Samhain is the night when the Old King dies, and the Crone
Goddess mourns
him greatly during the next six weeks. The sun is at its lowest
point on
the horizon as measured by the ancient standing stones of
Britain and
Ireland, the reason the Celts chose this sabbat rather than Yule
as their
new year. To the ancient Celts, this holiday divided the year
into two
seasons, Winter and Summer. Samhain is the day on which the
Celtic New Year
and winter begin together, so it is a time for both beginnings
and endings.
It is the last of the three harvest festivals, the harvest of

It is also the day we honor our dead. Now, while the veil
between the
worlds is thinnest, those who have died in the past  year and
those who are
to be reincarnated pass through. The doors of the sidhe-mounds
are open,
and neither human nor faery need any magickal passwords to come
and go. Our
ancestors, the blessed dead, are more accessible, more
approachable during
the time of the dying of the land. Samhain is a day to commune
with the
dead and a celebration of the eternal cycle of reincarnation.


Altar candles should be orange (represents magick of fire and
remainder of
fire in autumn leaves), black  (collects and absorbs light and
keeps you
warm), white (sends out energy), silver, and gold (represents 
Moon and

Incense may be myrrh or patchouli

Decorate with autumn flowers, small pumpkins, Indian corn, and

Cauldron with black votive candle for petition magick (for
resolutions on a strip of paper and  burning in the candle

Divination or scrying devices -- tarot, obsidian ball, pendulum,
oghams, Ouija boards, black cauldron or bowl filled with black
ink or
water, or magick mirror, to name a few

An animal horn, feather or talon as a power symbol (Samhain is
the meat harvest)


Rosemary (for remembrance of our ancestors), Mullein seeds (a
for abundance), mugwort (to aid in divination), rue, calendula,
petals and seeds, pumpkin seeds, turnip seeds, apple leaf, sage,
wild ginseng, wormwood, tarragon, bay leaf, almond, hazelnut,
passionflower, pine needles, nettle, garlic, hemlock cones,
mandrake root

At Samhain, witches once gave one another acorns as gifts.
During the
Burning Times, giving someone an acorn was a secret means of
telling that
person you were a witch. Acorns are fruits of the oak, one of
the most
sacred trees to the ancient Celts. They are symbols of
fertility, growth, values, and friendship.


Black obsidian, smoky quartz, jet, amber, pyrite, garnet,
granite, clear
quartz, marble, sandstone, gold, diamond, iron, steel, ruby,
hematite, brass


At Samhain, witches cast spells to keep anything negative from
the past --
evil, harm, corruption, greed -- out of the future. Cast spells
psychically contact our deceased forebears and retrieve ancient
thus preserving the great Web that stretches through many
generations of
human families. -- Laurie Cabot, Celebrate the Earth


Make resolutions, write them on a small piece of parchment, and
burn in a
candle flame, preferably a black votive candle within a cauldron
on the

Wear costumes that reflect what we hope or wish for in the
upcoming year.

Carve a jack-o-lantern. Place a spirit candle in it.

Enjoy the trick or treating of the season.

Drink apple cider spiced with cinnamon to honor the dead. Bury
an apple or
pomegranate in the garden as food for spirits passing by on
their way to
being reborn.

Do divinations for the next year using tarot, a crystal ball,
pendulum, magick mirror, black bowl, runes, Ouija boards, or a
cauldron filled with black ink or water.

Set out a mute supper.

Make a mask of your shadow self.

Make a besom, or witches broom.

Make a witches ladder for protection or as an expression of what
you hope
to manifest in the year ahead.

Find a magick wand of oak, holly, ash, rowan, birch, hazel, elm,
or willow.

Let this be the traditional time that you make candles for the
coming year,
infusing them with color,  power, herbs, and scent depending on
magickal purpose.


Meat dishes (especially pork), rosemary (for meat seasoning),
bread, pumpkin pie, roasted pumpkin seeds, mulled cider with
spices, candy
apples or other apple dishes, potatoes, roasted pumpkin seeds,
(representing resurrection and rebirth), especially hazel nuts
and acorns.


                4-5 cups apple cider
                3-4 cloves
                2 sticks cinnamon

                In a large saucepan, heat cider, but do not
boil. Serve in
a large cauldron.

                PUMPKIN BREAD

                2 cups pumpkin, canned or cooked
                1 cup melted butter or margarine, lightly salted
                3/4 cup water
                4 eggs
                3 2/3 cups flour
                2 1/4 cups sugar
                1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
                2 tsp. cinnamon
                2 tsp. baking soda
                1 cup raisins
                1 cup walnuts, chopped

Blend pumpkin, butter, water, and eggs until mixed. Add flour,
sugar, salt,
nutmeg, cinnamon, and baking soda. Then add raisins and nuts.
Form loaf in
greased and floured loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour
or until
top is golden brown.


                Seeds of one pumpkin, washed
                1 1/2 Tbl. vegetable oil
                Salt, to taste

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread clean, dry pumpkin seeds on a
greased cookie sheet. Drizzle with vegetable oil and add salt to
Bake 25 minutes, stirring occasionally until lightly browned.

                SPICED HOT CHOCOLATE

                3 ounces semi-sweet dark chocolate, grated
                2 cups milk
                1/2 tsp each cinnamon and cloves
                Dash vanilla extract

Slowly heat chocolate and milk in saucepan until chocolate has
melted and
blended in. Add cinnamon and cloves and stir. Remove from heat,
stir in
vanilla, and serve. Makes two servings.