Oct 17, 2009

September Balance Challenge


Winner of the BALANCE Challenge

The Wheel of the Year - Mabon

Here are the rest of the amazing entries for the October Harvest Challenge!
How about a round of applause for all these great artists.

Read delightful descriptions of how pieces where inspired
and they reflect the nature of balance.

Hu Nab Ku the Celestial Butterfly Mola Style, by Howling Caterpillars

Yin Yang Tie Tack People, by Karhum Moon

Romance in the Balance a Steampunk Necklace, by Magical Alchemy

Balance, Original ATC by Magickshop

Yin Yang Altar Tile by Breath of the Dragon

Balance, Handmade Prayer Mandala, by Motivated Motion

Balance, Rhodonite and Pearl by KaMeli Designs

Prismatic Dragons in Balance, Pair of Paintings by Dragonsmoon

Four Quarters Bracelet by BhenRudha

Liv, Spirit of Balance by Norsemagic

Balance Bracelet by Wiccan Magick Shack

Oct 16, 2009

rainadelmagick shares a Samhain Ritual of Gratitude

Greetings Friends. I hope this simple ritual brings you pleasure and intimacy with your friends and loved ones.

If we had lived a few hundreds of years ago, we would not only have brought our cows and sheep in from the pastures.

Most likely we'd slaughter a few of them, as well as some pigs and goats, smoking the meat so it would last through the cold months. Our grain that we picked back at Lughnasadh has been baked into bread, and all of our herbs have been gathered, and hang from the rafters in the kitchen. The harvest is over, and now it's time to settle in for winter with the coziness of a warm fireplace, heavy blankets, and big pots of comfort food on the stove-top.

If you want to celebrate Samhain as the time of harvest's end, you can do so as a single ritual, or as the first of three days of ceremony. If you don't have a permanent altar in place, set up a table to leave in place for the three days prior to Samhain. This will act as a your family's temporary altar for the Sabbat. Decorate the altar with symbols of late fall, such as:

Skulls, skeletons, grave rubbings, ghosts
Harvest food such as pumpkins, squash, root vegetables
Nuts and berries, dark breads
Dried leaves and acorns
A cornucopia filled with an abundance of fruit and veggies
Mulled cider, wine, or mead
To begin your ceremony, prepare a meal for the family -- and this is something that everyone can get involved in. Put emphasis on fruits and vegetables, and wild game meat if available. Also make sure you have a loaf of a dark bread like rye or pumpernickel and a cup of apple cider or wine. Set the dinner table with candles and a fall centerpiece, and put all the food on the table at once. Consider the dinner table a sacred space.

Gather everyone around the table, and say:

Tonight is the first of three nights,
on which we celebrate Samhain.
It is the end of the harvest, the last days of summer,
and the cold nights wait on the other side for us.
The bounty of our labor, the abundance of the harvest,
the success of the hunt, all lies before us.
We thank the earth for all it has given us this season,
and yet we look forward to winter,
a time of sacred darkness.

Take the cup of cider or wine, and lead everyone outside. Make this a ceremonial and formal occasion. If you have a vegetable garden, great! Go there now -- otherwise, just find a nice grassy spot in your yard. Each person in the family takes the cup in turn and sprinkles a little bit of cider onto the earth, saying:

Summer is gone, winter is coming.
We have planted and
we have watched the garden grow,
we have weeded,
and we have gathered the harvest.
Now it is at its end.

If you have any late-fall plants still waiting to be picked, gather them up now. Collect a bundle of dead plants and use them to make a straw man or woman. If you follow a more masculine path, he may be your King of Winter, and rule your home until spring returns. If you follow the Goddess in her many forms, make a female figure to represent the Goddess as hag or crone in winter.

Once that is done, go back inside and bring your King of Winter into your home with much pomp and circumstance. Place him on your table and prop him up with a plate of his own, and when you sit down to eat, serve him first.

Begin your meal with the breaking of the dark bread, and make sure you toss a few crumbs outside for the birds afterwards. Keep the King of Winter in a place of honor all season long -- you can put him back outside in your garden on a pole to watch over next spring's seedlings, and eventually burn him at your Beltane celebration.

When you are finished with your meal, put the leftovers out in the garden. Wrap up the evening by playing games, such as bobbing for apples or telling spooky stories before a bonfire.

What You Need:

A table to use as your Samhain altar
Decorations that represent the late autumn season
A meal with lots of veggies, fruit, and bread
A cup of wine or cider

Oct 13, 2009

Herbs of Samhain, a Brief List

As Samhain is the last of our harvest festivals herbs play an important role.

Here is a brief look at just a few of the sacred herbs of Halloween.

Acorns and the Oak Tree.

Acorns often adorn the sacred altar and are worn by the pagan males. They represent fertility in potential, a sleeping promise of fulfillment. The acorn is the male version of the female egg.

The oak tree itself has long been associated with the Druids; they held the oak sacred and held their meetings in blessed oak groves. Oak is the symbol of sacred kingship and the cycle of the Oak King and Holly King in Wiccan rituals represents the death and rebirth of the sacred king. Magic and ritual honoring the divine masculine is especially powerful when aided by the oak.


Apples represent healing, love and, most importantly at Samhain, immortality. This fruit also has a strong association with the underworld which one again brings us back to the cycle of the Oak King and Holly King. The name "Avalon" is believed to be derived from the old Irish word meaning "the place of apples." Apple, as a fruit of the underworld, sustain one when questing into the dark, secret places, including the realms of death.

Dittany of Crete

Dittany is used during Samhain to invoke those that have gone before to seek their comfort and wisdom. It is also used to connect with loved ones living a distance away. When tossed into a sacred fire dittany of crete will manifest these special people into our hearts to celebrate as if they were by our side.


Rosemary is worn in remembrance of those that have already passed through the Veil, letting the spirits know they live on inside our hearts. Rosemary also protected the wearer from malevolent spirits. The smoke from burning rosemary as incense will purify the sacred feast area. Old customs also tell of maidens sleeping with rosemary and a sixpence under their pillow to dream of their future husband on Samhain when the magical world is closest to our own.


The ancient Celtic peoples used rue as a defense against evil magic and negative spirits. This was especially important as the veil between the spirit and living world is so fine on Samhain. Bathing in the herb removes any hexes sent toward the bather. Burning rue opens up blocked energy and exorcises negative influences.


Mullein leaves are often carried for protection from angry spirits and to aid courage in the face of adversity. Small bunches of mullein can be placed in small sacks and hung over entryways of the home for the same purposes. Powdered mullein can be used as a substitute for graveyard dust. Sleeping with mullein under the pillow will help stave off nightmares. For Samhain, the use of mullein is often as spiritual candles. As the leaf of the mullein plant resembles a candle flame and the plant itself is fuzzy like cotton wick these make wonderful lights on such a feast day. One stalk of mullein is burned for each soul the caster wishes to remember and honor. They may be soaked in melted wax first or burned dried.

Samhain has a long a rich tradition in many areas of the Uk and Ireland. There are many more herbs and their lore to explore. I hope this short piece can inspire you to do just that

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