We hope you rested up yesterday, as we're ready to this this ground running!
Don't forget, this Thursday is your deadline for Forget-Me-Not tributes/photos. Send to Serena and we'll post them all on Samhain.
We have some delectable delights for your mind, spirit and your taste buds today!
Without further adieu, let's party!
The winner of The Witches' Book of the Dead by Christian Day is
The Dumb Supper by Snow Moon
For as far back as I can recall as a young child, the excitement and anticipation started to grow for the arrival of Hallows eve as early as the end of August. While most kids were still enjoying the hot summer days, I was usually sketching a prototype of my Halloween costume with my mom. Fortunately for me, she has always been extremely skilled within the world of sewing and design.
Although the “quest” had always remained the same; who could collect the most chocolate and candy, while cramming it all into a plastic pumpkin, pillow case, or treat bag....But, by the end of the evening I had always felt there was something “more” to this delightfully dark celebration.
As I had approached my teen years, my attraction and pull towards the occult, witchcraft, and the “Old ways”, took over. Having premonitions through dreams, I have always been strongly intuitive, and have rarely second guessed my gut instinct. This attraction appeared to come as naturally for me as breathing! After one good swift kick to the broom closet door, I dove into my exploration of this magical day with much of the same enthusiasm I had exhibited every Christmas morning...
As I have learned over the years, Halloween and Samhain represent many different things to many unique individuals and cultures throughout the world. This celebration is rich in it’s symbolism and customs, most of which date back thousands of years. For myself, this holiday reflects the Final harvest, the wheel of the year coming to a close and preparing for a new year and new cycle. It is a sacred time for divination, feasting, and celebration. It is a time to release and let go of any residual guilt, pain, and unfinished business. In a sense, clearing out all of the “spiritual clutter”.
It combines the dark and macabre theme of death, with light hearted activities such as carving jack –o’-lanterns and baking Halloween cookies. It is within these intersecting themes that the predominate symbolism of death resides. Death, as applied here, relates to the third and final harvest season. It relates to the completion of one year, while a new year will commence on November 1st. It is also a time when the veil to the “otherworld” is fairly thin.
Without a doubt, it is an auspicious time to attempt to contact loved ones that have passed on to the other side. Over the years I have implemented my own set of rules in my efforts to contact deceased loved ones. Through trial and error I have adjusted my practices accordingly. This past decade I have experienced extreme changes in my life. During this time I have honored my “loved ones passed” with the ritual of the Dumb Supper.
The Dumb Supper has existed for many years. It was routinely practiced in parts of Great Britain and Ireland. Throughout my investigations, I have learned there are many variations of this ritual. Honoring or contacting the dead is a spiritual and personal gesture unique to each individual. Therefore, I believe it is important to incorporate whatever elements that are special to you, and personal for your Dumb Supper.
Traditionally, there have been a few different dates that people have utilized in hosting this ritual. Obviously October 31st being Samhain is a popular choice. Other days have fallen in between October 29th to November 2nd . Occasionally, I have heard some chose November 7th to host their Dumb Supper, as this is one of the four points during the year that fall between the solstices and equinoxes. On this day, the sun sits at 15 degrees of Scorpio, a “cross quarter day”.
Personally, I have usually held my Dumb Supper during one of the evenings of the “Dead moon”; between October 29th and October 31st. The Dumb Supper is a ritual built around remembering, honoring, and contacting the dead.
While lifting the veil to the otherworld, in our attempts to dial into our own “sixth sense” and to establish contact, it is imperative to adhere to the most important rule of this supper; no talking!! It is suggested that any foods, drinks, supplies you may require during dinner, should all be placed in a strategic position on the table to avoid having to ask for anything.
When I have hosted a Dumb Supper, I follow a more traditional path and the interpretations associated with it. I will share with you what I do, however as I had mentioned earlier, make the ritual your own. Make it personal, make it sacred...
Obviously food has often played a vital role within many cultural celebrations of the dead. Whether it has been left as an offering at a grave site, placed on an outdoor altar or simply served at the dinner table, the choices are endless. You may choose to serve your deceased loved ones favorite foods, or something very different. I prefer to serve seasonal foods that are very savory. My “go to” dish is a stuffed pumpkin with wild rice, squash, pecans, scallions, & dried cranberries.
Dessert may consist of anything you could imagine, from Halloween candy to perhaps something more elaborate like a pumpkin spice cake. Another option is to ask each of your guests to bring a dish, “potluck” style. The table is generally decorated all in black. Black dishes, napkins, glasses, and so on. I incorporate some skull candles or candle holders, as this is after all a feast for the dead. I use black candles to light the way, all regular lights are shut off.
On the entrance table, I display photos of the person/people we wish to contact in the otherworld. I may place a gift they had given me, on the table. I leave the head of the table empty, that seat is reserved for the loved one passed. If you are honoring more than one person, adjust your seating accordingly.
The chairs of the departed are each cloaked with a black cloth. On their dinner plates sits one black tea light that is lit. I always place a purple candle on the center of the table to represent the “Spirit”.
Before supper, I say a blessing for the departed loved ones, and remind those at the table that we are each here to make contact or say hello in our own way. While we all dine in silence, if there is a “sign” from the otherworld, I record it on a note pad that I had placed by everyone’s setting. Once the Dumb Supper is complete, I thank any loved ones I had invited, for coming. Then I read a Samhain blessing that I write every year.
Afterwards, everyone is welcome to share any thoughts, emotions, and experiences they may have encountered during supper. As each of my guests departs for the evening; (the living guests!!) I always give them a gift to take home. I have given cupcakes, cookies, ornaments, candles, oils, or charm bags. It is not mandatory, simply something I enjoy doing.
Despite all of the obvious dark undertones of Halloween and Samhain, I still manage to enjoy all of the mundane, magical, and mystical treats that October 31st manages to deliver each year...
SAMHAIN BLESSING ~
The dark half of the year has come,
The wheel completes it’s turn.
For in the glow of natures lamp,
A new year will emerge.
The earth rests silent with decay,
Though colors are ablaze,
Bonfires burn the chill of night,
And die by break of day.
Enchanted are the memories, the magic and the spells,
From centuries old we weave the tales,
In sacred space we dwell.
Family gathers by the fire,
Jack o’ lanterns glow,
The aromatic scent of spice
Billows from the stove.
Daytime slowly turns to dusk,
The portal opens wide,
Urging us to start the dance,
Where spirits play and hide.
As we gather for the Holly King,
A time to chant, a time to sing.
The goddess now prepares to sleep,
Her image but a crone,
As we invoke her power, her strength,
We never stand alone...
We call upon the watchtowers,
Cast the circle, light the flame,
We stand here in remembrance of those we’ve lost by name.
Please protect and guide us,
Nourish our good health,
Bless us with abundance, security and wealth.
On this sacred Samhain eve,
When spirits roam and mortals grieve,
We invoke eternal bliss,
Weave our words,
Our darkest kiss.
Enchanted as the west wind blows,
We leave the portal gate,
We gather now with those we love,
A time to celebrate.
A feast of nature’s bounty,
Harvest gifts for all,
November brings another year,
As we embrace the fall.
Blessings and light,
This hallowed night...
Wishing all of you Brightest Blessings for a safe and happy Halloween and Samhain!
SNOW MOON (C)
Only eleven more days! Today, we shall enjoy the beautiful voice that belongs to Loreena McKennitt. *sigh*
The Witches’ Kitchen by Autumn Earthsong
This is a great recipe for any time! Serve with crackers, pretzels, fruit etc. Made in the shape of a pumpkin, it looks great on your buffet or table. Perfect for lovers of all things pumpkin!
1/2 cup cream cheese, softened and divided
8 oz pkg shredded mild cheddar cheese
1/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup pineapple preserves
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 pretzel rod, broken in half or 1/2 stem of celery
Combine all ingredients except pretzel rod until well blended. Cover. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
Shape into a ball like a pumpkin. Using a knife, score vertical lines down the side. Insert pretzel rod or celery in center for stem
*Makes 2 cups.
Read my blog at www.autumnearthsong.com
Visit my herbal shop at www.etsy.com/shop/verbenalaneshoppe
It's the Great Pumpkin Giveaway from Sharon Grimshaw at KitchenWitchery!
Four hand-crafted and painted pumpkin plaques, made with traditional materials, ready to chuckle their way through your celebrations! Presented in a hand-made box and personalised with the name of the winner!
Rules: (READ CAREFULLY)
YOU MUST PROVIDE A VALID EMAIL ADDRESS. If you choose not to share it in the comments, please use the contact form at the top of the page to provide your email address. You must provide your email address once per giveaway.
Drawing is held by random number generation and winner will be notified in email (that's why you have to have an email address listed). Announcement will be made in tomorrow's post.
Note: These giveaways are open to the U.S., Canada and where allowable. Void where prohibited.
Canadian residents, please pay close attention as by law, you have to use a different set of rules. Not to worry, we have you covered :)
CANADIANS READ HERE: You will be given X number of entries for answering the following (remember, we STILL NEED YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS):
What is the answer to life, the universe and everything?
U.S. Citizens, and others- READ HERE:
1. Go to the Kitchen Witchery Facebook Page. Like/Get Notifications and come back to let us know you did.
EXTRA ENTRIES: (USE SEPARATE COMMENTS. If you throw them all into one comment, it counts as one entry only)
2. Be a follower of this blog. Comment that you are following us.
3. Like the Sirens FB page (come let us know you did in comments)
4. Go to the "Step Away from the Cauldron" blog. Follow, then come here and comment to let us know you did.
5. Blog about this giveaway (comment with the url for your blog entry)
6. Tweet about this giveaway (come back and give us the url for your tweet)
So, all in all, you get 6 entries for this giveaway! The deadline for entries is midnight eastern time (11 Central, 10 Mountain, 9 Pacific) tonight. Announcement tomorrow, same time, same bat channel ;)
Questions? Email Serena.