Monthly Archives: October 2010

Blessed Samhain……

Merry Meet friends!  It’s Here!  Samhain weekend!  The world is full of busy happy witches right now. 

There are feasts and bonfires, cooking and brewing, trick or treating and costumes, spells and rituals, Dumb suppers and quiet time with our loved ones who have passed.  The veil is thin, the quarter moon shines, and it’s the Witches New Year!!  My post is short as I will be a very busy witch the next few days also!  I fell in love with this poem and thought it says how we are all feeling at this magickal time of year.

The wheel has turned, the wheel of light,
 stoke the fire and make it bright…
Samhain call, samhain come,
 feel the rhythm , hear the drum..
.The veil it thins, the veil it shrouds,
 the spirits rise upon darkened cloud…..
The time of orange , time of black,
 time to move forward and not look back…
.Pumpkin lit , with candle burn,
 away dark spirits this guardian turns…..
Night of the ancients, night of the olds,
 remembered in stories now to be told…..
The Crone doth rise upon this night,
 look into the shadows without a fright…..
Rituals and rites across the lands,
 empowers the soul where they stand….
 Trick or treat, heal or curse ,
 the hand should be crossed from a silver purse…….
The Wheel begins its time anew,
 the release of the old for the knowledgeable few….
The time to scry to see the path we must take,
 and of the choices we need to make….
She comes to us in many guises
 the Crow and the owl her favourite disguises….
The Earth gives us her last to give,
 the bountiful harvest so we can live…
We feast and drink in a sacred space,
 behind samhain masks to hide our face…..
Through darkened day and moonlight night
 All hallows Eve is a beautiful sight…..

(C) Copyright Phiona Hutton July 2010

My wish for all of you is that you be a Happy Blessed Witch at this Most special time of Year.  Hugs and love to you and your families!
Blessed Be, Autumn

 

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The Dumb Supper……..

Merry Meet my friends…Samhain draws ever nearer and I find myself thrilling to it.  Darkness falls earlier each night…the wind is brisk and leaves are falling…jack o’lanterns are showing up on porches…the veil in thinning…Magick is afoot!

Samhain is about honoring our ancestors; our loved ones who have passed beyond the veil.  One way to do this is to have a Dumb Supper.  This year, my family will be having one.  A Dumb Supper or Silent Supper is just that..everyone present stays silent during the meal.  There are a few particulars about the meal too….it should be held in sacred space.  You can accomplish the sacred space in your own kitchen or dining room simply by casting a circle, cleansing and consecrating it.  All table service should be black..this includes the tablecloth, plates, glasses, napkins etc.  I don’t have black dishes so I accomplish this with a visit to a party store and I buy the heavy plastic dishes.  Third, I only use candles for lighting or oil lamps…this gives the space the beauty and somberness it deserves. Lastly, each guest should bring a prayer for their loved ones who are being honored and they may bring their divination tool of choice also.

The chair at the head of the table can be shrouded in black…now the Spirit chair.  Then you may leave other chairs empty to represent the loved one you’ve lost or your ancestor.   When setting the table, place a black votive candle at each empty chair that represents a deceased loved one or ancestor and a white votive candle at the Spirit Chair.  Light each candle. Place your hands on the shrouded chair and ask for Spirit to be with you. Walk to each ancestor’s chair touch it, explaining that the ritual is being done in the ancestors’ honor.

The host of the feast sits in the chair opposite the shrouded chair. As each guest enters the room, he or she should go to the Spirit chair, touch it, then go to each of the ancestors’ chairs and place a prayer under each plate or say a simple prayer silently. The guests then take their seats, join hands and pray a wordless blessing of the meal and for all present. The host serves the empty chairs, beginning at the head of the table. Then the host serves the living guests from oldest to youngest.

After the feast is done and all have finished eating, all join hands, silently asking for the blessings of Spirit on the living and the dead. Now is the time to gather each prayer left under a plate and burn it in the flame of the candle by that plate, catching the ashes in a container. On the sign from the host, the guests leave the area, stopping by empty places or ancestral altar on their way out.

After the host thanks Spirit, the guests return to share any impressions they received during the feast. The table is cleared, and divination can be done. Allow the candles to burn until all have gone home, and then snuff each candle. Throw the candle ends and prayer ashes into a moving body of water, or bury them off the property.

I find this to be just a beautiful way to honor our loved ones…the meal should be simple, delicous and beautiful.  Even if its just your immediate small family, this ritual can be very touching and magickal.  While you are silent, or during divination after the meal, listen to see if anyone has a message for you…do you feel their presence? 

My paternal grandmother was a christian woman whom I loved dearly…and whom I believe gave me my early understanding of the witch in me!  She was a witch and didn’t know it!  She had a huge garden that she loved spending time in..she taught me to know when veggies were ready to be picked..how to shell peas and snap green beans and make homemade apple sauce and apple butter.  She made her own home remedies..she taught us to lay in a hammock and look at the starry sky…taught us to listen for the birds, how to make a doll from hollyhocks..she was wonderful!  A meal at her house ..even breakfast..was a 7 course meal full of things made with love from her garden.  I often feel her near to me…and I know she is aware of our lives and whats going on with us.  I will celebrate her at my Dumb Supper..along with other grandparents, a good friend and yes, even my two little dogs.  And this year, I have a baby grandchild who was lost in early pregnancy but I believe I will know in another life. 

Beggar’s night in my area, is on saturday night the 30th.  My family will celebrate that as well!  We live on a windy country road and pretty far from the road and we don’t get trick-or-treaters here, so we head over to my daughter and son-in-laws house for the evening.  She makes chili, cornbread and an apple dessert.  This year my nearly two year old granddaughter Lily will be going out to collect her candy in her darling lady bug costume while us grandparents and Auntie will pass out candy at their house.  Then we have a nice casual meal and just enjoy being together!  I can’t wait!

I send my wishes to you all for a Blessed Samhain..and my your ancestors and loved ones come thru the veil to spend some time with you.

Blessed Be, Autumn

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Blood Moon……..

Merry Meet my friends and a Blessed Blood Moon to you.  Yes, this is a day late..but I believe the energy of the Full Moon lasts for 3 days before and 3 days after.  The Moon still looks full and bright tonight in my neck of the woods!  Last night I only sat and communed with the Moon Goddess.  I prayed, absorbed Her energy and reflected on the blessings She has given me.

The October Full Moon is called the Blood Moon, the Hunters Moon, the Harvest Moon, the Cold Moon, the Shedding Moon or the Falling Leaf Moon. Coming right before Samhain,  it comes in the Autumn, when nights are colder and darkness arrives earlier each night.  The harvest is over and the Earth is turning brown, animals are gathering food and making their winter homes ready, birds are gathering to fly south, and families are starting to think about the holidays and the winter months. 

Moon lore talks about the Blood Moon or Hunters Moon being named so because  hunters  tracked and killed their prey by autumn moonlight, stockpiling food for the winter ahead. You can picture them: silent figures padding through the forest, the moon overhead, pale as a corpse, its cold light betraying the creatures of the wood.  It was the final harvest…the sacrifice of livestock. 

At this time of year, the God is dying and returning to the Underworld, awaiting to be reborn at Yule.  The Goddess is a Crone, wise in her years, mourning the loss of her love,  leaving the world in darkness during her time of despair.  On this Full Moon, reflect on your sacrifices, your losses.  How have they affected your life in the last year..was it positive or negative?   What would you change if you could?  How does the coming dark time of the year affect your mood, your life?  

I know many people who have SAD..Seasonal Affective Disorder.  It’s a form of depression that happens in the dark months of late Fall and Winter.  They feel sad, moody, lazy, grumpy and un-motivated.  I am the total opposite.  I love Fall and Winter.  I think of it more as a time to rest, nest, catch up on projects and organizing INSIDE…catching up on reading, hanging by the fireplace, cooking up great comforting meals, taking walks on a snowy night..wearing sweaters and scarves and hats and big warm coats.  Knitting blankets, working on my Book of Shadows, making herbal concoctions from the herbs I grew, harvested and dried.  Yule happens in the Winter..whats not to love about this time of year.  If you have SAD, try to be more active, use light therapy, peruse garden books dreaming of spring, start a new hobby….these can help you to get thru the months that you don’t feel well.

So go out tonight and enjoy the bright Blood Moon and think about the coming cold dark winter.  How are you going to live your life during this time?  Ask for guidance, clarity, energy….listen quietly for an answer.  Listen to your inner voice.  You can lament the loss of warmth and light or you can find joy in darkness.  Your choice my friend!

Blessed Be, Autumn

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Samhain incense recipe……

Merry Meet friends…thought I’d post a quick post on a Samhain loose incense recipe and a “how to” make loose incense.  I really enjoy making and using loose incense.  I feel so witchy choosing my herbs, grinding them using my stone mortar & pestle,  lighting the charcoal and placing it red hot in my cauldron, and carefully  placing the incense on the charcoal, a bit at a time,  and watching it smoke.  The smell is incredible..more potent then the sticks or cones.  Its great for smudging your home, blessing your altar, or for meditation and time spent at your altar.

First the recipe….

2 parts Cinnamon

1 part ground cloves

1 part Dragon’s Blood resin

1 part Hyssop

1 part Patchouli

2 parts Rosemary

1 part Sage

A dash of sea salt

Loose incense recipes are most often written as parts…parts can be a tsp, a Tb, a 1/4 cup…just depends on how much you want to make.  When I’m trying a new recipe I will just use a tsp..enough to see how it smells, see if I like it or want to make adjustments, such as more of one herb, or leaving one out totally, or adding something different.  This recipe is just a guide..you most certainly can adjust this to your liking..you are the maker..make it as you like it!!   Once I get the recipe the way I like it..I may make up the 1/4 cup size and store it in a tightly closed jar..well labeled. 

Now for the how to….

—You want to find the best ingredients to use in your incense. Start with scents you find intriguing on their own to use in your incense. The best mixtures make use of either a wood or resin as a base.  Herbs alone  will  burn way too fast  and smoke a bit too much.

—To make the best smelling incense, use fresh ingredients and  grind them yourself with your mortar and pestle.   You can buy ground herbs and powdered resins if you wish of course.   Woods and resins are take some elbow grease to grind.  Some witches use electric coffee grinders to do this…if you do, I would have a coffee grinder just for this purpose..you don’t want the scent of coffee in your incense or pathouli in your coffee! 🙂  I worry the grinding this way can release some of the scent..but it does save on alot of work.  If you have an antique coffee grinder..hand cranked..that would be an even better way to go! 

—Grind the woods, then the herbs, and lastly, the resins.   The resins are sticky and will absorb the woods and herbs from the mortar. Grind each ingredient separately and place in a bowl for mixing. 

                                                                                                              

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

—Once everything has been well ground, you can start to mix everything together. Mix the dry ingredients together (woods and herbs)  and the resins together if you are using more than one.  After both are well mixed, you can add the dry ingredients to the resin

—Now for the fun part..burning your incense!   To evenly distibute and disperse the heat, fill your incense burner with sand.  I know some who do this and some who don’t..your choice.  Then light your charcoal.  To light it, you may need to hold it with tweezers til it is well lit.  I actually use a pair of cheap scissors…works just as well.  Light it and hold it with the scissors/tweezers until the brick is well lit and turns blue.   After it is lit well, place in your cauldron or fireproof dish.  Then,  simply sprinkle your incense on top. Put about a tsp at a time on the charcoal..don’t put all of it at once on the charcoal…it’ll smoke nice that way and last longer!

—Storage for loose incense is best done in a glass jar with a tight-fitting  lid.  Store it in a dark, cool, dry place.  Label it well!

Making loose incense is easy, really.  It takes a bit more time than just lighting a cone or stick.  But the rewards are well worth it.  Play around with recipes….find a list of woods, resins, herbs in your witchy books or online…choose something from each list..then add more herbs..and you have a mix!  Do you love spicy scents like clove and cinnamon?  Woodsy like pine and cedar, Earthy like patchouli and sandalwood, Floral?  Sweet?  ..so many choices and 100’s of mixtures!

I hope you’ll give it a try if you don’t already make your own….you won’t be sorry.  I grow my own herbs which make it even more fun.  Planting, growing, harvesting, and grinding my own homegrown herbs….makes for a very happy Witch!

Blessings and good scents to you all, Autumn

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My Samhain Altar………

Merry Meet my witchy friends!  Today I finally got my Samhain Altar ready…my favorite altar I think for my favorite time of year!  I had so much fun choosing the fabric for the altar cloth..and I found the perfect one.  It is in indigo, black and orange..the colors representative of Samhain…it has Jack O’Lanterns, witches hats and witches brooms…just cheerful and fun.

My Samhain altar is about fun and seriousness at the same time.  The fun stuff is the owl, the pumpkin and raven, black roses, skulls etc.  The serious stuff…the pics of my ancestors who have gone on before and I will be calling on on Samhain night!  The witchy stuff..an orange Goddess candle to represent the last harvest festival, and the black God candle, to represent him dieing and waiting to be reborn in the spring.  Other harvest reps are the pumpkins, indian corn, acorns and leaves.  Crystals are jet, obsidian, black tourmeline, red river carnelian, orange carnelian and orange jasper.  There is a large piece of obsidian that could be used for scrying..as diviniation is very powerful at Samhain.  I have the reps for the quarters as always, one change is my cauldron is representing Air as I  will be burning loose incense rather than a cone or stick.  My atheme and wand are always on my altar of course.

My ancestors pictures are precious to me…these are mostly pics taken when they were young.  My maternal grandfather, both grandmothers, both sets of great grandparents and a great great grandmother.  An aunt who died when she was 2 years old..all mean much to me.  I call on them often and I can’t wait to visit with them again on Samhain night!  There is also pics of my two chihuahuas..Pepper and Charlie…my girls are in the pics too..but thank Goddess they are still with me!!  The thinning of the veil is a very magickal mystical night for all witches.  Who would you like to hear from that night? 

I just had to post this pic too..this is my male cat Jasper…1/2 of my familiars…coming to bless and approve my altar.  He does this everytime..the minute I’m done setting up…here he comes..he jumps up..sniffs around..bats the crystals around..plays with my wand and then jumps down.  He is a very witchy cat and I love him!

I mentioned that I would be burning a loose incense recipe on Samhain night…my next post will be about that..the recipe and the how to’s….I’ll post in the next day or so.

Merry Part until then..Samhain Blessings to each of you, Autumn

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Samhain……

Merry Meet friends!  Yes, I am writing a bit more this month than I normally do…I feel so inspired this time of year!  Thought I would post some info for those who may be new to paganism, wicca or witchcraft…and some of you who have been around awhile..might like the info too!

     Samhain is one of the Greater Wiccan Sabbats and is generally celebrated on Oct. 31st.  This Sabbat is the  third harvest festival. It marks the end of Summer and the beginning of Winter.  The God has died, returning to the Underworld to await his rebirth at Yule; the Goddess is the Crone, mourning her lost love, leaving the world for a time in darkness.    “Samhain” means “End of Summer” and its historical origin is The Feast of the Dead in Celtic lands.   It is believed that on this night, the veil Between the Worlds is at its thinnest point, making this an excellent time to communicate with the Other Side. It is a time  when the Dead are honored.  Pagans, Witches and Wiccans  honor their loved ones who have passed on to the Summerland.  Customs of this Sabbat are ancient and include the “Dumb Supper,” setting a place for the silent souls of departed loved ones at your table and lighting their way to your hearth with carved pumpkins and candlelight.

   Samhain is the Witches New Year and a very powerful time for magick.   Rituals for this night include Divination, Past-Life recall, spirit contact, meditation, and astral projection.  Samhain is a good time to do  spellwork for protection  and  is considered to be a good time to boost your confidence and security.  The correspondences below will help you to make the most of your spellwork on Samhain night!

 Samhain Correspondences

*Element/Gender- Water/Male

*Threshold- Midnight

*Symbolism- Death and transformation, Wiccan New Year, wisdom of the Crone, end of summer, Honoring our ancestors, 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, Magick, knowledge.

 *Symbols/Tools/Decorations- Jack-O-Lanterns, Balefires, Masks, Besom, Cauldron, the  Waning Moon, black altar cloth, oak leaves, acorns, straw, black cat,   Crescent Moon, grain, bare branches, pictures of ancestors, candles.

 *Herbs- Allspice, broom, comfrey, dandelion, deadly nightshade, mugwort, catnip, ferns,  flax ,mandrake, dragon’s blood, sage, straw, thistles, oak, wormwood

 *Incense/Oils- Frankincense, basil, yarrow, lilac, camphor, clove, wood rose, wormwood,  myrrh, patchouli, apples, mint, nutmeg, sage, ylang ylang

*Colors- Black, orange, indigo,

 *Stones/Crystals- Black stones, jet, obsidian, onyx, carnelian

 *Customs/Activities- Carving jack o’lanterns, spirit plate, ancestor altar, costumes, divination, the  Feast of the Dead, feasting, paying debts, drying winter herbs, masks,  bonfires, apples, tricks, bats, cats, ghosts

  *Foods- Apple, pumpkin pie, pomegranate, pumpkin, squash, hazelnuts, corn, cranberry muffins,   bread, ale, apple cider and herbal tea.

*Gods- Horned Hunter, Cernunnos, Osiris, Hades, Loki, Arawn, Anubis, Gwynn ap Nudd

 *Goddesses- The Crone, Hecate, Cerridwen, Arianrhod, Caillech, Baba Yaga, Bast, Hel

 *Spellworking/Ritual- Honoring/consulting ancestors, releasing the old, foreseeing the future, power, understanding death and rebirth, entering the underworld, divination, dance of the dead, fire calling, past life recall.

 Contemplate the coming winter, and use this time out of time to let die old ways of thinking, outworn beliefs, and negative patterns.  Meditate, rest, and incorporate relaxation techniques over the next weeks to deepen your psychic awareness and to restore your soul.  And await your own rebirth at Yule, as the Wheel comes round full circle once again.

Samhain is many witches favorite time of year..and I’m no exception.  Not only is Mother Earth resplendant in her glorious color, but there is Beggars Night for the children, there is trips to apple farms and pumpkin barns, bonfires, harvest parties, spooky hayrides, barn dances…there is baking with apples, caramel apples, popcorn balls, mulled cider, hot soups in crock pots…there is carving pumpkins and picking out costumes…it is a joyous time indeed!!  Make the most of every minute with your loved ones!   And don’t forget…..Witches Fly on Samhain Night!!!  I’ll be flying with my sisters across the Moon…come and meet up with us!!

Samhain Blessings to all of you, Autumn

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Thank you!

Merry Meet friends!  This is just a quick note to THANK YOU SO MUCH!!   I have gotten over 1000 hits here!  I am so grateful and happy for it!  I enjoy writing it and often stop to think about those who may be reading it.  I know some of you and some I don’t.  Feel free to leave comments and please subscribe to follow me…you can friend me on facebook too…just leave me a message that you came from my blog!

Thank you again so much.  Blessed Be…Autumn

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