Samhain is almost here! Across much of the Northern Hemisphere, this time of year has been celebrated in very similar ways. It is a very potent period of time and a perfect time for celebration: Halloween (Samhain), All Saints Day, All Souls Day, and The Day of the Dead (El Dia de los Muertos) all fall in this sacred stretch of time between October 31st and November 2nd. It is a time to remember and honor your ancestors and to appreciate that family you have that is still living. It is also a time to recognize your own physical mortality and the inevitability of death. In doing so, we recognize how a living thing’s sacrifice upon death can feed and renew other living things. It is a Divine and Holy idea that we find in several religious traditions, as the sacrifice of Christ, the death of the Wiccan God, and in countless stories and themes across the world. In recognizing the depth of personal or divine sacrifice, renewal, and mortality, we also cultivate a greater appreciation for having spiritual immortality.
Take the time to celebrate this wonderful stretch of days. Here are some spells and activities that you might enjoy doing alone, with family, or with friends.
APPLE BANISHING SPELL
Samhain is a time to banish all negativity for the coming year. It is also known as the Feast of Apples. How appropriate, then, is an apple negativity-banishing spell? Take an apple and charge it with what you want to get rid of for the following year. After that, take a nail or pin and scratch the name of what you’re banishing into the skin of the apple. Go to the furthest edge of your property (or not on your property at all) and dig a hole. Sprinkle salt into the hole, put the apple in it, and press the dirt back down on top of it with your hands. As you do, envision the earth swallowing up the apple. Sprinkle some salt on top of the dirt. As the apple rots away and disappears, so will what you want to banish. The salt will purify the negativity and turn it into good energy. There is also the chance that the apple may sprout, which further illustrates the significance of this holy time.
It’s the Feast of Apples! Have fun with it. The apple harvest is at its peak and you should be able to buy truly fine, large specimens. Make apple cider. Roast apples over a campfire with friends and family. If it’s not too cold, bob for apples. If something can be done with an apple, now is the time to do it, and to do it creatively and enthusiastically. (I’m biased as a Minnesotan, but I recommend Honeycrisp!)
FEED HUNGRY SPIRITS
Bury apples at a crossroads on Samhain night to feed hungry, traveling spirits. When the veil is thin, all sorts of things may cross into our world, and you might imagine it helps to make them feel welcome. Leave offerings of apples, barley, milk, and alcohol. Light candles (safely separated from anything that can catch fire) to guide them along the road and light their meal.
A PICNIC IN THE… CEMETERY?
Take the time to give thanks and greet your ancestors and those family members you have lost. On one of these days, take a family picnic near your relatives’ grave. Set aside food and drink that you know they would like in order to represent that though dead, they are still part of your family and welcome in it. Keep their food and drink there even when you leave the cemetery.
You can even do this activity overnight, if your cemetery allows it. That makes it a perfect opportunity for scrying. If you can’t do it after dark, you can still have a nice family picnic during the day, and have other celebrations at night.
CARVE GOURDS (OR TURNIPS!)
This is a classic activity that is best enjoyed with others, but can also be done alone. The decoration for the season demands harvest fruits and vegetables, and what’s better for Halloween than carving scary faces into them and putting a light inside? Nothing, that’s what. Although in the New World the most common fruit used is the pumpkin (or other gourd), the original tradition from across the pond involved carving turnips, a much smaller vegetable with a translucency that provides an eerie glow. This is a great option if you live in an apartment, since you can set your turnips in your window and not worry about exposing them to children that might like to stomp them. This should also point out however that anything that allows a hollow carving is suitable for the holiday, so get creative and find something unique! Have fun with it!
MAKE A SCRYING MIRROR… AND SCRY!
Now is the time of year when the veil between worlds is the thinnest. Most find it the best time of year for scrying. An especially fun project is to make your own scrying medium; you could even have a party with friends where you all make something to use! For information on scrying, scrying media, and how to scry, check out this previously written post. It even has a link to a tutorial to make your own super-cheap, super-easy, super-pretty black scrying mirror!
MAKE A PROTECTION WITCH BOTTLE
Samhain is the perfect time of year for making a spell bottle of protection, otherwise known as a witch bottle. What is a witch bottle? Well, you can find that (and other information about it) in a previous post here. As for the instructions: you will need a jar or bottle made of glass or ceramic. Place protective, cleansing, and dangerous items inside like these:
- Bent and/or rusty nails
- Razor blades
- Broken glass
- A tangle of red thread
Now it’s time to add the identifying material. This is the biological stuff that belongs to you and anyone else the spell is protecting. Usually, witch bottles have one or more of these:
- Blood (or menstrual blood, which is the strongest protective substance available)
- Nail clippings
- Wine or vinegar you have spit into
Don’t use any ingredient you feel uncomfortable using. The idea of blood and urine is enough to disgust most modern witches.
Once you have put all your ingredients into the bottle, close it tightly and consider sealing the lid with wax to avoid any accidental openings. If you want, you can also draw a face onto the bottle to make any incoming spells think they have found a person and not a bottle (another reason for that biological material). Hide the jar in a safe, secret place where no one will ever find it but you!
What are you doing for Samhain? Please comment and share!
- Samhain: Festival Honouring the Ancestors (brighthub.com)
- The Day of The Dead (brighthub.com)
- Best Places to View the Day of The Dead Festival in Oaxaca (mexican-travel.suite101.com)