“A year of beauty. A year of plenty.
A year of planting. A year of harvest.
A year of forests. A year of healing.
A year of vision. A year of passion.
A year of rebirth.
This year may we renew the earth.
This year may we renew the earth.
Let it begin with each step we take.
And let it begin with each change we make.
And let it begin with each chain we break.
And let it begin every time we awake.”
– Starhawk, Reclaiming Samhain
OCTOBER – BLOOD MOON
October is the tenth month of the year, it’s name derived from the Latin Word 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 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 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 as 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, come from tthe 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 deried wormwood in a dish and meditating on your deceased loved ones.
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 – 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
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.
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.
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.
The Pagan Book of Days for the Month of October
October, the eighth month of the old Roman calendar., is sacred to the Goddess Astraea. She was the daughter of Zeus and Themis and lived among humans during the Golden age is appropriate for that time of year when the chills of autumn tell us that the golden days of summer are past and that winter is drawing near. The autumn leaves turn to gold and fall during this month echoing Astraea’s departure from the earth.
October is the Irish month of Deireadh Fomhair. Its Anglo-Saxon name, Winterfelleth, means “winter is coming.” Its Frankish name, Wiindurmanoth, “vintage month,” refers to te wine harvest. The American backwoods tradition calls the October Full Moon the Hunter’s Moon, and the Asatru name for the month is Hunting.
In the Celtic tree calendar, October begins in the ivy month, Gort, which runs until 27 October. The reed month. Nostal follows. This is sacred to the fertility sprite Robin Goodfellow, and has the color of grazz-green. It is a time of direct, penetrating vision, the gaining of knowledge and the capability of discovering order in the unknown. Solar and lunar forces are said to be in unison during this tree month. October 28 is also the first day of the Runic half-month of Hagal, a time of transformation. The Rune also symbolizes an underlying orderliness of all things, without which there would be chaos and nonexistence.
The Goddess calendar month of Mala expires on 2 October. It is followed by the month dedicated to the Egyptian Goddess Hathor, ending on the 30th. The final day of October, Halloween or November Even is the first day of the month rules by the Goddess Samhain. This is the Irish name of the month of November, and this Goddess is the personification of the virtues of this time of year.
The festival of Samhain begins at sunset on 31 October, the New Year of the Celtic tradition. Traditionally, this is the time of the first frosts and the final harvest. At this festival, the herds were brough back from the upland fields into the warmth of the lowland home pastures and cattle sheds. Old and surplus stock was claughtered and salted or smoked for use during the forthcoming winter. Some of the meat was consumed at the great feast of Samhain, washed down withe the new harvest’s beer or wine.
The birthstone of October is the opal, which is seen as an averter of otherwise painful times, as the adage tells us:
October’s child is born for woe,
And life’s vicissitudes must know
But lay an Opal on her breast,
And hope will lull those woes to rest.
The weather lore of October states that the most bright red berries (haws and hips) that can be seen in the hedgerows, the more frost and snow there will be in the forthcoming winter. But the month itself need not be cold and wintry. October is noted for its second summer in many lands of the Northern Hemisphere. In Sweden, it is called St. Bridget’s summer. In the United States, it is Indian summer, while in Italy it is the summer of St. Teresa; in Germany and Switzerland, it is the summer of St. Gall; and in England, St. Luke’s summer. The feast days of all of these saints fall in October. Movable feasts in October included the Asatru Winter Saturday and Sunday. A noted day for rain is 8 October, the day of Fyribod. Much rain in October is said to correspond with much rain in December, while a warm October make a cold February. If the weather is bad, however, the opposite should be true.
If October bring much frost and wind,
Then are January and February mild.
October is also the month for fertilizing the fields for the next year’s growing season:
In October dung your field,
And your land its wealth, shall yield.
––The Pagan Book of Days, A Guide to the Festivals, Traditions, and Sacred Days of the Year
Correspondences for the Month of October
NATURE SPIRITS : Frost and plant faeries
HERBS: Pennyroyal, thyme, catnip, uva ursi, angelica, burdock
COLORS: Deep Blue Green
FLOWERS: calendula, marigold, cosmos
SCENTS: strawberry, apple blossom, and cherry
STONES: Opal, tourmaline, beryl, turquoise
TREES: Yew, cypress, acacia
ANIMALS: stag, jackal, elephant, ram, scorpio
BIRDS: heron, crow and robin
DEITIES: Ishtar, Astarte, Demeter, Kore, Lakshmi, The Horned God, Belili, Hathor
POWERS/ADVICE: A time to work on inner cleansing, letting go karma, reincarnation, justice and balance.
Symbols for the Month of October
The Goddesses of October
Hathor, Menkhet, Demeter, Ceres, the Horae, Changing Woman
Octobers’s Sign of the Zodiac
Libra (the Scales): September 21 – October 22
Scorpio (the Scorpion): October 23 – October 31
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 – November12)
Opal and Tourmaline
October’s Birth Flowers
Calendula and Cosmos
Magickal Work for the Month of October
October is the time to rest and reevaluate your life and goals. It is a good time to clean house—to get rid of any negativity or opposition that may surround your achievements or hinder future progress.
Pagan Calendar for October 2016
1: Birthday of Isaac Bonewits, founder of Ár nDraíocht Féin
3: Roman Festival of Bacchus
12: Birthday of occultist Aleister Crowley, 1875
16: Full moon — Blood Moon at 12:25 am
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: Beltane (Southern Hemisphere)
31: Covenant of the Goddess formed in 1975
—Patti Wigington, Paganism/Wicca Expert
Calendar published on & owned by About.com
A YEAR ENDS, A YEAR BEGINS
OUR JOURNEY BEGINS ON OCTOBER 31 with Samhain, the witch’s New Year and the midpoint between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice. The word samhain is Irish, meaning “summer’s end.” Samhain represents the third and final harvest of the year, where the remaining produce is stored to provide nourishment during the coming winter. In addition to the storing of winter provisions, Samhain had agricultural significance in other ways. In Ireland, it was the day on which pigs were killed and when cattle were moved from the mountains into protected pastures for the winter.
The identification of Samhain with the beginning of the New Year comes from the Celtic tradition of each day beginning at sundown. Just as each sabbat festival begins on the eve of the celebrated day, so too does the year begin with the advent of winter. In addition to archaeology, early Irish accounts suggest that Samhain was also a festival when alcoholic beverages were consumed. Several great legends that include references to intoxication are all said to have occurred on Samhain. Among them are the Féis Temro inauguration of kings and the Adventure of Nera. Remnants of wine-or ale-making equipment have been unearthed, but curiously, no accompanying storage vessels like those often found in Greece. This surrgests that the harvest gain was fermented and then consumed throughout the Samhain Season.
—-Provenance Press’s Guide To The Wiccan Year: A Year Round Guide to Spells, Rituals, and Holiday Celebrations
Judy Ann Nock
THE FEAST OF SAMHAIN
Because the climate of the seasons was once so difficult to predict, Samhain was a celebration of bounty but also a time of fear. No matter how much preparation was done, one could never be sure what was to come or whether the provisions for winter would be sufficient. Oftentimes, an early frost was interpreted as otherworldly spirits blighting the vegetation with their breath. This type of “weather as omen” belief may have given rise to the notion of dead spirits cavorting about and faeries plotting to steal away human beings on Samhain night.
In faerie lore, Samhain is the night of the “wild hunt,” a notorious and rambunctious ride when scores of faeries come racing out from within their hollow hills to wreak havoc throughout the towns. Meandering mortals avoided traversing near the sidhe, or faerie mounds, out of fear of abduction. And if one did venture out during the wild hunt, it was only under the auspices of a protective charm, such as salt or iron. Turning one’s clothing inside out was another way to protect against faerie mischief. Faerie lore claims that a stone with a natural hole through it, dry but found near the water, would enable the wearer to enter the faerie realm and return from it unharmed. This same type of amulet was also believed to protect horses from faerie mischief and theft.
Perhaps it was the practice of wearing charms for protection that led Samhain to become a night for divination. Many different methods of divination were used by the Celts in order for young girls to learn the name of a future husband. Others sought to get a glimpse of the future and obtain information about a future occupation. Some of the techniques they used included burning nuts in the hearth fire and making assumptions based upon which nuts exploded and which did not; pouring molten lead into cool water, then interpreting the shapes that formed in order to get clues about a future occupation; and the baking of soddag valloo, or “dumb cakes,” a Manx Gaelic custom involving cakes, which were baked directly on top of the embers of the fire. Eating the cake in silence was thought to encourage prophetic dreams in young women seeking to learn the identity of their future husbands, provided that they left the room without turning their backs on the fire. Babies born on Samhain were thought to possess divinatory power and were often treated with special respect as well as fear.
Samhain is also the time when rituals were held to honor the dead. Benevolent spirits were beckoned and tempted with favorite foods that they enjoyed during life. Malevolent spirits were banished and kept away. The origin of the jack o’lantern is rooted in the belief of wandering spirits and ghosts. The lantern’s glow was meant as a beacon for the spirits of the dearly departed, while the terrible faces carved therein were meant to frighten away any spirit with ill intentions.
—-Provenance Press’s Guide To The Wiccan Year: A Year Round Guide to Spells, Rituals, and Holiday Celebrations
Judy Ann Nock
Dine with the Dead During Samhain
This Samhain evening is a good time for Dining with the Dead, a simple but formal ritual dinner eaten while honoring the both recent and ancient dead. Set a place for each person attending, plus an extra place for those who have passed. Serve foods that were important to the deceased or are remembered with the deceased. Cast a circle in the customary manner, around the table and attendees. Call the dead to the room. “Tonight we dine with the dead and we ask the dead to dine with us.” Each person, in order around the table, beginning in the east, calls someone deceased to the table, “I, Daniel Pharr, do hereby summon and request that my father, James Pharr, join us for dinner.” Take a moment to experience the presence of the person summoned before the next person seated at the table calls their guest. Continue until everyone has done so. Next, everyone takes a small portion of the dish associated with the first person summoned, and the summoner tells a story, a truth, or an anecdote, about the deceased person. If anyone else has a story about that person, they should also share it before moving to the next summoner, deceased guest and dish. At the end of the evening’s ritual, thank and release the summoned guests and take down your circle as you would any other.
—Llewellyn’s 2013 Sabbats Almanac: Samhain 2012 to Mabon 2013
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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