The Full Wiccan Rede

Book & Candle Comments
The Full Wiccan Rede

Bide within the Law ye should To keep unwelcome spirits out.
To bind the spell well every time
Let the spell be spake in rhyme.For tread the Circle thrice about In perfect love and perfect trust.
Live ye must and let to live
Fairly take and fairly give.

Light of eye, and soft of touch
Speak you little, listen much.
Honour the Old Ones in deed and name
Let love and light be our guides again.

Deosil go by the waxing moon
Chanting out the Wiccan Rune.
Widdershins go by the waning moon
Chanting out the Baneful Rune.

When the Lady’s moon is new
Kiss the hand to her times two.
When the moon ridesat Her peak
Then your heart’s desire seek.

Heed the Northwinds mighty gale
Lock the door and trim the sail.
When the wind blows form the East
Expect the new and set the feast.

When the wind comes from the South
Love will kiss you on the mouth.
When the wind whispers form the West
All hearts will find peace and rest.

Nine woods in the Cauldron go
Burn them fast and burn them slow.
Birch in the fire goes
To represent what the Lady knows.

Oak in the forest towers with might
In the fire it brings the God’s insight.
Rowan is a tree of power
Causing life and magick to flower.

Willows at the waterside stand
Ready to help us to the summerland.
Hawthorn is burned to puify
And to draw faerie to your eye.

Hazel – the tree of wisdom and learning –
Adds it’s strength to the bright fire burning.
White are the flowers of the Apple tree
That brings us fruits of fertility.

Grapes grow upon the vine
Giving us both joy and wine.
Fir does mark the evergreen
To represent immortality seen.

Elder is the Lady’s tree
Burn it not or cursed you’ll be.
Four times the Major Sabbats mark
In the light and in the dark.

As the old year starts to wane
The new begin; it’s now Samhain.
When the time for Imblolc shows
watch for flowers through the snows.

When the wheel begins to turn
Soon the Beltane fires will burn.
As the wheel turns to Lammas night
Power is brought to magick rite.

Four times the Minor Sabbats fall
Use the Sun to mark them all.
When the wheel has turned to Yule
Light the log The Horned One rule.

In the spring, when night equals day
Time for Ostara to come our way.
When the sun has reached it’s hight
Time for Oak and Holly fight.

Harvesting comes to one and all
When the Autumn Equinox does fall.
Heed the flower, bush and tree
By the lady Blessed you’ll be.

Where the rippling waters go
Cast a stone, the truth you’ll know.
When you have and hold a need
Harken not to others greed

With a fool no season spend
Or be counted as his friend.
Merry Meet and Merry Part
Bright the cheeks and warm the heart.

Mind the Three-fold Law you should
Three times bad and three times good.
When misfortune is enow
Wear the star upon your brow

Be true in love this you must do
Unless your love be false to you
Eight words the Rede fulfil
“An it harm none, do as ye will”

 

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A Little Humor for Your Day – The Wiccan Redact

The Wiccan Redact

Bide the Wiccan Laws we must,
So we don’t end up as newts, we trust.
Cast the Circle thrice about,
To keep Mormon missionaries out.
Let the spell be spake in rhyme,
To make it silly every time.

Soft of eye and light of touch,
Don’t speak with your mouth full, listen much.
Deosil go by the blue moon,
You saw me standing alone,
By the Witches’ Rune.

Widdershins go by ,
Up in the sky,
Cause I ain’t had no love’n since January February June or July.
By the light of the silvery moon,
I’d like to spoon,
To my honey I’ll croon,
Loves tune.

Heed the North wind’s mighty gale,
for then’s the after Christmas sale.
When the wind comes from the South,
go on vacation for thy health.
When the wind blows from the Southwest,
hiding in the basement’s best.
When the wind blows from the East,
fart thou to the west.

Nine woods in the  go,
Have your caddie carry slow.
Elder be the Lady’s tree,
Spray it down with DDT.
When the Wheel begins to turn,
Let leaves in the yard begin to burn.
When the Wheel has turned to Yule,
Light the furnace and burn some fuel

Heed ye flower, bush and tree,
For some might poison ivy be.
Where the rippling waters go,
portage round or leaks you’ll know.
When ye have a true need,
charge it not lest thy finances bleed.
With a fool no season spend,
Lest ye see yourself in him.

Merry meet and merry part,
Light in the loafers and gay the heart.
When misfortune is anew,
Make sure insurance premiums are not overdue.

Mind the Threefold Law you should,
Mercy is not known by earth water and wood.
Twelve words the Wiccan Redact fulfill:
And it harm none but thee and God, do what ye will.

Calendar of the Sun for October 12

Calendar of the Sun

 

12 Winterfyllith

Feast of the Spirits of the Fire

Color: Red
Element: Fire
Altar: This ritual shall be held outside, and a great fire built open to the sky.
Offerings: Food to be thrown into the fire.
Daily Meal: Any food cooked outdoors over the flame.

Invocation to the Spirits of the Fire

Hail to the Spirits of the Flame!
Hail to the Powers of the South,
The Daystar and the Summer Solstice,
The burning heat of the desert!
Hail lioness that walks the golden sands,
Hail tiger that prowls the stifling jungles,
Hail horses stampeding on the sun-drenched plains,
Striking sparks from their hooves!
Hail to the Power of Rage that rises in us,
Hail to the Power of Passion that rises in us,
Hail to the Powers of Will that channels that fire.
Hail to the campfire around which we gather
Ensuring our survival in the cold world.
Hail to the Hearthfire around which we gather
Creating family with our warmth.
Hail to the Bonfire around which we gather
Creating community with our warmth.
Hail to the Flame of Inspiration around which we gather
Linking all the world in our warmth.
Hail to the Spirits of the Flame,
And may they ever bless us with their brief, beautiful lives.

(All take food that they have made with their hands and throw it into the fire, speaking out their thanks to the gifts of the Spirits of the Fire.)

Song: All That Burns

Chant:
Fire flow, fire flow through me,
Bonfire, brush fire, lightning strike,
Fire flow, fire flow through me,
Fire burn, give me light.

 

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Wiccan Tool List Master

Wiccan Tool List Master

Equipment:

  • a pentacle
  • 6 candles; 1 for each direction, 2 for altar
  • chalice of wine (hard apple cider on Samhain)
  • wand
  • scrounge of silken cords
  • small bowl of water
  • small bowl of salt
  • 3 cords, one red, one white, one blue, 9′ long each
  • white-handled knife
  • individual athames
  • incense burner and incense
  • small hand bell
  • dish of cakes
  • sword
  • chalk
  • altar cloth of any color
  • cauldron
  • tape recorder and tapes of appropriate music
  • veil for Great Rite of a Goddess color: Blue, green, silver or white

For New or Dark Moon Esbat:

  • extra incense
  • an apple and a pomegranate
  • cauldron with a fire in it and/or a bonfire
  • crystal ball or other scrying tools
  • white tabard with hood for Priestess

For Winter Solstice (Yule):

  • cauldron with candle or oak bonfire
  • wreaths, 1 of holly and 1 of mistletoe
  • crowns, 1 of oak and 1 of holly
  • blindfold
  • sistrum
  • animal skull filled with salt

For Spring Equinox:

  • cords as described in preparations
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • a bonfire ready to ignite or a taper
  • flowers in the cauldron

For Beltane Sabbat:

  • bonfire

For Initiations:

  • anointing oil
  • tub to bathe the candidate in
  • towels
  • salts, herbs and oils to add to the bath
  • a blindfold
  • a shirt or other clothing that can be cut
  • a length of string to measure the person
  • two lengths of cord to bind the hands and feet
  • bonfire for warmth if needed

For Blessings:

  • anointing oil
  • wine

History of Litha

The History Of Litha

 

The celebration of Midsummer’s Eve (St. John’s Eve among Christians) was from ancient times a festival of the summer solstice. Some people believed that golden-flowered mid-summer plants, especially Calendula, and St. John’s Wort, had miraculous healing powers and they therefore picked them on this night. Bonfires were lit to protect against evil spirits which were believed to roam freely when the sun was turning southwards again. In later years, witches were also thought to be on their way to meetings with other powerful beings.

In Sweden, Mid-summer celebration originates from the time before Christianity; it was celebrated as a sacrifice time in the sign of the fertility.

The solstice itself has remained a special moment of the annual cycle of the year since Neolithic times. The concentration of the observance is not on the day as we reckon it, commencing at midnight or at dawn, as it is customary for cultures following lunar calendars to place the beginning of the day on the previous eve at dusk at the moment when the Sun has set. In Sweden, Finland and Estonia, Midsummer’s Eve is the greatest festival of the year, comparable only with Walpurgis Night, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve.

In the 7th century, Saint Eligius (died 659/60) warned the recently converted inhabitants of Flanders against the age-old pagan solstice celebrations. According to the Vita by his companion Ouen, he’d say: “No Christian on the feast of Saint John or the solemnity of any other saint performs solestitia [summer solstice rites] or dancing or leaping or diabolical chants.”

As Christianity entered pagan areas, MidSummer celebrations came to be often borrowed and transferred into new Christian holidays, often resulting in celebrations that mixed Christian traditions with traditions derived from pagan Midsummer festivities. The 13th-century monk of Winchcomb, Gloucestershire, who compiled a book of sermons for the feast days, recorded how St. John’s Eve was celebrated in his time:

Let us speak of the revels which are accustomed to be made on St. John’s Eve, of which there are three kinds. On St. John’s Eve in certain regions the boys collect bones and certain other rubbish, and burn them, and therefrom a smoke is produced on the air. They also make brands and go about the fields with the brands. Thirdly, the wheel which they roll.

The fires, explained the monk of Winchcombe, were to drive away dragons, which were abroad on St. John’s Eve, poisoning springs and wells. The wheel that was rolled downhill he gave its explicitly solstitial explanation:

The wheel is rolled to signify that the sun then rises to the highest point of its circle and at once turns back; thence it comes that the wheel is rolled.

On St John’s Day 1333 Petrarch watched women at Cologne rinsing their hands and arms in the Rhine “so that the threatening calamities of the coming year might be washed away by bathing in the river.”

Heating Up Litha With a Bonfire

by C. Cheek

Is there anyone who doesn’t associate bonfires with pagan festivities? Fire is the element of Midsummer, when the Sun King is at his highest. Sweet herbs laid upon coals purify the air, and the smoke from burned prayers or offerings rises to the heavens. Some revelers dance around the fire to infuse the night with life and laughter and lust, others gaze into the flickering light to see what the future holds. What could be wilder, more carnal, more appropriate to the Dionysian festival of Litha than a huge, roaring bonfire? All you need is a little planning and forethought, and you too can set the night aflame.

Location

Most people want to host Midsummer on their own property or in a public park. Keep in mind that not all parks allow fires. In Seattle, for example, only Alki Beach and Golden Gardens allow fires at all. If you’re in a national forest or state park, fires are generally allowed except on no-burn days. You can call the park warden to find out the conditions in advance.

If you’re having a celebration on your own property, you’ll be restricted by your city’s backyard burning rules. Most cities allow small fires, as long as you’re not burning garbage. Call the fire department to find out if a burn ban is in effect, or check your city fire department’s Web site.

Safety

The safest place to have a fire is in a permanent brick or stone fireplace. Second safest is in a covered fire barrel with mesh sides, over a concrete or other non-flammable surface. You have to admit that this doesn’t have the allure of a fire built in a more primitive setting, but safety is still important. You don’t want to chance having the wind or a careless guest spreading the fire. If you have the fire pit on the ground, remove any grass underneath, and replace peat or bark mulch with sand or stones. Make sure there are no trees, bushes, buildings, picnic tables or other flammable objects near your pit.

No matter where you put your fire, you’ll need something ready to put it out. A fire extinguisher is good for emergencies, but you won’t want to use a fire extinguisher every time. Not only are they expensive to purchase and recharge, but some of them contain toxic chemicals. For a campfire, water is best. A single gallon isn’t enough. Have a hose or several large buckets of water ready. It may seem like a good idea to put sand or earth on a fire instead, but earth or sand can bank the coals, keeping them dormant until the wind stokes them up again. Every year, people who fail to completely extinguish their campfires start forest fires. Don’t be one of those people. If you leave a fire unattended, your karma will get so bad, you’ll be audited yearly for life.

Fuel

Bonfires are communal events, so your best bet is to make everyone bring a little bit of wood — like a flammable potluck. That way everyone has contributed to the event, and the burden of gathering or buying wood isn’t all on the host.

Many people like to use Duralogs, firewood made from compressed paper. These are good because they burn cleanly and are made from recycled materials. Duralogs can help you start the flames, but cost about a dollar an hour per log to burn. They also aren’t structurally sound once they start burning, and you won’t be able to stack them very high.

Cordwood is a good choice, because most wood sold for fires has been well dried and comes from ecologically sustainable forests. Places that sell camping goods often sell small bags of firewood, but you’re paying for the convenience. Like many things, wood is cheaper in bulk. Depending on the type of wood you get and where you live, it will cost $100 – $200 per cord. (A cord is a stack of wood that measures 4′ x 4′ x 8′) Check the classifieds, or visit www.firewoodcenter.com for a list of dealers near you. The disadvantage of buying cordwood is that you usually have to buy at least half a cord, and you may need to pay delivery fees as well.

Another option is to use gathered branches. If you are having a fire in a national or state park, you are not allowed to gather wood for fires. If you are on private land, you can do it as long as you respect the wishes of the owner.  Don’t cut down living trees. Not only is it bad karma, the wood will remain green and wet for far too long. Gather only dead branches. Dead wood is free and removing it helps the tree grow better. You’ll know it’s dead when it snaps off sharply. If it bends, it’s still too green.

If you’re on the beach or near a river you can gather driftwood. It burns much hotter than normal cordwood, and is generally free of rot and insects. Driftwood from a river will gather on the banks, especially on a curve, after floods. Don’t count on finding all the wood you need at one time or in one place. Plan ahead, and pick up a little at a time. It will add up.

If you are willing to invest the time you can get free wood in your city. It’s too late for this Midsummer’s bonfire, but next autumn, walk around your neighborhood, especially on days when trash collectors pick up yard waste. With a saw or a pair of loppers cut pruned branches into manageable sized pieces (one to two feet) and store them in a dry location, such as a garage or carport. In a few months, your yard waste will be burnable timber. The advantage of gathering the wood yourself is that it’s free, you can get to know your neighbors better and you can choose woods that have magical or emotional importance. Also, since you put more foresight and work into your fuel, the fire will have more meaning. Meeting the tree, cutting the lumber, and anticipating your fire for months and months is very different from picking up a couple of Duralogs at Circle K on the way to the park.

Don’t burn broken furniture, cardboard boxes, or other trash. Most city laws prohibit burning garbage, and with good reason. Plastic, varnished wood and even some papers release harmful gasses when burned. If you have mementos or items of spellwork that you want to burn for ceremonial reasons, either make sure they’re clean and free of chemicals, or use only a tiny portion.

Firebuilding

A fire needs fuel and air. Place the fuel in such a way so that the air can get to the flames without extinguishing them. If you have patience, you can start with just kindling. Light a match under grass and slowly add small twigs. When you’ve got a decent flame, but before the fuel turns to ash, add larger thumb-thick sticks to the pile. When those sticks have lit, you can gently teepee or stack the larger logs on top. That’s how experienced campers do it. The rest of us use an entire box of matches, curse at everyone nearby and blame the damp earth and the wind for our failure.

If you’re one of those, try the cheater’s way. Clean and prepare your fire pit, whether metal or a hole in the earth, and pour in a pile of charcoal briquettes. Douse them with lighter fluid and toss a match on top. When the coals have been burning for a while and glow red, stack logs on top and fan the coals till the wood catches. If you do this well before your guests arrive, you can tell everyone you started the fire by rubbing sticks together. Hide the briquette bag and they’ll never know.

Once you’ve got your fire going, what to do with it? An old German tradition is to burn Sun wheels: everyone would bring a handful of straw, tie it to a wheel, and set it on fire. The men would roll it down the hill, past cheering women. Your local fire warden will not approve of this. An even older tradition (decried by the Romans) is to cage condemned men and women in a wicker effigy and burn them alive. This is also a bad idea.

Instead, give everyone an unlit torch. The leader begins a prayer, then lights each torch as they pass in procession. The torchbearer joins in the prayer as soon as his or her torch is lit. As the firelight rises, the chanting will grow louder. Once everyone holds lit torches, use them to light the bonfire simultaneously. As the bonfire burns, have everyone join hands and dance a simple grapevine step in a circle. Your coven leader can sing out couplets for all to repeat, other members can offer songs of their own, or people can simply sing whatever nonsense is on their mind. The important thing is to make some noise and loosen up. There’s nothing like the flickering glow and heat, the communal voices rising like sparks to the sky and the warm grip of palms on either side to make anyone feel fiery and sensual.

Some people might want to jump over the bonfire, but unless it’s very small, discourage them. Loose clothing and open flames don’t mix! I once had a cloak catch on fire while I was wearing it. Cotton lights quickly, hair burns faster than paper and synthetic fabrics melt and stick to skin. This is not fun.

Another ritual that’s great for bonfires involves preparation. Ask the guests to prepare a sacrifice (homemade incense works well) as an offering. Say whom the offering is for as you toss it into the fire. Conversely, you can invite your guests to burn that which they don’t want anymore: mementos of an ex, their pink slip, strands of pre-diet clothes. As they toss it into the flames, they ask the gods to remove it (and its implications) from their life.

Once the party gets going and the mead starts flowing, people might feel inspired to toss clothing too. As long as they don’t toss stinky polyester into the fire, why not? Hey, it’s Midsummer! What better time to go sky clad?

Enjoy your bonfire!

 

Safety Checklist

·                     Have the fire only in designated areas, and keep flammable materials away from your fire pit.

·                     If your wood has been stored outside, wear gloves and watch for wildlife. Snakes and spiders love woodpiles, and they might bite you for disturbing their home. Also, build and burn your fire on the same day so that you don’t unwittingly kill innocent creatures.

·                     Make sure you have a sufficiency of water and/or a fire extinguisher. It’s easy for a fire to get out of control.

·                     Don’t have fires on windy days, or when the land has a lot of dry brush. Sparks can fly.

·                     Keep children away from the fire. Watch the adults too. There’s often a joker who thinks he’s invincible, especially when he’s had a few beers.

·                     Don’t have fires under trees or other flammable structures.

·                     Don’t pour lighter fluid or any other flammable liquid onto an open flame. Flames can travel back to the source of the fuel, causing explosions. Also, never ever use gasoline to start a fire unless you want to see the inside of a burn unit firsthand.

·                     Keep the fire attended at all times.

·                     Make sure the fire is completely out before you leave. A cold puddle of ash is good. A smoking heap of coals is not.

Wiccan Tool List Master

Wiccan Tool List Master

Equipment:

  • a pentacle
  • 6 candles; 1 for each direction, 2 for altar
  • chalice of wine (hard apple cider on Samhain)
  • wand
  • scrounge of silken cords
  • small bowl of water
  • small bowl of salt
  • 3 cords, one red, one white, one blue, 9′ long each
  • white-handled knife
  • individual athames
  • incense burner and incense
  • small hand bell
  • dish of cakes
  • sword
  • chalk
  • altar cloth of any color
  • cauldron
  • tape recorder and tapes of appropriate music
  • veil for Great Rite of a Goddess color: Blue, green, silver or white

For New or Dark Moon Esbat:

  • extra incense
  • an apple and a pomegranate
  • cauldron with a fire in it and/or a bonfire
  • crystal ball or other scrying tools
  • white tabard with hood for Priestess

For Winter Solstice (Yule):

  • cauldron with candle or oak bonfire
  • wreaths, 1 of holly and 1 of mistletoe
  • crowns, 1 of oak and 1 of holly
  • blindfold
  • sistrum
  • animal skull filled with salt

For Spring Equinox:

  • cords as described in preparations
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • a bonfire ready to ignite or a taper
  • flowers in the cauldron

For Beltane Sabbat:

  • bonfire

For Initiations:

  • anointing oil
  • tub to bathe the candidate in
  • towels
  • salts, herbs and oils to add to the bath
  • a blindfold
  • a shirt or other clothing that can be cut
  • a length of string to measure the person
  • two lengths of cord to bind the hands and feet
  • bonfire for warmth if needed

For Blessings:

  • anointing oil
  • wine

Wiccan Rede in Verse

Witchy Comments=
Wiccan Rede in Verse

1. Bide the Wiccan Rede ye must,
In Perfect Love and Perfect Trust.
2. Live ye all and let all live –
Fairly take and fairly give.
3. Cast the Circle thrice about
to keep all evil spirits out.
4. To bind the spell at casting-time
Let the spell be spake in rhyme.
5. Soft of eye and light of touch –
Speak ye little, listen much.
6. Deosil go by the waxing Moon –
Sing and dance the Wiccan rune.
7. Widdershins go when the Moon doth wane,
And the Werewolf howls by the dread Wolfsbane.
8. When the Lady’s Moon is new,
Kiss thy hand to Her times two.
9. When the Moon rides at Her peak,
Then your heart’s desire seek.
10. When the moon hangs dark and low,
To your private chamber go.
11. Heed the North Wind’s mighty gale –
Lock the door and drop the sail.
12. When the wind comes from the South,
Love will kiss thee on the mouth.
13. When the wind blow from the East,
Expect the new and set the feast.
14. When the West Wind blows o’er thee,
Departed spirits restless be.
15. Nine woods in the Cauldron go–
Burn them quick and burn them slow–
16. but Elder is the Lady’s tree.
Burn it not or cursed ye’ll be.
17. When the Wheel begins to turn,
Let the Litha fires burn.
18. When the Wheel has turned at Yule,
Light the Log and let Pan rule.
19. Heed ye flower, bush and tree
and by the Lady blest you’ll be.
20. Where the rippling waters go
Cast a stone and truth ye’ll know.
21 Until you’ve met your family’s need,
Hearken not to others’ greed.
22. With a fool no season spend
Or be counted as his friend.
23. Merry meet and merry part –
Bright the cheeks and warm the heart.
24. When misfortune is anow,
Wear the Blue Star on thy brow.
25. True in loving ever be
lest thy love be false to thee.
26. Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill –
An it harm none, do as you will.

 
~Magickal Graphics~

Using Your Fire Dish

Using Your Fire Dish

A fire dish is ideal for any seasonal or personal rite of passage for which traditionally a bonfire was lit. Sometimes you can have a bonfire or remove turf and make a fire pit with bricks, but this is not always possible, especially near sacred ground.

A fire dish is wonderful for unifying those sharing a rite, whether a coven, friends or family.

When you are not travelling, keep your fire dish to the south of the outdoor altar as a powerful representation of the fire element and to attract fire spirits and faeries. You can cover it when not in use or during inclement weather.

Sprinkle incense or herbs directly on to the burning wood to make personal empowerments and to raise or release power during a spell.

Burn wishes scratched on the inside of bark with a small knife or burn dead leaves and twigs to represent banishing what is redundant in your life.

Use your fire dish as a focus for chanting and dancing and as an added bonus for supplying light and warmth during a ritual.

Make sure the fire dish is not too full to avoid the danger of tipping over or getting too hot. Keep water nearby to extinguish an over-zealous fire.

Some woods like juniper and cedar spit; ash and pine are excellent as is oak although some people will not burn the latter. Sandalwood smells fabulous if you can get it; you can sometimes buy small sandalwood logs in bags from a hardware store. You can mix the woods.

Practice before your first ritual with your fire dish so you know how to light a good but not ferocious fire. When everyone had an open fire in the living room, this was daily practice. Nowadays, unless you were a Scout or Girl Guide or belong to a coven, you may not have been taught the art. Follow the instructions on a pack of firelighters or ask an older relative for a lesson.

Samhain Blessings

Samhain Blessings
 
The festival of Samhain marks the end of the third and final harvest of the year. The last of the fruit and vegetables have ripened and are now stored away, the seeds set aside for Spring planting. The bright colours of Autumn leaves signal their death knell, and soon they are borne away on the cold and bitter winds. Left behind are the naked branches, skeletal limbs reaching up to the skies. It is a time of death and decay, and it is no surprise that our thoughts may gravitate toward sorrow and loss, for this is the beginning of the dark half of the year. It is not surprising that many cultures pay their respects to the ancestors and departed family members at this time of year.
It is customary to light bonfires on Samhain eve to burn away the miseries of the past year. Hearth fires are extinguished and relit with the Samhain flame, ensuring a fresh start to the New Year. People would often set up two bonfires side by side and walk through them as a purification ritual.
Ritual feasts to honour the dead often occur. A place at the table is reserved for the departed and stories are shared. This may also offer an opportunity to converse with the dead about unresolved issues and then let them go.
Dressing up in costumes is an ancient custom which is sometimes called Soul-caking. Mummers would visit houses and stage a play to honour the dead which consisted of a challenge, a battle, a death and a rebirth. Special cakes were handed out to the performers afterwards. Children would dress up and go door to door, offering songs in exchange for food or coins. Large turnips were hollowed out, carved with faces and placed in windows to ward off evil spirits.
It is said that the veil between the worlds is thinnest at this time of year and is an excellent time for divination. Toss a peeled apple over your shoulder, the shape that arises will be the first letter of your future spouse’s name. Egg whites dropped in a glass of water foretells the number of future children. Try tossing some nuts onto a fire, if the nuts stay together, so will you and your spouse. Or, try to pick up as many warm nuts from the fire as possible, an even number indicates faithful love, an odd number indicates betrayal. Toss a single nut on the fire and make a wish. If the nut burns brightly, the wish will come true. Another activity is to set out three bowls, one with clear water, one with cloudy water, and the third one empty. Determine what each of the bowls will mean, for example, the clear water indicates success, the cloudy water struggle, and the third failure. Or simply yes, no, maybe. Blindfold a friend and have her ask a question then dip a hand into one of the bowls discover the outcome.
Samhain, though primarily a festival of darkness and death, also marks a new beginning. This is the Witch’s New Year and though we may look on the past with regret and sorrow, we know that the Wheel continues to turn, and fresh opportunities for growth and transformation are immanent.