My Samhain Ritual

We’re about a week and a half from the big day. Where did the time go? October has been flying by.

I think the husband and I have finally picked our Halloween costumes, though now there’s the tough part of actually pulling them together. I still don’t know for sure what our plans are, but I’m trying my best not to stress about it.

As promised, I’m going to share with you what used to be the major part of my annual ritual for Samhain. This was usually done as a part of a group, and as a result, took lots of time and lots of improvisation to make it work for us.

The original spell is from The Book of Spells by Nicola de Pulford. It’s called Encompassing Luck.

We saw this ritual as a way to make goals or resolutions for the New Year. We didn’t look at them so much as “wishes” as rather something to strive for. Keep in mind that the old adage remains true: Be careful what you wish for.

What you Need:

-8 candles (choose colours that correspond to what you’re doing. The book recommends green for prosperity and red for luck, but we usually kept it to either white or purple).

-Wine/Beverage of Choice. Cider would be good too. Or hot chocolate. Yum.

-Some edible nuts/seeds or cake that crumbles well and doesn’t fall apart if dipped in wine.

-A round pebble (though we didn’t always use this, our BOS was normally enough)


If using different coloured candles, set them up so that the colours alternate. Make sure they are secure. In the middle of the circle of candles, place the wine and the nommy snacks.

If using the pebble, keep it in your left hand throughout the whole ritual. Normally, instead of using a pebble, we wrote down all of our wishes in our group BOS. The idea is to infuse the intention of your goals/wishes into something that you can have with you throughout the year.

Starting with the candle at the north, light it.  Dip the foodstuff into the beverage, while making your wish. Eat the foodstuff. We would then each write down our own wish. Repeat, going in the direction that works for you.

If doing this in a group, there are a couple of ways to do this. If you have 4 people in your group, each person gets 2 wishes. Or, if you don’t mind things taking a while, each person gets 8 wishes. Whatever works for you. We’ve done both and found that we preferred letting everyone have 8 wishes while alternating who lights the candle.

When you are done, drink the rest of the wine and enjoy what is left of your treats. Meditate on your wishes/resolutions and the steps you need to take to accomplish them.

Going back over the book, I realize that my interpretations of this ritual are a bit different from the original author’s. For me, spellcraft is intensely personal. Just like when I’m baking, I find it nearly impossible to stick to the “recipe”. I highly recommend you do what feels right to you.

Celebrating the dead

Samhain, as a celebration of the end of summer, is also a celebration of death, and the moving of the spirits of the dead through the veil. As such, I have always felt that the end of October and beginning of November were a powerful time of year to commemorate those who have passed and celebrate their lives. Here are a couple of ways that you can honour those who have passed.

1. Involve the Dead in your Samhain celebrations. Have a plate of food and a glass of whatever you’re drinking reserved for visiting spirits. You may be surprised to find some of this “missing” at the end of your meal. Note: I have been told to NEVER eat or save for the purpose of eating later this extra plate of food and drink. Instead, I usually put it out in the woods for nature to claim. Acknowledge the dead in your ritual, involve a related deity in your ritual (such as Persephone, Morrigan, Anubis, Thanatos, Freya, Odin, etc…)

2. Look to another culture. Try celebrating the dead with a ceremony from another culture, like the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) from Mexico, or the bonfires, feasts and lanterns of the UK

3. Write a letter to the person or people that you have lost and send it to them by burning it.

4. Visit the graves of those who have passed and tidy them up. Bring them flowers or a treat.

5. Set out to meet with them in dreams. Personally, this is how I tend to communicate with the dead all year round, whether intentionally or not. Make a tea of herbs that assist in dream recall or lucid dreaming, such as valerian, and go sleep with the intention of speaking with the specific person clear in your mind.

6. Spend time with close friends and family. Look at pictures and reminisce on your memories of those passed.

What do I normally do? Well, if I attend the annual Witches Gathering here in Ottawa, I write the name of someone who has passed in their Book of Memories, which is used in the annual ritual. I also make a place setting at our feast for the spirits of the dead. I use this time to communicate with the dead, either in dreams or during my ritual. I go through pictures, I update commemorative websites and I talk about them with friends and family.

Ring Warming and Strange Dreams

Hope everyone had a lovely full moon :)

After a day of running around and accomplishing little, my sister and I finally got to work on my ceremony right as the moon rose. I gathered all of my supplies and set up my makeshift altar.

First, after casting the circle, we cleansed the rings with each element and asked each element to bless the rings. Then I had a bit of a conversation with the Divine, asking for the same thing. After that, I consecrated the rings to their purpose and protected them from accepting any negativity, ill will, etc… I blessed and annointed them with specific oils and then placed them in their protective black cloth.

I think it went really well :) I feel very good about it.

As it was the full moon, I ended up having very strange dreams last night. My family and I (not 100% sure on who was actually in this “family”, but basically my favourite and most loved people) had come to live in this beautiful old house with a gorgeous wrap around veranda, high ceilings, amazing details everywhere. There was a lake, and gorgeous gardens. It seemed perfect…except for the fact that the house was under the protection of this giant elephant, Mo Mo. And when I say giant, I mean GIANT. Size of the parliament buildings, giant. Mo Mo looked adorable, like one of these cute elephant toys:

Mo Mo the Destroyer

Mo Mo controlled who came in and who went out. God forbid we had a guest that we hadn’t told Mo Mo about prior to their arrival. He would try to destroy the house, our guest, you name it. He’d go on these rage filled rampages. Mo Mo was a tyrant and he could old be won over by a sacrifice. For whatever reason, the sacrifice of choice was clothing. Specifically beautiful dresses.

So, one day my friend came over as a surprise, and Mo Mo went nuts. We tried hiding and running, but eventually, it came down to him demanding a sacrifice. He wanted this dress that was beautiful, blue and perfect. I wanted to wear it to my bachelorette or shower, I can’t remember. Instead, I offered him this old nightgown of my mother’s. He laughed, saying that I gave him something that, while old, was far more valuable to me than the pretty dress.

Strangely, the nightgown I gave Mo Mo is one I gave a friend years ago because it didn’t fit me anymore (My mother was a much smaller woman than I).

Strange, right? A reading to be had later, for sure. Unfortunately, right now I’m high on decongestants and ready for a nap.  I have a ton of cleaning to do but can’t until my head clears. Fun times!

Ring Warming

Even though it’s considered a faux pas to leak information about the wedding ceremony, here I am, about to share one of the more important and personal aspects of our big day.

Despite the drama we’ve been facing the last few months, Pat and I really like the idea of doing a Ring Warming ceremony with our wedding. The ring warming is basically this: (as taken from my programs)

During the wedding ceremony, Patrick and Heather will exchange rings. These rings are visible sign of their commitment to one another. A ring is a circle, with no beginning and no end, and in such acts as a symbol of eternal love. As you are seated, they invite you to take part in the warming of the rings. We ask that each guest hold their hands over the rings for a moment, warm them with your love, and make a silent wish or prayer for Patrick and Heather, and their future together. We ask that you wish them health and happiness, and all that is noble in life. When these rings come back they will contain, in their precious metal, that which is more precious, that which is priceless – your love and hope and pledge of support for our union.

That’s good stuff, right? Well, there’s a lot more to it than that. There is of course, a lot of preparation involved to make sure Surly Aunty Sue doesn’t throw a wad of negativity at our marriage. Our wedding day happens to fall on the full moon in June, so I’ve decided to start the ring ceremony on the full moon in May, this Thursday.

My plan is this:

-Cleanse the rings with each element

-Protection spell on the rings (more of a filter spell really. Keeping negativity out, and letting warmth and positivity in)

-Our own blessings on the rings.

What do you think? Should we do anything else? I’d love to hear some feedback :)

Oh, and for pretties, here’s what the rings look like:

My set <3

Pat's ring

I’d love to hear what you think :D

Ostara

Happy Ostara everyone!

I’m probably not going to be doing much this weekend to celebrate, as Pat and I have to get the house pretty and sparkling for our Realtor who is stopping by Monday or Tuesday to discuss the sale of this place. Usually, I would be attending my an annual spring Stitch ‘N Bitch hosted by my good friend, Lisa-Marie, to celebrate, but unfortunately, without my car and with so much to do, I have to miss again this year :( I’m doing what I can to cheer myself up despite missing out on all the bellydancing bra-burning goodness. This helps:

Yes, I’m a Gleek. I love the camp, the happy and the singing. So much fun <3

Oh, and these guys. I adore them. I can’t wait to get my hand on their album, Sigh No More.

So, back to the topic at hand. There are some great blogs out there, talking about Ostara and ways to celebrate. One of my favourites today is The Domestic Witch. I think I’ll take her suggestion and turn our cleaning into a cleansing.

Meanwhile, another beautiful blog, also titled Domestic Witch (are we getting a sense for my taste in these things? Yes? Good :)) had a really great post today that brought back a memory of my pagan past. Long ago, when I was very new to the path, I was very unsure and very scared. I didn’t know where to start, or where to find my answers. I remember sneaking off to the New Age section at the local book store. I forget the specific book now, but I remember flipping through one that resonated with, only to find a little note inside. It directed me to The Pagan Playground, one of the only pagan stores in Ottawa. It was then I realized that there was a community in Ottawa, beyond the highschool girls who had only read Starhawk. It also made me feel special, like someone had left the note for me specifically. It was great! I love the idea of leaving these lovely Wish Tickets in books that mean something to me. I think a trip to Chapters may be in order!

Oh, I meant to add that I ended up putting off wedding shopping the other day and only managed to pick up yarn for my garter. It is perfection. It glows, it shines and its so soft! It’s Silk Rhapsody Glitter by Art Yarns, and the colour way is the perfect blend of ivory and a light grey blue.

Of course, I’m sure it’ll be a nightmare to work with (mohair and I go way back. I remember swearing it off years ago. So much for that). I had knit a wrap sweater that turned into a lovely little shrug (ah, gauge. You are my eternal foe)

Cute, right? Well, it’s supposed to be full length. And it was my first big project ever. I tend to dive in head first, without thinking. The number of times I frogged this thing, I became quite familiar with the lovely way mohair tends to bind itself together. Ah, good times.

I may or may not have had to frog the garter once already. I refuse to confirm or deny. Just pass the wine.

Ah well, I can’t complain too loudly. I almost walked out of the store with a 65$ skein of beaded and sequined cashmere. Don’t ask. I loose all sense the second I’m surrounded by the pretty pretty. On the plus side, the lovely owner of the shop informed me that they have Thursday night knit nites. It would be so nice to sit down and knit with people again, especially so close to the house in Orleans.

Anyway, have a great one everyone!

Snow Moon

Last night, sick as a dog, it occurred to me that it was a full moon. Well, in reality the full moon had been this past weekend, but in my books, she was still pretty damn full. I felt restless, unable to fall asleep, and figured that could be part of the problem. So, I bundled up and stepped outside on to my front porch. The moon was right above me, peering at me through the branches of our maple tree. She was beautiful last night. The sky was mainly clear, it wasn’t too cold, and she was shining bright.

I grounded myself, rooting myself into the ground beneath the stonework. I opened up my hands to her and said Hello. Drawing down the moon, I felt a very gentle calmness. A silvery ripple, maybe a very light laugh, or perhaps an exhale. I expected the winter moon to feel wise, and much older…however this moon felt different. Sweet. Like a medieval maiden. Pure, sweet, and shy. She didn’t feel old to me…at least not weathered. Interesting.

I sat there with her for a little bit, sent her a hug and wished her a good night. I came back inside and curled up in bed, with the light of the moon pouring into the window. She was so very bright. It was a great comfort to me. When I woke from disturbing dreams, I felt her calm me, and even now, I don’t remember the dream at all.

Happy Imbolc

Happy Imbolc everyone.

I hope that this is truly a return to the light. The last while has been very dark and hard for me. I could really use a reprieve.

I have a bunch of stuff planned to celebrate the day. To begin, I’m cleaning and finally cleansing the house. I also plan on blessing the heart of the home, my creative space and say “Heya!” to the good neighbours.

Next on the plan, I want to do a cleansing for myself and Pat. We have been going through a lot of bad luck the last while, so I want to make sure that we are clear of any possible hexes, ill-will and so forth.

I then want to do a “I promise to work really hard if you help me find a better job!” spell for both of us

Next up, a blessing for creativity, creation and inspiration in honour of Brigid.

Finally, I want to do my totem guided meditation.

It’s going to be a very productive day :) After all of my running around this afternoon, I spent the snow day cleaning. I just have to finish up laundry, the dishes, the craftroom and then vacuum before I do the cleansing. I think I’ll also do the litters, just to be nice to Pat.

I have so much stress going on right now, I really hope it calms down after this. I have stomach pains, I’ve been clenching and grinding so hard at night I have migrains and I broke a tooth last night. I haven’t been eating well, if at all, and my whole body hurts. It’s not a good scene. I want to do all I can to fix this, but I think I need some divine help too. On a side note, I’ve started morning pages again. So far I’ve only had bad luck increase since I started. Maybe it’s a sign. I don’t know.

I feel like I’m entombed by the snow, forced into a time of solitude and contemplation. I’ve come to a few decisions and I have a new understanding of certain things. My situation is very much of my own doing. I now need to take control and fix it.

I think I’m going to go have a sleepy time tea with some honey to calm my mind and my stomach before bed. I need to be at the top of my game tomorrow.