Samhain – October 31st

At Samhain, the Sun God, having died at Mabon (September 23) and having returned to the womb of the Great Mother, grows strong and awaits his rebirth at Yule. This begins the time of the greatest darkness, the time of the Crone, the ancient Queen of Death. In the natural world, life is decaying into death, returning nutrients to the soil that will bring life again in spring.

  • Samhain herbs: Acorn/Oak, Apple, Corn, Dittany of Crete, Hazel, Nightshade, Fumitory,mugwort, Allspice, Sage, Gourds, Catnip, Apple trees.
  • Samhain colors: Orange, black and brown.
  • Samhain offerings: Apples, pumpkin pie, beets, turnips, hazelnuts, corn, gingerbread, pomegrantates, cider, herbal teas, pork dishes.
  • Samhain is a time to honorHecate/Carmenta, Anubis, Isis, Nephthys, Osiris,Hel, Arawn, Don, Merlin, Morrigan, Idunna,Winter_King, Cailliach.

The celebration of Samhain (pronounced in proper Gaelic: “sow-in”) came from the Celtic peoples many centuries ago. This yearly festival was adopted by the Roman invaders, who helped to propagate it throughout the rest of the world (and at that time, the Roman Empire was the world). The word “Halloween” itself actually comes from a contraction of All Hallows Eve, or All Saint’s Day (November 1), which is a Catholic day of observance in honour of saints.

It’s a time which is thought to be when the division between the living and the dead was at its thinnest. Samhain was considered to be a gateway not only from the land of the dead to the land of the living, but also between Summer and Fall/Winter. For the Druids, this was the last gasp of summer (it was also the Celtic New Year), so therefore they made sure it went out with a bang before they had to button down for the winter ahead.

According to Irish folklore, there once lived a man named Jack who was known for being a drunk and a prankster. One night Jack tricked the devil into climbing a tree, and quickly carved an image of a cross on the trunk, trapping the devil. Jack then made him promise that, in exchange for letting him out of the tree, the Devil would never tempt him to sin again. He reluctantly agreed, but was able to exact his revenge upon Jack’s death. Because of his mischevious ways in life, Jack was barred from entering heaven and because of his earlier trick, he was also barred from hell. So he was doomed to wander the earth until the end of time, with only a single ember (carried in a hollowed out turnip) to warm him and light his way.

Ritual of Samhain

This ritual comes from the neo celtic tradition, Inis Glas Thoir and was written by John Gibson

Items needed:

Cauldron & heatproof base
Alcohol
Matches
Bi/le image
Salt for Mana/nnan
Grain for Danu
Honey for Bi/le
Milk & bread for the land spirits
Milk jug
Libation bowl
White pillar candle
Birch scented oil
Incense burner & incense
Votive candles & candle holders
Images of ancestors & dead
Ritual feast
Plates for deities & ancestors
Suitable music
Tarot & other divinatory tools
Two or three people to perform the ritual

The altar table is set at the head of the dining table, with the altar cloth, the Cauldron of Hospitality and the image of Bi/le. When all are assembled, the Cauldron is lit.

R1: Three cauldrons that are in every fort: the cauldron of motion, the cauldron of warmth, the cauldron of guests. Tonight we welcome you into our home, and light the cauldron of hospitality, which contains all these three. (lights cauldron) We are come to
celebrate the new year and to remember those who have gone into the Otherworlds before us.

R2: Tonight we call upon the spirits of this place, of the Duwamish, of Seattle, of the land all around us to be at peace with us, and to walk lightly among us. We call upon the spirits of rivers, oceans, mountains, and forests to be at peace with us and to walk
lightly among us. We call upon the land spirits to accept our offerings on this, the night of the new year. (Each person pours out milk and breaks bread into the libation bowl. Each person says:) May the land spirits bless us in this new year.

R3: On this night, the ancestors walk abroad. The gates between the worlds are open wide. We call upon our ancestors, those known and unknown, to come among us and celebrate our reunion on this night of Samhain. We call upon our loved ones who have passed into the
House of Donn to come and feast with us tonight. We call upon the Mighty Dead to assemble here and be remembered.

R2: Mana/nnan, a thiarna, Lord of Mists, Gatekeeper, you who lead the dead from the House of Donn into the Plain of Delight, be with us this night and guide the Mighty Dead through the gates to join us in our rite. (Each person tastes salt.)

R1: Danu, mo bandia, Mother of Gods, Mother of Rivers, you who embrace the dead as they leave our world for the House of Donn, be with us this night and support the Mighty Dead
as they join with us in our rite. (Each person tastes grain.)

R3: Bi/le, a thiarna, Tree of Life, Lord of Death, you who rule the dead on the Plain of Delight, be with us this night and guard the Mighty Dead as they join us in our rite.
(Each person tastes honey.)

Recipes for Samhain – Fruits and vegetables
By Patrick McCleary

There are a few fruits and vegetables that are traditional for Samhain, besides pumpkin that is. A few of these are squash, and apples. Nuts are also traditional for this time of the year. It is the time of the last harvest and so those things that we associate with late fall are the foods we will be wanting to prepare. So here are a few recipes for you to enjoy:

Apple nut Stuffing in Acorn Squash

  • 2 acorn squash, halved and seeded
  • 6 slices of white bread, cut into small cubes
  • 1 tsp. dried sage
  • 1/2 tsp. dried poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. each rosemary and thyme
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • 4 dried apple rings, chopped finely
  • 2 tbsp. pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp. slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup warmed milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsps. butter

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.Prepare squash, set aside.
3.In a medium bowl, toss together bread and spices, set aside.
4.In a medium saute pan, heat 1 tsp. butter until melted. Add chopped apple rings and nuts. Saute until apple is slightly softened and nuts are golden in color.
5.Add apple and nut mixture to bread mixture.
6.Add warmed milk and salt and pepper to taste.
7.Dot squash halves with butter.
8.Scoop stuffing into hollow squash halves
9.Put squash halves on a baking sheet, brush lightly with butter, cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.
10.Squash will be ready when soft and fragrant
Clear Sight Carrots

  • 3 cups sliced carrots
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Boil or steam the carrots until tender. Drain. Add the butter, brown sugar, ginger, and cinnamon; stir until the carrots are well-coated.

Samhain Pumpkin Bread

Personally I have never been a fan of pumpkin flavored anything, but since this the most prevalent food of this season, I figured I would give it another try. So I went to the store and bought a small pie pumpkin. A small one that weighed like two pounds or so. I then chopped the pumpkin in half and gave a half to each of the kids for them to scrape out the seeds and the strings, which I had to help them with. I then baked each half for about an hour at 350 degrees. Then, when cool, the kids got their half back to scrape out the flesh of the pumpkin from within the shell. The recipe we used for pumpkin bread is as follows:

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups of pumpkin puree, packed

1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.
2. Add the eggs and mix well.
3. Combine dry ingredients and stir into creamed mixture just until moistened.
4. Stir in prepared pumpkin.
5. Pour into two greased 9-in. x 5-in. x 3-in. loaf pans.
6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour or until bread tests done.

Now that I have baked this bread, I must say that my palette has truly changed. I actually enjoyed the pumpkin and am planning on buying a larger pumpkin this week to make more of this fantastic bread. I must tell you that the two pound pumpkin only yielded me about 3 cups of usable pumpkin puree, so if you are planning on making more than a couple of loafs you will want either more pumpkins or a larger one.

 

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