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

Flashback 2000 Samhain

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Samhain/Halloween

At this time of year the Sun is in Scorpio, a sign often associated with death, finality, and endings. Every ending leads to rebirth, the process that belongs to Pluto, ruler of Scorpio. Although he’s known as the God of the Underworld, Pluto also represents regeneration, transformation, and reincarnation. He asks us to celebrate death instead of fearing it, to understand that deat is only a step before birth, and to trust in the immorality of the life-force. Pay homage to this dark God by honoring those spirits who have crossed over during the year. They have completed an evolutionary lesson and are now preparing for their journey back to the world of the living, refreshed and renewed. The candles we place in our windows help to guide them home, and burying an apple at the foot of a tree gives them nourishment for this next leg of their journey. On this sacred evening when the veils between the worlds are sat their thinnest, celebrate the “graduation” of the souls that have left us. Rejoice in the lives, instead of mourning their deaths.

Copyright KIM rogers-Gallagher Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2000  Pages 121

Flashback Beltane 2000

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Beltane

When the Sun travels through Taurus, Spring has reached its fertile peak. Trees are lush and green, flowers bloom, and birds wrestle meals for their youngsters from the moist ground. The air smells fresh, clean, and “green.” This is the time of year for us all to take a moment to appreciate the gifts of the Earth-Mother, both for the richness of her bounty and the home she provides. As the most pleasure-loving sign of all. Taurus is expert at enjoying all those wonderful experiences that makes life inside the human body so delightful. The signs loves to indulge in good food, listen to music, sit in awed silence as yet another sunset slowly fills the sky with color. The ancients danced their fertility rites on this day, taking pleasure in the sensual, fruitful touch of each other’s bodies, another delight in the union of the Goddess and the God provides. Whether you dance around a Maypole or simply partake of a divine feast with friends at this magical time, be sure to revel in your body, the divine instrument that allows you to sample the wonders of our planet.

Copyright Kim Rogers-Gallagher Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2000 Page 69

The Origins of Halloween by Sliver Raven Wolf – Part 7

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Halloween Comes to America

Our first inkling of Halloween coming to America revolves not around a specific set of people (many indicate the Irish) but with William Penn’s motley collection of refugees from Europe. In 1663, Penn wrote a promotional tract about the Americans. As a result, fifty ships dropped the anchors in the Delaware River. They discharged persecuted souls from England, Ireland, Wales, and the Rhineland (now Germany). Collectively, the Germans and Irish shared Celtic heritage. Therefore many of the folk customs resonated together—including Halloween.

From 1684 through 1930, Halloween was more a time for tricking rather than for treating. Many of the tricks the German and Irish communities became universal, such as overturning outhouses, dismantling a wagon and putting it back together on top of a house or barn, and tying cows to church bells. The tricks often served as social function, such as mildly chastising a neighbor who exhibited antisocial behavior.

By 1910, several American manufactures were making or importing party products just for the American holiday Halloween. From noisemakers to costumes, a new holiday meant new business and an opportunity to make money.

The drawback to the new holiday came in the form of the “declared” Mischief Night, Goblin Night, or Devil’s night on October 30. Minor offenses, such as trying several garbage cans together and hanging them from a light pole, soaping windows with lard, and later, bars of hand soap, abounded. As the pranks grew to vandalism shopkeepers would bribe youngsters to ward off destruction of their property.

In an effort to stop the criminal behavior, the Boy Scouts, in conjunction with local town councils, cities, boroughs, instituted the custom of Trick-or-Treat night to help keep youngsters from naughty practices. By the 1930s the custom of trick-or-treating was well entrenched in our American culture. Halloween, like Christmas, became a holiday for children, and parents strove to make the holiday as much fun as possible for the enjoyment of their youngsters.

During he 1950s. ’60s, and ’70s our American Halloween stayed primarily the same, but in the ’70s and ’80s, with a recession coupled by a candy scare, groups and organizations once again sought to find appropriate avenues to make Halloween safe for America’s children. Halloween practices extended through the entire month of October. Haunted houses, parties, hay rides, plays, story hours, and numerous other events were held throughout the month.

In the mid-to-late 1990s certain sects of the Protestant Christian church declared war on Halloween. using the same erroneous propaganda cultivated hundreds of years ago. Other groups size Halloween for their own political agendas—hosting haunted houses showing aborted babies, drug addicts, and other modern day violent situations. This did not go over well, as the holiday had become an event primarily for children, not adult political issues. Radical Christian groups said that the holiday was Satanic—which, as we’ve seen from our research, is a bizarre and fantastic claim, based on misinformation, politicking, personal agendas and fear. With America’s policy of separation of church and state the battle for destroying Halloween in the United States is an uphill battle.

The original Samhain marked the the close of the agriculture season and functional third harvest festival. In America, Halloween has become the first holiday in our end-of-year rush for partied gaiety. Our Halloween functions as the opening of the three-month-long celebratory fest that includes Thanksgiving, Christmas, Yule, Kwanzaa, and Chanukkah, and ends with the popular American New Year.

As our children crave pumpkins with delightful chatter, adults find solace in a night when they can be whatever they want to be. We have little doubt about the joy this holiday bring to the American people. I am sure we will forever love the haunted house, the harvest Moon, the thrills and chills of a well-wrought tale—and, of course, the deliciously scary things that go EEEEK! in the night.

 

Copyright Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 1999 Pages 24 to 29

The Origins of Halloween by Silver Raven Wolf – Part 5

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The Witches

So far, we’ve talked about the land of the dead, how the early Christians managed to superimpose Satan onto Samhain, and how fairies got zapped into demons, but there has been no mention of Witches, commonly associated in our time with Halloween. Where did Witches come from?

During the Dark Ages, the Church sought to eradicate the Pagans and wise women from the countryside so that the church could amass both power and property. First, they had to devalue women because women kept the holy days, trained the children, and provided the cohesive socialization of the culture, thus women held the power to shape society. The church taught, among other things, that women had no souls. Once this teaching had occurred, it was only a small step to make them inhuman, and the Church was able to incite the superstitious populace.

The Celtic women were the strong hold of the family environment, and although the Celts accepted Christianity at first, they did not want to give up their family traditions or their lifestyle. The Church was not into free thinking—therefore anything that did not follow the church dictates was evil. Hence, the Witches (really the women) became evil. Since Samhain was a primary festival of the Celts and the Church had already determined that Samhain was evil, the association between Witches and Halloween was born.

Copyright Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 1999 Pages 21 to 25

 

 

May Day by Jami Shoemaker – Part 1

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Ancient Customs

Beltane (Anglicized spelling) is a fire festival, and was dedicated to the god of light, called variously Bel, Balor, Belenos, and Baldur. It marked the beginning of the summer season, and the return of the Sun to light and nourish the earth. Among the customs associated with the Celtic celebration of Beltane (literally “Bel’s fire”) is the lighting of two fires on a hilltop. The Druids gathered gathered wood from nine different trees to make their fire every year on top of Tara Hill in County Merath, Ireland. Traditionally, all other fires were extinguished, and relit from these sacred “need fires” as an act of renewal. Before cattle were taken into the open pasture for the summer they were driven either between the fires or through the ashes to purify them of disease, and men and women would leap the flames for protection, and for luck in matters of fertility, romance, and home.

This brings us to perhaps the most significant part of the Beltane customs—that of fetility and growth. With the return of light and warmth, the earth’s fertility was assured for another season. This mystery was seen as the union of the earth and sky, or Goddess and God. The fruit of the union was seen as greening of the countryside, and in the harvest to come. This coming together of the forces of nature was honored as the “Sacred Marriage” of the Goddess and God. Imitating their union was the ultimate act of the community.

In light of this “marriage of the gods,” Pagan weddings or “handfasting” were popular at this time of year. This was the commitment of a year and a day. giving the couple sort of “trial run” at marriage and after that time both parties could agree to a long-term relationship, or could go their separate ways without remorse.

For those only looking for a night of frolicking, the “greenwood marriage” was popular. Young men and women would spend the night at the Beltane fires, or would go into the woods on Beltane Eve, gathering garlands and flowers, making love, and staying up to greet the Sun. If a woman were lucky, she would find herself with child, as children conceived on May Eve were considered favored by the the gods. These “greenwood marriages” continued long after Christian form of marriage replaced the peasants’ handfasting. May Eve was a time to drop all inhibitions and enjoy unbridled sexuality. No rules applied. even married or handfasted couples would relax their commitment for this night.

Symbols of fertility abounded at May time—the greening of the woods, the flowering of plants, the mating of animals. Perhaps one of the most blatant symbols of fertility is the Maypole, traditionally cut and carried from the forest by the villages most viral young men. Though the symbol of the Maypole is universal (the living tree representing the growth that awakens with spring), the tradition of erecting a Maypole may stem from an ancient Roman tree-giving custom. It has been said that the erection of the Maypole, which includes burying one end in the earth, is yet another representation of the union of the gods.

Beltane falls exactly opposite Hallows,which marks the beginning of the dark half of the year. These two turning points were seen as powerful times in the wheel of the year. They fell on the “in-between” times, embodying the mysteries of light and dark, life and death, and the transitions between. It is at these times when the veil between the worlds of spirit and matter, the dead and the living, are the thinnest. Beltane was then associated with great magic. This was a time for divination, and for spells that would bring love and prosperity. It was also a time when the faery folk were more easily seen. Their appearance could bring good fortune, or, if a mortal were enticed by their mischievous ways, he or she might fall into a trance and be taken to a place beyond time.

Copyright Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2001 Pages 21 to 25 

The Origins of Halloween by Silver Raven Wolf – Part 3

Feast of the Dead

As the Celtic religious system solidified so did the beliefs of the Celts concerning the dead—as has occurred in all religions, before and after the Celts. Since the turning points of the year were considered fissures in time and space, the Celts believe that the dead they loved so dearly could travel through time and space and return from Tir nan Og to visit them. The custom of leaving food at the table (the birth part of the treat part of trick-or-treat) was a gesture of welcome to the departed. From these visits came the belief that those who had gone beyond the land of the living could provide information on past or future events. This is how divination became associated with Samhain.

The Celts did not believe in devils or demons, but they did believe in the Fairy Folk, whom they thought inhabited the land of the dead (the land in-between). Fairies were thought to be resentful of humankind for taking over their land. Because time and space could be conquered on Samhain, fairies were said to roam countryside creating mischief and kidnapping a human or two now and then—just for fun, you understand.—except the humans never came back. Here then is the root of the scary stuff associated with Halloween. The mischief, of course, was caused by living humans, and accepted by the Celts as a psychological release before the onset of winter gloom—though I doubt they would explain it in those terms.

Is it odd, gross, or unusual that a group of people should set aside a day for the dead? Nope. Different cultures and religions have followed such a practice for centuries. Let’s get on our broom again and check out Rome and its contributions to Halloween.

A Fly-BY of Ancient Rome

Rome had the habit of changing rulers as many times as you empty the lint trap in your dryer. Between 14 and 37 CE, Christianity had begun its rise in Rome. By 41 CE, Claudius had distinguished himself with the conquest of Britain. The Romans also had a harvest festival, so the Celts didn’t have much trouble blending the two holidays together after they came into contact with the Romans. It was around 314 CE when Constantine the Great declared the Roman Empire to be Christian, and the fate of Samhain and Druids was sealed.

The Origins of Halloween by Silver Raven Wolf – Part 1

(This article will be posted on an alternate day basis between WOTC and our affiliated website CovenLife.co)

Harvest Moon, velvet sky, pumpkins glowing, children laughing, costumes, candy, scary stories—just where did this autumn gaiety begin? Let’s look through those cobwebby corridors of time to unearth the exciting genealogy of the American Celebration we call Halloween!

Nothing is ever as simple as it seems—especially when dealing with history. Too often events and circumstances of our past were written or re-written by people who, for whatever reason, operated under an agenda, or simply wanted history to reflect how it should have been, rather than how it was. How, then, do we determine what is fact and what is fiction? In some cases, we can’t. In other situations, we dig.

Copyright 1999 Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook Pages 24 to 29

Halloween Costumes for the Zodiac

Halloween Costumes for the Zodiac

Spooky, sexy or silly? Astrology reveals your sign’s best costume

Jeff Kishner

Blessed Samhain to All Our Friends Down Under

13

We wish you a blessed and enjoyable Samhain.

May any ancestor you wish to speak with be open to you today and/or tonight.

This is the last Sabbat on the Celtic Wheel of the Year.

May the next year bring you more love, joy, happiness, laughter, blessings, everything you need and even some things you just want.

Happy New Year!!!

SAMHAIN

There are many other things about Samhain posted on this site and of Coven Life.

Mugwort Magic

This magical herb has a long connection to Samhain,
use for Clairvoyance, Scrying, Protection.
Rub this herb on “Magic Mirrors” and “Crystal balls”
to strengthen their powers.
Add to Scrying, clairvoyance and divination incenses.
Sprinkle about table top during Tarot readings.
Rub fresh Mugwort leaves on the blade of your ritual sword
or athame, and then let it soak up the light of the Full moon.
Use 3 tablespoons to 12 gallon spring (or rain) water to
cleanse your “Magical mirrors” crystals and stones.

~ Barbara Morris

Fire Scrying

As the power of the Sun fades, we embrace the harvest season and the decline of the fire element. This is a perfect time, as we approach the introspective tide of winter, to scry with flame. On a night close to the New Moon, cast a circle of protection, and light a purple candle. Sit silently and breathe deeply, allowing your conscious mind to grow quiet. Gaze at the candle flame and permit your thoughts to drift by without judgment. Soften your focus and relax your vision. Concentrate only on the flame. Ask a question. Observe the flame expectantly, and open your observations to your intuition. Invite the flame to impart images. Write down your insights, and carefully date your interpretation for future reference. Perfect to do on Samhain eve…

~ by: Karri Allrich