The Witch’s Desk: Celebrate October! ~ Full Moon & Samhain

Samhain

(October 31)

The goddess is old and wizened. She’s settling into this stage of her persona to reap the benefit of all that she has experienced, all that has transpired on her journey to this point. She’s preparing for the dark months, gathering her harvest about her, both for her physical survival and her emotional revival, using this time to rest, to gather energy for the future and the light that she knows will return. On this phase of her journey she can afford to sit back in quiet reflection, to shed those things in her life that have become a burden, and to look forward to the end of her journey, or rather, the beginning of the next.

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 to try and connect with those spirits from the other side.

My Celebration:

Samhain is a big deal at our house. Some years ago we began the tradition of a bonfire in the front driveway, an open house for friends, childrens’ friends, and acquaintances. You’ll find a table set up by the fire pit for a weinie roast, with smore’s for dessert. In the kitchen, I’ve got a large kettle of chili on the stove, and a large kettle of hot apple cider. Costumes are optional, for those who are comfortable dressing up, I say go for it; for those who are not, don’t sweat it. And, of course, there will be a large bowl of candy for the children in our neighborhood who follow the age-old custom of trick or treating.

You always hear that the veil has thinned on this night and spirit contact is almost inevitable if one wishes to put forth some effort. Samhain is also reputed to be a superb night for divinantion of any kind, and with this in mind, I set up a table on the backporch full of divination tools: tarot cards, rune stones, pendulums, oriental divination sticks, and don’t forget the ouija board for those who wish to try their hand communing with the spirits. Guests seem to love this opportunity, and there will be people seated around this table off and on all evening. It gives many a chance to learn about, touch, and use divination tools that they may not be familiar with and might otherwise not have access to.

Samhain Correspondences

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

Samhain Recipes

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 fool-proof, 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.

Bake at 400 degrees the first fifteen minutes, and at 350 degrees for the next 30-40 minutes. When you can stick a butter knife in the center of the pie, and it comes out clean, your pie is done.

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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.

October

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

Astrological Signs: Libra, Scorpio

Elements: Air/Water

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.

Sources:

The information from this blog post was taken from my books ~

The Spiritual Feminist

The Gray Witch’s Grimoire

To order your copies, click  HERE

7 Magickal Questions

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How did you “discover” Wicca/Witchcraft/Neo-Paganism?

I’m  not so sure that I discovered Witchcraft, it’s more like Witchcraft discovered me.

I’m sure most people who’ve known me for any length of time have heard the story of the first spell I cast, as a teen-ager, in the basement of my Grandmother’s house.  The fact that, somehow– by instinct or higher power, or both– I managed to get so many of the magickal correspondences right is somewhat of a marvel.  Actually, the idea that a teen-ager living in South Dakota in the 70s, who had never been exposed to witchcraft, would even think of such a thing in the first place gives pause for thought.

Do you grow herbs?

Yes– mostly in the garden.  I tend to have a very black thumb when it comes to house plants.  I’m not sure if their untimely demise is totally dependent on my lack of indoor gardening skills, or my very dark very plant unfriendly house.

Are you “in the broom closet”?  If not, share your coming out experience.

I don’t think I’ve ever been in the broom closet.  I’m too open an individual, the closet would have been too confining and stuffy for me.  The phrase “My Life is an Open Book”– I think it was written for me.

I am what I am.  It is what it is.

What tradition do you follow, if any?

I’m eclectic– a mixture of practices.

Actually, over the years, I’ve developed a new religion, a new practice, or spiritual path, if you will.  I dubbed it “Gray Magerium”.  It’s a combination of Wicca, Green Witchcraft, and Hoodoo.  (I feel another book coming on.)

For more information on “Gray Magerium”, follow this link: My Path/About Me

Do you consider yourself a Witch, Wiccan or Pagan (or maybe something else)?

Witch…most definitely.  The word is all-encompassing.

I also love the sound of Hag, Crone, Wise-Woman, Priestess, and Conjure Woman.

How much of Witchcraft/Wicca are you able to incorporate into your everyday life?

Witchcraft, and being a witch, are an integral part of my life.  It defines how I look at the world, how I relate to the people around me, how I set my moral compass, and the direction my life takes.

But on the other hand– just because my spiritual path is outside of the mainstream, mysterious, ancient, intriguing, interesting, exciting, or any other adjectives you can think of– this does not mean that my every waking moment is riveted on the fact that I’m a witch and practice witchcraft.  I’m the mother of a large brood.  I have groceries to pickup, laundry to do, toilets to scrub, meals to cook; I have pets to take to the vet, kids to take to the dentist, and a million other everyday ordinary things to do.

My spirituality is a large part of who I am, as I plod through regular life, just like everyone else.

Do you have a familiar? If you do, tell us how you met him/her, and how she/he takes part in your practice (if at all).

Yes, I do…Salem.  He’s a beautiful black American Short Hair cat with a small white spot on his chest (called a ‘button’, by the way).  He is elusive, prefers to live downstairs (away from the dog and visitors).  My husband has lived in this house almost two years and has only seen him once.  Various people have been to this house and have never seen him.  I wouldn’t blame anyone for thinking he is a figment of my imagination.  But he is extraordinarily loving, and sweet with me.  He looks deeply into my eyes and communicates quite clearly.  He is my Sweet Boy.

Does he take part in rituals or spell casting?…only in so far as eating all the catnip that I left out one evening; rolling through the black circle of stones which I had so carefully laid on the floor; tipping over a bottle of open oil; or trying to push his way into my lap as I sit in a cast circle trying to be all mystical and witchy and serious.


I nominate the following blogs for “The Witchy Blog Award”:

1. Writing the Witchy Way

2. The Witch Of Howling Creek

3. Witches of the Craft

4. A Witchy Life

5. Cauldron & Brew: A Witch’s Blog

 

Witchy Blog Award

 

I’d like to thank Ayslyn’s Corner & The Purple Broom for nominating me for “The Witchy Blog Award”.  I’m honored to be added to the list of bloggers who strive to educate the public and expose them to Pagan religions and nature-based spiritual paths.

Thank you, Ayslyn, for your own efforts in educating the public about Pagan spirituality.  You’re so right, the world needs to learn that these nature-based natural god/goddess oriented religions are not harmful or scary or evil– they are beautiful, inspiring, and uplifting spiritual paths that add loving energy to the world.

Bright Blessings,
Amythyst

 

The Witch’s Desk: Snobbery Within the Pagan Community

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We think that the Pagan, all hippie love-child neo-nature spiritualist, are above the snobbery of the mundane middle-of-the-road Christian mainstream society.  Well, we’re not.  Pagans are just as human as the rest of the population, and we fall into all the same societal traps, we just don’t like to admit it, and we tend to fall back on the peace, love, nature theme to justify ourselves (look at how spiritual I am, look at how in-tune with nature I am, look at how white is my magick, how pure my intentions, how saintly I am).

This is how it really is:  Just because we practice witchcraft, just because we believe in magick, just because we worship the Goddess, does not mean we are perfect by any means, nor does it imply that we are necessarily even nice– some of us aren’t.  Sorry, but this is reality.  Pagans can be snobbish, elitist, bigoted, holier-than-thou, and just as irritating as any Southern Baptist, as any Catholic, as any Fundamentalist, as any anything.

There is always conflict in the Pagan community, among ourselves.  Pagans are just as opinionated as the next person; and there are very definite views and contradictions, contentions and disputes.  The disputes range from how to practice witchcraft; how to practice goddess worship, what about the god; how to practice magick, what’s acceptable, what’s dark, what’s too dark, what’s light, what’s too light; pantheons– you can’t mix them, it’s okay to mix them, a Greek goddess would be angry if her energy was mixed with a Nordic goddess and your magick won’t work; you weren’t initiated by another witch, or you weren’t initiated in a coven, so you can’t be a witch; you can only do spells on certain days aligned with certain energies or it won’t work; you should cast spells in the heat of the moment; you should never cast spells in the heat of the moment; I’m a Very-Important-Witch because I was initiated by someone who was initiated by someone who was initiated by someone (however many times back) who was initiated by another Very-Important-Witch…and so it goes.

The goddess from one pantheon would be angry if her energy was mixed with the goddess from another pantheon– who the hell knows that?  What mortal can say this with finality?  In truth, if magick works through energy and there are five goddesses out there, all from different pantheons, whose attributes all work for the same purpose, their energy aimed at the same outcome, why couldn’t you work with all five of them for some kick ass enormously powerful energy?  Truth is, you could, and you can.  At the other end of the spectrum is the pagan who embraces and immerses themselves in the deities from one pantheon, who swears by and only works with the gods and goddesses from one culture, and this is okay too

The truth is that paganism, or any spiritual path for that matter, can be practiced anyway that the practitioner chooses.  You cannot police another person’s spirituality.  You cannot force people to believe, or to practice what you do, or how you do it.

There’s been a segment of Pagans, around for some time now, who combine witchcraft and Christianity, and this has driven both hardcore Pagans and hardcore Christians nuts.  “They can’t do this!” both sides howl in indignation.  Why not?  Who says?…I mean who says, who says who really has any authority, whose opinion would really count?  No one, nada.  If a Christian Witch wants to cast a circle and use Christ for her god-form and Mary as the goddess, who’s going to stop her? Whose going to be standing around policing her spiritual practices?  The fact is that no one has the right to interfere in this case.  This witch is what she is, she’ll find her energy through the magickal means available to her, and I predict that the universe will work with her, blessing her endeavors.

There are also cliques.  Really.  You think this is a phenomena relegated to the halls of Junior High?  Well, you would be wrong.  Adults are just as guilty of being cliquish as teen-agers, and Pagans are no exception to this.  Sometimes these cliques are disguised as covens, or as literary groups (who has the magickal stamp-of-approval from the powers that be and who does not), or social site groups, pagan internet societies, or any other such society by which people must be okayed and allowed in.  I can understand this to a point, as in the case of a coven, where a very specific number of people are desired; but in a vast internet social site, or a Pagan Page, etc., it gets a little stickier, a little trickier.

A spiritual path is suppose to enlighten us, to inspire us, to help us live better lives, more productive lives.  We find our inspiration where we do, by super-natural and miraculous means.  It really is magickal, this business of finding one’s path, working ones spells, solemnizing life with our little rituals.  The most we can do is to try– try to be better human beings; try to be kinder; try to be more open-minded; try to be understanding; try to love other people and treat them well; try to see the world and the universe in the big-picture scheme of things.

All we can do is try– and some of us will succeed.

inspirational10

 

What do you do?

What do you do?  I’m asked this question all the time, in respect to my spiritual path, in respect to religious practices and routine, in respect to practicing witchcraft.  People think in conventional terms of what they are familiar with– you have to attend a church service once a week, you have to follow this rule, you have to obey that rule, you have to undergo certain ceremonies (rites of passage) at particular set intervals, you have to follow a leader, etc.  Paganism, and especially witchcraft, is not like that, it’s not like that at all.  I keep trying to tell people, to explain to them, but I don’t think they understand.

Truth is, I don’t do a damn thing unless the urge hits me.  I might go for days, or weeks, or months without lifting one magickal finger to cast one crummy spell.  Then– Pow!– something comes up, something comes up that actually needs to be taken care of, there is a reason, there is a rhyme behind it.  Something comes up in life that needs my attention, so I take care of it with a spell, with a candle, with herbs, with a poppet, with other magickal twists and turns, whatever needs doing.

And that’s what I do.  There’s no law in my book that says I have to run around interneting people Happy this, or Blessed that– if I choose not to observe ‘traditional’ pagan holidays, that’s my choice, that’s my decision.  The sky isn’t going to fall, and  my magickal little soul will be just fine.

And that’s what I do…just exactly what I want to do.

This is the spirit of the witch…it wreaks of freedom.

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