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Monday, October 15, 2012

How To Celebrate Samhain - What Do Witches Do?

Samhain marks one of the two great doorways of the Celtic year. The Celts divided the year into two seasons: the light and the dark. Some believe that Samhain was the more important festival, marking the beginning of a whole new cycle, just as the Celtic day began at night. For it was understood that in dark silence comes whisperings of new beginnings.

Samhain literally means "summer's end." . It comes from the Scots Gaelic: Samhuinn With the rise of Christianity, Samhain was changed to Hallowmas, or All Saints' Day, to commemorate the souls of the blessed dead who had been canonized that year, so the night before became popularly known as Halloween, All Hallows Eve, or Hollantide.

In the country year, Samhain marked the first day of winter, when the herders led the cattle and sheep down from their summer hillside pastures to the shelter of the stable and byre. Peat and wood for winter fires were stacked high by the hearth. It was a joyous time of family reunion, when all members of the household worked together baking, salting meat, and making preserves for the winter feasts to come.

Samhain was and still is a significant time for divination. Customs frequently featured apples and nuts from the recent harvest, and candles for adding atmosphere to the mysteries. In Scotland, a child born at Samhain was said to be gifted with an dà shealladh, "The Two Sights" commonly known as "second sight," or clairvoyance.

Things to do on Samhain:
ALTAR: Altar candles should be:
  • orange, representing the magic of fire and the remaining fire in autumn leaves;
  • -black, to absorb light and keep you warm for the coming winter; white, to send out energy;
  • -silver and gold, representing the moon and sun.
  • Decorate with autumn leaves and flowers, gourds, squashes, corn. As this is the meat harvest, you may also include an animal talon, horn or feather.
SPELLS: At Samhain, cast spells to keep negative things from your past (evil, harm, greed, corruption, betrayal) out of your future. Cast spells to contact the dead and receive ancient knowledge.

Scrying: This is one of the best times for scrying. You can use a black mirror or a black or very dark bowl filled with water, if you have a cauldron that would be better. Place lit candles nearby and gaze into the mirror or the bowl.

Dookin' for Apples: Place a large tub, preferably wooden, on the floor, and half fill it with water. Tumble in plenty of apples, and have one person stir them around vigorously with a long wooden spoon. Each player takes their turn kneeling on the floor, trying to capture the apples with their teeth as they go bobbing around. Each gets three tries before the next person has a go. Best to wear old clothes for this one, and have a roaring fire nearby so you can dry off while eating your prize!
If you do manage to capture an apple, you might want to keep it for a divination ritual, such as this one:

The Apple and the Mirror: Before the stroke of midnight, sit in front of a mirror in a room lit only by one candle or the moon. Go into the silence, and ask a question. Cut the apple into nine pieces. With your back to the mirror, eat eight of the pieces, then throw the ninth over your left shoulder. Turn your head to look over the same shoulder, and you will see and in image or symbol in the mirror that will tell you your answer.

(When you look in the mirror, let your focus go "soft," and allow the patterns made by the moon or candlelight and shadows to suggest forms, symbols and other dreamlike images that speak to your intuition.)

On this night of Samhain I mark your passing,
O Sun King, through the sunset into the Land of the Young.
I mark also the passing of all who have gone before, and all who will go after.
O Gracious Goddess, Eternal Mother, You who gives birth to the fallen,
teach me to know that in the time of the greatest darkness there is
the greatest light.
From a book Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary... , Scott Cunningham

The most important of the Neo-Pagan religions is Wicca (meaning "Wise ones"); W
icca is one of the largest Neopagan religions.

Samhain is one of the eight annual holidays, observed as part of the Wiccan Wheel of the Year. Which is a term for the annual cycle of the Earth's seasons because natural processes are seen as following a continuous cycle. The progression ofbirth, life, and death, as experienced in human lives, is echoed in the progression of the seasons. Wiccans also see this cycle as echoing the life, death and rebirth

Samhain is considered by most Wiccans to be the most important of the four 'greater Sabbats'. It is generally observed on October 31st in the Northern Hemisphere, starting at sundown.
Samhain is considered by most Wiccans as a celebration of death and of the dead, and it often involves paying respect to ancestors, family members and other loved ones who have died. In some rituals the spirits of the departed are invited to attend the festivities. It is seen as a festival of darkness and death, which is balanced at the opposite point of the wheel by the spring festival of Beltane, which Wiccans celebrate as a festival of life and fertility.

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