30 Days of Samhain: Day Thirteen (2019)

Today I have a special live recording of a pathworking recently done as part of the Labyrinth of the Dark Goddess series of classes. This particular experiential lends itself to the season of Samhain and our desire to seek the wisdom held at Death’s gate and make use of Hecate’s gifts and keys as part of our mundane/spiritual life.

When we seek to know ourselves in all of our parts, we are often resistant to know those selves in the form of death’s pall and we fear that meeting at the crossroads where we must surrender and leave behind what is of no value to our growth. This pathworking taking us through death’s door and the meeting with Hecate is one of trusting our innate nature to re-create and give birth anew to who we wish to bring back as our newly transformed self.

Find a comfortable space where you will not be disturbed for approx. 30-minutes. Settle in and relax into what is revealed…

At Death’s Gate: The Labyrinth of the Dark Goddess

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30 Days of Samhain:Day Twelve

What About These Veils?

Samhain and its counterpart, Beltane, are the time of access to the wisdom of the natural world and the Ancestors. The energy that is called forth at Beltane and communion with the nature spirits and the Fae stands as the point of inception and quickening of what will move, expand and grow in its form and scope towards the next opportunity. When it comes half wheel cycle to Samhain this energy of communication with and greater access to what lay beyond our physical realms has matured and deepened as we call to the Ancestors to offer up their wisdom. It is this wisdom that will carry us through the darkening of the months, the turning within and the introspection that holds within its womb the spark of Light that will be birthed at the Winter Solstice.

I do a great deal of personal energetic work infusing some of the Eastern mystical practices with those of Western Magick. When drawing on this synthesis and applying it to the energies present at Beltane and Samhain we can use each to inform the other. Beltane’s fires are those of consummate union, celebrated with the union of God and Goddess, male and female. These are the qualities of the polarities held within each of us. Parting the veils at this time is an opening to our natural and instinctual self. The connection to the basic needs and desires that are the promise of continuation of species and cycle of growth and evolution. Energetically, as we enter Samhain’s parting of the veils and its energy we are now ready to open to the experience of our mature and wizened nature and the union of what we may access of the Higher Self informed by the wisdom of our Lower Self. The union of these integral parts of our spiritual and physical states of being enables the transformative reaching out and ultimate connection to the Ancestors who have helped to form who we are.

As we enter into the Dark Half of the year, the winter months and the Sabbats that are held within that space we bring with us the expectations of this growth. We have finished harvesting what had been nurtured from the time of the previous Winter Solstice forward and we hold expectation that the ripe fruits we have carefully selected from this harvest will sustain us through this time of fallow fields, frost and cold. We approach the opening of the veils with great expectations of coming face to face with what visions and mysteries are rooted in our core state of being and align ourselves with the energies of the Dark Goddess and the wisdom of the Crone. It is Her wisdom that takes us into the realms of the Ancestors and the blessings they wish to bestow. And. although we may feel that our intent is clear and purposeful, we often do not embrace every ounce of what lay hidden, largely from fear of what we will lay claim to. Moreover, we hesitate because we are afraid of what the answers that we so dearly seek may be.

For many there is lack of clarity about who and what the Ancestors are. And, this definition will be a variety of things depending on your own beliefs. The Ancestors may be of your own lineage, meaning departed family or those whom offered guidance during their living human existence. If you expand this further and consider that we are all interconnected as spiritual beings, regardless of blood lines, the Ancestors take on the form of all of the great souls who in their incarnation offered teachings, wisdom, and were examples of illuminated and evolved humans. These are those that exemplified the adage that we are Spiritual beings having a physical experience. Most often when you begin the intention of asking for information of the Ancestors, there is greater comfort in the specificity of inquiring of a departed family member or friend. The personal connection and feeling is what makes the difference between asking for help from a Patron or Deity you work with and an Ancestor.

The truth of the matter is that the Ancestors, our guides and guardians want us to succeed. They want us to step fully into the light of who and what we truly are. The Gods and Goddesses want us to become more fully aligned with facing our truths, because then we are better able to see the reality and beauty of their truths. In all of these instances the time of Samhain and the parting of the veils is the optimal time for reaching out and drawing to ourselves the reflected and refined image of understanding that holds everything we need to know.

One of the primary precepts in working with Ancestral wisdom is that of gratitude. Whenever we step into a place of gratitude for what has been received we are aligning ourselves with our Higher Self. Offerings to the Ancestors, altars of remembrance or simply holding a cherished memory in mind strengthen that energetic connection. Opening ourselves to offering up and the act of expressing that gratitude initiates a cycle of receipt and return. It is the universal law of magnetism in action. All that we send out, positive or negative seeks the energy of that which is compatible and similar. Gratitude calls to our place of Spirit within the eternal and the wisdom of those who reside within those realms.

If we are able to stand strong in our conviction and intent to seek the wisdom of our Ancestors as the thinning between the worlds occurs, the information gained becomes the foundation upon which we stand as we begin the process of turning within and integrating what has been received. Like the Hermit of the Tarot, we become the master of our own Will, seeking our truths and finding our way using the light of the lantern of truth.

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Day Eleven: 30-Days of Samhain

Painting by Autumn Skye Morrison

The Call of the Crone

The air is full and heavy this time of the year as the veils thin and the spirits walk among us… some offering guidance and assistance and others being mischievous and stirring up an already potent mix of energy trouble. There is a distinct and growing crispness to the air as the weather offers a preview of what to expect in the coming winter months, and leaves crackle underfoot reminding us that summer’s moisture has given way and the dryness of death is near. As a Witch, the changing of each of the seasons echoes through my body and in response my perceptions and attitudes about what each change will bring sharpens and narrows to an intentional and purposeful focus. In particular, Samhain hangs heavy in my thoughts and the opportunity to reach a little deeper into my own state of mortality and transformation looms large.

Each year at this time, I make a silent commitment to being more fully present and alive in my daily activities. This is, in large, my antidote to feeling the pall of death and an active reminder that this state of manifest, physical life will follow the natural order of things and return to the finer state of a non corporeal vessel. Food takes on a deeper level of enjoyment. Family is drawn closer and self-care takes priority over spreading myself too thin. Long walks surrounded by the beauty of Fall exercise my physical body and stimulate and open my senses in a broader way……..

Read the full post at my Sage Woman Blog: Womb of Light

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30 Days of Samhain: Day Ten

Creati(vity)on Calls
If you like to write, paint, sing, dance or do any other type of creative activity, Samhain can be especially inspiring. The color of the turning leaves, the differing patterns of light as the days shorten, the sounds and the smells, all of these and more stimulate your senses. So, today I would like to share some writing and photography that was inspired by this season of the Witch. Enjoy!

Part the Veils (2013)

In shadowy forest of trees
And blackness of night
The call issues forth
To come dance round
Blazing bonfire bright.

Come heed the call
The mysteries of
Samhain night to be taught
By blessed Ancestor and Kin
Their wisdom to be sought.

The veils finally thinned
The Gates open wide
For Kith and for Kin
To walk by your side.

Night wind chills thickened air
Hush now be silent to hear
The soft whispers of gentle
Spirits who linger quite near.

You know the hidden path
Dried leaves crackle underfoot
You walk through the woods
Canopy of tree holds the darkness
Thick and heavy like blackened soot.

A sacred circle of clearing revealed
Carefully scribed and lovingly prepared
You call to the Ancestors
Your intent boldly declared.

Fire blazes full and flames leap high
As words pierce the silence of night
Wisps of smoke flicker here and there
As you surrender and open to true sight.

Cloaked shadowy figures emerge
Near the trunk of each autumn tree
Penetrating and loving eyes look on
Shrouding their deep mystery.

Wispy fingers that beckon
Calling the Beloved to Their side
Listen closely for answers from
Them to silent questions you
Dare not and cannot hide.

Surrender all of your fears
These specters mean you no harm
Through joys, pain and suffering
They have always helped dry your
Tears and offered up their calm.

Part the veils held between
Ancestor Spirit and gentle Human
Their gift on this Samhain night
The call once again to join each as
One in wisdom’s blessed communion.

Can You See Me? (2010)

I’m hiding in the palette
Of fall leaves
Can you see me?

Light splatters like paint
Over my body and my leaves
Are brilliant with Fall light.

Can you see me?

Metamorphosis (2012)

Crackling leaves are burning
Transformed from life to death.

The crow calls out relentlessly
To those unseen and the
Crone’s outstretched hand
Pulls me tightly to her breast.

The air chills at her touch
Long icy fingers tapping out
the heart beat of life’s pulse within
The solemn silence of darkness.

The pause of silent breath
Power and strength drawn
From the sinewy strands of time.

Quartered path of gravel and stone
Flesh and blood
Moonlight and stars
The wellspring of Earth
The light of the cosmos above.

I tremble within Her embrace
Form giving way to the formless
Mind swirling within the waters of insight
Sight pierces the veil, the
Road cautiously chosen.

Knowledge of the unknown becomes
The heat of my desire and
The quickening spark waiting in fertile darkness
Pulls me towards rebirth into a place of Light.

The air is chilling and leaves are turning. The smell of wood in fireplaces and the comfort of snuggling deeply into warm covers promises the call of late Fall and the rising of the Crone’s power as Samhain nears. Enjoy these beautiful Autumn days.

Samhain Morning Leaves (2011)

Look up
Look up!

A beautiful sight
Fills the view!

Graceful branches
Stretch in silhouette
Against a newly lit sky!

But you have to look up
To see all that nature
Has as canopy of morning.

The day will move at its pace
Even if you take no notice of
What awaits your gaze.

So…

Look up!
Look up!

And perhaps what moves you
Through your day is memory
Of morning sky’s beauty
And the call to Look Up!

I often arrive at work early, and as the Fall approaches it is not fully light yet. This picture was taken from the parking lot one morning.

I looked up and was greeted by the beauty of a gently lit morning sky. The silhouette of a large tree that is on the lot seemed to have inked its way across the sky. The leaves had begun to turn and some were denser than others. The impression was one of serene beauty and massive power.

The interesting thing of note is that the setting is one of a suburban neighborhood setting. The lot that the building is on has a few trees on it but pointing my camera level would have revealed a brick and mortar building, streets, homes, a chain link fence and dumpsters. Looking up created quite a different impression leaving the brick and mortar world behind.

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30 Days of Samhain: Day Nine

The Altars of Samhain

” As above ~ So below”
The microcosm within the macrocosm

Altars add a beautiful layer of intention in whatever way they are used. Altars can be set-up as spaces of devotion to ancestors, Deity, events, etc. The reasons are limitless and they don’t need to be the point of focus for sacred work. Trophies placed just so on a mantle; plates or other curio collections in that special cupboard; pictures of family on a wall. These are all arranged with the same passion of intention that any altar constructed for spiritual work holds.

Samhain is especially a time when ideas and power in selection of altar items is at an all time high. We create beautiful and mysterious altars to evoke the mood for our celebration and in many cases the altar becomes a dining table as our departed beloveds are set a place at the table to join us as we feast in their honor. Today, I am offering some suggestions and lots of pictures for inspiration as you begin to build the image of what your altar will be for Samhain.

(in general).. An Altar Checklist

These are some of the items you may wish to place on your altar:

• Ritual Tools – each representing one of the four elements and placed on the altar in the quadrant which it corresponds to.
• Candles representing the Light within and or to represent the spark of Divinity that is being called as God or Goddess.
• Seasonal items such as pumpkins for Samhain, holly leaves for Yule, spring flowers for Ostara, etc.
• Your Book of Shadows/journal and writing tool.
• Any thing you feel called to place on your altar that will enhance the visual experience of the ritual.

Ritual altars are just one form of creating these pockets of sacred space. Altars can be created for a variety of purposes; devotional, personal workings, meditation and more.

There is no right or wrong way to create your sacred space. The important thing is to be creative and to place on your altar what truly and deeply calls to you. This is how the greater connection is made to the inner workings of the ritual and the Divine.

Consider this a photo album of reference for creating your own beautiful space of the Sacred. Enjoy!

Portable Samhain Altar
This was an example given from a workshop about creating portable altars that are discreet and can be arranged in any setting.

Scrying Altars

Tarot Scrying Altar

Rune and Crystal Ball Scrying Altar

Mirror Scrying Altar

Multi Tool Scrying Altar

Celestial Moon Scrying Altar

Samhain Altars: An Audience with Cerridwen
Coven of the Mystic Path, Annual Samhain Celebration

Central Altar: World of the Living

Cerridwen’s Altar 1

Cerridwen’s Cauldron 2

Altar of the Raven

Altar of the Moon

Altar of Fire

Altar of Earth

The Silent Feast of the Ancestors
An Alternate Celebration of Samhain

Cauldron of Threshold to Welcome the Ancestors

An Ancestor Chair

An Ancestor Chair

Lighting the Way

Altar of the Dead

Feast Table 1
Food was eaten in silence and reverence

Feast Table 2

For Examples of Other Altars:

Coven of the Mystic Path, ASW FB page
I set up altars for my workshops, as well as the altars we’ve created for Sabbats and more. Look through the photo albums

Sacred Altars
More info and pics of Seasonal Altars

An Audio and Visual of a workshop presented at Philadelphia Pagan Pride Day:
Magick on the Go!
Scroll to mid-page to access audio download of workshop and pics

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30 Days of Samhain: Day Eight

Samhain Incense and Oils

The “smells and bells” of Samhain enhance any working and celebration. Incense is a staple of this Sabbat and can be used in a variety of ways, from serving as a veiling for ancestor communion to calling to presence the Deities you wish to witness and bless your activities. For those who are sensitive to the smoke emitted from incense, oils can be used in their place, either heated over a small tea light or in a roller version and applied directly (fragrance or carrier enhanced only. NEVER apply an essential oil directly to the skin as these are potent and allergic reactions or skin sensitivities are likely) to the skin.


Check out this helpful article to get you started:

Incense 101: How to Make and Use Your Own Incense

Some Basic Ingredients:

For Remembrance: you can use Rosemary
For Purification: you can use Sage and Salt
For Protection: you can use Marigold, Pepper, Cinnamon, Wormwood
To Honor the Earth: Patchouli and Pine.
To Honor the Ancestors: Marigold and Mums
For Wisdom: Sage
To Honor the Final Harvest and Fall: Apple and Apple leaves
For Psychic Opening: Mugwort, Bay and Bay leaves

Recipes:
These are listed as “parts” meaning that you should begin by determining what increment of measurement will be. If you are making a small portion for personal use, I would suggest using 1/4 tsp. = 1 part. IF you are making a larger batch for group work or to store for other use; 1/2 tsp. = 1 part.

From Scott Cunningham; Incense and Brews:

Sandalwood: 2 parts
Orange Peel: 1 part
Mace: 1 part
Cinnamon: 1 pinch

From unknown source:

Frankincense: 1/2 part
Myrrh: 1/4 part
Bay: 1/2 part
Vervain: 1/4 part
Wormwood: 1/4 part
Patchouli: 1/4 part
Sandalwood: 1/22 part

From Unknown source:

Dittany: 1 part
Pine: 1/2 part
Sandalwood: 1 part
Patchouli: 1/4 part
Benzoin: 1/4 part
Pine Oil: a few drops

From Unknown source:

Dittany: 1 1/2 part
Benzoin: 1/2 part
Patchouli: 1 part

This is a recipe I like to make for my personal Samhain workings

1 part dried mugwort
2 parts frankincense resin
2 parts myrrh resin
2 bay leaves crumbled
1 part orange peel

As I add each ingredient into the pestle, I offer up thanks to the sacrifice of the herb or resin and call into presence the energy that I wish to have as part of the whole. Use the mortar to press and break apart the resins and herbs, combining each one at a time. When all is complete, I breathe (very) gently across the bowl infusing it with my own breath of creation and purpose. I usually burn a small portion then and there, offering it to my patrons and then place the remainder in storage for Samhain’s use.

*I usually make a slightly larger batch and use it as a base for future ancestor or psychic work, adding what is necessary for each. Store in an airtight, clamp lid or mason jar container in a dark place. This will preserve the integrity of the herbs and resins.

Using Oils:

Most of the ingredients in the recipes above are available as essential and/or fragrance oils. The benefits of purchasing an essential oil are that you will generally use less of it, it can be placed over a tealight for heating and you also have the raw ingredients for creating your recipes by combining the oils either in raw form for heating or with a carrier  such as almond, sesame or jojoba for body application.

Depending on the oil you select the essential oils should vary in price in accord with the rarity or value of the ingredient. For example, Frankincense and Myrrh are usually more pricey than Lemon or Bay. Be sure to get a quality essential oil that is labeled as 100% pure essential oil. I like this company’s oils, they are eco and cause conscious and are available through amazon:

Simply Earth

Fragrance oils are another way you can use an oil to enhance ritual workings and open yourself to specific energies. These are derived by combining or using a singular essential oil and placing a few drops of it/each in a carrier oil such as sesame, almond, jojoba or coconut. If you make your own you will want to use approx. 2-4 drops tl of your oils and approx. 40z. of carrier. It is better to error on the side of too little essential oil than too much and cause a negative skin reaction. I wear oils in place of perfume routinely and have special ones I use only for ritual or personal practice. I make my oil 40z portion to use as a body massage oil or therapeutic for arthritis, etc… This is the company I like to purchase my small in purse roll on oils:

Kuumba Made

 

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30 Days of Samhain: Day Seven

Just for Fun! Samhain Correspondences

These are just a few of the things traditionally associated with Samhain including herbs, animals, food and more. I would encourage you to also be open to new correspondences that are specific to what you personally resonate with. The more you can personalize the experience, the deeper and more intimate that experience will be. Enjoy!

Dates: Traditional-October 31; Astrological-Mid-point day between the Autumnal Equinox and Winter Solstice November 5-7 (depending on the year.

Names: Halloween; Hallowmas; All Hallow’s Eve; Day of the Dead; Feast of teh dead; Third/Final Harvest; Celtic New Year.

Symbolism: Death and regeneration; transformation; ending old endeavors and re-setting to begin anew, knowledge; hidden gifts; the final harvest.

Workings: Ancestor work and connection; banishing; past life recall; psychic work; honoring the dead; drying herbs and herbal lore.

Ritual Oils: Frankincense; basil; camphor; clove; yarrow.

Symbols: Cauldrons; skulls; fall foliage; divination tools; besoms; lanterns; costumes; goblins; banshees; bones.
Colors: Black; orange; red; brown.

Herbs: Almonds; bay leaf; mugwort; mums; ginger; pine; cinnamon.

Crystals and Gemstones: Black obsidian; onyx; bloodstone; smoky quartz; obsidian.

Food and Drinks: apples; mead; mulled wine; cider; pumpkin; squash; cakes for the dead; beets; all root vegetables and tubers.

Animals: Cats, bats; spiders; rats; owls, stags; jackals; scorpions.

Deities: Hecate; Cerridwen; Anubis; Hel; The Morrigahn; Loki; Persephone; Osiris; Hades; Cernunnos; all underworld/death Gods and Goddesses.

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