Thursday, 31 October 2019

Samhain Night

This is the night when the gateway between
our world and the spirit world is thinnest.
Tonight is a night to call out those who came before.
Tonight I honour my ancestors.
Spirits of my fathers and mothers, I call to you, and welcome you to join me for this night.

You watch over me always, protecting and guiding me, and tonight I thank you.
Your blood runs in my veins, your spirit is in my heart, your memories are in my soul.
With the gift of remembrance, I remember all of you.
You are dead but never forgotten, and you live on within me, and within those who are yet to come.
~ Patti Wigington

As crops die and winter takes over, we look within to find our own balance of dark and light. Light is always born out of darkness, they are inseparable, interdependent, and necessary. Do not be afraid of the darkness - darkness is fertile with potential.

The down-time of winter gives us the opportunity to rest and reflect on the past, and to dream of new beginnings. I hope the seeds you plant for next year bring you peace, joy, happiness, and abundance.

Have a blessed Samhain all those who celebrate. With love and blessings, Wren 🖤

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Making a protective Rowan berry necklace

About ten days ago I spoke a little about Rowan, and how it has long been praised in folklore for its magical properties. The Rowan’s wood and berries are used in a lot of folk-magic, and a necklace from the berries is said to protect the wearer from harm. The red berries counter any magic aimed at the wearer, and protect the wearer from bad spirits when carrying out Shamanic-type work. Rowan is also said to help the wearer focus when working with energies from magic realms. A Rowan necklace or garland will last for many years when stored in a dry place.

“Rowan twigs and strings of red,
Deflect all gossip, harm and dread”

1. Gather your berries. September is ideal, however I was late and gathered mine in the first week of October.
2. Measure and cut a piece of red cord. This is the traditional colour for making Rowan charms, and of course the vibrant colour adds to the energy of your protective magic.
3. Thread the Rowan berries on to the thread using a large darning needle. It is customary to place a knot between each berry, however I didn’t bother with the knots, and added a small wooden bead instead.
4. When you are finished hang your necklace or garland somewhere warm and dry. An airing cupboard or greenhouse works well. The berries will shrivel and darken as they dry out.

My necklace has had about ten days to dry out; as you can see it’s wrinkly and getting darker - quite a contrast to when I first made it.
Scroll down to my earlier post if you’d like to see the necklace in its beginning stage, and learn more about Rowan.

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

The Three Great Celtic Triads

Three things from which never to be moved:
One’s Oaths, one’s Gods, and the Truth.
The three highest causes of the true human are:
Truth, Honour and Duty.
Three candles that illuminate every darkness:
Truth, Nature and Knowledge.

Monday, 21 October 2019

Samhain Celebrations

If you celebrate Samhain how will you observe it? Amongst a few other things, we will be having a Samhain ceremony at sundown. Whilst we will be celebrating the end of the harvest and a lovely summer, it will also be a serious occasion as we remember our dead and look ahead to the winter - which will be very cold in this house (gulp).

1. Prepare a seasonal feast. Dress your Samhain table. Lay an extra place for any spirits passing through that wish to join you. This is a formal occasion; your table a sacred space.
2. Put the cooked food on the table. Gather everyone round. “Tonight we celebrate Samhain. Samhain marks the end of the harvest, the end of the summer, and the approach of the coldest nights. The abundance of the harvest and the fruits of our labour are placed before us. We thank the Earth for all She has given us. We thank those who walk before us. We enter winter, a time of sacred darkness, with gratitude.”
3. Go outside taking some wine/cider/juice and some bread with you. Break the bread, and make an offering to the Earth. Do the same with the wine. “Summer is gone. Winter is coming. We give thanks for all that we have.” When everyone has made their offering go inside and feast.
4. Leave any leftovers outside as an offering for the dead. You can give them to pets, but I would avoid eating them myself.

What are you doing for Samhain? I would love to know!

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Halloween & Samhain - The Celtic roots of modern Halloween custom

Halloween and Samhain are often thought of as the same festival, which is an easy assumption to make considering they are held at the same time of year, and both are celebrations of the dead. 

Halloween is a festival concerned with warding off evil spirits and remembering the dead, and Halloween traditions are believed to have originated from the earlier, Celtic fire festival of Samhain. 
Samhain marks the end of the harvest and the end of summer; a time when everything is dying and we're about to enter the colder, darker part of the year, when the veil between this world and the next is thinnest. 

Many of the old rituals, like leaving sweets on the doorstep to appease mischievous ghosts and spirits, have become modern customs. 

Bobbing for apples has its roots in scrying and divination. The Celts saw the apple as a representation of the Goddess, and over time it became an object that could determine marriages. A bobbed apple placed under the pillow of a girl would elicit dreams of her future husband. 

Dressing up, or 'guising', at Halloween comes from the notion that disguising yourself will prevent harm from wandering spirits. Mischievous spirits could play tricks on the living, so it was advantageous to 'hide' from them by wearing a costume. Guising at Halloween in Scotland is recorded in the 16th Century, and later recorded in other parts of Britain and Ireland. It was first recorded in North America in 1911. 

Since the Middle Ages 'mumming' on certain holidays has existed throughout the British Isles. Mumming involves going door-to-door in costume, performing short plays in exchange for food or drink. At Samhain people may have impersonated spirits and received offerings on their behalf, with the belief that impersonating these spirits would protect them from them.

The Church also contributed to Halloween celebrations with an activity called 'souling'. A person would go from house to house asking for cakes ('soul cakes') in return for praying for the souls of those resident in the house, which was popular during the later Middle Ages. 
In my house we celebrate Samhain, but we do provide sweets for the children that are Trick-or-Treating.

There are many references to guising, mumming and souling at Halloween throughout Britain and Ireland in the 18th and 19th century, although the belief is that it is extremely unlikely that the modern custom is directly related to these old customs. 

Do you observe Halloween, Samhain, or both? 

Halloween is catching on here in the UK. as a commercial festival, despite its roots originating here.

Monday, 14 October 2019

Protective Rowan

The Rowan has long been praised in folklore for its magical properties. A necklace from the berries is said to protect the wearer from harm. Whilst it’s often referred to as a Mountain Ash it’s not actually an Ash at all, and is a member of the Rose family instead.

Typically, September is the month to gather and use Rowan berries ~ I know, I know, I’m a tad late this year ~ and consequently my berries are a bit fat!

The Rowan’s wood and berries are used in a lot of folk-magic, and this beautiful tree is believed to have come from the Faerie realm.
Its berries are used for wine and potions to increase second sight, for healing, and for staying strong whilst fasting. The blossom end of the berry has a natural pentagram, adding to its protective properties.

Today I made a Protective Rowanberry Necklace, choosing to thread some brown wooden beads in between each berry to make it my own.
You can also make protective charms from Rowan twigs and red thread to hang in your car, office or over the doors in your house.

“Rowan twigs and strings of red,
Deflect all gossip, harm and dread”

Friday, 11 October 2019

Glastonbury Goddess

Mother Earth,
Enlighten what’s dark in me,
Strengthen what’s weak in me,
Mend what’s broken in me,
Bind what’s bruised in me,

Heal what’s sick in me...
And lastly, revive whatever peace and love has died in me.
~ Unknown