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Last update 10-20-11.
A night of glowing jack-o'lanterns, bobbing for apples,
tricks or treats, and dressing in costume. A night of ghost stories
and seances, tarot card readings and scrying with mirrors. A night
of power, when the veil that separates our world from the
Otherworld is at its thinnest. A 'spirit night', as they say in Wales.
For once, even popular tradition remembers that the Eve is more
important than the Day itself, the traditional celebration focusing
on October 31st, beginning at sundown. Not only is Samhain the
end of autumn; it is also, the end of the old year and the beginning
of the new.
Some fun things to do at All Hallows Eve is to divine for your true
love! Girls can place hazel nuts along the front of the fireplace,
each one to represent someone she would like to have as a
boyfriend. She can then divine her future husband by chanting,
'If you love me, pop and fly; if you hate me, burn and die."
Several methods used the apple, that most popular of Halloween
fruits. You should slice an apple through from side to side (to
reveal the five-pointed star within) and then eat it by candlelight
before a mirror. Your future spouse will then appear over your
Or, peel an apple, making sure the peeling comes off in one long
strand, reciting, "I pare this apple round and round again; My
sweetheart's name to flourish on the plain: I fling the unbroken
paring o'er my head, My sweetheart's letter on the ground to read."
Or, you might set a snail to crawl through the ashes of your
fireplace, please be considerate and make sure the embers are all
dead! Then the little creature will spell out the your lovers initials
as it moves.
Perhaps the most famous icon of the holiday is the jack-o'lantern.
Clearly it was used as a lantern by people who traveled the road
at night, the scary face meant to frighten away spirits or faeries
who might otherwise lead one astray. Set on porches and in
windows, they cast the same spell of protection over the
household. I prefer the American pumpkin over the traditional Old
World carved turnip! Of course a turnip would be easier to carry
than a pumpkin but I think I would prefer the greater light a
pumpkin would give off!
Bobbing for apples might represent the Pagan 'baptism' rite called
a 'seining'. The water-filled tub a Cauldron of sorts. The
participant in this folk game was usually blindfolded with their
hands tied behind their back which makes you think of a traditional
Craft initiation ceremony.
Wearing costumes and 'trick-or-treating' is a Celtic tradition
However, there are some important differences between the old
and the modern version. The custom was not just for children, but
was actively indulged in by adults as well. The 'treat' required was
usually one of spirits (the liquid variety).
In ancient times, roving bands would sing seasonal carols from
house to house, making the tradition very similar to Yuletide
wassailing. In fact, the custom known as 'caroling', now connected
exclusively with mid-winter, was once practiced at all the major
For Witches, Halloween is one of the four High Holidays. Because
it is the most important holiday of the year, it is sometimes called
'The Great Sabbat.' With such an important holiday, Witches often
hold two distinct celebrations. First, a large Halloween party for
non-Craft friends, usually held on the previous weekend. Then a
second, a Coven or Solitary ritual held on Halloween night itself,
late enough so as not to be interrupted by trick-or-treaters. If the
rituals are performed properly, there is often the feeling of invisible
friends taking part in the rites.
Of all the Witchcraft holidays, Halloween is the only one that still
boasts anything close to popular celebration. Even though it is
typically relegated to children (and the young-at-heart) and
observed as an evening affair only, many of its traditions are firmly
rooted in Paganism. A night when both Pagans and non-Pagans
may ponder the mysteries of the Otherworld and its inhabitants.
Take a tour of my Halloween/Samhain pages and take whatever
you want. Please just remember to copy and save to your own
computer and don't trifle with my bandwidth, remember.....I am a
With that, may all your jack-o'lanterns burn bright on this
All Hallow's Eve.
Click on the Pumpkin to
visit that location
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