Samhain [pronounced "So-wen"] is the final harvest celebration of the agricultural year. As the plants began to die and the weather turned colder it was natural to become introspective. This time of year belonged to the Goddess in her Crone aspect. The Old Lord been sacrificed at Lugnasadh or Mabon and the Young Lord was not yet born. It was a time of reflection and possibly of fear.
Celebrated on the night between October 31 and November 1 n the Northern Hemisphere, it coincides with "Halloween". Here in Australia, we celebrate Samhain around the 30th of April. It was at this time of year that (traditionally) the herds and flocks were culled of the beasts which were not expected to live through the winter. The meat was dried or salted for use throughout the winter months.
Though Samhain marked the end of the agricultural year, it was the first holiday in the Celtic Wheel of the Year. The Celts believed that the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead was very thin on Samhain Eve, just as it was on Beltaine and Midsummer's Eve. When the veil thinned, the souls of those who had died during the previous year could enter the Summerland. The living could also journey into the land of the Dead.
People set out lights in hollowed-out turnips to guide the spirits of the dead (the fore-runners of the modern Jack-o-lanterns) and put out food as an offering (which evolved to the modern tradition of "trick-or-treating").
Pagans are not afraid of the spirits of the dead. They are our friends and family. They are our ancestors who gave us life. We call them our "beloved dead". Death is a natural part of life, in fact, a gift of the Goddess. If nobody died, there would be no room for new things to be born, not change or growth.
Nobody really knows what happens when they die. Most Pagans believe that our spirits live on in one way or another while our bodies return to the elements and sustain other lives. There are many beautiful names for the place where our spirits go: Summerland (the place that is always summer and never winter), Tir n'a Nob (The Irish "Land of the Youth" where spirits grow younger and younger until they are young enough to be reborn) , Avalon (the Isle of Apples, where the dead wander in the orchards of the Goddess, where the trees bear fruit and flowers at the same time), Heaven (where streets are paved with gold, and the spirits are transformed into angles & spend eternity in the presence of God). Valhalla, and many more.
However we imagine this place, it is a place of peace and rest where we stay for a time until we are ready to be reborn again, perhaps as an animal or a tree or as another person. In each life we learn new lessons, so our spirits are always growing wiser. Samhain isn't just about solemnly respecting the dead, as death and birth are two sides of the same coin. It is the time of death and the time of new beginnings, when we think about hope and change and what the next year will bring.
The Goddess at Samhain
The aspect of the Goddess at Samhain is the Crone. The Crone is the Old one, who teaches us wisdom and helps us let go when we need to change and grow. Growing older means losing something as well as gaining something. The Crone teaches us that letting go is a natural part of life.
When we let go, we make space for something new, just as when a person dies, they make room for another person to be born. When we let go of the old year, let it die, we make room for the new year to be born.
The time between Samhain and Winter Solstice (Yule) is the waiting time, like when a babe is in the womb, not yet ready to be born. We don't yet know what the new year will bring, but we can dream, and imagine, and plan!
We can feel close to the Crone at this time of year by spending some time with an older person. Visit your grandparents, or an elderly neighbour, who can tell you stories about their life. Knit or Crochet blankets to donate to a retirement home at Yule.
The God at Samhain
The aspect of the God at Samhain is the Horned God, the stag whose antler are fully developed. In ancient times, people depended on hunting for their food. The Horned God was the God of the hunt, and he represents the animal that gives its life so we can be fed.
Today, most of us buy our meat at the store, and some of us are vegetarians. But even the vegetables and grains were once alive. The Horned God reminds us that our lives are gifts given to us by other living beings. Because all food is a gift of a life, it is sacred. We treat food with respect.
We feel close to the Horned God by stopping for a moment before eating, to thank the plants and animals that have given their lives to be our food. We also say thanks for the work of all those who grew and harvested that food.
In our family, we take the opportunity of the Thanksgiving holiday (which does fall during the Samhain season!) to honour the Horned God, to give thanks for the "harvest" of the past year.
The Altar at Samhain can be covered with a black or orange cloth. Upon it, pictures of our beloved dead and things that remind us of them are very appropriate. Symbols of the season, such as pumpkins, pomegranates, gourds, Indian corn, seed pods, feathers, and fallen leaves make wonderful and beautiful decorations.
The Colours of Samhain
Orange and Black are the most commonly thought of colours associated with Samhain. But, also consider the other colours of autumn: Rust, Bronze, Red and Yellow of the leaves, the Brown of the Earth, and the grey-green of dying moss.
Incense, Herbs and Woods
Gum mastic, Copal and Myrrh creates an Other-worldly atmosphere when burnt. Heather and Clove also add to the ambiance.
Herbs for this Sabbat should include wormwood and Mugwort. Wash your scrying mirror or crystal ball with and infusion of these herbs. A tea of Chamomile and Valerian can produce a drowsy, trance-like state. Rosemary is used for remembrance, so is perfect for Samhain.
Your bonfire, whether it be outside or in your fireplace, should be of Hazel, Hemlock and/or Apple wood. Inscribe runes of divination on the pieces of wood before placing them in the fire, then watch the flames for symbols and omens.
Contacting the Dead
Most Pagans consider contacting the dead a risky proposal, at best. We do so only when absolutely necessary. Contacting the dead can be disruptive to your psyche. While some spirits involve themselves in our world as guides and mentors, others remain connected in more negative ways. Spirits need to be free to move on and we can best help them by leaving them alone. Death is a transition, signalling movement from one realm to another, and it's risky, and rude, to disturb them.
Samhain is one of the few exceptions to this rule, but even at this time, we do not hold séances or call up spirits who do not want to be disturbed. During this time we invite those whom we wish to remember to be part of our celebrations IF they choose to join us, but we never coerce.
The three days surrounding Samhain are the most potent times of the year for divination and scrying. Since the veil between worlds is thinnest, we can see easily into the realms of spirit and faerie.
Things to Do.....
* Read traditional Faerytales & share scary stories
* Paint or carve a face on a pumpkin..
* Save the pumpkin seeds to roast and plant.
* Have a party! Visit your local library to find scary stories, books of party ideas, etc.
your favourite oracle about the future
* Remember departed friends and family--Go through your photo album sharing anecdotes about the people in the photos. If you don't know your family history, try to contact older members of your family and ask them to write or record reminiscences about departed family members.
* Go for a walk in the woods or another favourite outdoor location.
* If your children are of an age to understand, share your feelings about life and death with them. The subject will probably come up naturally as you are collecting the materials for your altar. Your children will feel better knowing what you believe.
Batty Finger Puppet
· Construction Paper
· Sequins or glitter for eyes (Optional)
Print off this page to use as a pattern.
Cut 2 bat shapes from dark coloured paper.
Mark eyes and dotted lines on one piece, this will be the puppet's front
Glue the bat's wings and head front and back together. (Glue all areas marked in red on diagram)
Fold wings forward on dotted lines.
Glue 1 sequin or a small dab of glitter on each eye.
Allow all glue to dry (overnight is best).
Stick finger into bottom of bat's body to use.
· Heavy paper such as construction paper or poster board
· Autumn leaves
· White glue
· Markers or crayons
Select one or 2 large leaves for your faery's body and 4 smaller leaves for the hands and feet.
Glue the large leaf to the centre of your paper.
Glue the smaller leaves about 5cm out from the larger leaf.
Use the marker or crayons to draw a head at the top of the large leaf. Draw "stick-figure" arms and legs connecting the small leaves to the large leaf.
You may wish to draw a background for your leaf faery. What is your faery doing? What does s/he see?
TIP - You can use a sticker or cut out for the body, and glue leaf wings on, or make leaf rubbings and cut them out
· permanent marker
· Pipe cleaner
· 2 pieces facial tissue
· 2.5cm ribbon
Use the pictures here to get ideas for your spook. Using the permanent marker, draw a face on the rounded side of the spoon.
Wrap the pipe cleaner around the spoon handle, just below the bowl of the spoon. Twist the pipe cleaner once to hold it tightly around the spoon handle
Open the 2 pieces of tissue out flat. Fold them accordion (fan) style across the width of the tissue.
Fold one piece of tissue across the pipe cleaner on the left side of the spoon. Wrap the left piece in front of the spoon handle. Push the tissue towards the spoon so that it is gathered as much as possible, and then wrap the pipe cleaner around the handle again. Repeat with the other piece of tissue on the other side of the spoon and taking the tissue around the back of the spoon.
Wrap the ribbon around the spook's "neck" and tie in a bow.
Bend the pipe cleaner arms to any position you wish.
If desired, you can tie a piece of string through the ribbon on the back of the spook's neck and hang your spook to fly in the breeze...
From Myrriah's Home Page
§ 1/2 dram Pine Oil
§ 1/4 dram Frankincense oil
§ 1/4 dram Patchouli oil
§ a/4 dram Lavendar oil
Mix well and bottle.
These cookies are just sweet enough to please both children and adults. The dough is easy to work with and doesn't require refrigeration--an important consideration when working with children.
· 1 C. Softened butter
· 1 C. Sugar
· 1 Egg
· 1 tsp. Vanilla (or almond flavoring)
· 3 C.Flour
Frosting in white or light yellow
(use canned or make butter cream frosting using your favorite recipe)
· Yellow sugar sprinkles
· Candy corn
· Mini chocholate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cream together butter and sugar.
3. Beat in the egg and flavoring.
4. Add flour 1 C. at a time, mixing well after each addition.The dough will be very stiff. DO NOT CHILL.
5. Roll 1/2 of the dough at a time. Roll 1/4" thick.
6. Cut with moon-shaped cutters or cut with a round cutter and then cut in half to make the crescent moon.
7. Bake on ungreased cookie sheets for 10-12 minutes or until just lightly browned on the edges (Watch carefully--your oven may vary and cookies will burn quickly once they start to brown.)
8. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.
9. When cookies are cool, frost.
10. Sprinkle with yellow sugar
Add a candy corn nose and chocolate chip eye.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
· After scooping out the insides of your pumpkin, clean the stringy parts off the seeds and rinse the seeds under running water.
· Let the cleaned seeds dry throughly. Set a few seeds aside to plant in the spring.
· Spread the seeds on a lightly oiled cookie sheet.
· Bake in a 350 oven for 15 minutes or until the seeds just begin to brown (Watch them carefully--once they begin to brown they will burn rapidly)
· Sprinkle the seeds lightly with salt.
· Allow to cool and enjoy.
· 2 C. sifted flour
· 2 tsp. Baking Powder
· 2 tsp. Cinnamon
· 1 tsp. Baking Soda
· 4 Eggs
· 2 C. canned Pumpkin
· 1 2/3 C. Sugar
· 1 C. vegetable Oil
· 1 C. chopped Pecans
Mix together the oil, sugar and eggs.
Mix in the pumpkin
Sift together all the dry ingredients.
Mix part of the dry ingredients into the oil mixture,
then add the remaining flour mixture and stir just till moistened.
Spread in a 15" x 10" x 1" pan.
Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.
Cream Cheese Frosting
3 oz. Cream Cheese
1/4 C. butter
2 C. sifted Powdered Sugar
all ingredients together until smooth.
Frost the baked and cooled pumpkin mixture. Cut into bars
§ 1 c Unbleached Flour, Sifted
§ 2 t Baking Powder
§ 1/4 t Salt
§ 1/4 t Ground Cinnamon
§ 1/4 c Vegetable Shortening
§ 2/3 c Sugar
§ 1 ea Large Egg
§ 1/2 c Canned, Mashed Pumpkin
§ 2 T Milk
Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon; set aside. Cream together shortening and sugar in mixing bowl until light and fluffy, using electric mixer at medium speed. Beat in egg. Combine pumpkin and milk in small bowl. Add dry ingredients alternately with pumpkin mixture to creamed mixture, stirring well after each addition. Spoon batter into paper-lined 2 1/2-inch muffin-pan cups, filling 2/3rds full.
Bake in 350 degree F. oven 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot with butter and homemade jam.
Carrot Jelly Mould
§ l pkg. (small size) orange jelly crystals
§ 2 or 3 medium carrots----finely grated
§ 1/4 tsp. white horseradish
In 1 and 1/4 cups *Hot* water (Boiled)...add horseradish, then mix in the orange jelly...stir and add the finely grated carrots...pour into mold and refrigerate til set...serve with creamy dressing...following:
Mix equal parts of Mayonnaise and heavy cream together and chill. Serve with jelly mold.
Pumpkin Marble Cheesecake
§ 1 1/2 c Gingersnap Crumbs
§ 1/2 c Finely Chopped Pecans
§ 1/3 c Margarine, Melted
§ 16 oz Cream Cheese, Softened
§ 3/4 c Sugar
§ 1 t Vanilla
§ 3 ea Eggs
§ 1 c Canned Pumpkin
§ 3/4 t Cinnamon
§ 1/4 t Ground Nutmeg
Combine crumbs, pecans and margarine; press onto bottom and 1 1/2-inches up sides of 9-inch springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees F., 10 minutes. Combine cream cheese, 1/2 c sugar and vanilla, mixing at medium speed on electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Reserve 1 c batter, chill. Add remaining sugar, pumpkin and spices to remaining batter; mix well. Alternately layer pumpkin and cream cheese batters over crust. Cut through batters with knife several times for marble effect. Bake at 350 degrees F., 55 minutes. Loosen cake from rim of pan; cool before removing rim of pan. Chill.
These cookies can be made on Hallow's Eve. They can be shaped like people and the herb rosemary is added to the dough as a symbol of remembrance. Some of the cookies are eaten while telling stories or attributes of special ancestors, reminding us that we still have access to their strengths--or perhaps a predisposition to their weaknesses. The rest of the cookies are left outside by a bonfire as an offering. This can be a solemn ritual, but it need not be.
Ingredients for the cookies:
§ 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
§ 1 c. butter or margarine (softened)
§ 1 egg
§ 2 t. vanilla
§ 1 t. almond extract
§ 2 1/2 c. all purpose flour
§ 1 t. baking soda
§ 1 t. cream of tartar
§ 1 1/2 T. chopped rosemary
Heat oven 375 degrees. In a large bowl, beat sugar, butter, egg, vanilla, almond extract, and rosemary until creamy. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Fold flour mixture into sugar mixture. Beat until dough forms and refrigerate for three hours. Divide dough into halves. Roll out one portion to 3/16 of an inch on a floured surface. Cut out with gingerbread women or men cutters and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat rolling and cutting with second portion. Bake for 5-7 minutes.
(Potatoes, harvested from August to October, were a part of the feast in Ireland where they were made into a Samhain dish known as colcannon. Colcannon is a mashed potato, cabbage, and onion dish still served in Ireland on All Saint's Day. It was an old Irish tradition to hide in it a ring for a bride, a button for a bachelor, an thimble for a spinster, and a coin for wealth, or any other item which local custom decreed in keeping with idea of the New Year as a time for divination.)
§ 4 cups mashed potatoes
§ 2 1/2 cups cabbage, cooked and chopped fine
§ 1/2 cup butter (avoid corn oil margarines as they will not add the needed body and flavor)
§ 1/2 cup evaporated milk or cream
§ 3/4 cup onion, chopped very find and sautéd
§ 1/4 teaspoon salt
§ 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
Sauté onions (traditionalists sauté in lard or grease, but butter is acceptable.). Boil the potatoes and mash them (do not use artificial potato flakes). In a large pan place all of the ingredients except the cabbage and cook over low heat while blending them together. Turn the heat to medium and add the chopped cabbage. The mixture will take on a pale green cast. Keep stirring occasionally until the mixture is warm enough to eat. Lastly drop in a thimble, button, ring, and coin. Stir well and serve.
Howling Jack: Honey Pumpkin Mead
This mead is the color of a ripe peach and smells like autumn leaves - perfect for a Harvest party or Sabbat.
§ 1 sound, hard-rind pumpkin (approx. 2 quart capacity)
§ Paraffin wax
§ 1 1/2 quarts of water
§ 4 lbs. honey
§ 2 each oranges and lemons
§ 1 pkt. wine yeast
§ 1 tea bag (black tea)
50. Prepare yeast starter.
51. Sterilize honey and water by boiling for 10 minutes, skimming the froth as it rises.
52. Remove from heat; stir in sliced citrus fruits, including skins.
53. Cool to room temperature; pitch yeast.
54. Allow to sit over night.
55. Prepare pumpkin by cutting off the top with a sharp knife. The top must "mate" with the bottom so cut carefully. Clean out the seeds, strings, and membranes of the pumpkin. Rinse out with water.
56. Pour the must into the pumpking, leaving an inch of air space between the liquid and the rim of the opening. Replace the top.
57. Prepare the paraffin/water bath: Fill a plastic bucket with hot water, melt the paraffin wax and float it on the water.
58. Dip the pumpkin, bottom first, into the warm paraffin until it is coated up to its lid. Once the paraffin begins to harden on the pumpkin skin, seal the lid by carefully pouring paraffin over the top, making sure to coat the seam.
59. Set the pumpkin in the middle of a shallow dishpaaan full of water to keep and thirsty pickle worms at bay and place it in a dark, quiet spot.
60. Allow to sit for two months, then siphon off and bottle.
Note: It is probably a good idea to rack the mead into a glass fermenter, fitted with an air lock, for evaluation prior to bottling. If the fermentation is not complete and you bottle prematurely, the corks and glass may blow.
Bird's Nest Pudding
The name of this pudding (really more like a pie) comes from the serving appearance--the apples are nestled in a bowl created by the crust.
§ 5 Granny Smith apples, cored and peeled and sliced thinly
§ 1 tsp. cinnamon
§ 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
§ 1 egg
§ 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
§ 1/2 tsp. salt
§ 1/2 cup milk
§ 2 cups flour (I use a half and half mixture of wheat and white flours--all wheat yields a tough crust)
§ 1/2 cup heavy cream
§ 1 Tbsp. baking powder
§ 1 tsp butter
§ 1/2 cup sugar (for topping)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a deep pie dish (lightly grease the rim of the dish as well). Toss apple slices with cinnamon and nutmeg and arrange in the dish. Blend together the egg, sugar, salt, milk, flour, cream, and baking powder until it begins to form a dough. Do not over mix! Shape the dough into a crust and mold it over the top of the pie dish to cover. Bake at for 25 minutes. To serve, invert the dish over a platter. Dot the apples with butter and sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Serve with heavy cream sprinkled with nutmeg. Just the thing for contemplating a warm fire or a cozy night of music!
Makes soft, cakelike cookies.
§ 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
§ 1 cup white sugar
§ 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
§ 1 egg
§ 1 cup pureed cooked pumpkin
§ 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
§ 2 teaspoons baking powder
§ 1 teaspoon baking soda
§ 1/2 teaspoon salt
§ 1 cup cranberries
§ 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
§ 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
§ 1/2 cup chopped nuts
14. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets.
15. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla, egg and pumpkin.
16. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and add to mixture. Mix until until well blended.
17. Cut the cranberries in half and stir into mixture. Add orange peel and nuts.
18. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Makes 3 dozen cookies.
These are fun to make and fun to give--wrap them in orange tinted cellophane or clear wrap and tie with a ribbon. This makes about 18 three inch balls. Unless you have a really large pot, make these in two batches.
§ 1/2 cup solid margarine
§ 2-10oz packages of large, white marshmallows
§ orange paste food coloring
§ Melt margarine in a large pot. Add marshmallows, turning to cover with oil well, and cooking slowly to melt completely. Stir in tiny amounts of food coloring with a toothpick until the color appeals to you. When completely melted, remove from heat. Then:
§ 20 cups popped, fresh plain or colored popcorn (don't use microwave corn)
§ 1 cup candy corn (optional)...stir in popcorn and candy, covering well with melted marshmallow until marshmallow turns to stringy threads. Let sit a few minutes.
§ extra butter...butter all popcorn ball-maker's hands liberally, and begin to pack mixture into balls. Adults mind that the mixture can still be quite hot, so put aside a pan in which to set balls down if children find them too hot. Let balls thoroughly cool, then wrap them up!
Bread of the Dead
Serve with milk or hot chocolate, and offer some to your departed ancestors, so they may breathe in its essence and be nourished, before you gobble it up yourself!
§ 2 cups flour
§ 2 teaspoons baking powder
§ 2 Tablespoons sugar
§ 1/4 t. salt
§ 1 egg
§ 2/3 cup milk
§ 1/4 cup vegetable oil
§ 10 drops anise extract
Mix all of the above until smooth. Heat the oven to 400 degrees and grease a cookie sheet. With clean hands, mold the dough into a round shape with a knob on the top (which will be a skull) or into smaller round shapes, animals, faces or angels. Place dough on cookie sheet.
§ 1/4 cup brown sugar
§ 1 T. flour
§ 1 t. ground cinnamon
§ 1 T. melted butter
Mix together brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and melted butter for the topping. Sprinkle topping on dough and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. When cool, decorate the skull shaped knobs, animals or faces with icing sugar to make eyes, nose and mouth.
Curried Pumpkin Stew
Contributed by White WinterWolf
You will need the following ingredients ;
§ 1 quart (liter) chicken stock
§ 2 cans pumpkin
§ 1 pint (1/2 liter) whipping cream
§ 1 cup sugar
§ 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
§ 1/2 tsp cinnamon
§ 1/2 tsp nutmeg
Bring chicken stock to a boil, reduce to a simmer.
Add pumpkin, stir well .
Add whipping cream and sugar. Bring to a good simmer.
Add spices, serve hot!
Ichabod Crane's Baked Pumpkin Mousse
§ 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
§ 1 cup superfine sugar
§ 4 eggs, seperated
§ 5 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
§ 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
§ 1 teaspoon cinnamon
§ 1 teaspoon ginger
§ 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
§ 1 cup heavy cream
§ Pinch of salt
29. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter a 6-cup ovenproof bowl.
30. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 3/4 cups sugar. Beat in the yolks, one at a time. Stir in the cornmeal, pumpkin, and spices, then the cream.
31. Beat the egg whites until they are foamy. Add the salt. Continue to beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, a teaspoon at a time, and continue beating until the whies are stiff and glossy but not dry. Fold the whites into the pumpkin mixture and pour the mixture into the buttered bowl.
32. Set the bowl in a larger pan filled with 1 inch of hot water and bake for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm from the bowl, or let it settle on a cooling rack for 30 minutes and then invert the mousse onto a plate. Make a jack-o'-lantern face with currants and serve with unsweetened whipped cream. Serves 8.
Soothsayer's Sliced Apples
§ 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
§ 1/4 cup pecans, finely ground
§ 6 large, firm apples
§ 1/2 cup sugar
§ 1/2 cup heavy cream
§ 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
§ 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
§ Pinch of salt
§ 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
42. Place the chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat until it is almost melted. Remove from heat, stir, and let cool.
43. Spread the nuts in a small bowl.
44. Dip the apples into the chocolate and shake off excess. Then dip the apples into the nuts to coat the bottom. Set them 3 inches apart on a lightly buttered tray and refrigerate for 45 minutes.
45. In a small pot, stir together the sugar, cream, corn syrup, butter, and salt. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook until the mixture reaches 240, stirring occasionally. Remove pot from heat and add vanilla. Pour the hot caramel over the apples, a little at a time, letting it drip down the sides. Cool the apples but don't refrigerate them.
46. When ready to serve, slice the apples in half and remove the cores. Cut each half into 4 slices. Makes 48 slices.
--from Auramooth's Wiccan Page
§ 1/2 cup butter
§ 1 1/2 cup sugar
Cream butter and sugar together, then add egg and blend well.
§ 1 egg
§ 1 cup cooked pumpkin
§ 1 teaspoon vanilla
Blend in pumpkin and vanilla.
§ 2 1/2 cups flour
§ 1 t. baking powder
§ 1 t. baking soda
§ 1 t. nutmeg
§ 1/2 t. salt
§ 1 t. cinnamon
Blend together dry ingredients: flour, powder, soda, salt and spices, and add to pumpkin mixture.
§ 1/2 c. walnuts
§ 1 cup chocolate chips
Stir in nuts and chips, and drop by spoonfuls onto baking sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for fifteen minutes, cool and eat!
--from Auramooth's Wiccan Page
§ 4 pounds of peeled pumpkin, chopped
§ 2 onions, chopped
§ 2 apples, chopped
§ 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
§ 1 teaspoon nutmeg or 3 t. curry powder
§ 1 t. salt
§ 2 cups water
Place pumpkin, apples, onion, stock, nutmeg and salt in the water in a heavy saucepan and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer 40 minutes until pumpkin is tender. Puree in a blender or processor.
§ 2 1/2 cups milk
§ freshly ground pepper
Return to pan and add milk and pepper.
§ garnish with cilantro if curry is used.
Once upon a time there was a little girl named Meagan. Meagan had a mommy and a daddy. Meagan had a big brother named Corwin. Meagan also had a beautiful black cat named Starweaver.
Meagan's mother made her bring Starweaver in every night. It was getting close to Halloween and some people were scared of black cats. Sometimes people who are scared do things they wouldn't do if they weren't so frightened. Meagan made sure that Starweaver came in at night where he would be safe and warm.
Meagan was excited about Halloween. Her parent's always held a big party. People would come in all kinds of costumes and they would play games. Many of them would come and go, leaving to go to other parties to show off their costumes. But there were a few people who stayed. After a certain time Meagan's parents would start cleaning up and making sure that their guests got home safely. The special guest would stay and help. Soon, only Meagan, her family and the special guests were left.
Now Meagan got even more excited. For Meagan and her family Halloween was more than just a time to dress up and play games. It was also Samhaine. Meagan and her family were Pagans and Samhaine was an important holiday for them. It was also their New Year. It celebrated the end of the Summer season and the beginning of the Winter. Tonight, her family and their friends would bid goodbye to the reign of the Lady and bid welcome to Her Consort, who would hold rule over the winter until the Lady came again in the spring at Beltaine.
This was the first year that Meagan was old enough to stay up and watch the rituals. Her parents had been teaching her about many religions so that when she grew up she would make a wise choice about how to worship. She was very excited about being allowed to watch the Samhaine ritual. She had taken a nap in the afternoon so that she would be able to stay awake.
Meagan went into her mother's bathroom. Meagan's mother Elizabeth was taking a bath in preparation. Elizabeth got out and put on her special robe. She always wore this robe to rituals. Meagan knew that some covens wore robes and some wore special costumes and some wore everyday clothes and some didn't wear anything at all! Meagan's mother said, "Are you ready Meagan? Why don't you take a quick shower and then I have a surprise for you." "What is it?, asked Meagan as she took off her Halloween costume. "You'll see when you're done," said her mother, "now hurry, you don't want to be late!"
Meagan turned on the water and stepped into the shower. And who should jump in with her but Starweaver! "Momma!" Meagan cried, "Look! Star wants to go to the ritual too!" Elizabeth laughed with her daughter, "Starweaver is more than welcome to come to the ritual. It wouldn't be the first time for him." Meagan looked at her cat, "Why didn't you tell me Star? You know all about it already!" She finished her shower and dried off. Meagan's mother held out a beautiful new robe, just Meagan's size. "Oh, Momma! A robe of my very own!", Meagan exclaimed. She felt very happy and proud as she slipped it on. Then she followed her mother out to the little grove in their backyard.
In their backyard was a little circle of trees. In the middle her parents had put up a stone altar. Usually the altar was empty but now there were things on it. Meagan stepped closer to see. Already on the altar were two chalices or cups, a sword, a book, a vessel of water and one of salt, a censor to hold incense and the God and Goddess figures which usually stayed on the little altar in her parent's bedroom. One of her parent's friends was placing a horned helm on the altar. "Would you like to help decorate the Circle?" he asked. The Circle had already been marked on the ground with a spear. Meagan asked, "What are we putting around the Circle?" Meagan's brother Corwin said, "We are putting autumn flowers, pine-cones and pumpkins." She remembered having seen some pumpkins in the garage earlier and had wondered what they were for. Meagan and Corwin placed the flowers and pine-cones around the Circle. Some of the pumpkins were too heavy for them to lift by themselves so the adults helped put them around too.
Soon the grove was ready. Everyone was wearing a robe. Meagan's mother was wearing a white robe and so was their friend Jeremy. This year Elizabeth and Jeremy had been chosen by the Coven to be Priestess and Priest for the group. Each Coven has different rules about who is in charge of things and what they wear. In the Coven that Meagan's parents belonged to the Priest and Priestess wear white and the others may choose from green, yellow, red or blue. Meagan's robe was green and Corwin's robe was blue just like their father Michael's robe.
Michael would tease Meagan and Corwin saying, "I wear blue so that no one can see me in the shadows." He would always smile when he said it. Some of the Coven members wore beautiful jewelry. Jennifer was wearing a silver circlet and a pentagram necklace. Robert wore a torque, which is a kind of neck decoration, and several rings with funny writing on them. Meagan recognized some of the letters as runes. She was studying runes with her father.
Soon a horn sounded and the ceremony started. Meagan paid close attention. Her favorite part came at the end which was called Cakes and Ale. Everyone ate little cakes and drank mead or juice. They all sat around and talked about the things they were studying and what they would like to learn about later. Meagan asked about the incense they had used. Jennifer told her that it was made by a Coven member who couldn't be there that night. She said that they would grind together different herbs to make incense that they burned on a special kind of charcoal. Their Coven had a different kind of incense for every kind of ceremony. Meagan remembered that her parent's had special incense for the house too. They would burn it during the day and it made the house smell good.
Sometimes Meagan's friends would ask her why her house always smelled so good. Meagan had to be careful sometimes about what she said to her friends. Her parents had told her that not everyone liked the way that Pagans worship. It was better for her to be careful about what she said until she knew how her friends felt about other religions. She would not want to make her friends upset or to make them feel bad. Meagan had one friend, Cindy, that she could talk about her religion to. Cindy and her family were Christians but her mother was also an herbalist and didn't mind the things that Cindy learned about at Meagan's house. Meagan's parents would trade herbs with Cindy's mother and Meagan sometimes heard them talking about religion together.
When the ritual was over everyone helped to clean up the grove. Meagan was very happy to have been allowed to stay up. Her mother said that she could come to the next ritual which would be a Full Moon ritual. They would also have a guest who was interested in the Pagan religion. Some Covens have rules that their rituals cannot be spoken of to those who have not promised to keep them secret. Some of these rules came from the times when Pagans were outlawed or hurt by some Christians. The Coven that Meagan's family belonged to did not have any rules like this but they were still very careful about who they shared their rituals with. Some people are afraid of Pagans and as you know, people who are afraid sometimes do strange things.
Meagan went inside as people were leaving to go home. She took off her robe and got into her nightgown. Elizabeth came to tuck her into bed. "I'll go put your robe in the place we keep ours so it will be ready for the next ceremony. Did you enjoy yourself tonight?" she asked as Meagan snuggled under the blanket. "Oh yes, Momma. It was wonderful. I think I want to be a Pagan when I grow up." murmured Meagan. Her mother laughed, "Well, now is not the time to decide such an important issue. I think you can wait a few years. You may change your mind later. Sleep tight and dream well little one." She kissed Meagan good night and turned out her light. Meagan sighed as she thought about the good time she had had at the party and at the ritual. Just then Starweaver decided to jump up on her bed. As Meagan curled up on her side to go to sleep Starweaver nestled into the pillow beside her and began to purr.
It had been a good day.
The night was very dark, with a Full Moon hanging in the cloud-filled sky above. The air was crisp with the feel of late Autumn and the doorway between the worlds was wide open. Carved pumpkins sat on the porches of the houses in the little town, and the laughter of children dressed in costumes could be heard from the streets.
It was a sad time for Beth as she climbed the little hill behind her house. In her arms was her cat and friend Smoky, carefully wrapped in his favourite blanket. A little grave was already dug on the hill, waiting, for Smoky had died that day.
"Do you want me to go with you?" Beth's father had asked. "I dug his grave beside MacDougal's at the top of the hill." Beth clearly remembered when their dog MacDougal had died after being hit by a car.
"No, I want to go by myself," she answered.
Beth stopped at the top of the hill and knelt beside the little grave. She carefully laid Smokey’s blanket-wrapped form in the earth and covered it with dirt, laying several large rocks on the top. Then she cried and cried.
"Oh, Smoky, I miss you so much!" Beth looked up at the Moon, tears streaming down her cheeks. "Why did you die?"
"It was his time to rejoin the Mother," said a deep, gentle voice in the darkness.
"Who said that?" Beth looked around but saw no one.
"Dying is part of the cycle of life, you know." One of the boulders on the hill stirred into life.
"Who are you?" The moonlight shone down on the little woman, and Beth could see she was not human.
"I'm a troll-wife," said the creature as she came to site across from Beth. "This is a sad night for both of us,
girl. I, too, came to this hill to bury a friend." The troll-wife wiped a crystal tear from her cheek. "The
squirrel was very old. Still it makes me sad."
Beth stared at the troll-wife. The little woman was the colour of rock in the moonlight, her hair like long
strands of moss, her bright eyes like shining crystals. She wore a dress woven of oak leaves and tree bark.
"The squirrel and I lived together for a long time," the troll-wife said. " We often talked to your cat when he was hunting here on the hill. Smoky and I were friends. I shall miss him, too." The little woman patted Smoky 's grave gently, "Sleep well, little friend. When you are rested, we shall talk together again."
"But he's dead," Beth said, her voice choked with tears.
"Child, this is Samhain. Don't you know the ancient secrets of this sacred time of year?" The troll-wife
motioned for Beth to come and sit beside her. "It is true that our friends have gone into a world where we can no longer physically touch them, but the Mother has given us other ways of communicating with them. We can do this any time, but the time of Samhain is the easiest."
"I don't understand how this can be done," Beth said, "or why Samhain makes it easier."
"At this time of year," the troll-wife answered, "the walls between this world and the world of souls and
spirits are very thin. If we quiet and listen, we can hear our loved ones and they can hear us. We talk, not
with spoken words, but with the heart and mind."
"Isn't that just imagination?" Beth looked down at Smokey’s grave, tears once more coming into her eyes.
"Like my thinking I can feel MacDougal get up on my bed at night like he used to?"
"Sometimes it is, but mostly it is not imagination, only our friends come to see us in their spirit bodies." The troll-wife reached up her hand and patted something Beth couldn't see on her shoulder. "Like my friend the raven. He is here now."
Beth looked hard and saw a thin form of hazy moonlight on the troll-wife's shoulder. "I've seen something like that at the foot of my bed where MacDougal used to sleep." She whispered. "I thought I was dreaming." She jumped as something nudged her arm. When she looked down, nothing was there.
The troll-wife smiled. "Close your eyes and think of MacDougal," she said. " He has been waiting a long time for you to see him."
Beth closed her eyes and, at once, the form of her little dog came into her mind. His tail wagged with happiness. She felt a wave of love come from him, and she sent her love back. Then she felt the dog lie down against her leg.
"Can I do this with Smoky?" Beth asked.
"Not yet," the troll-wife answered. "He needs to sleep a while and rest. Then he will come to you. This gives Smoky time to adjust to his new world, and you time to grieve for him. It is not wrong to grieve, but we must not grieve forever."
"I never thought of it that way," Beth said. "It's kind of like they moved away, and we can only talk to them on the phone."
"It is this way with all creatures, not just animals." The troll-wife stood up and held out an hand to Beth.
"Will you join me, human girl? Although I buried my friend squirrel this night, I still must dance and sing
to all my friends and ancestors who have gone on their journey into the other world. For this is a time to honour the ancestors."
Beth joined the troll-wife in the ancient slow troll dances around the top of the little hill in the moonlight. She watched quietly while the troll-wife called out troll-words to the four directions, words Beth couldn't understand. Deep in her heart the girl felt the power of the strange words and knew they were given in honour and love by the little troll-wife.
When the troll-wife was finished with her ritual, she hugged Beth. "Go in peace, human child," she said. "And remember what I have told you about the ancient secret of Samhain."
"I will," Beth answered. "Will I ever see you again?"
"Whenever the Moon is Full, I will be here," the little troll-wife said. " And especially at Samhain."
"I wish I had something to give you." Beth hugged the little woman. "You have taught me so much." She felt the tears come to her eyes again.
"Let us exchange tears for our lost friends." The troll-wife reached up a rough finder and caught a tear as
it fell from Beth's eye. The tear glistened on her finger. The troll-wife gently touched her finger to her
cloak, and Beth's tear shone there like a diamond in the moonlight.
Beth reached up carefully and caught one of the troll-wife's tears as it slid down her rough cheek. It
turned into a real crystal in her hand.
"Remember the secret of Samhain, and remember me," the troll-wife said softly as she disappeared into the darkness. Beth walked back down the hill, the crystal clutched in her hand. Her father was waiting for her on the porch.
"Are you all right?" her father asked as he gave Beth a hug.
"I will be," she answered. She opened her hand under the porch light and saw a perfect, tear-shaped crystal lying there.
"Did you find something?" her father asked.
"A troll-tear," Beth answered, and her father smiled. For he also knew the little troll-wife and the secret of
Gather 'round the bonfire, burning so bright
Watch the shadows dancing, in its flickering light
As the music starts, and we begin to dance
Just maybe, if we're lucky, ahhhhh perchance
We shall see some kindred spirits, as they pass by
On their way to the Summerlands, beneath the Samhain sky.
As I lay in my bed, 'tis the end of the year
And I thank the Goddess and the God
For bringing me to here.
Before I close my eyes, one more wish I make
I pray to the Goddess and the God
The next year through me take.
Click on the red shoes to take you home!