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

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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30 Days of Samhain: Day Six

The Charge of the Dark Goddess and the Great Mother

Listen to the words of the Dark Mother, who of old was called Hecate, Nuit, Morrigan, Banba, Erda, Macha, Mother Night, Sekhmet, and many other names:

Whenever you seek wisdom, at the time of the Darkening Moon, come together in love and trust and learn of Me, who am the Wisest of Crones…Ye who search the mysteries of the Earth, the secrets of Air and Darkness, of Blood and Fire, the silence of the uttermost stars, come unto Me, and I shall whisper to you in the depths of midnight.

Ye shall approach Me in silence, and as a sign that ye are free from fear, your breast you shall bare to my blade…for fear has no place in my mysteries, and that which you seek of Me will destroy you if you fear it.

For I am the dolmen arch beyond which stretch the mysteries of infinity. I am the silence before birth and after death. I am the clouded mirror in which you scry your own soul. I am mist in the twilight, the vast and starry sky of midnight, shadows on the Moon.

All things come to Me in the end, and yet I am the beginning of all. I meet you at the crossroads, I lead you through the darkness, my hand you grasp in the passage between the worlds. To those that toy with Me am I an instrument of self-destruction, yet to the true seeker do I bring knowledge beyond mortal comprehension.

Of you shall I demand the utter truth of all that you are, and in return shall I give you all that you may be, all that I am. For my wisdom is beyond the Ages, and knowledge of my Secrets is power over self, over fear, over death. Nor do I demand aught of you which you cannot give. For I am the Mother of Mysteries, and as you know Me, so shall you learn to know yourself.

The Qabalistic Sphere of Binah and the Womb of Creation
I’d like to offer a different perspective for the Goddesses of Samhain and the link to the Hermetic Tree of Life. If you are not familiar with the tree of Life please take a moment to read a basic here…
Qabalah Boot Camp: Just the Basics

The sphere of Binah is considered the Great Mother on the tree and is one of the Three Supernals that are responsible for the ultimate creation in manifest reality.She sits atop the pillar of Severity and with this semantic comes the cutting edge of what is required as the feminine energy seeks to refine and make viable what will become part of the Triune – Kether, Chokmah and Binah of emanation. I chose the image as the front piece of this post as representation of Binah and the sheer power she exudes simply in her presence.

The three Supernal Spheres that I referenced are Kether, the Godhead or the singular limitless source of all, that in its desire to become and create from itself splits and sends its potency in forming the sphere of Chokmah. Chokmah sits atop the Pillar of Mercy and as such commands the justifiable expelling of the seed potential that will move across to its companion, now formed as the primordial womb within Binah. These as polarized energies provide from the singular desire of Kether, the force and the form necessary for conception and the concept of creation. The seed must find its place within the womb of potential as as such the three together also exemplify the universal cycles of life, death and rebirth.

Using the energy of Binah as the focus o your Samhain celebration provides a container that is receptive to refining and testing the viability of what enters. This process is one of involution. In the reverse, what begins in the lower sphere of Malkuth – the physical and Kingdom of Earth’s gifts, ascends on the tree passing through its varying stages of evolutionary growth and having arrived at the sphere of Chesed- also on the Pillar of Force just directly below Chokmah. the choice is given to proceed across an abyss of great challenge and in so doing return to the primordial womb of Binah. This is a return to the waters that created you as the divine spark and reabsorption by way of a metaphysical death, or shedding what holds you to the denser realms as you pass through the Gates of imminence, and omnipresence.

Read More About the Goddess:

Liber Vel Hecate
The Mystery of the Goddess

Read More About Binah and Qabalah:

13 Keys: The Understanding of Binah
Qabalah Boot Camp: Just the Basics

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30 Days of Samhain: Day Five

Today holds the energy of the Full Moon in the astrological sign of Aries. Be sure to check out the Bonus Post exploring this moon. We honor the fullness of the Feminine energy of Form as we explore…..

Full Moon in Aries-Let’s Play!

The Goddesses of Samhain

The energy of the Goddess runs strongly through Samhain’s celebrations. This is the final harvest of the year and a time when death and decay abound. The darker months of shorter days is crowding in and our thoughts turn to home, comfort and healing before the rigors of the next season of growing.

The Goddess as Crone weighs heavy in imagery and Her wisdom is sought out to correct what has gone awry. As the Celtic New Year, the Great Mother’s hand is what we hope will guide our journey as we emerge at the Winter Solstice into the Light of a newly birthed solar power. The Goddess becomes the place of “forming” our intentions that are seeded and quickened by the directive of the God and the union of polarities that organically flows through the Cosmos. These are but a few of the Dark Goddesses that may be called upon as the Veils part…

Hec(k)ate – Greek
Hecate is a triune Goddess, meaning that she holds within her power the gifts of the Maiden, the Mother and the Crone. She is of the Greek pantheon and ancient in her power and energetic signature. This synthesis of her energies plays out in all of the ways in which she is called upon, the Crone being the more dominant of the three at Samhain.

In myth, Hecate is the only child of the Titanes Perses and Asteria ad was given power over heaven, earth and the waters. It is also said that she assisted the Goddess Demeter in her search for her daughter, Persephone and led her through the darkness of night with flaming torches, thus reuniting mother and daughter in the underworld of Hades.

She is often depicted as the dark figure that stands at the Crossroads and associated with the arts of necromancy, witchcraft, herbal lore of the poisonous plants, and all things of magick. Just as the Gates of Hades were guarded by Cerberus, as a Goddess that stands at a quartered threshold between life and death, her companions are the Hounds of Hecate and they assist in prodding to action and ultimately change those seekers who find Her. Because of her command over many of the arts of the Craft, Hecate is often considered the Queen of the Witch’s. In future posts we will experience Hecate’s gifts.

Cerridwen – Welsh

Cerridwen is a Welsh Crone Goddess of magick, wisdom and rebirth. The brew in her cauldron, named Awen (“inspiration”) bestows the transformative energies of brilliant wisdom. In myth, this brew was prepared for Cerridwen’s homely and ungainly son, Morfran. The brew was prepared very carefully and required a year and a day for it to be completed and the drinker to receive its full effects. The next occurrences are ones of undoing for the intended recipient of the potion as the stirrer of the brew accidentally splashes some of the scalding liquid on his thumb; sucks on it to relieve the pain and ingests the potion. The boy, Gwion suddenly becomes very wise and flees the scene realizing the wrath he will incur from Cerridwen. Using the magick of shapeshifting on the part of Cerridwen and being “one step ahead” by the now wise Gwion the cat and mouse game goes on. Eventually Gwion unwisely becomes an ear of corn and is consumed by Cerridwen as punishment.

In the style of many of these myths, with the ingesting of Gwion, Cerridwen becomes pregnant and upon seeing the beauty of the reborn Gwion cannot end his life. So, she swaddles him in cloth and throws him into the sea where he is rescued and grows to become the bard Taliesin. These themes play out in Samhain’s mysteries of the otherworld and the potential for those who have passed beyond to be reborn anew in grace and wisdom. At a practical level, we all strive for what we perceive that we do not have, and as life often will, opportunity presents itself sometimes accidentally. We fear the repercussions of what we have gained and flee shapeshifting into whatever we feel we “should” be to stay ahead of the game and hope that no one is the wiser to what we have been gifted. Samhain is a time to claim those gifts as our own ad with the help of Cerridwen’s cauldron of inspiration and new life, we may find that we are indeed the intended recipient of such great gifts.

The Crone – Triune Dark
A more generic attribution of the Goddess at Samhain is that simply of her triune nature; the Crone the face presented at Samhaintide. The Crone is considered the Dark aspect of the Goddess, her other two archetypes that of the Maiden and the Mother. She holds within the Wisdom of the ages having experienced the beginnings of life and youth and the fullness of motherhood. She is also the one who is nearest in the cycle of death and rebirth and into her care and keeping of those, benefitting from her wisdom across the veils and into the afterlife. She is the face that is also considered the ‘hag’ in many cultures.

The Crone was the wise woman of the village. Knowledge of herblore, communication with those of the Greater Earth and the magick of midwifery and putting out of its misery what was not viable. Often the Goddess as the Crone will be invoked and sought out at Samhain, serving many pantheons of expression and using the archetypal versus a specific Deity that may not normally fall within your personal work.

The Morrighan – Celtic
The Morrighan is a Celtic Goddess of War and Fate. She holds the gift of prophecy and command especially over the battlefields, determining who will live and who will die of the fallen. She is a shapeshifter and portends of her arrival are the gather in the crows/ravens. As the dominant goddess of Europe she was known as the Great Goddess and tales recount her abilities to move the soul through the cycles of life and death. The Morrighan was also called upon as protectress of the home and in early (Copper Age artifacts) there are depictions of her that bring more light on the extent of her gifts. In the book by John King, The Celtic Druid’s Years, Samhain is considered the mating time between the Dagda (the Great God) and the Morrighan.

She is seen as a bird goddess as well as an earth goddess whose breasts both nourish and sustain life and regenerate those in death. In Irish mythology the Morrighan’s breast were thought to form the hills in County Kerry. In early Celtic artifacts she is identified with images of the number three and the triparte nature of her magick and presence give her the power as a shapeshifter. Most view the Morrighan as a frightening goddess;more so because she is not death, itself, rather the keeper of death. In this way, the Morrighan is also the Wayfarer of light that commands strength and commitment to the path you have chosen, both in this life and the next.

There are many other Goddesses that are honored and called into working during the season of Samhain. Each have a hand in the parting of the veils and allowing for greater communication and interaction with out dear beloveds. Regardless of who you choose to offer your devotion to at this sacred time of the year, you will emerged transformed!

Read more about the cycle of the Goddess:
The Mystery of the Goddess
The Cycles of the God and Goddess Through the Wheel

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30 Days of Samhain: Day Four

The Charge of the Dark God and the Lord of the Hunt

Listen to the Words of the Horned God,
Who was of old called among men:
Adonis, Tammuz, Dianus, Herne,
Bran, Beli, Lugh, Gwyn,
Dionysus, Osiris, Cernunnos, Pan,
And by many other Names.

O Secret of Secrets,
That art hidden in the being of all that lives,
Not Thee do we adore,
For That which adoreth is also Thou.
Thou art That, and That am I.

I am the Flame that burns in the heart of every being,
And in the core of every Star.
I am Life, and the Giver of Life,
Yet therefore is the Knowledge of Me
The Knowledge of Death and Resurrection.

I am alone, the Lord within ourselves,
Whose Name is Mystery of Mysteries.
I am the Horned God.

I am the Lord of the Universe,
The Father of all living,
The All-Devourer and the All-Begetter.

I am He Whose Seed lies strewn
As glittering Gems across velvet darkness
Within the Womb of the Mother.

I am the Lord of the Shadows
In the darkness of the Underworld,
For I am the Midnight Sun.

I am the Light of the Stars,
And the Spark of the Spirit Eternal,
For I am the God Within.

I am the Horned Leader of the Hosts of Air,
The Leader of the Wild Hunt,
The Judge of Gods and of Men.

I am the Hidden God,
Who ever yet remains,
For I dwell within the secret seed.

I am the seed of grain,
I am the seed of flesh,
I am the Seed of the Stars.

I am the Lord of the Heights,
I am the Lord of the Depths,
God of forest, of flock, and of field.

I am the Hunter and Hunted,
I am the wolf and the Shepherd,
I am the vine and the grain.

I am a Guiding Star above you,
I am a bright Flame before you,
I am a smooth Path beneath you.

I am the Light of Life.
I am the Flame of Love.
I am the Horned God!

Yesterday we met some of the Gods associated with Samhain, death and the Underworld. The Charge of the God written above speaks to the many faces the God wears and the weavings of all mysteries within them. Another God that may be invoked at Samhain as the final harvest is undertaken is the Horned God. You will most often see this God celebrated at Lughnnasaad or the Autumnal Equinox of Mabon; the first and second harvest respectively. But inherent in the aspects of the Horned God are those qualities much like that of guardians of the human ancestors. The Horned God protects the wild creatures and when sacrifice at the hunter’s bow is made, tends to the needs of the creature that is so deeply embedded as one and the same as the God. Including our animal companions in the celebration of death and life is woven seamlessly into the invoking of the Horned God and the role he plays in the cycles of life and death in the wild.

To read more about the Horned God and Herne and Cernunnos….

The Mystery of the God
In the Hall of the God: The Lord of the Hunt

Posted in 30 Days of Samhain, Hall of the God | 1 Comment

30 Days of Samhain: Day Three

The Gods of Samhain

Every culture has stories of those beings who rule the land of the Dead. These rulers may be Gods, Goddesses, Kings, Queens, Spirits or in some case mortals who achieve god-like status. Entrance into these realms often requires more than simply physical death of the individual with trials and tests proving worth of entry being the standard. What that land/realm is called varies depending on the pantheon’s associated with that culture, but the concept of separate realms for the living and the dead remains consistent.

Most often we think of the Goddess in her form as Crone being associated with the Sabbat (Solar Holiday) of Samhain. But, the Dark God is also one of polarized energy that stands as Lord of the Underworld and keeper of the dark mysteries. Today, we are going to meet a few of those Gods. Samhain brings access to the realms of the dead in a way that is celebratory, wisdom seeking and healing. When we call forth the assistance of these Underworld deities in opening the way for communion with our loved ones and those who have passed beyond the veils of the living we are adding another layer of interaction for ourselves with a being that holds mastery over those realms to which we are not normally privy. These are but a few of the Gods who are given the task of care and keeping of the dead.

Hades – Greek (pictured above)

The Greek God, Hades was the King of the Underworld (that eventually took his name) and God of the Dead. He presided over the funeral rites and directed the burials to be in accord with what was due to the deceased. One of three brothers, in the division of who would rule the parts of the Cosmos, Hades received the dark domain of the underworld to rule. Most are familiar with the story of Hades and Persephone and the co-ruling as King and Queen of the Underworld during the dark half of the year and the return to the land of the living by Persephone to ensure that Spring and Summer would be bountiful.

At the gates of the Underworld, the dead were ferried across the river Styx (one of several rivers named. In the original Greek stories it was the River Archeron)) which created the boundary between the land of the Living and the Underworld of the Dead. The ferryman, Charon(os), the angel of dead had the duty to transfer the souls of the dead with a boat over the river from the world of the living to the world of the dead. It was believed that putting a gold coin under the tongue upon death, would help pay the toll for the ferry to help cross the Styx river which would lead you to the entrance to the underworld. If some could not pay the fee they were said to haunt those who did not put the coin under their departed bodies tongue.

If the deceased made it across the river they were greeted by Cerberus, the hound of Hades was a three-headed dog, who fiercely guarded the gates of the Underworld thus setting another trial in place before entry could be obtained. And, once the deceased passed beyond those gates, they were eternal residents who would be hunted down and returned to Hades if they tried to escape.

Anubis – Egyptian

Anubis weighing the soul of the scribe Ani, from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, c. 1275 bce.

Anubis weighing the soul of the scribe Ani, from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, c. 1275 bce. Mary Evans Picture Library/age fotostock

The Egyptian God, Anubis (Greek name) or Anpu, as he was known in Ancient Egypt, was an important God of the funerary cult responsible for the mummification and guiding of the care of the dead. The priests who were responsible for the physical embalming of the deceased wore the masks of the Jackal during the process, becoming the embodied God present at the very beginning of the death process.  He is depicted as a Jackal headed-God and one of his main functions in the multi-staged journey of the dead was the determiner of the soul’s fate. The scales in the Hall of  Ma’at (the concept of justice and order) and the weighing of the heart against Her feather were guided by Anubis. Those whose heart was lighter than the feather were given their hearts (considered the most important organ in the body and the place of thought, memory and emotion) back and allowed to enter an afterlife, that had the potential for rebirth. Those who did not, had their hearts fed to much feared beast, Ammit, whose crocodile head devoured the heart and the deceased was set to roamed eternally in a place of non-existence.

Mictlantecuhtli – Aztec

Mictlantecuhtli was an Aztec God who was worshipped throughout Mesoamerica as the Lord of the Land of the Dead-Mictlan. Interestingly, he was closely associated with owls, bats, and spiders; the staples of Halloween celebration. He ruled the underworld with his wife Mictecacíhuatl.

Mictlantecuhtli was prominent in the pantheon of the Aztecs as he would be one who all the living would meet in their journey when life left them and they came to the land of the dead. Additionally, the Aztecs believed that only those who died a violent death, people killed by natural disasters or women who perished on childbirth avoided the “face to face” with Mictlantecuhtli ad avoided the underworld. However, for everyone else this afterlife was available to all regardless of how they had led their lives.

The final resting place of the soul and its extinction was gained by a challenging and arduous 4-year journey through nine layers of the underworld. The burial rites included cremation as well as underground burial. In each case the body was given as an offering and tribute to the earth. In Aztec ritual, human sacrifice was also made at the time of the year sacred to Mictlantecuhtli, as the chosen impersonator became the God and the sacrifice of the human body was made as tribute to the God and his power over death.

Donn – Celtic “the Dark One”

…Donn is said to dwell in Tech Duinn (the ‘house of Donn” or ‘house of the dark one’). A 9th-century poem says that Donn’s dying wish was that all his descendants would gather at Tech Duinn after death: “To me, to my house, you shall all come after your deaths”. The 10th-century tale Airne Fíngein (‘Fíngen’s Vigil’) says that Tech Duinn is where the souls of all the dead gather. In the translation of Acallam na Senórach, to go to the House of Donn in Irish tradition means to die. This suggests that the pagan Gaels saw Donn as their ancestor and believed they would go to his abode when they died. Tech Duinn may have been thought of as a place where the souls of the dead gathered before travelling to their final destination in the otherworld, or before being reincarnated…Source: Stair na hEireann:Irish Mythology.Donn began as a mortal man, son of Milesius, and member of the Milesians. The story of an invasion in Ireland by the Milesians and their fleet of sixty-five ships led by Donn is documented in the Lebor Gebla Erenn. Following a promise to the Denann kings after meeting in Tara by one of Donn’s brothers, Amergin, the Denann’s used Druid magick to ensure that their land would not fall to the Melisians and sunk most of the ships and all but three of Donn’s brothers. Donn was among the dead and because of his high status, in death he was soon elevated to the title of Lord of the Dead and came to be known as the Lord that made his home, Teach Duinn a place of death. It was also believed that the dead would roam the lands as “shades” until they heard Donn’s horn at Samhain calling them to travel from the west over the sea to the Otherworld. In some versions, Donn is allied with the sidhe (Fae) and is a Sidhe King.

Regardless of how or if you choose to use the energy of the Dark Gods, their presence remains an energetic strand in the celebration of Samhain and its connection to the varied final resting place of those who have crossed the veils. 

Tomorrow: The Charge of the Dark God

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