Even today, bonfires light up the skies in many parts of the British Isles and Ireland at this season, although in many areas of Britain their significance has been co-opted by Guy Fawkes Day, which falls on November 5th, and commemorates an unsuccessful attempt to blow up the English Houses of Parliament in the 17th century. In one Devonshire village, the extraordinary sight of both men and women running through the streets with blazing tar barrels on their backs can still be seen! Whatever the reason, there will probably always be a human need to make fires against the winter’s dark.
Divination at Halloween
Samhain was a significant time for divination, perhaps even more so than May or Midsummer’s Eve, because this was the chief of the three Spirit Nights. Divination customs and games frequently featured apples and nuts from the recent harvest, and candles played an important part in adding atmosphere to the mysteries. In Scotland, a child born at Samhain was said to be gifted with an dï¿½ shealladh, “The Two Sights” commonly known as “second sight,” or clairvoyance.
At the heart of the Celtic Otherworld grows an apple tree whose fruit has magical properties. Old sagas tell of heroes crossing the western sea to find this wondrous country, known in Ireland as Emhain Abhlach, (Evan Avlach) and in Britain, Avalon. At Samhain, the apple harvest is in, and old hearthside games, such as apple-bobbing, called apple-dookin’ in Scotland, reflect the journey across water to obtain the magic apple.
Dookin' for Apples
Place a large tub, preferably wooden, on the floor, and half fill it with water. Tumble in plenty of apples, and have one person stir them around vigorously with a long wooden spoon or rod of hazel, ash or any other sacred tree.
Each player takes their turn kneeling on the floor, trying to capture the apples with their teeth as they go bobbing around. Each gets three tries before the next person has a go. Best to wear old clothes for this one, and have a roaring fire nearby so you can dry off while eating your prize!
If you do manage to capture an apple, you might want to keep it for a divination ritual, such as this one:
The Apple and the Mirror
Before the stroke of midnight, sit in front of a mirror in a room lit only by one candle or the moon. Go into the silence, and ask a question. Cut the apple into nine pieces. With your back to the mirror, eat eight of the pieces, then throw the ninth over your left shoulder. Turn your head to look over the same shoulder, and you will see and in image or symbol in the mirror that will tell you your answer.
(When you look in the mirror, let your focus go "soft," and allow the patterns made by the moon or candlelight and shadows to suggest forms, symbols and other dreamlike images that speak to your intuition.)
Go to a boundary stream and with closed eyes, take from the water three stones between middle finger and thumb, saying these words as each is gathered:
I will lift the stone
As Mary lifted it for her Son,
For substance, virtue, and strength;
May this stone be in my hand
Till I reach my journey’s end.
Togaidh mise chlach,
Mar a thog Moire da Mac,
Air bhrï¿½gh, air bhuaidh, ‘s air neart;
Gun robh a chlachsa am dhï¿½rn,
Gus an ruig mi mo cheann uidhe.
Carry them home carefully and place them under your pillow. That night, ask for a dream that will give you guidance or a solution to a problem, and the stones will bring it for you. Thank you http://www.chalicecentre.net/samhain.htm
Samhain - October 31
Other Names: All Hallow's Eve, All Saint's Day/Eve, Ancestor Night, Calangaef, Celtic New Year, Celtic Winter, Day of the Dead, Feast of Spirits, Feast of the Dead, Festival of Pamona, Halloween, Hallowe'en, Hallowmas, Martinmas, November Eve, Samana, Samhuinn, Samonios, Santos, Third Harvest, Vigil of Saman, Vigil of Todos.
Symbols: Acorns, Animal Horn, Bale Fires, Besom, Black Candles, Black Cats, Cauldron, Corn Husk Bundles, Crow Feathers, Disguises, Gourds, Jack O'Lanterns, Leaves, Masks, Plates of Food, Poisonous Herbs, Pumpkins, Scrying Mirror, Skulls, Waning Moon.
Colors: Black, Blue, Dark Blue, Dark Blue-Green, Brown, Gold, Grey, Indigo, Orange, Purple, Red, Russet, Scarlet,White, Yellow.
Astrology: Sun moves from Scorpio into Sagittarius. Planetary rulers are Pluto and Mars. True Samhain occurs when the sun is at 15 degrees Scorpio.
Lunar Correspondence: Waning Crescent Moon.
Deities: Agaman Nibo, Al Uzza, Al-Ilat (Persian), Ala (Eastern Nigeria/West Africa), All Aged Gods, All Sacrificial and Dying Gods, All Underworld Gods and Goddesses, All War Goddesses, Allat (Northern and Central Arabia), Alys, Am-Heh (Egyptian), Anath, Andjety (Egyptian), Angus, Ani (Etruscan), Annis, Anu (Celtic/Irish), Anubis (Egyptian/Greek), Arawn (Celtic/Welsh), Arianrhod (Celtic/Welsh), Astarte (Western Semitic/Phoenician).
Herbs & Botanicals: Acacia, Alder, All Herbs of Scorpio and Pluto, All Poisonous and Hallucinogenic Herbs (as well as roots and rhizomes), Allspice, Almond, Amaranth, Angelica, Apple, Asphodel, Basil, Betony, Bindweed, Blackberry, Blessed Thistle, Borage, Burdock, Carnation, Catnip, Chrysanthemum, Cinquefoil, Cocoa Leaf, Copal, Cowslip, Cypress, Dahlia, Death-Cap Mushrooms, Elder, Enchanter's Nightshade, Evergreens.
Themes: Celtic New Year, Death and Rebirth, God and Goddess in the Underworld, the God has descended to the Underworld, the Goddess is Alone as Crone, Honoring the Ancestors, Third Harvest-Meat,We Prepare for Our Journey Through the Dark of the Year.
Thank you http://www.youtopiainstitute.org/Ancestral%20Coalescense/AC%20Newsletter%20Samhain%202008.htm
Samhain is popularly known today as Halloween, a contraction of the words "Hallowed Evening", and it retains much of the original form and meaning it had long ago in Celtic lands, despite the efforts of the Church to turn it into an observance of feasting and prayer for their vast pantheon of saints. The Church began calling it Michaelmas, the feast day of St. Michael, but the old Samhain holiday proved to be too potent a drawing card for one lone saint to combat. So it was renamed the Eve of All Saints, or All Hallows Eve, which precedes All Saint's Day, and is still one of the holiest days in Catholicism. The pagan Samhain is not, and never was, associated with evil or negativity. It has always been a time to reaffirm our belief in the oneness of all spirits, and in our firm resolution that physical death is not the final act of existence. Though death is very much a part of Samhain's symbolism, this Sabbat also celebrates the triumph of life over death.
While it is true that Samhain is no more evil than any other holiday, it is also a fact that evil does exist, and pagans have always been aware of this. Our ancestors sought to protect themselves on this night by carving faces in vegetables to place near windows or at the perimeters of their circle. These were the forerunners of our present day jack-o-lanterns. These carved pumpkin faces are probably relics of the even earlier custom of placing candles in windows to guide the earth-walking spirits along their way. Today it is still a custom in Ireland to place candles in the windows on Samhain night and to leave plates of food for the visiting spirits.
There are two possible sources for the origin of the Samhain Sabbat's name. One is from the Aryan God of Death, Samana, and the other is from the Irish Gaelic word "samhraidhreadh", which literally means "the summer's end". Samhain marked the end of summer and the beginning of winter for the Celts, with the day after Samhain being the official date of the Celtic New Year. The reason the Celts chose this point in time as their new year rather than Yule, when the rest of Western pagans celebrate it, was because the sun is at its lowest point on the horizon as measured by the ancient standing stones of Britain and Ireland.
This is also a time for harmless pranks, lavish feasting, circle games, and merrymaking which can be teasingly blamed on nearby spirits (ala Loki, Abbot, Lord of Misrule etc.)
This is one of the best times for scrying. You can use a black mirror or a black or very dark bowl filled with water, if you have a cauldron that would be better. Place lit candles nearby and gaze into the mirror or the bowl.
( what we call death is but an existence in the cycle of birth and rebirth)
cast your circle.
Goddess, I ask for your blessings,
"Lift the veil for me that I may greet my ancestors,
Friends and Family who have gone ahead into your realms.
Let only those who wish me well enter within this circle."
Touch the plate of bread and salt
"Welcome to all ancestors who wish me well."
Take a piece of the bread dipped into the salt and eat it
Light the black candle and think of those who have died."This is the time of remembrance of all those gone into the realm of the Dark
The thin veil has been lifted.
My ancestors have come to this feast of the Dead,
I thank them for their presence and words of comfort."
"Let there be no fear in me
Here is the secret symbol of life in death and death in life"
When you feel you have finished thinking of the dead or the special ones you have in mind then cut the circle and bless the goddess. Any bread left over should be placed outside or buried.
To Have Dreams Of The Dead
1 white candle
picture of the dead person
Light the white candle and stare at the flame for a few minutes concentrating on the dead one. When you are ready look at the picture and say,
"You are gone forever;
But through this spell,
My dreams to which
you will come"
Let the candle burn out all the way to the bottom,never blow the candle out. You may sleep with the picture under your pillow if you wish. By three nights you will have dreamt of the dead one in your mind.
I have done this once and it worked. I only tried it once because my dead uncle comes to me in November almost every year. He died in November and that is his month to commune. My dead grandfather comes to me every few years it seems or whenever I am undergoing extreme stress or a major crisis in my life. He comes to me in my dreams and speaks to me, sometimes I remember and sometimes I don`t remember, but I know my unconscious mind remembers. He came to me last about two years ago, perhaps he`ll come for a visit again. I have no need to call,summon or spell craft to commune for they come to me when they feel it is right. Sometimes it is no good to call upon the dead.
Samhain is also the time to see what lies ahead in the new year and perhaps what love lies just ahead for you. If this is the case try this chant. It is to win love. You may want to practice earth magick and draw the one you want to win in the dirt or mud with a stick and repeat this chant. You may also light a red candle and hold something personal of the other person you want to win. Repeat this not only once at this time but throughout October 31 and November 1 for as long as you can. See if you can repeat it in the back of your mind while going about your work and daily chores, like a tape recording in the back of your mind constantly chanting.
Thank you http://www.care2.com/c2c/groups/disc.html?gpp=13462&pst=808041