For my last Witchy Wednesday I’m writing a post about one of the major Sabbaths, Samhain.
Samhain (SOW – WIN) is a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter and has often been called the Celtic New Year. Though popularized and celebrated by children around the world as a day to get scared and get candy, Samhain is a very important religious/spiritual holiday for many Pagans.
Some Samhain customs include bonfires, turnip lanterns and leaving food out for any relatives that may return to visit on the night where the veil between the living and dead is thinnest.
The wearing of costumes and staying close to home were ways in which humans could “guise” or ward off harmful spirits. Sometimes totems or little trinkets were use to assist in this warding.
|Photo Credit - Renee Olson - Protection Ward|
Honoring those that have passed and making a fresh start are typical events for Samhain. Including divination, spell casting and contact with the dead are popular. Putting out offerings such as soul cakes or whiskey are popular. When adding my offerings to the Goddess Hecate I set out Leeks, Garlic, Honey, mushrooms and sometimes a bit of wine.
|Photo Credit - Renee Olson - Offerings to the Goddess Hecate|
To me, Samhain holds three very important meetings. One, celebrating new things to come and sweeping out the old year are key in my rituals.
|Photo credit - Renee Olson - Hecate Altar|
Secondly, my ancestor altar is one of my prized possessions. I have it set up on a 100 year old server that my grandmother gave me. It’s adorned with photos of those family members whose energy I would like to pull back into my home.
Finally, my husband and I had our hand fasting ceremony on Samhain. This year is our 10 year anniversary and we plan to renew our commitment to each other. I talk about our hand fasting in the Samhain's Sirens' Blog Extravaganza which is being published today. There will be a giveaway of a hand fasting cord. A hand fasting cord is an elaborate or very simple rope or cord that is tied around the wrists in a sign of commitment.
|Photo Credit - Renee Olson - Hand Fasting Cord|
Not every Pagan celebrates Samhain, and some non-pagans do. It’s a really great time of the year when Mother Earth changes her robes from the bright summer colors and bundles up in her whites and grays to watch the seeds and earth rest for the winter. The snow and ice come in and freeze the ground welcoming Yule and slowly the wheel continues to turn.
|Photo Credit - Renee Olson - Wheel of the Year|
For me, the wheel of the year is a magical thing and showing it off in your home or office when you can is a wonderful way to remember the seasons and how much our ancestors relied on this wheel for their very survival.
|Photo Credit Renee Olson - Wheel of the Year|
As we sit in the aftermath of the devastation of the natural disaster, Hurricane Sandy we have to remember but we are just a tiny speck on this great big planet and we need to remember that this earth is our mother and as such we should respect and honor her throughout the entire wheel.
Namaste & Blessed Be