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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Samhain

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

This year we decided to take a small break and celebrate Samhain and honour our ancestors by visiting the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle, Cornwall, and join their revelries. It was a spectacular night. As we descended along the twisty lane to enter the small fishing village in the gathering dusk we were met by a host of witches, tourists and black clad Morris men- traditional British folk dancers with flaming torches and crow feathers in their tall top hats. The sound of drums and fiddles echoed off the cliffs above and mingled with the sounds of the sea and the reeling gulls.

Traditional Border Morris men (or sides) wear the colour black, to leave their identity behind and take on the role of spirits as they honour the underworld and the winter to come. They danced to ancient songs, their feet mirroring the turn of the year and the battles between winter and summer in the courtyard of the museum, where the many a witch of generations passed has donated their magical tools, and beneath the library that holds the history of our traditions going back centuries.  The audience around them sat or stood enrapt, many of them being those who walk the old ways themselves, bedecked in their cloaks, with wide eyed children sitting at their feet dressed as sprites and spirits.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Danu Forest
    Danu Forest says #
    Gerrie i love those books too! i think they encouraged a lot of us on the path...british folklore is much overlooked but is very r
  • Gerrie
    Gerrie says #
    I learned of the Mari Lwyd in Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising series. For a young American just beginning her Pagan path, this s

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Time Between

Well, I saw it last night, right on cue.

The season's first domestic Yule tree.

It was November 7.

Oh, I understand Christmas creep. I understand the thirst for magic. I understand the craving for celebration by those who really only have one holiday.

By my reckoning, we're a little past the midpoint of the Samhain thirtnight. We're still in the season of the ancestors. The big, public rituals and gatherings are over now. This is the quiet part of Samhain, the interiority, the tag-end, the tail: the time to reflect and look within.

And then comes Time Between: what my friend and colleague Magenta Griffith calls “The Fallows.”

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    May we both live to see it.
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I'ld love to see what stories and lore would accumulate around groundhog day if it was celebrated with as much enthusiasm as Easte
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I think that as the People of Many Holidays, we've got the long-term advantage here. In the pagan future, I foresee less Yule and
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Back in the early 70's when my family first moved back to Richmond the stores still had Thanksgiving decorations after Halloween.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
H-lloweens

 

Halloween. First part sounds like hallow, which preserves the original sense of the festival, derived from Old English hælig, “holy thing or person, saint.”

This is how I grew up pronouncing the word in Western Pennsylvania, and how I still pronounce it.

Which means, of course, that this is the correct pronunciation.

Helloween. Feast of the Goddess of Death and the Underworld (= Hell), observed only by the bluest of British blue-bloods. Raw-tha.

Hilloween. Southern hemisphere festival observed in New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa. Named for the Hill o' Ween, where Australia's first Bealtaine bonfire was lighted in 1794.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
On Long Nights and Scarcity

Last week I traveled up to Northern California for work. On the day of my early meeting--8:30 a.m.!--I woke up in my hotel room at 6 and saw a pitch-black sky.

It wasn't a huge surprise (although I'd come from the south, where the nights were still a bit shorter). As I showered and got ready, though, and the clock ticked from 6:30 to 7 to 7:30 and the sky remained black, I had one of those random, strange thoughts that sometimes pop into your head. I thought, what if the sun just doesn't rise today?

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Sweet Skeletons

For those who wish to extend their Halloween/Samhain party celebrations, here's another notion for you:

Mexican Day of the Dead Party
The artwork and decoration for Dia de los Muertos (traditionally Nov. 1st and 2nd) has always been naturally festive. This sacred practice has more to do with customs and community rather than a particular organized religion. It is the answer to the Celtic origins of Halloween, but more so: The Mexican festival is truly a public celebration, not just a private affair. The Catholics may have All  Saint's Day, but this Mexican custom, like many native cultures, is a blending of ancient pagan practice intermeshed with the adoption of Christian symbolism and saints. In many of the whimsical and often beautiful altars on display, there are images of the Virgin Mary or Jesus interspersed amongst the whimsical sugar skulls.

I have one word for you here: skeletons, skeletons, skeletons! You could even recycle some Cinco de Mayo wall hangings if you like, to mix in with the bones. Decorate little sugar skulls and add to your altar/treat table. Have each guest bring a memento from a recently departed loved one to add to the altar space. Light a candle for each, and offer a favorite treat to all of them.

Speaking of treats, whip up some Mexican Hot Chocolate, and have a salsa bar with several degrees of hot to sample with some spicy tacos, nachos, and tortilla chips. Let Mariachi music ring out over your speakers. If that gets too scary for some after a spell, switch over to the Gypsy Kings. Share some tarot readings and ask for advice from a departed loved one. Keep it in the tradition of this honored day. Remember that Halloween can be sweet in more than one way.
 
MEXICAN HOT CHOCOLATE
(from Rachel Ray)
4 cups whole milk
1 1/3 cups (8 ounces) chocolate chips
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon chile powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch salt
Combine all of the ingredients in a large saucepan and 1 cup of water over a medium heat. Whisk constantly but do not boil- about 8 minutes. This makes 4 mugs, so double or quadruple recipe accordingly. To spice things up, add a shot of rum to each mug!

Sugar Skulls
For more Dia de los Muertos ideas and sugar skull instructions, visit:
mexicansugarskull.com

 

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Lessons of Life and Death

We don't shy away from talk of death in my house.  With five cats, some of them sneaks who get out the front door before we can catch them, we see enough death on a regular basis in the form of rodent and bird carcasses laid out for us.

Some parents would tell their little ones the dead mouse is sleeping, but I believe in being honest and direct with my children.  Death is a part of life, and it happens all around us.  Living in a forest near a busy road we see the cycles of life as a tangible constant: sex, birth, growth, decline, decay, and renewal.  They're in the plants and animals who share our space as our neighbors and family.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Meet Me At the Crossroads

This time of the year is one of connection. The veils between the worlds have thinned and many will reach out to the Goddess Hecate as they seek the deeper wisdom of her triune form. 

Some will call to the Goddess to guide them to the land of the ancestors as they seek the gifts of those beloved who have passed on. Others will call to the Goddess seeking greater knowledge of their own strength and the power held in the trinity in the human form. And, some will use the energy of Hecate to transform and renew what will be carried into these months ahead that may be used as space of reflection. 

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