Thursday, October 18, 2012

Getting Ready for Samhain

Samhain (Halloween) is the biggest Sabbath (holiday) of the Pagan/Wiccan Year. It's the day we honor the dead, our ancestors. It's our New Years.

For many years I've wanted to step away from the modern version of Halloween. It's very commercialized and not very traditional. But how do we step away from what my children have grown to love- dressing up in costume and trick or treating? Well this we have no choice. Living rural, with one car, and a dh that works nights (and right now 10 hour shifts, which means he leaves for work by 7pm, prime trick or treating time.) there is no way I can get them into an urban area to go. SO we're starting a new tradition. A Scavenger Hunt- Halloween style! (The kids are looking forward to it, because it still involves the most important things, to them- Costumes and Treats!)

Our plan is to set up 6 different "hot spots" where baggies of treats and trinkets will hidden or placed. The kids will be given a map to follow and set free to find their goodies. Ideas are baggies hanging from trees, a hallowed out pumpkin with baggies inside, baggies "fallen" from a Walnut tree here on the land, a scarecrow man holding baggies hostage. All done at twilight, so I'll have dh's help and he gets to be part of the fun. And of course the kids will be dressed up.

But that's just All Hallo's Eve. We still need to celebrate Samhain. And I mean really celebrate it. With our own traditions and teaching our children what this holiday is really about. I've tried in the past to get something together. But start way too late and it feels thrown together, haphazard. This year I'm starting earlier. And have a list of what we are going to do. (Out of necessity we are celebrating the Saturday after, so we can use the whole day and take our time to enjoy it.)

Here's my List:


-Create a Samhain alter, which will include some or all of these items: a black alter cloth, bowl of water for scrying, candle, leaves, apple, pomegranate, acorns, bones, gourds/mini-pumpkins, and always a crystal. Things that represent fall and the dead.

-Make and hang a wreath on our front door. 9 Hazelnuts (for protection) and 3 ears of Indian corn (to honor the Maiden, the Maid and the Crone).

- Start work on masks (made of felt, glitter, feather, fabric paints, etc.).

-Carve pumpkins.

-Sew bags for bean Runes we'll be making.

Day Of:

-Make bean Runes for/with kids.

-Finish masks.

-Bury an apple for the departed outside our front and back doors, a sign of love and respect, showing we remember them.

-Write our "mistakes" of the past year on a piece of paper and burn it, releasing ourselves from them.

-Write our goals or wishes for the next year on a color coordinated piece of paper and place in our Jack-O-Lanterns under the candle. When our candles are gone, bury the whole pumpkin in our garden.

-Do a protection spell around the house, sprinkling salt water around base. To ward off unwanted people, spirits and to bring safety to all those inside.

-Go for a nature walk around the property. Enjoy the sites, sounds, smells of Earth in fall. Look for fallen branches for wand making.

-Fest! Eat foods of the season. Apples, root vegetables, pumpkin, squash, dark breads, roasted meat (of some sort!)

-Place an extra setting at the table for our ancestors- a sign of remembrance and respect.

-Try to have a bonfire (try being the operative word).

- Make and hang a Witches Ladder (the girls and I will do this, its a bit too "old" for the littles.). What's a Witches Ladder? Its purpose is similar to that of a rosary - it's basically a tool for meditation and ritual, in which different colors are used as symbols for one's intent.Mine I'll be making for protection and to help wishes for the coming year.

-Scry in water, to end the evening. (after the boys are in bed)

I'm feeling really good about this list, this year. I just hope we can pull it all off and have this be the start of new family traditions.

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