Let’s Talk Witch – Candle Magic

ᑕᙓᒪ♈ᓰᑕ ᙅᖇᗝᙡ

Candle Magic

 

Candle magic is the oldest magic there is. Early wise people concentrated on flames from cave fires to foretell the future or solve a problem. Staring at the flame was the perfect way to go into an alpha state and connect with the spirit world to see past, present and future details of someone’s life or the unfolding events of the village or community.

It is the simplest magic there is because candles are easy to find, and the ritual doesn’t take much work. The beauty of candle magic is that you can manifest just about anything you want to by concentrating on the flame and clearing your mind.

To begin, it is important that you do NOT eat before a ritual or have sex before a ritual. Be clear of body and mind, and spirit because it make the spell more powerful. It also helps that you begin your ritual with a positive mind. You must know and believe the outcome of the spell will be positive and beneficial to all.

Make sure your space is quiet, and clear of clutter. You may want to play soft music or take a cleansing bath with lavender or other aromas of your choosing to relax before you start your spell.

It is important to choose the color of the candle that corresponds with what you desire to manifest.

White = purity, peace, spirituality

Red = sexual vitality, courage, energy, health

Pink = romantic love, affection, friendships

Yellow = creative imagination, memory, communication

Green = abundance, harmony, good luck, fertility

Blue = wisdom, psychic insights, psychic protection, healing

Purple = success in financial affairs, idealism and spiritual power.

Gold = positive

Silver = clairvoyance, astral energies and channeling, also the faculty of far memory and remembering past lives.

Once you have chosen the candle you want to use for your spell, give it your personal vibration. Handle the candle with both hands, study the wax in it, look at it carefully and try to connect with your candle and give it your intention or thought. This gives the wax your life force. Use essential oil (not necessary but helpful) on the candle. Always rub the candle with the oil from the top to the bottom when anointing.

While oiling your candle think about what you wish to accomplish with this magic. Visualize the spell successful and see your desires manifest before you light the candle.

Then light the candle and focus on the flame for at least 5-15 minutes, clearing your mind of all thought and visualize what you want to manifest.

 

 

Ancient Magick for the Modern Witch

Gypsy Raven

Elder’s Meditation of the Day April 24

Elder’s Meditation of the Day April 24

“Each person’s prayers can help everyone.”

–Thomas Yellowtail, CROW

Prayer is our entrance into the Unseen World. It is by prayer we can call upon the powers and laws of the Great Spirit. The Spirit World has powers and laws that are different from the Physical World. The spiritual laws allow healing to take place; they allow forgiveness to occur; they cause miracles to happen; they cause hate to disappear; they heal broken relationships; they guide every moment of our lives; they allow us to love even when it’s hard. Prayer allows us access to the Spirit World.

Creator, teach me to pray.

A Very Blessed & Prosperous Tuesday to all my dear Family & Friends!

Good Morning Images

Tuesday’s Creative Visualization

 

Celtic Visualization for Renewed Life and Energy

Listen for the Bells

According to myth Celtic Shamans used sacred branches hung with silver bells to open doors between the material world and spirit world. Close your eyes and imagine hearing the music of the silver bells. Approaching the sound you see a gateway formed by two blossoming trees. Passing through, you find yourself in another world. Ahead of you the guardian of the gateway is tending a cauldron over a fire. The guardian fills a chalice with liquid from the cauldron and hands it to you. The spicy drink replenishes your strength. The guardian tells you to return whenever you need to, reminding you to listen for the silver bells. You pass back through the gateway and open your eyes. You feel full of life and energy.

The Origin of Runes

The Origin of Runes

Author: Brunhilde

The term rune comes from ancient European dialects. It means mystery or secret. Each rune symbol represents a concept, like wealth or fertility. Runes were not originally used as letters in an alphabet. Ancient shamans used them in a variety of ways: to focus their thoughts, as an aid to meditation, as a means to communicate with the spirit world, for divination, etc. By necessity, much of this activity took place in the mind of the shaman. The inhabitants of the spirit world did not have physical bodies, so they communicated with the shamans through their thoughts, by using symbols such as runes.

Imitative magick

Often, the shaman would enter into a sacred cave and draw images on the cave wall. We have numerous examples of ancient cave paintings still intact today. We call this type of display imitative magick. On behalf of the tribe, the shaman would dance, chant, and meditate in this sacred space. Some of these cave walls also feature early runes. These symbols may be messages sent from the shamans to the spirits, or images sent from the spirits to the shamans.

For ancient peoples, these paintings and runes were not mere decoration. They were powerful, energized glyphs that held great potential for action when utilized by the trained mind of the shaman.

Runes and Phosphenes

The origin of rune symbols is the topic of much debate. Just how were these symbols impressed upon the minds of the shamans? One theory is proposed by author Nigel Pennick in his book Magical Alphabets (1992) . The author discusses the effects of various stimuli on the visual cortex of the brain.

“Modern neurophysiology has identified phosphenes, geometrical shapes and images that are present subconsciously in the visual cortex and neural system. These are present in all humans. They are described as entopic, being visible when the eyes are shut. They can also be seen when the consciousness is altered by some means: during meditation, in trance, or in hallucinations induced by fatigue, illness or drugs.”

Mr. Pennick’s analysis seems to agree with one modern belief on the possible origin of runes. One can imagine an early shaman entering into a trance state in order to communicate with the spirit world, and perceiving phosphene patterns as part of the process. The shaman would naturally identify these patterns, or runes, as images sent to him from the spirit world.

Odin’s Shamanic Experience

Taken further, this neurophysiologic origin of runes may explain the myth of the god Odin receiving the Norse runes. We find his statements in The Poetic Edda where he describes his own personal shamanic experience. He speaks of a self-inflicted wound, followed by nine days and nights of severe deprivation. He willingly endures this torment in the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom. And he is handsomely rewarded—he receives the first rune symbols, which he later gives to mankind.

So Where Is the Magick?

If we accept the idea that some of our modern runes are the result of normal neurophysiologic changes in the human brain, a question arises. If rune symbols are simply the product of phosphene production, how meaningful are they? Are runes the result of contact with the spirit world or are they merely the result of chemical changes in the brain? Does their mundane neural origin discredit their spiritual importance? Are they indeed magickal?

Yes. Why? Because with our human brain and its ability to produce phosphenes, it seems that Nature has deliberately provided us with a ready-made vehicle to access the spirit world. First of all, our spirit vehicle is our brain—a preprogrammed cerebral system that is hard-wired to allow for altered states of consciousness.

Transitions to altered states can be tracked by analyzing brain wave functions. Profound changes in human brain wave activity have been reliably documented. Secondly, we now find that our brain vehicle is equipped with signal lights—our sojourn in these altered states can be accompanied by phosphene production.

All Aboard!

Rather than discrediting our spiritual journey, and our acquisition of rune symbols, our human neurophysiology validates it. Our brains are uniquely configured to achieve access to other planes, and then signal us when we arrive. If you believe that Spirit deliberately created our human physiology, then our mental abilities are also deliberate. The sentient, guiding hand of Nature has designed us this way. And if some of our rune symbols are derived from meditative states, they those symbols do indeed come from a spiritual source after all.

One Size Fits All

There is another intriguing question about runes that may be answered by phosphene production. Some runes systems from diverse cultures have many symbols in common. Their similarity may indicate that a single “source culture” or progenitor originally produced the runes. Sometime later, those first symbols were adopted by neighboring cultures. The debate continues over which source culture that may have been. Many scripts and cultures have been proposed.

Perhaps the common source for similar runes was not a single source culture. It may have been shamans of several cultures who engaged in similar meditation practices and trance states. Since they all had similar neurophysiology, they all produced similar phosphene patterns, with the result that their visions produced similar rune symbols.

As modern users of runes can attest, there is definitely something ethereal and powerful about these symbols, even today. It may be their origins in the subconscious mind of all humanity. They possess a resonance with each of us.

People from widely diverse cultures can use the same rune symbols to focus their thoughts in meditation and prayer. They also make powerful conduits for our magickal work. And several symbols can be combined into one single glyph to concentrate their power, called a bind rune.

Finally, they are extremely useful as tools for divination, used in the same way as one would use Tarot cards. The interpretation of rune symbols during divination requires us to utilize our intuition, our sixth sense. These esoteric symbols can often help us to express our thoughts better than words.

They will continue to intrigue and fascinate those of us who follow the old ways.

Upon the Astral Plane and the Afterlife

Upon the Astral Plane and the Afterlife

Author:   Grey Glamer   

In their role as walkers between the worlds, Witches and Heathens are creatures born from apparent paradox. While the individual practitioner may emphasize one or the other, most Neopagans simultaneously honor both the multiplicity and the fundamental unity of All That Is. Meaning no disrespect to the true polytheists among us, I myself find deepest inspiration when I acknowledge one immanent Holy One who wears many masks.

As human beings, though, we’re decidedly prone to losing sight of the forest for the trees, and thus I find beneficial the practice of returning to our most basic beliefs from time to time. My purpose in writing this essay isn’t to resolve all the apparent dualities in our world, or any such herculean task. Rather, I want to focus upon one particular duality that profoundly shapes the quest shared by mystics and magicians, the observed gap between the realms of matter and of spirit, and the ways by which that divide shapes our sense of life, death, and rebirth.

Employing the term in the contemporary, non-Siberian sense, contemporary Witchcraft is a shamanic path. While many Witches and Heathens prefer to conceptualize and discuss magic via the language of energies and vibrations, at some point within our developing quest we encounter some non-physical entity that’s sentient in roughly the same sense that we are sentient. Whether we meet them during our astral journeys or perceive their physical manifestations upon our own material realm, they are undeniably real, possessing strangely familiar feelings and motivations.

Speaking from my own admittedly limited experience, some spiritual beings are beneficent, while some leave morality to be desired. Most are somewhere in the middle, neither angels nor demons. In fact, for all their whimsicality, the average spirit seems very, very human. They have needs and desires, dreams and fears, just like you and me.

This class of being, which impresses itself primarily upon our intuitive sense yet with occasional physical manifestations, I define as spiritual, as opposed to material creatures like ourselves who, generally speaking, prove more intensely cognizant of the physical. Of course, there exists no creature exclusively material or spiritual. Every material creature maintains an aspect within the spiritual realms, and every spiritual being produces some resonance upon the material plane. With precious few exceptions, however, most entities favor one aspect over the other, and only when the Mists between worlds serendipitously grow thin do we even acknowledge the multifaceted nature of our cosmos.

As walkers between the worlds, Witches and Heathens learn how to step lightly from the material into the spiritual and back again. Every Circle that we conjure creates a sanctuary where the material and the spiritual may intertwine. Every spell that we cast draws the two worlds closer together. Viewed from this perspective, magic becomes the awareness of how these two realms – material and spiritual – interact with one another.

Whenever we exercise our awareness of the spiritual, however, we encounter the possibility that we will misinterpret or overvalue the experience. Just looking around, it’s not difficult to conclude that creatures within the material realm are deeply flawed, vulnerable to entropy wearing the twin guises of decay and suffering. Faced with our own decline and eventual demise, we often cast about for something beyond our finite existence, something eternal and incorruptible. We reflect upon the turbulent swirl that is our life, turning towards religion or philosophy for solace.

So when the novice Witch first encounters the spirit world, they often harbor a predisposition to believe that here rests the incorruptible something they’ve been seeking. After all, the spirit realm’s inhabitants don’t appear to be bound by the same fixed life cycles that define our physical existence. Moreover, I suspect our culture’s mythos concerning ghosts and the restless dead fuels a prejudice that says our need for something beyond the grave can be filled by the spirit world.

In my humble opinion, I believe that seeking out eternal life within the spirit world is misguided, although there are certainly worse ways by which one can err. (I’m fully aware the above statement will contradict the beliefs held by many readers, and where that happens, please understand that I don’t consider myself any sort of authority on Truth. I draw upon my experiences and my reflections to generate my unique magical paradigm. Your experiences, your reflections, and your paradigm doubtless will differ from my own, and that’s a Good Thing!)

My intention isn’t to question whether we are eternal, because I believe we are. Nor do I question the existence of the Summer Lands, that blessed abode wherein the ghost recuperates and regroups before returning to the ever-turning wheel. The Summer Lands figure within my own paradigm. Still, I question the nature of the Summer Lands, and especially their connection to realms defined as spiritual or astral.

My interest concerning the Summer Lands took on fresh significance with two recent events. The first episode occurred while I was visiting my astral sanctum around Mothers’ Day. One of the spirits who accompanied me had observed the thoughtforms that people generated as the holiday approached, and asked me whether he himself had a mother. (Spirits, like kids, say the darnedest things.) I was surprised by the question, and since then I’ve delved into path working in hopes of discovering the answer to his question. (It’s material for another essay, yet for those who wonder, I believe the answer is yes.)

The second episode occurred during an otherwise unremarkable walk around my neighborhood a couple months ago. During that walk two spirits that share my home accompanied me. The ground was still drying out from rain the previous night, and we happened upon a dead frog. Not an unusual sight where I live; there are several lakes and rivers here, and when the clouds bring rain the frogs wander up into the streets, where they’re struck by passing motorists.

The “younger” spirit could sense where the frog had been killed, and I could feel her became alarmed that the same fate could befall her. Instinctively, I reached out with what comforting energies I could, communicating the sense of safety, yet after the encounter I found myself wondering: Are spirits in some sense mortal?

To borrow from the Venerable Bede, our own finite lifespan can be compared with the sparrow, which flies from the winter storm into the king’s fire-lit hall, before returning to the storm. That is, we are conscious about our own personal history for one short span, with the vast expanse of the unknown looming large upon either side. The metaphor aptly describes our condition as material beings, yet here I was confronted with two spiritual creatures that professed ignorance regarding the darkness before and after their own existence.

Based on these encounters, I believe spirits also wonder where they originate, and what lies beyond their apparent end. Ergo, spirits don’t possess the solution for the riddle of our own mortality, because they themselves are bound by the same entropic forces.

If the spiritual realms are not immortal, then either the Summer Lands are equally liable to destruction, or else the Summer Lands somehow transcend both the material and the spiritual planes. Because I believe our cosmos, and all things that inhabit this great web of existence, are intrinsically eternal, I must take up the latter argument, that the Summer Lands are neither material nor spiritual in nature, but rather transcend both categories of existence.

To develop an accurate cosmology, which properly honors the Summer Lands, we must first inquire about the planes where finite existence, both material and spiritual, plays itself out. The pantheistic philosopher Benedict Spinoza proposed that all things in existence are but modes that have their being within a unitary, self-caused Substance, simultaneously identified with God and with the cosmos. According to Spinoza’s ontology, this Substance remains unknowable except by its attributes, two of which fall within human detection: extension and thought.

In broad strokes, these two attributes are equivalent to what I term the material and the spiritual, and like Spinoza, I regard these realms as facets of one single, otherwise unknowable (upper-case) Truth.

Eternal life may be found, not among the spiritual realm, but rather within the deeper reality towards which both the material and the spiritual point; therein we learn the true import of our astral journeys. Spirits appear human precisely because they are driven by the same mortality that defines our existence. Certain spirits are heirs to ancient wisdom, but then, some material beings teach crucial truths, as well.

Rather than seeking a spirit world with all the answers, we must prepare ourselves to encounter beings with the same hopes and fears, and we must engage those creatures with the same empathy and compassion, which we would expect.

With the sharing of mutual respect, we acquire insight into the (upper-case) Truth wherein we may discover the Summer Lands and our own incorruptible nature. While spiritual beings don’t enjoy the complete picture, they do view the puzzle from angles that we seldom adopt.

Conversely, as material creatures we grasp certain aspects of reality more readily than most spirits can. Just like the proverbial blind people who grasp different parts of the elephant, we each hold crucial parts belonging to the most sublime puzzle. Only by building bridges of mutual cooperation with our astral cousins can we hope to remember our shared immortality.

May we walk lightly and with compassion.

___________________________________

Footnotes:
Spinoza, Benedict. “The Ethics.” The Rationalists. New York: Anchor Books, 1974.

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Practice and method of Shamanism

Practice and method of Shamanism

The shaman plays the role of healer in shamanic societies; shamans gain knowledge and power by traversing the axis mundi and bringing back knowledge from  the heavens. Even in western society, this ancient practice of healing is referenced by the use of the caduceus as the symbol of medicine.

Oftentimes the shaman has, or acquires, one or more familiar helping entities in the spirit world; these are often spirits in animal form, spirits of  healing plants, or (sometimes) those of departed shamans. In many shamanic societies, magic, magical force, and knowledge are all denoted by one word, such  as the Quechua term yachay.

While the causes of disease are considered to lie in the realm of the spiritual, being effected by malicious spirits or Witchcraft, spiritual methods as  well as what we would consider physical methods are used to heal. The shaman often will enter the body of their patient to find the spirit making the patient  sick, and heal by removing the infectious spirit by the patient.

However, many shamans have expert knowledge of the plant life in their area, and an herbal regimine is often perscribed as treatment. In many places, the  shamans claim to learn from the plants directly, only being able to determine the effects of a plant and use it to heal after meeting the spirit of the plant  and getting permission.

In South America, individual spirits are called through singing icaros; to call the spirit, the spirit must teach you their song.

The use of totem items such as rocks is common; these items are believed to have special powers and an animating spirit.

Such practices are presumably very ancient; in circa 368 bc, Plato wrote in the Phaedrus that the “first prophecies were the words of an oak”,  and that everyone who lived at that time found it rewarding enough to “listen to an oak or a stone, so long as it was telling the truth”.

The belief in witchcraft and sorcery, known as brujeria in South America, is prevalent in many shamanic societies.

Some societies distinguish shamans who cure from sorcerers who harm; others believe that all shamans have the power to both cure and kill; that is,  shamans are in some societies also thought of as being capable of harm. The shaman usually enjoys great power and prestige in the community, renowned for  their powers and knowledge; but they may also be suspected of harming others and thus feared.

In engaging in this work the shaman exposes himself to significant personal risk, from the spirit world, from any enemy shamans, as well as from the means  employed to alter his state of consciousness. Certain of the plant materials used can kill, and the out-of-body journey itself can lead to non-returning and  physical death; spells of protection are common, and the use of more dangerous plants is usually very highly ritualized.

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The Daily OM for December 9th – A Soulful Cure

A Soulful Cure
Working with a Shaman

by Madisyn Taylor

Working with a shaman can be a great puzzle piece in the process of becoming whole again.

Since time immemorial, certain men and women have felt called to heal the sick, to safeguard knowledge, to guide the lost, and to commune with the spirit world. These unique individuals, known as shamans, were mystics and seers, repositories of wisdom, and keepers of herbal lore. During those periods when ignorance loomed large in the world, shamans across the globe bided their time, peacefully practicing their practical yet refined arts in the jungle, mountains, deserts, and tundra that protected them from those who misunderstood shamanism. Today, however, shamanism has reemerged, as modern men and women feel the same call to service that their ancestors felt long ago. Also, as more individuals explore the notion that healing necessarily involves the soul as well as the physical self, people are consulting shamans in their search for wellness, wisdom, and guidance.

The word shaman literally means “he or she who knows. Shamanism is an art that has not changed in any quantifiable way for millennia and is not bound to any particular form of spirituality. It is grounded on the principle that the visible world is saturated with unseen forces that influence the lives of human beings. Shamans, in addition to acting as fonts of wisdom, are dedicated to diagnosing and curing human suffering—whether emotional, physical, or spiritual. To treat an illness, a shaman may communicate with the spirit world in order to connect more directly with the soul of their patient or with the force causing ill health. They often work closely with animal guides, plant and earth spirits, or your spirit guides, and may make use of use of herbal remedies to supplement other forms of treatment. Shamans, as intermediaries between the physical and spiritual realms, recognize that all objects are in manner alive and retain information that can be utilized to heal.

Shamanism is powerful in part because its practitioners tailor healing to the individual needs of those who seek them out. A shaman manipulates energy, giving you power where you have lost it and removing misplaced energy lurking within you. When you seek out a shaman, they will endeavor to know and understand you before treating you. In this way, they can provide you with therapies that act on your whole being, positively influencing your body as well as your soul.

The Daily OM

Samhain Ancestor Meditation

Samhain Ancestor Meditation

Calling Upon the Ancient Ones

By , About.com

A Time of Darkness

Samhain is known as the night when the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest. It’s a time to sit back and honor the spirit world, and call upon those ancestors who came before us. After all, if not for them, we wouldn’t be here. We owe them something, some gratitude for their ability to survive, their strength, their spirit. Many Wiccans and Pagans choose Samhain as a time to honor their ancestors. If this is something you’d like to do, you can celebrate with a ritual or by hosting a seance or dumb supper in their honor:

In addition to these more formal rituals, you may also want to take some time alone for a quiet meditation. This is a point in the Wheel of the Year when the spirit world is a bit closer than normal, and if you’ve never tried to contact your ancestors before, now is a good time to do it.

When performing an ancestor meditation, people experience different things. You may find yourself meeting a specific person that you are aware of in your family history — maybe you’ve heard the stories about great-uncle Joe who went out west after the Civil War, and now you have the privilege of chatting with him, or perhaps you’ll meet the grandmother who passed away when you were a child. Some people, however, meet their ancestors as archetypes. In other words, it may not be a specific individual you meet, but rather a symbol — instead of adventurous great-uncle Joe, it may be a non-specific Civil War soldier or frontiersman. Either way, understand that meeting these individuals is a gift. Pay attention to what they say and do — it may be that they’re trying to give you a message.

Setting the Mood

Before you perform this meditation, it’s not a bad idea to spend some time with the tangible, physical aspects of your family. Bring out the old photo albums, read through wild Aunt Tillie’s diary from the Great Depression, get out your grandfather’s old pocket watch that almost sank with the Titanic. These are the material things that connect us to our family. They link us, magically and spiritually. Spend time with them, absorbing their energies and thinking of the things they’ve seen, the places they’ve been.

You can perform this ritual anywhere, but if you can do it outside at night it’s even more powerful. Decorate your altar (or if you’re outside, use a flat stone or tree stump) with the symbols of your ancestors — the photos, journals, war medals, watches, jewelry, etc. No candles are necessary for this meditation, but if you’d like to light one, do so. You may also want to burn some Samhain spirit incense.

Claiming Your Birthright

Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Think about who you are, and what you are made of, and know that everything within you is the sum of all your ancestors. From thousands of years ago, generations of people have come together over the centuries to create the person you are now. Think about your own strengths — and weaknesses — and remember that they came from somewhere. This is a time to honor the ancestors who formed you.

Recite your genealogy — aloud if you like — as far back as you can go. As you say each name, describe the person and their life. An example might go something like this:

I am the daughter of James, who fought in Vietnam and returned to tell the tale. James was the son of Eldon and Maggie, who met on the battlefields of France, as she nursed him back to health.    Eldon was the son of Alice, who sailed aboard Titanic and survived. Alice was the daughter of Patrick and Molly, who farmed the soil of Ireland, who raised horses and tatted lace to feed the children…

and so forth. Go back as far as you like, elaborating in as much detail as you choose. Once you can go back no further, end with “those whose blood runs in me, whose names I do not yet know”.

If you happened to meet a certain ancestor, or their archetype, during your meditation, take a moment to thank them for stopping by. Take note of any information they may have given you — even if it doesn’t make sense just now, it may later on when you give it some more thought. Think about all the people you come from, whose genes are part of you. Some were great people — some, not so much, but the point is, they all belong to you. They all have helped shape and create you. Appreciate them for what they were, with no expecations or apologies, and know that they are watching over you.

Hecate – Dark Goddess of Magic & Sorcery

Hecate – Dark Goddess of Magic & Sorcery

By , About. com

Hecate (sometimes spelled Hekate) was originally a Thracian, and pre-Olympian Greek goddess, and ruled over the realms of earth and fertility rituals. As a goddess of childbirth, she was often invoked for rites of puberty, and in some cases watched over maidens who were beginning to menstruate. Eventually, Hecate evolved to become a goddess of magic and sorcery. She was venerated as a mother goddess, and during the Ptolemaic period in Alexandria was elevated to her position as goddess of ghosts and the spirit world.

Much like the Celtic hearth goddess Brighid, Hecate is a guardian of crossroads, and often symbolized by a spinning wheel. In addition to her connection to Brighid, she is associated with Diana Lucifera, who is the Roman Diana in her aspect as light-bearer. Hecate is often portrayed wearing the keys to the spirit world at her belt, accompanied by a three-headed hound, and surrounded by lit torches.

The epic poet Hesiod tells us Hecate was the only child of Asteria, a star goddess who was the aunt of Apollo and Artemis. The event of Hecate’s birth was tied to the reappearance of Phoebe, a lunar goddess, who appeared during the darkest phase of the moon.

Today, many contemporary Pagans and Wiccans honor Hecate in her guise as a Dark Goddess, although it would be incorrect to refer to her as an aspect of the Crone, because of her connection to childbirth and maidenhood. It’s more likely that her role as “dark goddess” comes from her connection to the spirit world, ghosts, the dark moon, and magic. She is known as a goddess who is not to be invoked lightly, or by those who are calling upon her frivolously. She is honored on November 30, the night of Hecate Trivia, the night of the crossroads.

The Dumb Supper – A Feast With the Dead

The Dumb Supper – A Feast With the Dead

By

Speaking to the Dead:

Although traditionally a seance1 is a good way to communicate with those who have crossed into the spirit world, it’s also perfectly fine to talk to them at other times. You may find yourself walking into a room and suddenly reminded of someone you’ve lost, or catching a whiff of a familiar scent. For me personally, every February I find myself picking over birthday cards and thinking to myself how funny my grandfather would find this one or that one. I make a point of telling him about them, even though he died in 2002. You don’t need a fancy or formal ritual to speak to the dead. They hear you.

How Do We Know They’re Listening?:

In some spiritual paths, one may be viewed as crazy — or at the very least, a little bit daffy — if they speak to the dead. But think of the people you know who have lost a spouse, particularly one they were married to for a long time. Many of them will tell you they talk to their deceased loved one. We can ask them for assistance, for companionship, or just for them to hear our words. Chances are good that if you ask, your life will change significantly.

What Can We Say to Them?:

Ask anyone who’s lost a loved one, and there’s a good chance they have something they didn’t get to say. Whether it’s “I love you”, “I forgive you,” or just plain old, “I really miss you,” there’s nearly always something we wanted to say but never got around to. When you talk to the dead, share with them the things in your life that are important. Maybe you need to let Grandma know that you’re finally going to have that baby girl she’d been hoping for. Or perhaps you need to tell Cousin Joe you’re sorry you broke his iPod. Whatever it is, if it’s on your mind say it. Only then will you be able to move on.

An Altar to the Ancestors:

In many cultures, ancestor worship is an ancient practice. Although traditionally found more in African and Asian societies, more and more Pagans of European heritage are beginning to embrace this idea. After all, we all want to know where we came from. You can build an altar to honor your ancestors, featuring photos, heirlooms, and even a family tree sheet. Leave it up all year long, or set it out at Samhain. This is a good time to perform a ritual for Honoring the Ancestors.

Why on Samhain?:

Why hold a Dumb Supper on Samhain? Well, it’s traditionally known as the night when the veil between our world and the spirit world is at its most fragile. It’s the night when we know for sure the dead will hear us speak, and maybe even speak back. It’s a time of death and resurrection, of new beginnings and fond farewells.

Menus and Table Settings:

Your menu choices are up to you, but because it’s Samhain, you may wish to make the traditional Soul Cakes, as well as serving dishes with apples, late fall vegetables, and game if available. Set the table with a black cloth, black plates and cutlery, black napkins. Use candles as your only source of light — black if you can get them.

Realistically, not everyone has black dishware sitting around. In many traditions, it’s perfectly acceptable to use a combination of black and white, although black should be the predominant color.

Host/Hostess Duties:

When you’re hosting a Dumb Supper, clearly the point is that no one can speak — and that makes a host’s job very tricky. It means you have the responsibility of anticipating each guest’s needs without them communicating verbally. Depending on the size of your table, you may want to make sure each end has its own salt, pepper, butter, etc. Also, watch your guests to see if anyone needs a drink refill, an extra fork to replace the one they just dropped, or more napkins.

Other Samhain Rituals:

If the idea of a Dumb Supper doesn’t quite appeal to you — or if you know darn well that your family can’t be quiet for that long — you may want to try some of these other Samhain rituals:

 

The Dumb Supper:

In some Pagan and Wiccan traditions, it has become popular to hold a Dumb Supper in honor of the dead. In this case, the word “dumb” refers to being silent. The origins of this tradition have been fairly well debated — some claim it goes back to ancient cultures, others believe it’s a relatively new idea. Regardless, it’s one that’s observed by many people around the world.

When holding a Dumb Supper, there are a few simple guidelines to follow. First of all, make your dining area sacred, either by casting a circle, smudging, or some other method. Turn off phones and televisions, eliminating outside distractions.

Secondly, remember that this is a solemn and silent occasion, not a carnival. It’s a time of silence, as the name reminds us. You may wish to leave younger children out of this ceremony. Ask each adult guest to bring a note to the dinner. The note’s contents will be kept private, and should contain what they wish to say to their deceased friends or relatives.

Set a place at the table for each guest, and reserve the head of the table for the place of the Spirits. Although it’s nice to have a place setting for each individual you wish to honor, sometimes it’s just not feasible. Instead, use a tealight candle at the Spirit setting to represent each of the deceased. Shroud the Spirit chair in black or white cloth.

No one may speak from the time they enter the dining room. As each guest enters the room, they should take a moment to stop at the Spirit chair and offer a silent prayer to the dead. Once everyone is seated, join hands and take a moment to silently bless the meal. The host or hostess, who should be seated directly across from the Spirit chair, serves the meal to guests in order of age, from the oldest to youngest. No one should eat until all guests — including Spirit — are served.

When everyone has finished eating, each guest should get out the note to the dead that they brought. Go to the head of the table where Spirit sits, and find the candle for your deceased loved one. Focus on the note, and then burn it in the candle’s flame (you may wish to have a plate or small cauldron on hand to catch burning bits of paper) and then return to their seat. When everyone has had their turn, join hands once again and offer a silent prayer to the dead.

Everyone leaves the room in silence. Stop at the Spirit chair on your way out the door, and say goodbye one more time.