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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Samhain

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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Meet Me at the Crossroads! A Pathworking to Hecate

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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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Hour That Never Existed

Tonight is the night where the clocks fall back for most of North America. It's a fabulous time for ritual, because you can use the time change to your advantage to 'eat' something that you want banished from your life, and then recreate things the way that you would like to see them unfold. The fact that this happens over Samhain makes the work even more powerful! All you need is a deck of tarot cards, and some staying power, as you're going to be up late!

Preparation for this is easy. Before the appointed time--02:00--determine what you would like to rid from your life (I already have mine planned, I celebrated it's demise last night). Choose a card that represents that. For instance, if you are holding on too tightly to something that needs to be surrendered, you might want to choose the four of pentacles. Maybe you've got a personality trait of being too stubborn, and you want to learn to be more flexible; the king or queen of swords might be an appropriate card for that. You're going to have to know your cards a bit, but really, any card that resonates with what you want to see leave your life can be used. 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
2015 Samhain Resolution

Happy Halloween to you all, and a Blessed Samhain to my Witchy friends! Most site viewers already know Samhain is also known as the New Year to many Pagan folks, and I attribute the notion of New Year's resolutions to it. (You may recall my post from last year.) Basically, every year, I strive for self-improvement that will in turn make the world a little bit better of a place. It's not like the traditional resolutions like losing weight or quitting a bad habit. No, I  believe Samhain resolutions are much deeper than that.

Reflecting on my resolution for last year, I do believe I've done good on it. Last year, "I resolve[d] to be better at the whole green thing,", as well as continue to "be less judgy". Both I've done good, but both are ongoing. Coincidentally, this past August, the city of Chicago had banned plastic bags from big stores, though many have found enough loopholes that so far it seems to not have made a big difference. We're still miles away from even a decent recycling system, too. But that's on the city - not me. So, I just have worked a bit harder at figuring out my own loopholes, so to speak.

One big thing we do is simply bring our own lunches to work. Especially in summer, I all but live out of my car, so I have pretty much turned the back seat into a little pantry, as I don't always have time to actually make a lunch. (I used to have a drawer at work for the same thing.) Now that I have fewer showings, I do have time to make lunches, which mostly, Ron and I use bento boxes. (He calls them pendejo boxes haha.) We're not sushi people, so that's not what we put in the little containers at all. Mostly, it's variations of the Thanksgiving relish trays, a.k.a., nibbles, and different stuff all the time. Black olives, carrots, celery with cream cheese, crackers and cheese, thinly sliced radishes, peeled and sliced apples (dipped in a touch of lemon juice to prevent browning), green onions, grapes, hard-boiled eggs, mini sweet pickles (as well as sliced dills), lunch meats, ranch dip, hummus, and so on - all ready to munch on throughout the day. Sounds good, right? As long as we mix it up, we don't get bored.

The reason I started going back to making more lunches is multi-faceted: For one thing, even cheap drive-thru food isn't all that cheap anymore, unless you specifically order from the dollar menu. (And yes, we're Cheapie McCheapskates when it comes to food. We hate spending money on it.) For another, it gets b-o-r-i-n-g. Of course, even the healthier choices aren't as good as people think. And yes, there is always the issue of the trash that cheap drive-thru creates. Think about it: Styrofoam clam shells are the go-to container for most take-out joints anymore. I've noticed that even with pizzerias that sell by the slice. And the cups - if not the entire cup being Styrofoam, the lid and straw are probably plastic. (That poor turtle.) So it just made sense all around to go that route. We also do the bento boxes for another reason: Packing traditional lunches take more time, and sandwiches are boring. As a Dutch lady I met once commented about American food, "Everything is sandwich". If you think about it, she's kinda right: We do eat a lot of stuff wrapped around a type of bread (sandwiches, subs, burgers, hot dogs, pizza, tacos, wraps, burritos, and so on).

Another big thing I did was switch to vaping over smoking. Now for years, Ron and I have made our own cigarettes with the tube machine. They're better than what we can buy at the store, especially compared to price, and the tobacco isn't sprayed with a gazillion chemicals. When I was getting ready for PSG this year, I dreaded having to make myself a carton of cigarettes like I have been doing in the past. It's a chore for sure. That, and our son was coming with me, who has never smoked, so I knew I was going to get the nagging from him. So a week before, I got myself a vape pen and juice, and I got used to that instead of cigarettes. I will say, it's so much more convenient, I can smoke it with the windows rolled up (or yes, even in a tent) and I don't have to figure out what to do with the butts. Oh and the price? It's about the same as making our own cigarettes.

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The Dark Nights of the Year Are Here!

It’s that time of the year again: Samhain, undoubtedly many Pagans’ favorite festival is here and the veil is thinning. Time to get out your candles, dust off your broomsticks, and make the appropriate offerings to your deceased ancestors. It’s also, of course, Halloween, which is easily one of the most popular holidays in Western culture and therefore also a time for merry trick or treating, costuming, and creepy stories about ghosts and monsters.

In our annual megapost for Samhain, we’ve got plenty of both, both from PaganSquare as well as some of our favorite places on the web. Browse through to your heart’s content (though feel no compulsion to read them all), though be forewarned some content isn’t for the faint of heart!

-Aryós Héngwis

H/T to our blogger WeMoon for the wonderful Samhain image!

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