Red Pixie October 1st, 2012
Samhain – & Superstition
Without question, my favourite Sabbat of all, is Samhain, a time where the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest. The celts celebrated this as New Year, it’s also the last of the harvest festivals before winter sets in. One of the things I love the most is reading up on the folklore around this Sabbat, and we all know how thick with stories it is, but I love it, I love to think of people setting a place at their dinner table for their dead ancestors and people putting candles in their window to guide the souls on Samhain night. I do think it has become more of a candy fest for most countries now, and in a way that’s sad, what I think we need to do is educate the children on the true meaning of the festival, its less about going door to door begging for money (don’t get me started) or candy and more about honouring the wheel of the year and death in all its forms.
During Samhain, the Goddess has entered her incarnation of Crone. She is the Old One, the earth mother, the wise one we turn to when we need advice. She teaches us that sometimes we must let go in order to move on. The God, at Samhain, is the Horned One, the stag of great antlers, the god of the wild hunt. He is the animal that dies so that we may eat, and the grains and corn that once lived in the field before our harvest. We can honour these late-fall aspects of both the Goddess and the God in one ritual.
I have a fascination with some of the old traditions for divination, like this one:-
Throwing the Shoe; It’s an Irish tradition of very simple divination, so, a person wishing to know their future remove one of their shoes on Halloween night and tosses it over the roof of their house. If the shoe lands pointing away from the house it means there will be a period of travel in that particular direction. If it lands pointing towards the house it means no travel is forecasts. Good fortune is indicated if the shoe lands with the sole down, however, if the sole is pointing up this is said to be a sign of impending misfortune or even death!
Food – A Scottish twentieth century tradition was to beat the following objects into a pot of mashed potatoes (champit tatties) a button, a thimble and a ring. The lights in the room would be turned out and boys and girls would scoop out a bit of mashed potatoes and eat it in the dark. If the boy got the button this would be an indication he would never take a wife, if a girl took the thimble this meant she was destined for spinsterhood. However the ring was a sign of marriage and happiness in the future for whoever was lucky enough to find it.
by Lead – On Halloween night fill an old spoon with scraps of lead and then hold it over the flame of a new white candle until the lead is completely melted. Pour it into a pail of cold water. The shape it assumes after it cools will reveal the trade of your future husband. For instance if it takes on the appearance of a ship, this indicates that he will be a sailor, a book indicates a teacher, a lancet a doctor and so forth.
I have to admit they do make me smile and for me the weirder the better, superstition has been around as long as Halloween itself, and I’m sure that news superstitions creep in every year… here’s a couple of my all time favourites:-
It is believed that if a person lights a new orange candle at midnight on Halloween and lets it burn until the sun rises they will be the recipient of good fortune. However, according to an old legend any person who bakes bread or journeys after sunset on Halloween runs the risk of conjuring forth bad luck in great abundance.
If the moon is new on Halloween night this indicates that the coming year will be fertile ground for new beginnings to take place, such as the start of a project, a new career, or even a new way of thinking. Good Luck throughout the coming year is promised by a waxing Halloween moon. It also indicates growth and an increase of all things that are a positive nature. A full moon on this night ensures that the powers of all forms of magic and divination practised on this night will be at their greatest. A secret wish made at midnight on this might will be realised within the coming year, and do not be surprised if an experience of a psychic nature awaits you in the very near future. However, if a Halloween night sees a waning moon, this can be an omen of good or bad consequences. It can indicate the elimination of such things as bad habits, unhealthy relationships, and obstacles within the coming year. Or it can point to a decrease (such as health) or a loss of some kind soon to take place. If what is known as the ‘dark phase of the moon’ takes place on Halloween, this is believed to be a very negative omen. Exercise extreme caution in all your endeavours within the next twelve months, and it wouldn’t hurt to protect yourself by wearing or carrying any type of amulet or talisman designed to ward off bad luck and misfortune.
Aren’t they great, I mean some of these date back so long, I wonder who originally decided this was the truth?
Anyway I hope you had fun reading some of my favourite things around this festival, have a safe, happy Samhain night however you celebrate, stay safe, have fun and share the love.