All Hallow’s Eve
What makes this time of year so special to us Witches? Well, it is the one holiday we can come out of the woods so to speak, and be our witchy selves, among other things.
Over time and history, the Christians have helped make this our holiday by pandering about evil and spreading their myths about what they think we witches do on this day.
Hallows Eve began in Ireland the word Samhain pronounced Sow-win, is a Gaelic word. All that we have come to know this holiday as, and all the various ways that we celebrate it, are a mix of many traditions and myths that became blended over time.
In my family tradition of Hedge Witchery, Samhain is the time to bring in the last harvest and get ready for winter. We celebrated and remembered our ancestors through seances, Ouija boards, dumb suppers, and flying. Well, three of us did.
In my family, it was an interesting mix. Bringing in the harvest from the garden, caring for the animals, and getting ready for winter was a matter of course for us all.
The rest, was something mom and I would do only at grandma’s house, because we three witches, kept our practices separate from the rest of the family. I think my brother was a bit more tuned in to us than he let on. My dad knew of my mom’s practices but did not like having it around. Yet my father saw spirits and dreamed of ghosts, and I remember the tales of his dreams he would tell at this time of year.
Grandma’s house would be full of candles lit for those who were no longer present, set in the windows so they could find their way to her. The table all through October would have an empty place setting, 24/7 so the spirits would feel welcomed anytime.
What we now call a “dumb supper” was held at midnight on the 31st. The Séance, the tarot, or the Ouija board were part of the event prior to dinner depending on what grandma felt was right, something I only got to attend a few times when I was older.
For us, it was not as ritualized as it now is. We comfortably chatted about those who were gone prior to sitting down. Once the candles were lit and the lights turned off, we sat in the dark and Grandma would speak of the dead as we ate quietly. After a bit of quiet, grandma would ask what and whom we felt, and we would compare our input.
Part of our work when done, was to express gratitude for their presence and closing of the veil. The ritualized part we participated in was the clean-up. We cleared the table, washed the dishes, blew out, and removed the candles. We washed the table and put on an everyday tablecloth all with reverence and a focus on letting go of the spirit. This work all was part of closing the veil. Then we would sit for a few and talk about everyday stuff before going home.
Nothing will match the environment at grandma’s home. I continue this tradition in my own way. I set out my ancestor altar with the family photos, light candles there, and set a plate on the bookshelf in my living room. I then invite my ancestors and let them know they are welcomed. On the 31st at midnight I sit before the altar contemplating and talking to my ancestors. All while smoking some Mugwort then go to bed, for some good old-fashioned flying with my ancestors.
Since my blog allows comments, I would love to see your comments on how you celebrate Samhain, have a blessed day!