocks were brought in from the fields to live in sheds until spring. Some animals were slaughtered, and the meat preserved to provide food for winter. The last gathering of crops was known as “Harvest Home, ” celebrated with fairs and festivals.

In addition to its agriculture significance, the ancient Celts also saw Samhain as a very spiritual time. Because October 31 lies exactly between the Autumnal Equinox and the Winter Solstice, it is theorized that ancient peoples, with their reliance on astrology, thought it was a very potent time for magic and communion with spirits. The “veil between the worlds” of the living and the dead was said to be at its thinnest on this day; so the dead were invited to return to feast with their loved ones; welcomed in from the cold, much as the animals were brought inside. Ancient customs range from placing food out for dead ancestors, to performing rituals for communicating with those who had passed over.

Communion with the dead was thought to be the work of witches and sorcerers, although the common folk thought nothing of it. Because the rise of the Church led to growing suspicion of the pagan ways of country dwellers, Samhain also became associated with witches, black cats (“familiars” or animal friends), bats (night creatures), ghosts and other “spooky” things…the stereotype of the old hag riding the broomstick is simply a caricature; fairy tales have exploited this image for centuries.

Divination of the future was also commonly practiced at this magically-potent time; since it was also the Celtic New Year, people focused on their desires for the coming year. Certain traditions, such as bobbing for apples, roasting nuts in the fire, and baking cakes which contained tokens of luck, are actually ancient methods of telling fortunes.

So What About Those Jack-O-Lanterns?

Other old traditions have survived to this day; lanterns carved out of pumpkins and turnips were used to provide light on a night when huge bonfires were lit, and all households let their fires go out so they could be rekindled from this new fire; this was believed to be good luck for all households. The name “Jack-O-Lantern” means “Jack of the Lantern, ” and comes from an old Irish tale. Jack was a man who could enter neither heaven nor hell and was condemned to wander through the night with only a candle in a turnip for light. Or so goes the legend…

But such folk names were commonly given to nature spirits, like the “Jack in the Green, ” or to plants believed to possess magical properties, like “John O’ Dreams, ” or “Jack in the Pulpit.” Irish fairy lore is full of such references. Since candles placed in hollowed-out pumpkins or turnips (commonly grown for food and abundant at this time of year) would produce flickering flames, especially on cold nights in October, this phenomenon may have led to the association of spirits with the lanterns; and this in turn may have led to the tradition of carving scary faces on them. It is an old legend that candle flames which flicker on Samhain night are being touched by the spirits of dead ancestors, or “ghosts.”

Okay, What about the Candy?

“Trick or treat” as it is practiced in the U. S. is a complex custom believed to derive from several Samhain traditions, as well as being unique to this country. Since Irish immigrants were predominantly Catholic, they were more likely to observe All Soul’s Day. But Ireland’s folk traditions die hard, and the old ways of Samhain were remembered. The old tradition of going door to door asking for donations of money or food for the New Year’s feast, was carried over to the U. S. from the British Isles. Hogmanay was celebrated January 1st in rural Scotland, and there are records of a “trick or treat” type of custom; curses would be invoked on those who did not give generously; while those who did give from their hearts were blessed and praised. Hence, the notion of “trick or treat” was born (although this greeting was not commonly used until the 1930’s in the U. S.). The wearing of costumes is an ancient practice; villagers would dress as ghosts, to escort the spirits of the dead to the outskirts of the town, at the end of the night’s celebration.

By the 1920’s, “trick or treat” became a way of letting off steam for those urban poor living in crowded conditions. Innocent acts of vandalism (soaping windows, etc.) gave way to violent, cruel acts. Organizations like the Boy Scouts tried to organize ways for this holiday to become safe and fun; they started the practice of encouraging “good” children to visit shops and homes asking for treats, so as to prevent criminal acts. These “beggar’s nights” became very popular and have evolved to what we know as Hallowe’en today.

What Do Modern Witches Do at Hallowe’en?

It is an important holiday for us. Witches are diverse, and practice a variety of traditions. Many of us use this time to practice forms of divination (such as tarot or runes). Many Witches also perform rituals to honor the dead; and may invite their deceased loved ones to visit for a time, if they choose. This is not a “seance” in the usual sense of the word; Witches extend an invitation, rather than summoning the dead, and we believe the world of the dead is very close to this one. So on Samhain, and again on Beltane (May 1st), when the veil between the worlds is thin, we attempt to travel between those worlds. This is done through meditation, visualization, and astral projection. Because Witches acknowledge human existence as part of a cycle of life, death and rebirth, Samhain is a time to reflect on our mortality, and to confront our fears of dying.

Some Witches look on Samhain as a time to prepare for the long, dark months of winter, a time of introspection and drawing inward. They may bid goodbye to the summer with one last celebratory rite. They may have harvest feasts, with vegetables and fruits they have grown, or home-brewed cider or mead. They may give thanks for what they have, projecting for abundance through the winter. Still others may celebrate with costume parties, enjoying treats and good times with friends. There are as many ways of observing Samhain as there are Witches in the world!

The Herbs Of The Sabbats

The Herbs Of The Sabbats

To be used as decorations on the altar, round the circle, in the home.

Samhain:
Chrysanthemum, wormwood, apples, pears, hazel, thistle, pomegranates, all
grains, harvested fruits and nuts, the pumpkin, corn.

Yule:
Holly, mistletoe, ivy, cedar, bay, juniper, rosemary, pine. Place offerings of
apples, oranges, nutmegs, lemons and whole cinnamon sticks on the Yule tree.

Imbolc:
Snowdrop, rowan, the first flowers of the year.

Eostara:
Daffodil, woodruff, violet, gorse, olive, peony, iris, narcissus, all spring
flowers.

Beltane:
Hawthorn, honeysuckle, St. John’s wort, woodruff, all flowers.

Midsummer:
Mugwort, vervain, chamomile, rose, lily, oak, lavender, ivy, yarrow, fern,
elder, wild thyme, daisy, carnation.

Lughnasadh:
All grains, grapes, heather, blackberries, sloe, crabapples, pears.

Mabon:
Hazel, corn, aspen, acorns, oak sprigs, autumn leaves, wheat stalks, cypress
cones, pine cones, harvest gleanings.

REFERENCE GUIDE FOR HERBS

REFERENCE GUIDE FOR HERBS

Overview

Herbs are a gift from nature. They include leaves, bark, berries, roots, gums,
seeds, stems and flowers. They have been used for thousands of years to help
maintain good health.

ALFALFA

Aids in healing allergies, arthritis, morning sickness, peptic ulcers, stomach
ailments & bad breath; cleanses the kidneys & removes poisons from the body;
neutralizes acids; is an excellent blood purifier & blood thinner; improves the
appetite and aids in the assimilation of protein, calcium & other nutrients.

ALOE VERA

Helps alleviate constipation, aids in healing burns & wounds, canker sores, cold
sores, ulcers, acne and digestive disorders.

BLESSED THISTLE

Helps strengthen the heart & lungs; aids in healing urinary, pulmonary & liver
disorders; increases circulation to the brain; aids digestion, reduces fever,
expels worms, helps alleviate menstrual cramps.

BURDOCK ROOT

Is an excellent blood purifier and cleanser; aids in healing skin blemishes,
arthritis & rheumatism; promotes healthy kidney function.

CAPSICUM

Promotes cleansing of the circulatory & digestive system; reduces fever,
purifies the blood; helps prevent muscle aches, tiredness, skin blemishes,
headaches, rheumatism, ulcers & sore throats; helps in regulating your blood
pressure and pulse rate.
CASCARA SAGRADA

Stimulates the secretions of the entire digestive system; helps prevent nervous
disorders, colon & constipation problems.

CHAMOMILE

An excellent cleanser & toner of the digestive tract; aids in calming the
nerves; expels worms & parasites; Improves the appetite & helps eliminate
dandruff.

CHAPPARAL

Aids in healing skin blemishes, acne, arthritis & allergies; promotes hair
growth; acts as a natural antibiotic within the body with no side effects.

COMFREY

Aids in healing respiratory ailments, anemia, arthritis, fractures, mucous
membranes, lungs & wounds; it is soothing to the gastrointestinal tract; aids in
cell proliferation; helps the pancreas in regulating blood sugar level; helps
promote the secretion of pepsin & is a general aid to digestion.

ECHINACEA

Is the most effective blood & lymphatic cleanser in the botanical kingdom; its
acts as a natural antibiotic and works like penicillin in the body with no side
effects; aids in reducing fever, infections, bad breath & mucous buildup.

EUPHRASIA

Aids in reducing skin blemishes, clears bloodshot eyes, and helps with
impotence.

GARLIC

Is extremely effective in dissolving and cleansing cholesterol from the blood
stream; it stimulates the digestive tract; it kills worms, parasites and harmful
bacteria; it normalizes blood pressure and reduces fever, gas & cramps; it used
by athletes for increasing physical strength & energy.

GINGER

Aids in fighting colds, colitis, digestive disorders, flu & gas; it helps
increase the secretion of saliva; is excellent for the circulatory system and
helps increase stamina.

GINSENG

Aids in increasing endurance, longevity & vitality; aids in balancing hormonal
activity; acts as a sexual stimulant, mental & physical stimulant; normalizes
blood pressure levels; helps protect the body against stress; strengthens the
endocrine glands; stimulates the activity of RNA & DNA in your cells, thus
helping retard the aging process.

GOTU KOLA

Is an excellent “brain food” which promotes memory & helps alleviate mental
fatigue; excellent for the eyes, impotence, endurance, energy & normalizing
blood pressure; considered to be an excellent nerve tonic.

HAWTHORN BERRIES

Strengthens the muscles and nerves to the heart; aids in relieving emotional
stress; regulates high & low blood pressure; helps combat arteriosclerosis,
hypoglycemia and heart disease.

HYSSOP

Regulates blood pressure, purifies the blood & promotes circulation, excellent
aid for the eyes, hoarseness, lungs, mucous buildup, nervous disorders and skin
problems.

LICORICE

Expels mucous from the respiratory tract aids in healing hoarseness,
hypoglycemia, coughs & constipation; promotes healthy adrenal glands; acts as a
sexual stimulant; helps increase endurance & vitality; helps in reducing skin
blemishes (age spots).

MA HAUNG

A stimulant of the adrenal glands; helps increase energy level; aids in healing
asthma, bronchitis, lung, coughs & congestive disorders.

MULLEIN

A bone, flesh and cartilage builder; aids in healing respiratory ailments,
asthma, bronchitis, diarrhea, sinus congestion; soothing to any inflammation and
relieves pain; acts to relieve spasms & clears the lungs.

ROSE HIPS

Used to fight infection & curb stress. it is the highest herb in Vitamin C
content and contains the entire C-Complex.

SARSAPARILLA

Helps cure impotence; relieves inflammation & gas and will increase the flow of
urine; an excellent blood purifier; aids rheumatism, heartburn, hormones, gout,
fever ad mucous buildup; also used to promote perspiration.

SPIRULINA

Is an algae containing 65 – 70% protein; it contains 26 times the Calcium of
milk; also contains phosphorous & niacin and is far more nutritious than any
known food; used for rejuvenation & weight reduction; an excellent blood and
colon cleanser; very high in Vitamin B12 content.

YELLOW DOCK

A nutritive tonic, high in Iron and useful in treating anemia; also nourishes
the spleen and liver, thus, being effective for the treatment of Jaundice,
Lymphatic problems & skin eruptions; strengthens, cleanses & tones the entire
body; excellent for boils, ulcers, wounds, and cleansing

Herbal Substitutes For Magick

 herbs02_1

Herbal substitutes for magicK

Magickal Herb Substitute List

Acacia – Gum Arabic
Acacia Gum – Gum Arabic
Aconite – Tobacco
Arabic, Gum – Frankincense, Gum Mastic
Ammoniac Gum – Asafetida
Asafetida – Tobacco, Velerian
Balm of Gilead – Rose Buds, Gum Mastic
Belladonna – Tobacco
Benzoin – Gum Arabic, Gum Mastic
Camphor Oil – Eucalyptus Oil, Lavender Oil
Carnation – Rose Petals
Cassia – Cinnamon
Castor Beans – Four Drops of Castor Oil
Cedar – Sandalwood
Cinquefoil – Clover, Trefoil
Citron – One part Orange and One part Lemon Peel
Clove – Mace, Nutmeg
Clover – Cinquefoil
Copal – Frankincense, Cedar
Cowbane – Tobacco
Cypress – Juniper, Pine Needles
Deers Tongue – Tonka bean, Woodruff, Vanilla
Dittany of Crete – Gum Mastic
Dragons Blood – 1 part Frankincense and 1 part Red Sandalwood
Eucalyptus Oil – Camphor Oil, Lavender Oil
Frankincense – Copal, Pine Resin
Galangal – Ginger Root
Grains of Paradise – Black Pepper
Gum Ammoniac – Asafetida
Gum Bedllium – Copal, Pine Resin, Dragon’s Blood
Hellebore – Tobacco, Nettle
Hemlock – Tobacco
Hemp – Nutmeg, Damiana, Star Anise, Bay
Henbane – Tobacco
Hyssop – Lavender
Ivy – Cinquefoil
Jasmine – Rose
Juniper – Pine
Lavender – Rose
Lemon Grass – Lemon Peel
Lemon Verbena – Lemon Grass, Lemon Peel
Mace – Nutmeg
Mandrake – Tobacco
Mastic Gum – Gum Arabic, Frankincense
Mint – Sage
Mistletoe – Mint, Sage
Mugwort – Wormwood
Neroli Oil – Orange Oil
Nightshade – Tobacco
Nutmeg – Mace, Cinnamon
Oakmoss – Patchouli
Orange- Tangerine Peel
Orange Flower – Orange Peel
Patchouli – Oak Moss
Peppermint – Spearmint
Pepperwort – Rue, Grains of Paradise, Black Pepper
Pine – Juniper
Pine Resin – Frankincense, Copal
Red Sandalwood – Sandalwood and Dragons Blood
Rose – Yarrow
Rose Geranium – Rose
Rue – Rosemary, w/pinch of Black Pepper
Saffron – Orange Peel
Sandalwood – Cedar
Sarsaparilla – Sassafras
Sassafras – Sarsaparilla
Spearmint – Peppermint
Sulfur – Tobacco; Club Moss, Asafetida
Thyme – Rosemary
Tobacco – Bay
Tonka Bean – Dear Tongue, Woodruff, Vanilla Bean
Trefoil – Cinquefoil
Valerian – Asafetida
Vanilla – Woodruff, Deer Tongue, Tonka Bean
Vetivert – Calamus
Wolfsbane – Tobacco
Wood Aloe – Sandalwood w/Ambergris Oil
Woodruff – Deer Tongue, Vanilla
Wormwood – Mugwort
Yarrow – Rose
Yew – Tobacco

A Little Humor For Your Day – A Song Just for You, ‘Loki Loves Me’

Loki Loves Me

Tune: “Jesus Loves Me”

Loki loves me this I know,
For last night he told me so.
Little minions march along,
Drive you crazy with this song.

Chorus:
Yes, Loki loves me
Yes, Loki loves me
Yes, Loki loves me
Last night he told me so

In the circle I did say
Loki send some luck my way
Great big smile all I did see
He said he’d come visit me

Monday morning, I woke up
Found piss in my coffee cup
Dung upon the kitchen floor
Slipped on it right through the door

Tuesday morning I arose
Found matchsticks between my toes
Loki’s smile was nice and bright
“Hey there bud, you got a light?”

Wednesday when I went to work
Loki in my office lurked
Heard my secretary scream
“Oh, my GOD that’s so obscene!”

Thursday morn, when I was gone
Loki mowed the neighbor’s lawn
Even though the job was free
I found out he’s sueing me

Friday when my grandma came
I though I would go insane
Found her tied up to my bed
Great big smile and damn near dead!

Saturday I went to lunch
With that same ol’ black tie bunch
Loki came with as my guest
Insulted most and f**ked the rest

Sunday morn, a peaceful dawn
I looked around, was Loki gone?
A note upon my kitchen door
Read “Buy more beer, I’ll go get Thor!”

Turok’s Cabana

 

Daily Feng Shui News for Oct. 29th – ‘Hermit Day’

On ‘Hermit Day’ I want to look at the Hermit card, one of the most powerful cards in the ‘Tarot’ modality. On this card the Hermit stands alone on the top of a mountain with a staff in one hand and a lantern in the other. Mountains traditionally symbolize achievement, accomplishment and growth. The Hermit has reached a spiritual pinnacle and now wants to share that knowledge with others. He is a symbol of the ultimate awareness. His staff represents power and authority while also symbolizing the ability to influence the subconscious mind. The lantern represents sharing his inner light with the world. If you resonate with any of these qualities, keep an image of the Hermit close by. That way you will not only honor the wisdom within yourself but you’ll also be able to shine your own light on your own special path to find your own power within.

By Ellen Whitehurst for Astrology.com

Your Charm for October 29th is The Tusk

Your Charm for Today

The Tusk

Today’s Meaning:  

There is a good vibration surrounding this aspect. It feels better than it has in quite some time. Maintain your faith in your deity of choice and this good vibration will remain. Waiver from your faith and this good vibration will dissipate.

General Description:

This Etruscan talisman – a tusk carved in basalt, and elaborately mounted in gold filigree work – was worn as a protector from danger and evil influences. The charm was supposed to attract good fortune and success. The Tusk represented one of the horns of the Crescent Moon, which was a symbol of the Egyptian goddess Isis, who, in the course of time, became the most universal nad powerful of all the goddesses. The Etruscans, Greeks and romans had great faith in the reputed virtues of amulets, a belief which was greatly influenced by the Egyptians.

Your Animal Spirit for October 29th is the Ant

Your Animal Spirit for Today
October 29, 2013

 

Ant

Ant is dutiful, patient, industrious and focused. If you ever put an obstacle in the middle of an ant trail, you’ll notice that ant will go over it, around it, or even under it—but ant will NOT let the obstacle drive him backwards. Above all, ant is a team player, and knows that if each member of the team does his assigned task, the team will succeed. Do you have goals that are best met by team effort? If so, get the other players off the bench and let them into your game.