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Mid-Autumn - October 31st to November 1st

  • Animals: Bats, Black Cats, Owls, Ravens, and Spiders.

  • Colors: Black, Dark Red, Gold, Orange, and Purple.

  • Deities: Anubis, Arianrhod, Baba Yaga, Beansidhe (Banshee), Beara (Brigid's crone aspect), Bran, The Cailleach, Cernunnos, Cerridwen, All Crone Goddesses, Death Gods, Dying and Rising Gods, Hecate, Hel, Herne the Hunter, The Horned God, Inanna, Ishtar, Isis, Kali, Lilith, Morrigan, Nephthys, Odin, Osiris, Oya, Persephone, Pomona, Rhiannon, and Tlazoteotl.

  • Flowers: Calendula, Chrysanthemum, Cosmos, Hazel, Thistle, and Wormwood.

  • Food: Ale, Apples, Breads, Cakes for the Dead, Cider, Corn, Cranberry Herbal teas (especially Mugwort), Muffins, Gourds, Grains, Hazelnuts, Meat unless vegetarian and then tofu will do, Mulled Wines, Nuts, Pears, Pomegranates, Pumpkin-pie, and Turnips.

  • Herbs: Allspice, Broom, Catnip, Deadly Nightshade, Mandrake, Mugwort, Oak leaves, Sage, and Straw.

  • Incense: Benzoin, Cinnamon, Copal, Heliotrope, Mastic Resin, Mint, Nutmeg, and Sage.

  • Special Activities: Bobbing for Apples, Bonfires, Lot's of Cooking, Making Scarecrows, Pumpkin Carving, Sugar Skulls, Trick or Treating, and Visit Graves of Loved Ones.

  • Spell-working: Divination, Fire, New Year Workings, Sex Magic, and Spirit Work.

  • Stones: All Black Stones, preferably Haematite, Jet, Obsidian, and Onyx.

  • Symbolism: The Dark Mysteries, Rebirth through Death, and Third Harvest.

  • Symbols: Apple, Besom, Black Cats, Gourd, Jack-O-Lantern, Witch, and Scarecrow.

  • Trees: Acorn and Hazel.


     Samhain literally “the end of summer” and is the third and final Harvest. Other names for Samhain are Samana, Day of the Dead, Old Hallowmas (Scottish/Celtic), Vigil of Saman, Shadowfest (Strega), and Samhuinn. Also known as All Hallow's Eve, (that day actually falls on November 7th), and Martinmas (that is celebrated November 11th. Samhain is the Witches New Year, a time for revelry and introspection. It is a night for divination and honoring our ancestors. 


     When offerings of food were left on altars and doorsteps for the wandering spirits. Single candles were lit in windows to guide the spirits of loved ones home, and places were set at the dinner table and near the hearth to honor the dead and make them welcome. Apples were left along roadsides to provide for the spirits who had no loved ones to provide for them.  


     At Samhain cattle and other livestock were slaughtered for eating during the ensuing winter months. Any crops still in the field on Samhain were considered taboo and left as offerings to the Nature spirits. Bonfires were built, (originally called bone-fires, for after feasting, the bones were thrown in the fire as offerings for healthy and plentiful livestock in the New Year) and stones were marked with people’s names. The next day the stones were retrieved from the ashes and the condition of the stones was used for divining the future.


     On Samhain night the Faerie folk are believed to be highly active and delight in playing tricks on humans. If you're near a faerie mound, be incredibly careful not to be drawn inside, else you may disappear for a few hundred years. The Fey enjoy gifts of food and drink and pretty baubles, so be sure to leave treats for the Faeries so you won't be tricked! In order to fool the Nature Spirits, our pagan ancestors would dress up in costumes if they had to travel about on Samhain night. They would dress all in white, like ghosts, make disguises of straw, or dress as the opposite gender. I suppose that the Faeries were so busy laughing at the costumes they forgot to play any tricks!


     Another school of thought regarding dressing up at Samhain has a much more spiritual basis. Dressing as a ghost or skeleton could be seen as a form of "sympathetic magic" allowing us to experience what it could be like to be on the other side of the veil.


     Once Christianity took hold in the British Isles, our pagan ancestors had to make their way secretly to the great Sabbats which were held in lone places outdoors at night. On Samhain night, spirits of the dead are able to walk among the living, and though we know that the spirits of our loved ones are benign and loving, the Church taught that spirits were evil and malignant manifestations of the devil. The clever witches managed to use this misinformation to their own advantage. On Samhain night, the Christian townspeople locked their windows and doors and drew their shutters closed for fear of seeing an evil apparition. The witches carved turnips with ghoulish faces (there were no pumpkins in Britain at the time) and lit them with candles. Dressed in black cloaks they were nearly invisible in the night, except for the leering faces of the carved turnips. Anyone peeking out the window on Samhain night would be frightened out of their wits, thus leaving the way clear for the witches to proceed to their Sabbat.


     Samhain is a night for divination, the veil between the world of the living and the dead is at its thinnest making this the best night of the year to find out what the future has in store. Pull out your crystal ball, scrying mirror, Tarot, runes, stones, or bones, don't miss this opportunity to see into the future.

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