October, 2016

Merry Meet

October, 2016

samhain61

 

                                Welcome

 

Our Samhain Issue is sure to please.  We have many great features this month for your reading pleasure…such as…

 

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An interview with Joanna van der Hoeven, best-selling author, teacher, and co-founder of Druid College UK.

 

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A review of the book “The Yoga Back Book,” by author Stella Weller.  “The natural solution to freedom from pain.”

 

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An informative Sacred Place, Sacred Space article this month, from Susan Morgaine, on Goddess Temples in the U.S.

 

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Seeing the Signs this month Gives us a lesson on Tarot and the Celtic Cross Spread.  

 

…and so much more.

 

Join us on Facebook  & Twitter!!

SpellCrafting: Spells & Rituals

October, 2016

Water is Life

Merry meet.

I am among the many pagans who want to support the warriors at Standing Rock. Two sisters in my coven – Debra Cohen and Janet Coffa – wrote a ritual that more than a dozen women chose to
participate in at a Mabon retreat. I’m sharing it below in the hopes that you will use it to enlist the support of others in this important effort.

The protectors, the warriors at Standing Rock represent each and every one of us who understand the need to protect our environment, our multicultural values and the very Earth that supports us.

The statement Water is Lifeis true for every human being and it must be fought for by everyone. The fight must take many forms, from physical presence in places that are immediately threatened to communication with our government and education of those unaware of the impact of inaction.

Standing Rock speaks about clean water, industry greed,
governmental weakness, and the power of money that buys bad
decisions. It also speaks with a vision of potential catastrophe when we fail to consider the future impact of current energy policy. We, our children and our grandchildren have a duty to stand in the face of
intimidation and say NO MORE, YOU SHALL NOT PASS and WE WILL NOT STOP FIGHTING for what is right, just and sacred.

[Invite participants to share their thoughts.]

As in everything, we all do what we can, as we can. It is our
responsibility to share our ideas and support each other in our efforts. These are some ideas about sending support to Standing Rock:

Send donations

Contact legislators

Attend a vigil in support of Standing Rock

Use social media to education and share information

[Participants took turns stating one thing they would do in the name of the warriors at Standing Rock. Each was then blessed with water of determination – in our case it was rain water collected during a
thunderstorm that carried the essence of the power needed in the struggle. Fingers were dipped in the water and touched to the feet, then each hand and then the throat with the following words.]

Bless these feet so they can walk the walk.

Bless these hands to do the heavy lifting.

Bless this to speak truth and defiance to power.

WE ARE CHANGE!

Merry part.

And merry meet again.

Seeing the Signs

October, 2016

The Celtic Cross

Samhain is traditionally a time of divination. Some methods – such an apple and tossing the peel over your shoulder and seeing the design of the peel – have gone down in history as “folk love magic”, since the apple peel, left overnight on the hearth, will set into the letter of your true-love. We did this as children.

In my own Samhain rituals, I always use tarot cards – tarot cards have always been my first and favorite form of divination. I first picked up a deck in 1988 – a Rider-Waite deck – and I have never stopped loving the feel and the ease of reading the cards. At this point in time, I own seven Tarot decks. Most of the time, I use the Rider-Waite – it’s just my go-to deck – easy to read in every aspect.

I have a Tarot notebook filled with notes of the twenty-eight years of study. Once a section of my Book of Shadows, it is now a giant-sized notebook of its own with numerous divisions. I have read almost every book I have found in libraries or borrowed from friends or have been able to buy. In the 1990’s, when I became connected to the Internet, I found another rich source of Tarot information and my Tarot notebook grew by leaps and bounds. Now my favorite source of information is Pinterest – for images of cards, for new spreads – for all kinds of enlightenment. I’m at a point with my Tarot notebook where I’m thinking of dividing it up into two notebooks – one for notes and one for spreads alone. I have 102 Tarot spreads as of this writing – organized by subject matter, shape of the spread and number of cards used. There is a section for The Celtic Cross, which was the first spread I learned to read and remains my favorite spread to use.

I have eighteen versions of the Celtic Cross, including the one I developed myself. The first one in the section is from Tarot: A New Handbook for the Apprentice, by Eileen Connolly, which was published by Newcastle Publishing in 1979. I used to own this book but gave it away because I felt it had too much a Christian bias and I am a Dianic Witch. But looking at the spread today, it is a simple and easy-to-use spread that is perfect for the beginner, and I do remember that the entire book was the same way so if you ever come across this book, I do recommend it for that reason. Don’t let the Christian-speak turn you off. For years, this was the only Tarot book I had in my possession – since you have to return library books – so I am glad that the woman who gave me my first deck of cards also gave me this helpful book. Teachers do come from all spiritual backgrounds so it is important not to let religious or political differences get in the way of enlightenment.

In the beginning of my spiritual search, I hadn’t learned the rules of research so many of my spreads do not have bibliographic information telling me from which book I found it, which is disappointing to me today. But nowadays I make sure I cite all my sources on each page. Some of the spreads are named after the person who wrote the book in which I found the spread – therefore, Celtic Cross #5 is subtitled “Angeles Arrien” Celtic Cross #6 is subtitled “Joanne Kolwalski”. Celtic Cross #7 has the subtitle “Mary K. Greer” and it is one of the more involved spreads that I have seen, in that for each position it presents between seven and ten concepts to consider. Mary K. Greer is one of my favorite Tarot instructors via her books, website and blogs. Her book, Tarot for Yourself: A Workbook for Personal Transformation has an entire chapter devoted to the Celtic Cross and just rereading it for this column was like a refresher course in Tarot! I bought this book back in 1993 and did all the exercises – many of them turned into poems. I cannot recommend it enough. ALL of Mary K. Greer’s books are fabulous.

My personal Celtic Cross came about simply because when you do something all the time, you naturally start seeing things in a certain way and the cards start speaking to you in a certain way. Reading all the spreads that I have collected, I can see how they all influenced me – from the very simple ones to the very complex ones. Being on the simpler side, I keep my spreads easy to read and to the point. I scanned the page with my Celtic Cross but since it was written in pencil – which I do in case I make a mistake and can easily change things – my tiny handwriting didn’t show up very well. So here is the basic spread, which is of course the same as everyone else’s Celtic Cross:

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This is how I read it:

  1. Cover. The basic situation.

  2. Cross. What is screwing up the situation.

  3. Base. What is at the bottom of the situation.

  4. Past. What is no longer happening but is still affecting the situation.

  5. Hopes. This is connected to #9, Fears.

  6. Future. This is connected to #10, Outcome.

  7. Environment. What is surrounding the situation.

  8. Querent. The person who wants to know what’s going on.

  9. Fears. Worries & anxieties surrounding the situation.

  10. Outcome. If this card is from the Minor Arcana, then deal three more cards and see if a card from the Major Arcana comes up. If none appears, then the situation is as yet unsettled spiritually and set it aside for another day. This is the way it is sometimes. Meditate on the issue and do another reading on another day.

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I have kept records of my tarot readings in my regular diary and in special tarot journals since I started using the cards in 1988. It’s a good

practice to acquire. Looking back on my old readings, I can see how I have developed as a reader. I rarely read for other people – I look for my own answers – and I use the cards for meditation. But I’m at the point where I can lay out the cards and generally read them at a glance. Quite often – after writing it all down in my journal – I’ll refer to one of my Tarot books or the notes I have in my Tarot notebook for more enlightenment. As I said before, I love all of Mary K. Greer’s books. Another favorite is A Feminist Tarot, by Sally Gearhart and Susan Rennie. Originally published by Persephone Press in 1976, it is now published by Alyson Publications and is in its sixth edition. I have the fifth edition, which was published in 1981.

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Of course Radar has to get in the way when I’m recording the reading in my Tarot Journal!

There are as many versions of The Celtic Cross as there as tarot readers – many more than I have in my Tarot notebook – so find some of the books I have mentioned and teach yourself some of the finer points of this easy to learn, easy to use Tarot spread. And on Samhain evening, as you sip your apple cider by candlelight, shuffle your favorite deck and find out what your ancestors have to say to you. Brightest Blessings!

Book Review: The Yoga Back Book by Stella Weller

October, 2016

THE YOGA BACK BOOK BY STELLA WELLER

A Book Review

the-yoga-back-book

The sub-title to this book is “the natural solution to freedom from pain”. Since almost everyone has suffered from back pain at one time or another, not to mention those who suffer from daily, chronic back pain, this book could be a lifesaver, if used correctly. Ms. Weller’s background is as both a registered nurse and a yoga therapist, so her information comes from both a yogic and medical path.

The book is extremely informative. It not only describes the exercises, it includes photos of each one, plus its’ variation, if there is one. (Note: Making adjustments is very important when doing any type of exercise program, yoga included, as not every body can accomplish every movement.)

In and around the exercise section, Ms. Weller talks about warming up beforehand, and cooling down afterward.

She explains how each part of the back functions, along with the function of anything connected to keeping the back strong, i.e. leg muscles, abdominals, connective tissue, ligaments. If you are someone who enjoys learning about how your body works, then the anatomy portions of the book will please you. If, on the other hand, you just want to get straight to the exercises, you can do that as well.

She discusses the best way to sit, stand, lie down, bend, etc. for those with bad backs, as well as for those who just want to keep their backs in good working order.

She discusses the best diet for a healthy back including low-fat, low-protein, cutting down on caffeine and drinking plenty of water. While she suggests building your meals around fruits and vegetables, I was surprised to see that she does not recommend a vegetarian and/or vegan diet, as most yoga practitioners and teachers would.

I was very pleased to see that she has included a section on relaxation methods, including meditation and breathwork. In other areas of the book, she does recommend focusing on your breath while doing the exercises, key in most yoga exercises. This portion of the book includes advice on how to get the best night’s sleep and how to decrease stress, both of which can add to the pain in your back. She goes on to discuss other ways of alleviating your pain, such as medication, TENS units, and massage. There are several pages which include advice for before, during and after pregnancy.

As a long time yoga practitioner and teacher, as well as someone who has suffered chronic back pain for many, many years, I would recommend this book, with the understanding that there are many who will skip over the medical explanations and just begin the exercises.

Disclaimer: Please speak to your doctor before starting any exercise program, which would include those discussed in this book. The review and recommendation of this book is the author’s only; neither she nor Pagan Pages accepts any responsibility for any injury occurring while using this book.

Spiralled Edges

October, 2016

Culling Time

Come September when autumn winds start to chill our focus is on the harvest. I have friends from all over who are busy canning and preserving fruits and vegetables they have grown in their gardens. Those of us who don’t have access to a garden or allotment may be looking at ideas we planted in the spring. How have they grown? Are they ready for harvesting and completion?

The focus is very much on bringing in the harvest, whether literal or symbolic, but little attention is given to the other part of this season – this is a time of culling.

For the farmer, this meant looking at his livestock and making a decision on which would be worth keeping over the winter, and which would need to be killed to provide food for his family, but also to make sure there was enough food on hand for the livestock he did keep. In addition, he would need to think about the number of animals that he might get the following year when mothers dropped their young.

These days, most of us don’t have these worries because we probably don’t live on farms. We can still look during this time of year to see what needs to be culled from our own lives though.

Now is the time to do work to release those outworn ideas that once served a purpose, but are now holding us down. It’s the time to take a look at what is cluttering up our lives, whether they be physical objects or outworn habits. It’s time to do a bit of culling.

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This doesn’t mean that it’s time to spend a few days bashing yourself over the head for every perceived fault. Even the most unhealthy habit or behaviour at one time served a purpose, though you may not remember any more what that purpose was.

When looking ask yourself – does this serve me in a healthy way? Does it bring me joy? Has it served its purpose? Then take the steps you need to cull what is no longer needed or wanted.

I won’t go into all the various systems and programs that can be followed, and there are many. Many people find success with Fly Lady or Side-Tracked Home Executive when it comes to decluttering. You may also look at support groups or professional help. Sometimes, habits and behaviours have become so ingrained that we don’t even realise we are doing them. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. And don’t be too ruthless either when deciding what needs to be culled. Remember, the careful farmer always made sure he kept enough breeding stock on hand to sustain the farm in the coming year.

When you are ready, you may want to do a small ceremony. This is one that you could adapt for your own circumstances.

Culling Spell

You will need:

  • A fireproof dish
  • A small piece of paper and pen
  • A candle and means to light it.

Prepare yourself in whatever way you wish beforehand. You may also want to light candles, clear the area with incense, and/or create a ritual circle.

When you are ready, sit with the tools before you.

Centre yourself, then state what it is that you wish to cull from your life. Write it down on the paper.

You may state these words, or some of your own choosing.

“Today I wish to release (this behaviour/habit/thought process) from my life. It has served its purpose (state what that purpose was if you know), but I have grown and it no longer serves me. I am grateful for the purpose it once had for me and release it now with gratitude and love. “

Light the paper and place it in the fireproof dish. Allow what you have released to be consumed by the flame while saying the following, or similar words of your own choosing:

“Peace surround me,

Light shine within me.

I release this now with gratitude and love.”

When finished sit quietly for a few minutes. Then take any remaining ashes from the paper and dispose of them someplace away from your home. Running water is ideal.

What do you need to cull from your life?

Image in public domain, source of quote is unknown

Aromatic Life

October, 2016

Apples

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Apple Magick is very popular on Samhain. Whether you are trying to divine who your next lover will be or paying tribute to an ancestor, apples abound on this holiday.

Here are a few ways to bring apples into your home for the holidays….

  • Burn Apple Blossom incense in your workings, on your altar, or to give the room a nice smell.
  • Eat some apples.  They have wonderful health benefits.  You can read some of what those are here.
  • Make a new wand using the branch of an apple tree.
  • Use them in your recipes for a Samhain meal.
  • A Simmer Pot is a great and easy way to make your house smell like Autumn with apples.  Here is what you do:

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In a pot on a low simmering heat or in a crockpot on low with the cover off bring the following to a simmer:

5 Cups of Water

1 Apple Cut in Half

3-4 Cinnamon Sticks

From here you can add anything else that pleases your senses, such as, orange peels, cardamom, cloves, etc…

This concoction can simmer, watched, for a few hours.

Enjoy the beautiful Aroma!

 

 

MagickalArts

October, 2016

This is the first of a series of articles that will explore our connection to the Moon and how to use HER energy for magick and spiritual growth….

Part One

Lunar Magick: The Basics

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The Lady holds her mystery

In silent waiting orb.

The milky white lantern held

In space of velvet night.

Sun king gives way

As she weaves her veil

Of star and ebb and flow.

She speaks not a word

Her call answered deep

Within the heart that turns within.

 

The Silent Moon is calling

The rite of the Hermit has begun.

Moon Phase Basics

Attuning to the phases and cycle of the moon connects the seeker to the deeper mysteries of the Universe and their impact upon our psyche and emotions. The lunar tides move in a pattern of ebb and flow, contraction and expansion and aligning with these energies offers opportunity to make that application to our workings.

Although Magickal working can be done at any time, there are specific times during the lunar cycle when your workings can be enhanced. One of the first considerations is what type of energy you want to use for your intent.

The Waxing Moon is the time between the New Moon and the Full Moon and provides a crescendo or building effect. The Waning Moon is the time between the Full Moon and the last day of the last quarter- just prior to the New Moon and allows for release and the diminishing of energetic effect. 

New Moon/The Maiden

The New Moon is a time of beginnings and first seeds towards growth. New projects, goals and behaviors are all supported when given focus during this time.

The New Moon represents the beginning of the cycle of increased flow and dynamics and the first seeds towards eventual growth. It embodies the Goddess as the Maiden. Full, fertile and ripe with creative outpour and though lacking the experience of the Crone, has more than enough enthusiasm to seek out the many paths that could be taken. It is to some degree the allowance of nature taking its course, directed towards a goal of productive manifestation. It is the yearning and desire that is inherent in the Maiden that will attract to Her that which she desires most. And, it is this energy, which if with intention and correct thought is set into motion during this phase will blossom with the waxing of the Moon.

Magickal workings would include: 

  • Beginnings of any new endeavor
  • Fresh starts at old projects/pursuits
  • Dedications to a new pursuit
  • The first steps towards a specific goal

Full Moon/The Mother

The Full Moon is the peak and product of all efforts begun at the New Moon. Additionally, any working that needs extra oomph, magnification or energetic boost, will benefit from Full Moon energy. 

The Full Moon embodies the energies of the Goddess as the Mother. She is the giver of life and the nurturer and guardian that ensures that that life will be productive, fruitful and at the apex of whatever endeavor is undertaken. The expansive light of the Full Moon shines upon all under its sway and the dynamics of ebb and flow are at their most potent. Energy exchanges with energy and movement and expansion occurs bringing the highest possible outcome for all that it touches. The energy of the Full Moon causes things to happen and therefore is neither stagnant nor still in its outpour.

A beautiful full moon stirs our instinctual animal behavior. The feelings of running wild beneath the primal light of the moon surfaces in everyone’s fantasies or yearnings at least once in a lifetime. Some take up the call and find a primal nature within that lay long buried or was hidden by the conventionality of society’s expectation. It also stirs the passions within. Staring back at your lover with star-filled eyes and other-worldly light reflected on smooth skin ignite the desire to move and merge as one flowing being. Flowing in rhythm with each other just as the tides respond to mother moon’s pull.

With all this diverse energy and mystery surrounding the Moon is it any wonder that its greater mysteries are used to enhance sacred work. Dancing around a fire on a moon lit night, moving to the beat of drums is the nearest one can come to being totally absorbed into the Natural world. Mother Moon shines down to light the way that all may fall under her seductive spell.  And, as energies rise in response to her call time stops, as the veils part and the work of deep transformation begins.

Magickal workings would include:

  • Celebrating the fruition of a goal, desire or working begun at the New Moon
  • Strengthening a relationship, situation or personal trait that you wish to use productively
  • Strengthening and Reaffirming of Dedications to The Great Work, a magickal Path, a Deity or spiritual pursuit

 

Dark Moon/The Crone

The span of time from completion of Full moon, up to and including approximately 3 days prior to the next New Moon is the optimal time for release, cutting away and inner preparation. These 3 days prior to the next New Moon are also known as the Dark Moon phase.   

The Dark Moon embodies the Hidden nature, that if embraced in the fullness of the dark reveals what may lay beneath the surface waiting to be used and transformed. This is the Goddess as the Crone. She holds nothing back, invites you to look at the truth of your own reflection and then demands that you release what serves no purpose and what hinders your growth. She carries the wisdom that has grown through experience and she knows the secrets of the darkest of places and holds within the Light that illumines those who have courage to enter.

Using the energy of the Dark Moon is to call upon the reserves of knowing that are contained within what it is you seek to release.  This is a time for culling, pruning and preparing for the upcoming New Moon where what is viable may be planted anew, with greater understanding of the process that ensures success.

Magickal workings would include:

  • Uncovering what holds you back
  • Releasing a negative habit or energy
  • Uncovering your shadow nature
  • Healing and removal of blockages

Temple of the Moon: Ritual of Dedication

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We will be doing three workings in accord with the New – Full and Dark Moon. For these you will want to establish sacred space and have an altar set up. We will be using candles to anchor the intent and flow of lunar energies and then reconnecting with each daily as we journal our experiences of the day. The altar may left in place for the duration of this journey or set up with each of the rituals. The daily re-lighting of the candle requires only the candle itself placed on table or desk as you journal.

The ritual crafted below is the first of our three and is very simple in its set-up, but very powerful as a tool of connection and anchor for the study ahead.

New Moon Ritual of Dedication – October 30.2016 in the astrological sign of Scorpio.

You will need:

1/Silver (or Black) Candle (New Moon)

1/White Candle (Full Moon)

1/Black Candle (Dark Moon)

Black and White altar cloths

A Journal and Pen to be dedicated to record your experiences

Set up your altar space with the black cloth on top of white.  This represents the New Moon phase with promise of full and waxing of its light coming to peak. The candles should be arranged forming a triangular shape with the White candle at center point, Silver candle as left base and Black candle on right side forming the base. The Silver candle on the left represents the New Moon phase (First Quarter Waxing), the White – the Full Moon and the Black candle on the left- the Dark Moon (Last Quarter Waning). The journal and pen can be placed in front of the triangular candle formation.

Establish sacred space in whatever way is in keeping with your path. Invoke the assistance of whatever Deity, guides or patrons you work with to inform and enliven this journey.

Standing in front of your altar, begin by lighting the silver candle. As you light this candle offer up words stating your intention of embarking on this new moon journey to deepen your connection to the lunar energies. Leave the white and black candle unlit for now. They will be lit at the Full and Dark moon workings next month.

Envision the orb of the blessed Moon shadowed now but shining brightly still despite the illusion of its shading. Open and allow yourself to connect deeply to the image of the waters of moon’s flow gently holding you as you are carried with the ebb and flow of the tides. Soften your gaze and see the strand of light that flows from the flame of the Black candle as it reaches out to connect with the center of your being. Envision this as the continual stream of informed connection that will be the place of deeper gnosis of the Moon and her mysteries. 

Take a deep breath in and allow this energy to move through you.  Flowing like water, reaching every point of your being. Exhale long and slowly sending that energy back into the circuit that is forming between you and the energy you have called forth to permeate this candle. Breathe in this manner of receipt and release, ebb and flow for as long as you feel is needed; ending with a long exhale.

Sharpen your gaze and return back to a space of clarity and focus looking at all three candles. As you move your gaze from one to the other offer up words of intent:

Tomorrow, at the time of the New Moon the energies I have set into motion this evening will flow forth and my opening to the energies of the moon in all of her phases will move in accord with HER cycles. So Mote It Be!!

Breathe deeply into these words (or those of your own) and see them as being held in witness by the guides, Deity or others you called into to assist this rite.

Offer up thanks to those you invoked to join in this ritual, and bid them hail and farewell. Ground and release your sacred space, again, in whatever way is in keeping with your path. And, lastly, snuff out the flame of the New Moon candle. I have purposefully had you do this after the release of sacred space as symbolic act of carrying these energies back into the mundane world of expression to be used and accessed on all levels of being.

You will light this candle each night connecting to its energies and adding to these from your own energetic experiences. Continue to do this up to the eve of the Full Moon (another ritual and dedication and lighting of the White candle) as you write your impressions of the day.

Blessings on your journey as we walk this road together!

How I do Samhain

October, 2016

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Ahhhh, It’s that time of year again. The air has turned crisp and leaves begin to swirl around our feet. The darkness greets us sooner and sooner each day. It’s almost time to celebrate, The Witch’s New Year…Samhain or Halloween.

Samhain, Pronounced Sow-in, is the Celtic Festival to mark the end of the harvest season. It is the beginning of Winter and the Darker half of the year. It is just about halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice. It lasts from sunset Oct 31st to sunset Nov 1st. It is believed to be a very powerful day, when the Veil between the Worlds is at it’s thinnest and Spirits and Faeries can pass through into ours with ease.

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This is my most favorite time of year. I can feel an energy change as soon as the month of October arrives. The celebrations for Samhain begin early in the month, as soon as pumpkin picking begins or pumpkins hit the local markets.

Every year our family enjoys a pumpkin or 4. We pick tiny ones to decorate altars for the year to come in oranges and whites. Then the fun part, we pick our pumpkins to carve!!!! We make them into Jack-O-Lanterns.

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Jack-O-Lanterns are believed to have become a custom on Samhain/Halloween in Ireland around the 19th century. They were believed to either ward off evil spirits or were used, sometimes, by Halloween revelers to frighten people. The pumpkin top is cut off and the insides are scooped out. Placing your hands in the gooey mess can be tons of fun. You can save the pumpkins seeds to roast! Then the front of the pumpkin is carved out into a silly or frightening face or design. When done a candle is placed inside to light the pumpkin. Keep it on your windowsill or front porch to scare away the evil spirits!

samhain

 

At least a good week of October is spent on THE BIG DECISION. Not to mention a big chunk of September was spent on this DECISION, as well. What Halloween Costumes do we get this year?? These days Halloween costumes are usually bought, and for outrageous prices. But the wearing of Halloween costumes dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries and some say as early as 1585. It is a Celtic Tradition on Samhain to wear a scary costume, because with the belief that the veil between the worlds, that is the Spirit World and Ours, is the thinnest on this day, the scary costumes help to keep evil spirits from whisking us away with them, or just plain frightening them away.

With the kids choices for costumes made I don my own. The same I wear each year. With pride I put on my comfy sweater and break out my Witch’s Hat. I only wear it on this special occasion, for the New Year Celebration. I get all the jitters and excitement as the children do as I stuff my hat on my head. Then we all head outside to walk the neighborhood proudly in our finery!

samhain

 

As the kids Trick-or-Treat they are oblivious to my thoughts as they roam through the past year. The ups and downs. The good and the bad. The happy memories I will take with me forever. The sadness I choose to leave behind. I reminisce on the smiles of my loved ones here and gone. Never forgetting those who have passed and thanking them for all they have done and continue to do as they watch me on my path. I thank the God & Goddess for a lovely life. Another lovely year I was gifted, and pray for a lovely year to come. I walk hand & hand with my husband, breathe in the air, and exude gratefulness. Our gift to the Universe is the children’s laughter & happiness. This is how we celebrate Samhain, how do you?

Samhain Correspondences

October, 2016

samhain

 

Other Names:
celtic ~ Summer’s End, pronounced “sow” (rhymes with now) “en” (Ireland), sow-een (Wales) – “mh” in the middle is a “w” sound – Greater Sabbat(High Holiday) – Fire Festival Oct 31-Nov 1(North Hemisphere) – Apr 30-May 1 – The Great Sabbat, Samhiunn, Samana, Samhuin, Sam-fuin, Samonios, Halloween, Hallomas, All Hallows Eve, All Saints/All Souls Day(Catholic), Day of the Dead (Mexican), Witches New Year, Trinoux Samonia, Celtic/ Druid New Year, Shadowfest (Strega), Martinmas or Old Hallowmas (Scotttish/Celtic) Lá Samhna (Modern Irish), Festival of the Dead, Feile Moingfinne (Snow Goddess), Hallowtide (Scottish Gaelis Dictionary), Feast of All Souls, Nos Galen-gae-of Night of the Winter Calends (Welsh), La Houney or Hollantide Day, Sauin or Souney ( Manx), oidhche na h-aimiléise-the night of mischief or confusion(Ireland), Oidhche Shamna (Scotland)

Rituals:
End of summer, honoring of the dead,scrying, divination, last harvest, meat harvest

Incense:
Copal, sandalwood, mastic resin, benzoin, sweetgrass, wormwood, mugwort, sage, myrrh or patchouli

Tools:
Besom, cauldron, tarot, obsidian ball, pendulum, runes, oghams, Ouija boards, black cauldron or bowl filled with black ink or water, or magick mirror

Stones/Gems:
Black obsidian, jasper, carnelian, onyx, smoky quartz, jet, bloodstone

Colors:
Black, orange, red

Symbols & Decorations:
Apples, autumn flowers, acorns, bat, black cat, bones, corn stalks, colored leaves, crows, death/dying, divination and the tools associated with it, ghosts, gourds, Indian corn, jack-o-lantern, nuts , oak leaves, pomegranates, pumpkins, scarecrows, scythes, waning moon

Foods:
Apples, apple dishes, cider, meat (traditionally this is the meat harvest) especially pork, mulled cider with spices, nuts-representing resurrection and rebirth, nuts, pomegranates, potatoes, pumpkins, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, roasted pumpkin seeds, roasted pumpkin seeds, squash.

Goddesses:
The Crone, Hecate(Greek), Cerridwen(Welsh-Scottish), Arianrhod(Welsh), Caillech (Irish-Scottish), Baba Yaga (Russian), Al-Ilat(persian), Bast (Egyptian), Persephone (Greek), Hel(Norse), Kali(Hindu), all Death & Otherworld Goddesses

Gods:
Horned Hunter(European), Cernnunos(Greco-Celtic), Osiris(Egyptian), Hades (Greek), Gwynn ap Nudd (British), Anubis(Egyptian), Coyote Brother (Native American), Loki (Norse), Dis (Roman), Arawn (Welsh), acrificial/Dying/Aging
Gods, Death and Otherworld Gods

Herbs and Flowers:
Almond, apple leaf , autumn joy sedum, bay leaf, calendula, Cinnamon, Cloves cosmos, garlic, ginger , hazelnut, hemlock cones, mandrake root, marigold, mums, mugwort (to aid in divination), mullein seeds, nettle, passionflower, pine needles, pumpkin seeds, rosemary (for remembrance of our ancestors), rue, sage, sunflower petals and seeds, tarragon, wild ginseng, wormwood

Animals:
Stag, cat, bat, owl, jackal, elephant, ram, scorpion, heron, crow, robin

Mythical Beings:
Pooka, goblin,medusa, beansidhe, harpies

Essence:
Magick, plenty; knowledge, the night, death & rebirth, success, protection; rest, new beginning; ancestors; lifting of the veil, mundane laws in abeyance, return, change

Dynamics/Meaning:
Death & transformation, Wiccan new year,wisdom of the Crone, end of summer, honoring, thinning of the veil between worlds, death of the year, time outside of time, night of the Wild Hunt, begin new projects, end old projects

Work:
Sex magick, release of bad habits, banishing, fairy magick, divination of any kind, candle magick, astral projection, past life work, dark moon mysteries, mirror spells (reflection), casting protection , inner work, propitiation, clearing obstacles, uncrossing, inspiration, workings of transition or culmination, manifesting transformation,creative visualization, contacting those who have departed this plane

Purpose:
Honoring the dead, especially departed ancestors, knowing we will not be forgotten; clear knowledge of our path; guidance, protection, celebrating reincarnation

Rituals/Magicks:
Foreseeing future, honoring/consulting ancestors, releasing the old, power, understanding death and rebirth, entering the underworld, divination, dance of the dead, fire calling, past life recall

Customs:
Ancestor altar, costumes, divination, carving jack-o-lanterns, spirit plate, the Feast of the Dead, feasting, paying debts, fairs, drying winter herbs, masks, bonfires, apple games, tricks, washing clothes

Element:
Water

Gender:
Male

Threshold:
Midnight

The Kitchen Witch

October, 2016

 

Salmon with Apples and Maple Syrup

The fall season is filled with fabulous fruits and vegetables – various squashes, including pumpkin, which seems to be everywhere nowadays – heirloom tomatoes, many different kinds of beans, pears and plums and peaches – and my personal favorite – apples. Every year, I look forward to the fall season for the apple crop. This year in the Northeast, we have been plagued by a very harsh drought so the local apples are much smaller than usual but are they ever sweet and juicy! Like Jo March in Little Women, I can think of nothing better than to sit in a comfortable place with a few of these great little fruits and read a good book all afternoon.

Naturally I use apples in cooking. I bake pies, of course – Samhain wouldn’t be Samhain without an apple pie! And of course I make a fabulous apple crisp – using my mother’s recipe – and an apple cake that was my second husband’s recipe. But as good as apples are for dessert, they can be used in entrées as well. Here is an easy recipe using apples with salmon.

You need fresh or frozen salmon (thawed), any kind of apple you like and real maple syrup.

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Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a pan with foil. Set the salmon in the middle of the foil. Cut the apple into slices and set around the salmon, then pour some maple syrup over all of it. Since I was only cooking for myself, I only used half of the apple and perhaps a quarter cup of maple syrup but if you are cooking for more people, of course you will increase the amount of apple and maple syrup accordingly.

kitchen2

After seasoning with a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, lightly fold up the foil and place in the middle of your preheated oven. Let it bake for around fifteen minutes and then open up the foil and then let bake another fifteen or twenty minutes. The salmon should be light pink and flakey when you touch it with a fork and the apples should be soft but still retaining some firmness.

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Place the salmon on a plate and arrange the apples around it. Pour the maple syrup over all as a sauce.

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Since I only used one-half of the apple, I used the other half in a salad. This made a nice companion to the Salmon entrée. As you can see, I used mixed greens, onions, and chunks of sharp cheddar cheese in addition to the apples. With a creamy ranch dressing, this was fabulously good!

kitchen5

Try one or both of these for your Samhain seasonal feast! Brightest Blessings!

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