A Samhain Blessing

“Blessed be the ancestors the ones whom life has fled.

Tonight we merry meet again, our own beloved dead.

The wheel of the year turns on, a new year in our sights.

The maiden has become the crone, we celebrate this night.

Author Unknown”

Halloween in Ireland

Terrifying tales and frightening facts from the home of Halloween

Halloween – a time for thrills, chills and scaring ourselves silly. But did you know that everyone’s favourite fright-filled holiday began in Ireland? Trace Halloween right back to its origins and you’ll find yourself in the mists of pagan Ireland over 3,000 years ago – a time when the ancient festival of Samhain was celebrated in the heart of Ireland’s Ancient East to mark the beginning of winter.

It’s said that at Halloween the boundary between our world and the Otherworld is at its thinnest, allowing spirits and demons to easily pass between the two. So come with us on a strange and spooky journey as we experience Halloween in Ireland.

Halloween in Ireland

Happy and Blessed Beltane to Our Sisters, Brothers, and Guests in the Southern Hemisphere

Beltane – Bealtaine Traditions in Irish Folklore

Beltane is the anglicised version of our Irish word Bealtaine – still in use and meaning ‘the month of May’ in our own language. Bealtaine is mentioned in some of the earliest Irish literature, and it is associated with important events in Irish mythology.

Irish folklore still holds the legacy of the traditions and customs associated with this ancient festival. Bealtaine and Samhain are the original two turning points for the ‘wheel of the year’ in Ireland. That’s May Eve and Hallowe’en, in case you’re not familiar.

These major Irish Pagan Festivals were pivotal – literally – times of upheaval of change for our ancestors over 8,000 years ago when the Hunter Gatherer societies moved from their Summer to Winter camping grounds at these seasonal turning points, and they still resonate through the landscape and the Irish communities to this day.

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Beltane: (Bealtaine, Valpurgis)

Incense: Lilac, Frankincense
Decorations: Maypole, Flowers, Ribbons
Colours: Green

The Fire Festival of Beltane

This festival is also known as Beltane, the Celtic May Day. It officially begins at moonrise on May Day Eve, and marks the beginning of the third quarter or second half of the ancient Celtic year. It is celebrated as an early pastoral festival accompanying the first turning of the herds out to wild pasture. The rituals were held to promote fertility. The cattle were driven between the Belfires to protect them from ills. Contact with the fire was interpreted as symbolic contact with the sun. In early Celtic times, the druids kindled the Beltane fires with specific incantations. Later the Christian church took over the Beltane observances, a service was held in the church, followed by a procession to the fields or hills, where the priest kindled the fire. The rowan branch is hung over the house fire on May Day to preserve the fire itself from bewitchment (the house fire being symbolic of the luck of the house).

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Beltane by The Goddess & The Green Man

Sunset to Sunset.

Beltane honours Life. It represents the peak of Spring and the beginning of Summer. Earth energies are at their strongest and most active. All of life is bursting with potent fertility and at this point in the Wheel of the Year, the potential becomes conception. On May Eve the sexuality of life and the earth is at its peak. Abundant fertility, on all levels, is the central theme. The Maiden goddess has reached her fullness. She is the manifestation of growth and renewal, Flora, the Goddess of Spring, the May Queen, the May Bride. The Young Oak King, as Jack-In-The-Green, as the Green Man, falls in love with her and wins her hand. The union is consummated and the May Queen becomes pregnant. Together the May Queen and the May King are symbols of the Sacred Marriage (or Heiros Gamos), the union of Earth and Sky, and this union has merrily been re-enacted by humans throughout the centuries. For this is the night of the Greenwood Marriage. It is about sexuality and sensuality, passion, vitality and joy. And about conception. A brilliant moment in the Wheel of the Year to bring ideas, hopes and dreams into action. And have some fun…..

Traditions of Beltane…

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WHAT IS BELTANE?

One of the four quarter day festivals, Beltane saw members of communities come together to celebrate the return of the summer. The observance of this hugely important time in the turning of the wheel of the year was characterised by a celebration of the return of the fertility of the land, and would have been a time when livestock would have been put out to pasture.

The word ‘Beltane’ roughly translates as ‘bright fire’ and, as such, one of the most important rituals, which survives today in our modern festival, concerns the lighting of the Beltane bonfire. Fire was seen as a purifier and healer and would have been walked around and danced/jumped over by the members of the community. Farmers would also have driven their cattle between bonfires to cleanse and protect them before being put out into the fields.

In ancient communities, all hearth fires would have been extinguished and a new neid fire lit which would have then been used to relight people’s hearths in their own homes. In this way the community was connected to each other by the sacred fire which was central to all. The festival would also have been a time of courtship rituals and a celebration of our own fertility!

The important point to note when thinking about our own festival is the joy and the revelry that is fostered in the ritual. It is about casting off the darkness and celebrating the light. It is a time for celebrating fertility, both in the context of our biological functions as well as our own creative energies, the fertility of our creative community.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND…

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Samhain (Samain) – The Celtic roots of Halloween

As millions of children and adults participate in the fun of Halloween on the night of October 31st, few will be aware of its ancient Celtic roots in the Samhain (Samain) festival. In Celtic Ireland about 2,000 years ago, Samhain was the division of the year between the lighter half (summer) and the darker half (winter). At Samhain the division between this world and the otherworld was at its thinnest, allowing spirits to pass through.

The family’s ancestors were honoured and invited home whilst harmful spirits were warded off. People wore costumes and masks to disguise themselves as harmful spirits and thus avoid harm. Bonfires and food played a large part in the festivities. The bones of slaughtered livestock were cast into a communal fire, household fires were extinguished and started again from the bonfire. Food was prepared for the living and the dead, food for the ancestors who were in no position it eat it, was ritually shared with the less well off.

Christianity incorporated the honouring of the dead into the Christian calendar with All Saints (All Hallows) on November 1st, followed by All Souls on November 2nd. The wearing of costumes and masks to ward off harmful spirits survived as Halloween customs. The Irish emigrated to America in great numbers during the 19th century especially around the time of famine in Ireland during the 1840’s. The Irish carried their Halloween traditions to America, where today it is one of the major holidays of the year. Through time other traditions have blended into Halloween, for example the American harvest time tradition of carving pumpkins.

Two hills in the Boyne Valley were associated with Samhain in Celtic Ireland, Tlachtga and Tara. Tlachtga was the location of the Great Fire Festival which begun on the eve of Samhain (Halloween). Tara was also associated with Samhain, however it was secondary to Tlachtga in this respect.

The entrance passage to the Mound of the Hostages on the Hill of Tara is aligned with the rising sun around Samhain. The Mound of the Hostages is…

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Blue Full Moon Esbat Samhain and Beltane Sabbats Gathering

WHEN:

N. H. Saturday, October 31, 2020

Open Chat starts at 6:00 PM EDT

Circle Cast at 7:00 PM EDT

S. H. Sunday, November 1, 2020

Open Chat starts at 9:00 AM AEST

Circle Cast at 10:00 AM AEST

WHERE:

Please contact Lady Beltane at covenlifescoven@gmail.com for the link to the new chatroom

A blue Moon is BLUE FULL MOON CELEBRATION 

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

A 6 inch/15.24cm circle of blue paper or a white paper colored blue – shade of blue should be light to medium blue (Have circle of blue cut out a head of time

A blue colored pen or colored pencil or pen

A 6 inch/15.24 cm long piece of white thread or string

Decide on 3 different things you want to complete in either your regular or spiritual life by May 1st

SMALL GLASS OF APPLE JUICE

PIECE OF BREAD

 

CLOSING THE CIRCLE and  CALLING THE ELEMENTS TO THE WATCHTOWERS

LADY BELTANE: I call the element of Air into the Watchtower of the East to help bring us clarity of mind as we work in our sacred circle.

I call the element of Fire into the Watchtower of the South to bring us extra energy to work our magick we work in this sacred circle circle

I call upon the element of Water to help guide our emotions as we work in this sacred circle.

I call upon the element of Earth to help us stay grounded as we work our magick in this sacred circle

I walk this circle with Hecate and Dagon to keep those in the sacred circle from any harm that might try to enter and to clear out any negativity that is in it. I take us to a place that is outside of regular time and space.

FULL BLUE MOON CELEBRATION 

EVERYONE: P lease tell us your first or Pagan name and what country or state you live in. No last names or towns/villages/cities.

LADY BELTANE: A full Moon on Samhain is rare but a blue Moon is rare still. The power of the magick we work to night will be stronger than usual thanks to the Mother’s Moon Bluish tint. We will take 1 minute to thank the Mother Moon and to center ourselves before beginning our celebrations. Lady Beltane will say “So Mote It Be” when the minute is up.

EVERYONE: Place your blue circle which works as a reminder of the extra power at work when you wrote you three things. What you write on the paper should have your own positive intention behind them. You will have three minutes to WRITE DOWN YOUR 3 THINGS. Please say or type in done when finished.

Next you will fold first one side in and then the other side so you have the ends over lapping in the middle.

Next take you string slide it under the folded paper make sure you have an even amount of string on each side of the paper.

Now as you tie a bow over the center of the paper you will say’ “Hecate goddess and guardian of all witches everywhere please help me to accomplish the things I have written here So Mote It Be or however you end your spells.

 

END OF BLUE MOON CELEBRATION PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE THE CIRCLE

 

SAMHAIN CELEBRATION

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

Left over Apple Juice

Leftover Bread

Pictures of 2 Ancestors

2 Birthday Candles or Flashlights

Heat Proof Dish with ½ inch/1,5 cm of sand or dirt (the candles will be placed in here and should be allowed to complete burn down.

Trivet/hotplate/potholder to place heat proof dish on.

Samhain Celebration

I invite the Spirits I call upon to come to me one by one. (Light 1 candle each time you say
a name and place it in the sand)

Visit and return from whence you came when your candle is done.

So mote it be

After doing the spell spend 2 minutes just sitting quietly and thinking of the people you have summoned. They may just want to spend some time with you also and/or have a message for you or someone in your life. Ancestors are not just blood relatives that have crossed over they include anyone in your life that has had some type of impact on it.

Leave candles burning as we move on to the Beltane celebration. If you want to light more candles for people after the circle has been opened please feel free to use this spell and enjoy time with those who have crossed the veil.

END OF SAMHAIN RITUAL

Southern Hemisphere Beltane Ritual- using the 4 elements to create our very own Beltane Wand

Select a piece of wood that you have been called to. Ensure that no tree is hurt in the process, in other words do not take the wood for your wand by snapping it off a tree branch.

Wood for wand making is everywhere, in the form of driftwood, branches that have naturally fallen, a piece of wood that you have collected over time.

The secret to finding the perfect wand wood is that the wood actually calls out to you. In order for you to be accepted by the wand it is respectful to do a mediation and ask the wood, ask the tree, ask the ocean if it is a piece of driftwood. It is then that the wand becomes an extension of you and your power within the Natural World. Gratitude is the key.

Over time I have collected so many pieces of wood, rocks, shells, all these things that call out to me when out in nature while walking, doing rituals or even working. Some items are over 15- 20 years old waiting for the right time to be used.

 

DECORATE YOUR ALTAR

Beltane brings the beginning of life, decorate with beautiful bunches of flowers from your garden, make wreaths to wear in your hair, make your own candles to burn on the altar, use fertility Goddess and God symbols, fill baskets with seasonal fruits.

 

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

A piece of wood to create your wand

Representing Fire– An altar candle

Representing Water– I prefer to use consecrated moon water that I sometimes place in a spray bottle with a couple of drops of my favourite essential oil

Representing Earth– Consecrated salt-I prefer to use black salt or Himalayan salt

Representing Air– Your Athame, a feather or even incense

 

A BLESSING TO THE EARTH GODDESS-

EVERYONE – Please say……

“Great Earth mother!

We ask for your blessing on this day

May our lands see the seeds of life in abundance

Our grass grow green and lush

Our rivers flow and be filled with life

and the great Sun God shine upon our lands

We sit in gratitude in the blessings you have given

and the gift of life with each turn of the wheel. “

 

 

DURING THE BELTANE RITUAL

Take the wood that will become your wand and……

 

Pass it over the Fire

 Say…

With this Fire I ignite the spirit within me

 

Sprinkle it with Salt

Say…

With this Earth I create my body

 

Spray or Anoint it with Water

Say…

With this Water I bless my blood that runs through my veins

 

Pass the Athame, Feather or Incense over it

Say…

With this Athame (or whatever you choose to represent your air) I give it life from my breath.

Now take 3 deep breaths and blow your breath 3 times, emptying your lungs each time.

You now have concentrated your wand and have given it life creating an extension of you.

 

A One Minute Meditation

Hold the wand in your hands and allow the power of the wand to guide you how you need to create its power. Connect to the wand as this will become an extension of your power. Imagine a flow of light from your heart going into the wood and giving it life, bringing the light back into your heart and connecting it to your being as an expression of the Divine.

 

CONCLUDING THE BELTANE RITUAL

Dearest Lady, we honour you Queen of Spring

May our lands be fruitful ready to make offerings in your name

 

AFTER THE RITUAL

Now to finish your wand……

  • Anything that you would like to decorate your wand- (you can add these later after the ritual allowing time for you to be as creative as you like)

o   Now some like elaborate colourful decorations expressing their creativity, others like simple with just a polish and a couple of Sigils sacred to just them. The choice is purely yours, remember it is an extension of you therefore it will reflect your power.

  • I attach anything from crystals to feathers, sometimes I simply use sandpaper to bring out the colours and patterns of the sacred wood.
  • If you have the tools wood burning is a wonderful option.

END OF BELTANE RITUAL

OPENING THE CIRCLE and DISMISSING THE ELEMENTS FROM THE WATCHTOWERS

LADY BELTANE: I dismiss the element of Air from the Watchtower of the East with our thanks to you for helping to bring us clarity of mind as we work in our sacred circle.

I dismiss the element of Fire from the Watchtower of the South with our thanks to you for helping to bring us extra energy to work our magick we work in this sacred circle circle

I dismiss the element of Water with our thanks to you for helping to guide our emotions as we work in this sacred circle.

I dismiss the element of Earth with our thanks to you for helping to us to stay grounded as we work our magick in this sacred circle

I thank Hecate and Dagon for helping us with our rituals this night or morning. Please return from whence you came.

I walk this circle to bring us back into our regular place of existence and to the time the binds us in this plane.

The circle is open but never broken go with peace, trust, and love in your hearts.

 

For Your Viewing Pleasure

5 PAGAN TRADITIONS: How the Ancients Celebrated Beltane

For Your Viewing Pleasure

 I went to a Celtic Pagan Ceremony in Ireland (Gaelic Samhain Festival)

Flashback 2004 Beltane

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Beltane

Beltane is the holiday that draws all Witches outside to celebrate the returning power of the SUn and the fecundity of the land.

Wear red robes for ritual and dress your altar in red for passion. If you have identified a nearby rowan tree, you can make a wreath for your hair using rowan sprigs. Decorate your house with freshly cut greens, herbs, and flowers. Arrange for music or drumming to lighten the steps of the dancers of the maypole or spiral dance. Lose yourself in the dance.

Fire is an honored element at this ritual, so have circle members jump a cauldron for purification and protection. Water is another honored element: be certain to visit your local sacred spring or riverbank. Sprinkle perfume into the water for the undines. Again, leave a drop or two of milk and other food offerings for the nature spirits.

Copyright K. D. Spitzer Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2004 Page 63

 

Flashback 2004 Samhain

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Samhain

Expect the unexpected if you celebrate Samhain—The Celtic New Year— on All Hallows Eve: the planets bring a lot of energetic talk and chaos, and the resultant noise will add exuberance to the ritual. Look for psychic dreams on astrological Samhain, November 6; your intuition will be in top form if you do readings at that ritual. This power is the strongest it has been in several years.

This is the sabbat for wearing your witchy black. Clean the house, including the hearth, from top to bottom; the garden also needs to be prepared for winter by this date. Lay new fires. Feast with your family and set places for your ancestors. Cleanse divination tools (cards, crystals, runes) and rededicate them to the Goddess. For the last harvest festival, put apples, nuts,acorns, and squashes on the altar, and add pictures of the family members you are missing.

Using freshly harvested hazel nuts, make wreaths with nine nuts (three times three) to protect your house from fire and lightening. Offer thanks to the river gods or the god of the sea, and remember to honor the goddess Hecate.

Copyright K. D. Spitzer Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2004 Page 63

 

Flashback 2002 Samhain

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Samhain/Halloween

Samhain grows in strength as a holiday, and while its meaning may be obscure to the general public, many rituals have survived intact. This is Hecate’s day, a celebration of the crone and the powers of the dark feminine principle. This is the day of the dead; you can honor your ancestors by setting a place for them at the table. Add their pictures to your altar. Indulge in wearing and decorating with black. Bring all your mojo to the altar to recharge.

With the veil between the worlds at it thinnest, a ritual at midnight on October 31 brings a last-quarter Moon and a very lucky Sun. Keep divination tools in your circle, and cast a spread to reveal the portents of the coming new year. Enhance your powers with a loose incense to burn on charcoal. Just blend a teaspoon each of crushed cinnamon, dittany of Crete, rosemary, and bay. Mix equal amounts dragon’s blood and frankincense, and add 1 part resin to 1 part mixed herbs.

Copyright K. D. Spitzer Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2002 Page 119

Flashback 2002 Beltane

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Prepare for Beltane by leaving tokens for fairy folk in the woods or in your herb garden. Tie glitzy ribbons for the undines near a natural spring or riverbank. Gather spring flowers at dawn to adorn your door, and prepare a traditional May bowl for your ritual.

First, harvest several stems of sweet woodruff to steep in white wine or champagne. The stir in a cup of brandy or strawberry wine, adding whole strawberries, rose petals, and floating red candles. Empower the whole bowl for your ritual. Make a mini-Maypole for your altar. Find small smooth egg-shaped stones and half-bury [the stones] in posts of herbs or directly in the soil to update the ancient tradition of Hermes seeding the soil for fertility. For this ritual, use red as the main color theme in a circle as a nod to the reds moonflow of ancient ceremonies.

Copyright K. D. Spitzer Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2002 Page 67