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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Samhain

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Boo Bash

Ah, Halloween. The enchanted time when all the witches, ghosties, and creatures of the night are encouraged to come out and play. It has always been a magical time of year for me personally, ever since I was a tot. I can readily tell you what I dressed up for on this beloved holiday, since I was four. (4 years: Mickey Mouse.) Halloween has enjoyed quite the resurrection, and it is the perfect occasion to throw a theme party. Since I am the original theme party gal, I can happily throw some suggestions your way to make yours unique, and anything but run of the mill. 

 

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Holiday Rhythms

I awoke this morning to the smell of crisp fall air coming in my window.  It rained a little last night and I can smell that, too.  Today we gather for the first of several Samhain rituals this year as my circle is spending this season visiting other communities to learn more about how others experience the holidays.  It feels a little early for Samhain, but honestly, this holiday always comes rushing forth.  I never feel quite prepared.  This is my favorite time of year and there are always more fun things I'd like to do before the year ends.

One of my favorite parts of being a pagan is the way our holidays provide rhythm and movement to my life.  No matter what I'm doing with my work or my relationships, those six weeks always pass by the same and suddenly, another holiday is upon us.  Despite more than two decades living like this, I have to admit that they sneak up on me more often than I'd like.  Even as I build my livelihood out of my spiritual life, it is still so easy to get caught up in the mundane things going on that I don't notice the signs of season's change all around me. 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Yesterday, my friend Erick DuPree posted a very thoughtful piece on embracing the secular Halloween and avoiding the ancestor reverence that is so important to many pagans and witches this time of year.  In a very touching way, Erick discussed his troubled history with his father and his wish to separate himself from the misogyny and racism that permeates his family line.  That same misogyny and racism is likely to pollute the family line of every person of European descent, including myself, so that is a decision I can fully understand.

Yet, I feel like there are still reasons to do ancestor work.  Don’t get me wrong – I’ve never been very good at ancestor work.  I have an ancestor altar at which I pay my respects daily, but I don’t do nearly as much work contacting my family on the other side as many other witches do.  I’m just processing my own thoughts as a person who (I think) shares a similar family history and was touched by Erick’s comments.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

The still centre.

Outside, in the dark, the air is finally still.  Like rich swathes of fabric, the darkness hangs around me, enfolding me, wrapping me in its exquisite embrace.  I sit, breathing in the night air, the smell of cedar and dew wet grass filling me with pure awen.  The last of the crickets are singing in the remnant of summer’s growth, owls hooting softly in the distance and underneath the beech tree near Caia’s grave I let the songs of the night wash over me in waves of indigo and black.

The quiet is shattered by the call of a stag just on the other side of the hedge. Calling to the does, he is in full rut, looking for the ladies in the shelter of the night.  He is maybe four feet away, and his bark and rumbles excite me with the power that he is emanating in following his soul’s truth.  I can hear the slight shuffle of leaves and grass beneath his hooves as he paces up the track and then back down towards the nature reserve and farmer’s fields.

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Entering the Cave of Bones: A Preview of "Doorways to the Underworld"

Through Doorways to the Underworld, the Minneapolis Collective of Pagan Artists' Samhain 2014 exhibit, we enter into the disquieting—sometimes disturbing—dreamscape that is both Samhain and the world of contemporary pagan art.

In Anne Marie Forrester's Bear Priestess, the viewer stands at the mouth of a cave literally packed with skulls and leg-bones. Between us and the cave sits the bear priestess herself, all breasts, belly, and thighs, dressed only in the head and skin of (apparently) a bear cub. She wields that classic shamanic tool, the frame drum, in her role of go-between for living and dead, past and present.

The painting disturbs on a number of levels. Content is one: corpulence, nudity, powerful female eroticism. Another is scale. The priestess' head is too small for her mountainous body, the bear's head that she wears too small for her own too-small head. One cannot help but be reminded of Paleolithic “Venus” figurines, whose heads and feet dwindle into unimportance compared with their massive bodies, the true center of their power. Small as it is, though, the priestess' head is still much larger than the skulls that frame her in the cave mouth. The viewer experiences a dizzying loss of sense of proportion.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Cailleach as the Samhain Eclipse

On 23rd October we will celebrate both Lunar Samhain and a partial solar eclipse in Scorpio.  Scorpio is the zodiac sign that encapsulates some of the cailleach, or hag's, qualities.  Scorpio not only understands shadows, but often prefers shade. Scorpio has a fondness for the occult, deep psychology, sex. The eighth house in a horoscope is ruled by Scorpio, the eighth sign, and is often referred to as the house of sex, regeneration and death. Loss, grief, transformation, these are Scorpio themes.  Like the snake that swallows its tail, Scorpio knows how to shed its skin, reinvent itself and reach for infinity.  This is also the Cailleach's tale: wisdom/dementia, destruction/rebuilding, beauty/horror, gain/loss, giving/receiving. She is the polarity and the third way.


Samhain is the beginning of the Celtic winter season. After a prolonged warm and summery Equinox, the wind is blustery, stripping all the crimson Virgina creeper from our house's southwest wall.  The hag is speaking. She has arrived. We scurry to light the fire during the day to ward off the dampness; the rain hurls itself off the Atlantic. There was thunder at dawn this morning. The Cailleach has come.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Bee Smith
    Bee Smith says #
    Thank you for reading. And commenting and felt no criticism implied. I just wanted to let you know where my personal spiritual jou
  • Unckle Bug
    Unckle Bug says #
    I agree. And the lessons and metaphors are drawn from specific parts of our mythology and lore. I find that a basic, common unders
  • Bee Smith
    Bee Smith says #
    I have to say that I am much more in tune with the four Celtic fire festivals; they seem to define my life and wheel of the year.
  • Unckle Bug
    Unckle Bug says #
    Love this! One important thing, though... The Pagan Wheel has two seasons: Summer and Winter. The Pagan winter starts when the Hol
  • Danielle Blackwood
    Danielle Blackwood says #
    Bee, this is lovely stuff! I really appreciate what you said about not being able to do another's "reshaping". Your poem is also

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Just A Song at Twilight

Today was laundry day. And unpacking day. And grocery-shopping day. I returned late yesterday from Festival of Souls near Memphis and it was my second festival in as many weeks. I am grateful to be home to settle into Samhain and wash my socks.

Two weeks ago, I was teaching at the Southeast Wise Women's Conference, which used to be called the Southeast Women's Herbal Conference. It is exactly what it sounds like. In a gorgeous mountain setting--that was the site of the old Black Mountain College.

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