5 Things That Bring Samhain Home for Me

 

samhain7.jpg picture by witch_of_endore

I can’t believe it’s this time of year already!  Where did 2016 go??  This past year has been wracked with huge changes in my life.  All hell broke loose December 31, 2015, and it’s been a wild ride ever since– spiritually, emotionally, and financially.  However, the wild ride appears to be calming down now, life smoothing over with regular routine, new opportunities, and a new-found sense of stability.  The transitions involved have included acceptance, transformation, and new connections.  As I slide into the end of October, into the end of this year, I’m warmed and comforted by another celebration of Samhain at our house.

Five things that highlight this holiday for me include, but are not limited to:

  1. Hot Apple Cider ~ Every Samhain for the past 20+ years, I’ve drug out my huge (HUGE) silver canning kettle and set it on the back of the stove to slowly heat the Drink of the Evening.  My recipe —

5-7 large jugs of applejuice
8-10 bags of peach tea
a handful of cinnamon sticks
and a large metal tea ball filled
with whole cloves and allspice

You can leave a shaker of nutmeg sit on the counter & anyone who wants to add a dash of this spice to their mug of apple cider can do so.

If you don’t like this cider full force, you can dilute it some with water to suit your own taste.

My Hot Apple Cider

Let’s take a look at the ingredients we just used from a magickal perspective:

Peaches— love

Nutmeg— one of the most popular uses for nutmeg is to assure fidelity.  It’s also used for spells centered around luck, money, and health.

Cinnamon— spirituality, success, healing, power, psychic powers, lust, protection, love

Allspice— money, luck, healing

Cloves— protection, exorcism, love, money

Apple— love, healing, garden magic, immortality

2.  Autumn leaves & flowers ~ There is nothing more beautiful than a tree caught in its seasonal death throes.  It puts a new spin and realization on the idea of death and rebirth for me; the idea of shedding oneself of all the outward trappings of ego, vanity, and expectation; the idea of natural beauty that comes with age and experience, and a miraculous rebirth, whether physically or spiritually.

autumn-5

3.  The Ancestors ~ As I’ve gotten older and time has marched mercilessly on,  all through the past few decades, I’ve watched the Older Generation of my family die off.  First, the “Greats” (and these are people I actually knew, whom I remember)…great-grandparents and aunts:  Alpha, Tracy, Gma Smith, Gpa Smith, Lizzie.  And I still watch, even now, as the passing generations move up, ever closer to me and my generation…my grandmother, Darlene, Jim (my father).  And then there are those that died tragically, before they had time to get old…Joe, John Patrick, Norman.  It’s with a sense of awe and wonder, a sense of growing knowledge and acceptance, that I’m beginning to understand the real meaning behind the “Wheel of the Year” and its natural progression.

1

Last Year’s Ancestor Altar

4.  Spices ~ allspice, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg…They say that your olfactory sense, your sense of smell, can snap a memory into your brain faster than almost anything else, so closely are certain scents associated for us.  And this is true of the traditional smells of autumn at our house.  I can visualize Grma’s teapot, particular cups, favorite old trees adorned in autumn leaves, pets (both present and past) who laid at our feet around the kitchen table, puddles of glowy golden light from lamps on a wet and cold drooling autumn day…I could go on and on.  These smells, as pleasant as they are in themselves, hold all kinds of memories for me.

coffee-time-59

5.  Chili ~ Every year, for 20+ years now, I drag out my Great-Big-Red-Cooking-Pot and make a walloping batch of homemade chili.  You can tell the prosperous years from the lean years by my chili…on prosperous years, it will contain more meat.  This is another one of those scents that also connect closely with Samhain at our house, it’s a family tradition.  I usually start the chili early in the morning and let it sit and simmer on low all day, giving the flavors time to blend deliciously together.

My Chili

So, what are the things that bring this holiday, and this time of year home to you?  What are your family traditions and memories?  How does Samhain touch you?

 

Magickal Preparations for Winter

1.  Cleanse each room of energy debris…The negative stuff, the dark and ugly energy lurking in the corners and beneath the couch and chairs, the energy that hides in the cubbies and closets and scares those children who sense it…smudge, incense, burn candles, and bring out that magickal broom– sweep, sweep, sweep that space clean.  Leave a wee bit of something behind to keep this space clear, to let the Dark Ones, the Spirits, and Ghosts know that you’ve reclaimed this space, that it is yours— a mojo bag of protection and deflection, some cleansing & protective herbs tied up in pretty bundles and tacked to the ceiling here and there, over the windows, or door frames. And never assume that cleansing this space once will keep it clear forever. Every once-in-a-while, light some candles & incense, send positive energy through this space. Keep your guard up, keep your magickal energy pure, draw your magickal lines in the sand.

2.  Gather your harvest of herbs…As I write this, we’re just nine days out from Samhain.  In my neck of the woods we’ve been incredibly lucky with the weather so far.  We’ve had a couple really cold nights, only one where I had to cover anything, and we still have a lively garden.  So now is my time to Gather Those Magickal Herbs & Plants!!.  In the stillness of the Indian Summer days, I will clip and snip, tie and bind, hang and dry a variety of plants that will be tacked to my kitchen ceiling, crushed and added to bottles and jars, or arranged in pretty glass bowls.  This is the season for the Green Witch to reap the harvests of Mother Earth, to restock her magickal cabinet.  Hurry, before winter descends and the snow flies.

3.  Put your garden to rest for the season, magickally speaking…The nature spirits have spent all summer fluttering about your garden, gracing it with health and a wealth of blossoms and buds.  But it’s time now for nature to retreat into the depths of winter; it’s time for the plants to finish their final cycle; it’s time for the soil to rest.  On a quiet still autumn day, take a white candle and some incense into your garden, thank the fairies and spirits for their care and presence and magick.  Bid them adieu, until we meet again in spring.  Scatter to the four corners of this magickal space crushed rosemary and sage, allow the candle to burn in the center of the garden, sending out healing energy for Nature, as well as a  last flame of light before the darkness of winter descends.  It’s sort of bitter-sweet, this process for me; but you can leave your garden with a wistful smile, knowing that this is only a temporary good-by, a temporary sleep.  When spring comes, you’ll rejoice with the flowers and herbs and shrubs once more.

4.  Prepare your vehicle for winter travel…Just like most people check the tires, change the oil, and mundanely “winterize” their vehicles in anticipation of severe winter weather conditions, so you will want to magickally “winterize” your vehicle, making sure there is a powerhouse of positive protective energy surrounding the vehicle itself and everyone who travels in it.  This is an ongoing thing at our house.  I use stone talismans created personally, decorated with symbols and words related to specific deities invoking their energy for protection.  I use mojo bags filled with calamus root and plantain– one of the strongest combinations of herbs for safe travel– along with a tiger eye stone and even hair clippings from the car’s owner and people who will be routinely traveling in this vehicle.  Smudge the vehicle with sage or a favorite incense; asperge (sprinkle) the vehicle with salted water for purification and blessings; anoint the four sides of the vehicle with Mars Astrological Ointment, dipping your finger in the oil and drawing an invoking pentagram discreetly near the bottom of the car doors.  Settle into the coming winter months with the security of knowing that you’ve done all you can possibly do to assure safe travel for you and your family members

Photo: Magickal Preparations for Winter: 2.  Gather your harvest of herbs...As I write this, we're just nine days out from Samhain.  In my neck of the woods we've been incredibly lucky with the weather so far.  We've had a couple really cold nights, only one where I had to cover anything, and we still have a lively garden.  So now is my time to Gather Those Magickal Herbs & Plants!!.  In the stillness of the Indian Summer days, I will clip and snip, tie and bind, hang and dry a variety of plants that will be tacked to my kitchen ceiling, crushed and added to bottles and jars, or arranged in pretty glass bowls.  This is the season for the Green Witch to reap the harvests of Mother Earth, to restock her magickal cabinet.  Hurry, before winter descends and the snow flies.

Good-by Sweet Summer

For all the Pagans out there who celebrate Mabon (the autumnal equinox), may you have a glorious day of equal sun-light & darkness.  The dark season will be upon us now, before we know it.  This means that I will happily light candles around the house earlier and earlier in the evening and relish their beautiful golden glow.

For more information on this Pagan Holiday, including a beautiful video by MsJulieCarol, follow this link:
http://www.ladyamythyst.com/wheeloftheyear.htm

Mabon Altar

October’s Magick

October
Named for: “Octo”, meaning ‘eight’
Anglo-Saxon: Win-monap
Birthstone: opal, tourmaline
Flower: calendula
 October Moon Magick:
Blood Moon
Herbs: ginger, myrrh, allspice, basil, clove
Stones: alexandrite, citrine, lilac kunzite
Scents: pine, patchouli
Colors: dark green, brown, gold
Trees: yew, cypress, maple, oak
Deities: Astarte, Horned God, Lakshmi, Ishtar
Elements: Air/Water
 Astrological Influences for October:
Libra: ruled by Venus, projective/masculine, cardinal, air
Scorpio: ruled by Mars, receptive/feminine, fixed/water
 Pagan Holiday:
Samhain
October 31
Samhain (pronounced ‘Sou-wen’) is a celebration that has a more somber side than the revelry of modern Halloween. It is a day of remembrance of your ancestors and for those family members who have passed over.
Pagan families may set an extra place at the supper table on this evening, to honor those loved ones who are no longer with them. The veil between the world of the living and the dead is thinnest on this eve, and this night is an excellent time to perform divination, or try to connect with those from the other side.
Herbs: patchouli, sage, heather
Altar Flowers/Herbs: acorns, apples, pumpkins/gourds, dittany, autumn leaves
Feast Foods: pumpkin, squash, nut breads, sweet potatoes, milled drinks (cider, wine), roast meat, root vegetables
Animals: bats, cats, crows, ravens, owls
Incense: cinnamon, cloves, myrrh, patchouli, pine, mugwort, nutmeg
Rituals/Spells:  making besoms, divination, spirit contact, crone magick, working with dark energy, spells for new beginnings

Crafting Your Magic
Ancestral magic is cast with the Blood Moon. Do magic now to communicate with family members who have passed, to connect with your ancestors and your heritage. Magic surrounding divination is relevant, it’s the perfect time. Cast spells for justice and balance, and to overthrow anything oppressive which may be blocking your path to success. Ambition is highlighted, use magic to increase the potency of your own, or cast magic to contain ambition that may have run amok. This is also the perfect time to step into the dark shadows and take advantage of the vibrations found there. The gray witch revels in the magic of the Blood Moon and in this season.

Magickal Herbs

HERBALPICTURES.jpg picture by witch_of_endore

In the tradition of Samhain, we’re going to look at herbs used to call up spirits.

Mugwort
To bring forth protective & benevolent spirits, Mugwort is burned on charcoal with star anise, althea, and resin incenses like frankincense, myrrh, copal, or benzoin.
Energy: feminine/receptive
Planet: Venus
Element: Earth
Powers: strength, psychic powers, protection, prophetic dreams, healing, astral projection

falldivider.gif picture by witch_of_endore

 Dandelion
The root, when dried, roasted, and ground like coffee, is used to make a tea. This infusion will promote psychic powers. This same tea, steaming and placed beside the bed, will call spirits.
Energy: masculine/projective
Planet: Jupiter
Element: Air
Powers: divination, wishes, calling spirits

falldivider.gif picture by witch_of_endore

 Thistle
To call Spirits, place some thistle in boiling water. Remove from heat and lie or sit beside it. As the steam rises call the spirits and listen carefully; they may answer your questions.
Energy: masculine/projective
Planet: Mars
Element: Fire
Powers: strength, protection, healing, exorcism, hex-breaking

falldivider.gif picture by witch_of_endore

Wormwood
Wormwood is burned to summon spirits. It is sometimes mixed with sandalwood for this purpose. If burned in graveyards the spirits of the dead will rise and speak, according to old grimoires.
Energy: masculine/projective
Planet: Mars
Element: Fire
Powers: psychic powers, protection, love, calling spirits

falldivider.gif picture by witch_of_endore

Sweetgrass
Burn sweetgrass to attract good spirits, or beings, before performing spells.
(Strangely enough, I couldn’t find any correspondences listed for sweetgrass, other than it’s power to call in spirits.)

 Disclaimer: Never ingest any herbs, or feed them to someone else,
if you are not absolutely sure they are safe!  

Kitchen Wytchery
Elsie204.jpg kitchen witch 2 picture by witch_of_endore
As the Kitchen Witch knows, natural magick can be found in certain foods, recipes, as well as herbs. In this section we’re going to put this knowledge to work.
Witches-Kitchenbymagic_art.jpg icon kitchen witch picture by witch_of_endore
We celebrate Samhain at our house big time. I’m going to include in this newsletter my own recipe for pumpkin pie & my ‘secret’ recipe for the large pot of hot apple cider that is a tradition at our house. The photos included are family photos of Samhains past.
My Pumpkin Pie:
1 16 oz. can pumpkin (about 2 cups)
1 13 oz. can evaporated milk (but sometimes I use sweetened condensed milk– it makes it more ‘chiffony’…is that a word?)
2 eggs 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 sugar
the spices:
Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and a dash of salt. Most recipes call for 1/2 teaspoon each, but I’m much more generous with my spices!
the crust:
I tried for years to learn to make a good pie crust, and I almost gave up out of frustration– then I found this recipe. It’s almost foolproof, no kidding.
2 and 1/2 cups flour 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup shortening 1 beaten egg 1 tablespoon vinegar 1/4 cup water
Mix the dry ingredients together and cut in the shortening, as usual. Then combine the egg and vinegar, stirring it up a bit, and add this to your dry ingredients. Add the water a dash at a time as you work it in, you’ll be able to tell when you get a good texture.
Edit:  I bake this pie at 425 degrees for the first 15 minutes; then I turn the oven down to 400 degrees for the next 30-45 minutes, until it’s cooked enough to thicken the filling. I check this by sticking a clean butter knife in the center– when the knife comes out “clean”, I know the pie is done.

myworldSamhaintreats.jpg picture by Amythyst1

falldivider.gif picture by witch_of_endore
Hot Apple Cider
I have a *Huge*– did I say huge?– kettle that I use to mix up my cider. This sits and simmers all afternoon on the backburner of my stove, wafting a wonderful aroma throughout the house.
Ingredients:
5-7 large jugs of applejuice 8-10 bags of peach tea a handful of cinnamon sticks and a large metal tea ball filled with whole cloves and allspice.
You can leave a shaker of nutmeg sit on the counter & anyone who wants to add a dash of this spice to their mug of apple cider can do so.  If you don’t like this cider full force, you can dilute it some with water to suit your own taste.

myworldsamhainpreparations.jpg picture by Amythyst1

Our kitchen isn’t as organized as Rachel Ray’s or Martha Stewart’s, but we get the job done. Above are kettles of cider brewing in preparation for a Samhain evening.
falldivider.gif picture by witch_of_endore
Let’s take a look at the ingredients we just used from a magickal perspective:
Peaches— love
Nutmeg— one of the most popular uses for nutmeg is to assure fidelity. It’s also used for spells centered around luck, money, and health.
Cinnamon— spirituality, success, healing, power, psychic powers, lust, protection, love
 Allspice— money, luck, healing
 Cloves— protection, exorcism, love, money
Apple— love, healing, garden magic, immortality
Happy Samhain!!
The information for this blog post has been taken from:
And Archived newsletters from The Witch’s Corner

Photo Slideshow: Our Fall Craft/Newage Boutique

This past weekend, October 14 & 15th, we shared a unique boutique/yardsale experience which included arts and crafts, as well as new-age items and tarot readings.  We met a lot of interesting people, made some new friends, and had two very fun-filled days.

By the magick of the following photo slideshow, you can take a peek.

(Be sure to click on the icon for ‘full screen’)

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The Real Witches of Halloween Blog Tour…Welcome!

autumn 6

 

 

When witches go riding,
and black cats are seen,
the moon laughs and whispers,
‘tis near Halloween.

~Author Unknown

 

 

October Moon Magick:

Blood Moon

Herbs: ginger, myrrh, allspice, basil, clove

Stones: alexandrite, citrine, lilac kunzite

Scents: pine, patchouli

Colors: dark green, brown, gold

Trees: yew, cypress, maple, oak

Deities: Astarte, Horned God, Lakshmi, Ishtar

Elements: Air/Water

Astrological Influences for October:

Libra:

ruled by Venus, projective/masculine, cardinal, air

Scorpio:

ruled by Mars, receptive/feminine, fixed/water

 

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Pagan Holiday:

Samhain

October 31

Samhain (pronounced ‘Sou-wen’) is a celebration that has a more somber side than the revelry of modern Halloween. It is a day of remembrance of your ancestors and for those family members who have passed over.

Pagan families may set an extra place at the supper table on this evening, to honor those loved ones who are no longer with them. The veil between the world of the living and the dead is thinnest on this eve, and this night is an excellent time to perform divination, or try to connect with those from the other side.

Herbs: patchouli, sage, heather

Altar Flowers/Herbs: acorns, apples, pumpkins/gourds, dittany, autumn leaves

Feast Foods: pumpkin, squash, nut breads, sweet potatoes, milled drinks (cider, wine), roast meat, root vegetables

Animals: bats, cats, crows, ravens, owls

Incense: cinnamon, cloves, myrrh, patchouli, pine, mugwort, nutmeg

Rituals/Spells: making besoms, divination, spirit contact, crone magick, working with dark energy, spells for new beginnings

Crafting Your Magic:

Ancestral magic is cast with the Blood Moon. Do magic now to communicate with family members who have passed, to connect with your ancestors and your heritage. Magic surrounding divination is relevant, it’s the perfect time. Cast spells for justice and balance, and to overthrow anything oppressive which may be blocking your path to success. Ambition is highlighted, use magic to increase the potency of your own, or cast magic to contain ambition that may have run amok. This is also the perfect time to step into the dark shadows and take advantage of the vibrations found there. The gray witch revels in the magic of the Blood Moon and in this season.

Halloween, or Samhain, is the most important holiday at our house and the most fun. We go all out. I make a huge kettle of hot apple cider, my big red kettle full of chili, and I spend the day before baking pies, lots and lots of pies! The older kids invite their friends, and the neighbors know that it’s an open house. My husband moves our firepit to the front driveway and tends the bonfire all night long, with chairs gathered ’round the cheerful flames, while guests roast hotdogs and marshmellows.

My kids look forward to this night all year long.

falldivider.gif picture by witch_of_endore

Lady Amythyst’s Pumpkin Pie:

1 16 oz. can pumpkin

(about 2 cups)

1 13 oz. can evaporated milk

(but sometimes I use sweetened

condensed milk– it makes it more ‘chiffony’…is that a word?)

2 eggs

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 sugar

the spices:

Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and a dash of salt. Most recipes call for 1/2 teaspoon each, but I’m much more generous with my spices!

the crust:

I tried for years to learn to make a good pie crust, and I almost gave up out of frustration– then I found this recipe. It’s almost foolproof, no kidding.

2 and 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup shortening

1 beaten egg

1 tablespoon vinegar

1/4 cup water

Mix the dry ingredients together and cut in the shortening, as usual. Then combine the egg and vinegar, stirring it up a bit, and add this to your dry ingredients. Add the water a dash at a time as you work it in, you’ll be able to tell when you get a good texture.

myworldSamhaintreats.jpg picture by Amythyst1

falldivider.gif picture by witch_of_endore

Hot Apple Cider

I have a *Huge*– did I say huge?– kettle that I use to mix up my cider. This sits and simmers all afternoon on the backburner of my stove, wafting a wonderful aroma throughout the house.

Ingredients:

5-7 large jugs of applejuice

8-10 bags of peach tea

a handful of cinnamon sticks

and a large metal tea ball filled

with whole cloves and allspice

You can leave a shaker of nutmeg sit on the counter & anyone who wants to add a dash of this spice to their mug of apple cider can do so.

If you don’t like this cider full force, you can dilute it some with water to suit your own taste.

myworldsamhainpreparations.jpg picture by Amythyst1

Our kitchen isn’t as organized as Rachel Ray’s or Martha Stewart’s, but we get the job done. Above are kettles of cider and homemade chili brewing in preparation for a Samhain evening.

falldivider.gif picture by witch_of_endore

Let’s take a look at the ingredients we just used from a magickal perspective:

Peaches– love

Nutmeg– one of the most popular uses for nutmeg is to assure fidelity. It’s also used for spells centered around luck, money, and health.

Cinnamon– spirituality, success, healing, power, psychic powers, lust, protection, love

Allspice– money, luck, healing

Cloves– protection, exorcism, love, money

Apple- love, healing, garden magic, immortality

Samhain2007020.jpg picture by Amythyst1

samhain7.jpg picture by witch_of_endore

Samhain Memories

scan0015.jpg picture by Amythyst1

Four of my beautiful little Witchlings–
where does the time go??

Sarabubbles.jpg picture by Amythyst1

My Samhain baby– I was busy giving birth
on a certain Samhain eve 14 years ago.

Samhain2005-1.jpg picture by Amythyst1

My “Isabella”, “Deadrose”, and #1 Son

80sCostumeParty09.jpg picture by Amythyst1

A ‘pre-halloween’ party, the theme was the 1980s.
CopyofEmma-1.jpg picture by Amythyst1

Our “Resident Elf”

(This Resident Elf is only two years away from being
a teen-ager now. Time goes so fast!)

samhain0911.jpg picture by witch_of_endore

“Isabella” and her boyfriend, Joe, at last year’s party.
(October 2010)

Samhain0919.jpg picture by witch_of_endore

Preparations are finished– it’s time to enjoy!!

 

Samhain0924.jpg picture by witch_of_endore

We build a bonfire in the driveway & gather round, or join friends in the livingroom/kitchen for hot chili, or gather on the backporch to play with ouija boards, tarot cards, chinese fortune sticks, oracle cards, and runes, while sipping hot cider at candle-lit tables.

 

samhain095.jpg picture by witch_of_endore

A perfect day for divination.

 

Samhain0931.jpg picture by witch_of_endore

Spirits ‘rise’ to the occasion. 🙂

 

samhain094.jpg picture by witch_of_endore

Throwing a little light on the situation. I love my black tree!

 

HarryPotterretouched.jpg picture by witch_of_endore

Our very own “Harry Potter”
(#1 Son)

October 2003

This young man has an associates degree in computer science now,
and is working towards his bachelors.

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Thank you so much for visiting my blog.
I hope you’re enjoying the Halloween blog tour.

On behalf of all the Real Witches out there,
Happy Samhain…

and Blessed Be!