Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Samhain Everyone

The Celtic peoples called the time between Samhain (pronounced "SOW-in" in Ireland, SOW-een in Wales, "SAV-en" in Scotland or even "SAM-haine" in non Gaelic speaking countries) and Brigid's Day "the period of little sun." Thus, Samhain is often named the "Last Harvest" or "Summer's End".

While almost all Celtic based traditions recognize this Holiday as the end of the "old" year, some groups do not celebrate the coming of the "new year" until Yule. Some consider the time between Samhain and Yule as a time which does not even exist on the Earthly plane. The "time which is no time" was considered in the "old days" to be both very magickal and very dangerous. So even today, we celebrate this Holiday with a mixture of joyous celebration and 'spine tingling" reverence.

The Samhain Holiday begins at sundown on October 31st. The nightide was always a time to be wary of walking alone in the countryside. So much more on this Night when the veils between the worlds of humans and spirits was at its thinnest. Traditional lore speaks of the dead returning to visit their kin and the doors to the Lands of the Sidhe (pronounced "shee") or Faery Realm being opened.

"The Feast of the Dead" ("Fleadh nan Mairbh") is laid out by many to welcome these otherworldly visitors and gain their favor for the coming year. Many folks leave milk and cakes ("Bannock Samhain" ) outside their door on Samhain Eve or set a place at their table for their ancestors who may want to join in the celebrations with their kin and family.

Some Witches use a chant at the beginning of the Feast to welcome their ancestors.

One of these, for example goes like this:

And so it is, we gather again, The feast of our dead to begin. 
Our Ancients, our Ancestors we invite, 
Come! And follow the setting of the sun.
Whom do we call? We call them by name 

(Name your ancestor that you wish want to welcome.)
The Ancients have come! 

Here with us stand Where ever the country, 
where ever the land They leave us not, to travel alone;
Flesh of our flesh, bone of our bone!

Grandmothers, Grandfathers, Great be their Power! 

Past ones and present-at this very hour!
Welcome within are the dead who are kin, Feast here

with us and rest here within Our hearth is your
hearth and welcome to thee; Old tales to tell and 
new visions to see!

It is also customary to light a new candle for the "new year". This ritual harkens back to the days when Samhain was one of only two days- the other being Beltaine-when it was considered correct to extinguish the "hearth fire" and then to re-light it. If your fire failed at any other time of the year, it was thought to be very bad luck indeed.

Upon the rekindling of the fire in the morning, this blessing was often said:

We Call Upon The Sacred Three: 
To Save... To Shield... To Surround
The Hearth... The House... The Household 
This Night, Each Night, Every Night.!

Many Witches of the Old Ways, actually celebrate "two" Samhains or Halloweens (Yes, some older traditions DO use the term "halloween"!) . The "Old" date for Samhain occurs when the sun has reached 15 degrees Scorpio. (As a side note, the Catholic Church has "borrowed" this same day to celebrate the holiday of "Martinmas".) So if you follow this Way, you can always celebrate the "party aspect" with your friends on one date and the "worship" part with your kin on the other.

For those who like to have some fun here is a FUN recipe for Chili :

A Witches Cauldron of Chili

1 1/4 Pounds ground goblin gizzards
 *Vegans and Vegetarians leave out the ground goblin gizzards or use a vegetarian option like Tofu.

1 Medium eye of Cyclops (onion)

1 15 Oz. Can soft shelled beetles (kidney beans)

1 28 Oz. Can blood of bat (V-8 juice)

1/8 Teaspoon pureed wasp (prepared mustard)

1/4 Teaspoon common dried weed (oregano)

1 Dash Redtailed hawk toenails (crushed red pepper)

2 Teaspoons ground sumac blossom (chili powder)

1 Teaspoon hemlock (honey or sugar)

1/2 Cup fresh grubs (sliced celery)

1 Tablespoon eye of Newt (pearled barley)

1 Tablespoon dried maggots (uncooked rice)

Water from a stagnant pond ( water)

Preparation :

Substitutions are in parenthesis. Best made during the last phase of the moon, if that is not possible, just do the best you can in a softly lighted kitchen after dark.

Brown the gizzards in an iron cauldron over a fire made from the

siding off of a haunted house, add chopped eye of cyclops and simmer until the pieces of eye become translucent again, add blood of bat, and soft shelled beetles, bring to a slow bubbling boil. At this time, add the common weed, maggots, toenails, sumac,grubs, hemlock, eye of newt and the pureed wasp.

As it cooks you may want to adjust the consistency with pond water.

You can tell it is done when the eye of newt swells and the vertical tan colored 'cats eye' appears on one side.

I found this on  the web quite a few years ago and don't remember who created this recipe to properly credit the author.


  1. Fun to read Kelle Bell :) hi Kids :) I like the
    We Call Upon The Sacred Three:
    To Save... To Shield... To Surround
    The Hearth... The House... The Household
    This Night, Each Night, Every Night.!
    much love & Peace Ellie

  2. Thanks so much for this insight; our paranormal group is having a class for teens and adults to introduce them to the Celtic origins of Halloween so I have been doing a lot of research on line- this site is one of the more concise. I am a Celt so Thank You & Samhain Shona!


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