* Samhain October 31st *
Posted by Galen
One of the Major Sabbats for Wicca/Pagan. The eve of lst November, when Celtic winter begins, is the dark counterpart of May Eve which greets the Summer. More than that, lst November for the Celts was the beginning of the year itself, and the feast of Samhain was their New Years Eve, the mysterious moment which belonged to neither past nor present, to neither this world or the Other.
Samhain is a time of divination, and communion with the dead, and on the other an uninhibited feast of eating, drinking and defiant affirmation of life and fertility in the very face of the closing dark. Ireland's bonfire and firework night is still Hallowe'en. In Scotland and Wales, individual family Samhain fires used to be lit, they were called Samhnagan in Scotland and Coel Coeth in Wales and were built for days ahead on the highest ground near the house. This is still a thriving custom. Now it has become more a children's celebration.
The divination aspect of Samhain is understandable for two reasons. First, the psychic climate of the season favors it, and second, the anxiety about the coming winter demands it. The women back then use to seek to identify the husband to be, on Samhain, by conjuring up his image in a mirror. In County Donegal (it is beautiful there!) a girl would wash her nightdress three times in running water and hang it in front of the kitchen fire to dry at midnight on Samhain Eve, leaving the door open; her future husband would be drawn to enter and turn it over.
Samhain is a pagan ritual very deeply rooted in popular tradition that Christianity had to try to take over. The aspect of communion with the dead, and with other spirits, was Christianized as All Hallows, moved from its original date on 13th May to 1st November, and extended to the whole Church by Pope Gregory IV in 834. But its pagan overtones remained uncomfortably alive, and in England the Reformation abolished All Hallows. It was not formally restored by the Church of England until 1928, "on the assumption that the old pagan associations of Hallowe'en were at last really dead and forgotten...(a supposition that was certainly premature).
* Samhain Candle Superstitions *
A burning candle placed inside a hollowed out pumpkin or jack-o-lantern on Samhain works to keep evil spirits and demons at bay.
For good luck, burn black and orange candles on Samhain. Black and Orange are the traditional colors of Samhain and Halloween. On this day their magical vibrations are at their peak.
If a candle should suddenly go out by itself on Samhain, as if it had been blown out by wind or by breath, this is said to be a sign that a ghost has come to call.
Always burn new candles at Samhain to ensure the best of luck.
Likewise, it's not a good idea to burn Samhain candles at any other time of the year. To do so may cause you to experience bad luck and/or strange happenings over which you will have no control.
Gazing into the flame of a candle on Samhain will enable you to peer into the future. Many witches traditionally scry candle flames on Samhain to receive clairvoyant visions.
It is believed that if a person lights a new orange-colored candle at midnight on Samhain and lets it burn until the sun rises, he or she will be the recipient of good luck.
However, according to an old legend from Europe, any person who bakes bread or journeys after sunset on Samhain (Halloween) runs the risk of conjuring forth bad luck in great abundance.
* Miscellaneous Samhain Superstitions *
Apples - Whoever eats an apple on Samhain eve will have good luck in the coming year. If you sleep with an apple under your pillow on Samhain eve, you will dream of your future mate. If you peel an apple on Samhain in one continuous peel, and throw the peel over your shoulder, it will land in the initial of your future spouse.
Bats - If a bat flies around a house three times, it is a death omen. When bats flit around playfully it is a sign of good weather approaching.
Bells - Bells rung at Samhain chase away evil spirits.
Cats - When cats wash their ears on Samhain, rain is coming.
Crows - Crows flying over head on Samhain is unlucky, unless there are three crows in a group, then that is lucky.
Fey - Never sit in a faery ring on Samhain.
Frogs and Toads - Don't kill a frog or toad on Samhain, it may be a Witch. Witches often take the shape of a frog or toad on Samhain.
Hawthorne - It is extremely unwise to sit under a Hawthorne tree at Samhain - since the fey might whisk the sitter away, never to be heard from again.
Spiders - A spider in a house on Samhain was a lucky omen.
Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader's personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.