Oct 27, 2012

All Hallow's eve, Night when the veil is thin III

Just briefly here to share some ideas for spellwork  suitable for Samhain . Personally, to me , never enough of ideas of Samhain , for I believe that is one of the most powerful times of the year , when it comes to spell casting and rituals,  more so If necromantic , appeasing, divination related , but any really.  See Samhain is a time of great power, that cunning folk, witches, and simply wise practicing people have always been using, to tap onto and supercharge their spells and rituals.

But before we proceed on practical part, a word or two on  the very holiday’s background and significance

The Celebration of the festival is speculated to  originate from old Gaelic Harvest festival, but that can be considered halfway true. Since the Samhain celebration includes ( not to say that is centered about, although even that could be a valid statement ) elements of typical Festival of the Dead , which was as such universal and celebrated long before Gaelic culture even came to be. The Festival of the Dead, as sort of international, universal holiday ( or Holy day ) , that had been celebrated somewhere form the very end of October , to the beginning of November, and had elements of paying respect to the dead , can be traced even back to Persia and Ancient Egypt.  So I’d say it’s safe to assume that The Harvest festival of the Gaelic did not come to be completely independently , as most occultism  authors  of nowadays  “throw out there”,     and that it had been influenced by the preceding cultures and their customs .  Then , somewhere around VIII centry ( possibly late VII as well ) the festival was Christianized as well, for the Christians started celebrating “All Hollow’s day” ( also called All Saints day, and All Souls day ) dedicated to All the Saints , and to the deceased.  According to an Irish source ( an IX century Irish Bishop and later Saint Óengus of Tallaght  )   the festival of celebrating all Saints already existed, prior to being “syncretized” to Samhain, on November the 1st , and was commemorate in April.   For the  “parallel” Christian and Pagans  festival on the November 1st  ( in Anglo – Saxon countries ) , Pope  Gregory III (731–741), is widely held responsible.  Supposedly it was done to   repress and diminish  the pagan  celebrations.   In  19th century ( according to Sir James George Frazer ) the Samhain, was linked to other similar , Celtic countries derived festivals , and celebrated as “Celtic New Year”. [1]

It was ( and still is ) and important, If not crucial time of the year for the Anglo Saxon people, particularly Irish and Scottish, representing the time of the last harvest, when the cattle was made to pass  between the two bonfires to be purged from evil spirits, ills and misfortunes of all kind.   October was a month when the cattle would normally be  killed to   obtain and store meat supplies for the winter, hence why  the full month of the October ( sometimes November too ) is  often called “Blood Moon” or “Harvest Moon”.  Also the very name Samhain ( originating from Modern Irish  ) is   derived from the old Irish, “samain”, “samuin”  , “samfuin” all referring to beginning  of the month November.   The very day is  sort of in-between time,  because for Celts, it had always been a division point between the light part of the year , or summer, and upcoming dark part of the year, the period of introspection and facing one own demons, fears and so on.  Knowing this , it is not surprising to read , mostly in newer occult and esotery texts, how Samhain means “summer’s end” , and when spelt “samfuin” it could be indeed translated to such , “sum” being summer in more than just Irish ( actually in most old European,   and proto-European language ) and “fuin” being sunset or end.   This certainly being consistent with the harvest symbolism.  Pumpkin , was in Europe considered one of the last  Earth gifts before the winter, and it’s power to resist  going bad, and decaying , as well as it’s  , albeit vague, resemblance to human head are some of the reasons this very vegetable became the “trademark” of the holiday, and seasonal symbol. That, and of course the fact the Pumpkin was more available  in States ( USA ) where the holiday was popularized, commercialized  and thus made accessible to  broadest public.  Of course, another possible reason could be the legends of Jack ‘O  Lantern,  although, quite frankly the legend to me seems secular here. The story has few variations, but all mentioning  certain Stingy Jack, a lazy farmer, gambler and a drunk, although a very cunning one. The mentioned Jack running away from either angry mop, some resented inn owner to whom he held debt, meets the De*il somewhere  on the road. The De*il is there to kill him and take his soul, yet Jack was  allegedly  capable to  trick the wicked one into climbing a tree, where he imprisons him by method that  varies depending on region of Ireland , Scotland or Uk where the story is told. Whether he placed  key in Dev*l’s pocket , or he placed Crosses around the tree, or carved Cross in the tree trunk, yet the Adversary remains captured and defeated, unable to collect Jack’s soul, and is released  by Jack , only after  promising  he shall not collect Jack’s soul. This leaving Jack’s soul earthbound, unworthy of Paradise and speared of the He*l due to the contract.  As a sign of mockery, Jack is granted a piece of  fire from the Hades, to illuminates his wanderings in the darkness, which he collects and places in hollowed turnip. Yes, that is where from the commercial Jack O Lantern carved pumpkins most likely originated from. However, in Europe it was customary to use all sort of vegetables with an large  underground trunk, such  as beats to make  improvised lamps, by hollowing and placing a candle inside.  Beets, turnips ( mostly in Ireland ) , sweede or rutabaga were most commonly used. The resemblance of their “root” ( it’s an underground stem really, or even  trunk, root’s are minute  “filaments”   appearing all over it, or near the bottom )  to a head, and the candle placed inside and creating lightning effects had the role to scare away the evil spirits that roam freely during night on secluded places, hence were a popular, and trusty  old apotropaic tool/weapon  of the travelers and believing folk.  Particularly on Samahin, when the veil between the worlds are thin ,  if not even the  thinnest  during a whole year ,   and both the spirits of the deceased and evil sidhe , fae, goblins and what else not, roamed freely being mischievous and  dangerous. Pumpkin , readily available in America , took the role of turnips, beets and other, and rightfully so, indeed , for the Pumpkin hold’s great evil repelling powers, as well as it strengthens the bearer.  It makes a great spirit trap, when prepared and used  correctly. Rattles can be made from gourds and smaller pumpkins to scare away and chase away the various  malicious spirits.

Costumes, another “trademark” of the popularized and urban version of Samhain , referred to as Halloween are also deeply rooted in European folklore.  It originates from the practice of “guising” popular in 19th century Anglo-Saxon countries, particularly Ireland and Scotland.  Guisers or the disguised man  would go throughout the village, offering all sort of entertainment in return for coins  and or food. In Scotland , guised men performed in plays , often those based upon scary and grim motives .  [2] The masking was probably a survival of old  , cosmopolite beliefs,  that ritual masks  frighten and confuse spirits or confer protection.

Finally divinations are common, even nowadays present  practice on Samhain, particularly ornithomancy ( divination by bird’s numbers, sightings and movements ) as well as any love related divination.

The elements of the Festival of The Dead are closely correlated to All Hallows eve, and are incorporated in same. They reflect in setting lights for dearly deceased, setting up a dumb supper for them , leaving food offerings and more. Also they  are reflected through protective  rituals designed to ward off hostile spirits  of the dead, roaming the physical plane  on this day, due to the fact that the veils between the worlds thinned on given day. This also makes  it an amazing time for all sort of spirit communing work , such as all sort of necromantic spells, séances , and sprit summoning.  Bonfires form a great part of this tradition , for originally , bones of slaughtered cattle were thrown in , in order to ward  off evil spirits.


Rituals and spells performed at Samhain  are particularly powerful if and when done for protection, appeasing and banishing unsettled spirits ( literately and figuratively speaking ),  vanquishing fear and mental  disorders,  rites of passage, and love divinations.

The energy of the day supercharges any spell and / or ritual , hence making it ideal to create and consecrate magickal  charms  of all sorts, also   esoteric  oils and other.

Colors associated with the day range from black , over deep/dark blue, indigo and purple , to red, orange and even pale blue, which is used in healing rituals.  However the most commonly found colors in rituals are black, that represents winter, sorrow, death and power over the same, as well as  attuning to the   darker aspects of our personality, and red and orange. Red represents simply fire, for Samhain is a fire festival, and in some parts of the UK , instead of the Samhain, a fire devoted festival is celebrated, on the 5th of   November. Red candles represent power, protection and banishment as well as support to the Sun that is believed to be falling into winter slumber , and encouragement   for it’s spring  return  Orange represents immortality and the joy of such, afterlife and physical longevity.  

Herbs  include ( but are not limited on ) : Belladonna , Bittersweet , Cedar, Myrrh, Aloe ,  Mugwort, Aaron’s rod ,   Fern, Pine, Apples, Cinnamon, Sandalwood, Sage,  Ginger and others. Gems associate with these  days  are Opal, Granite, Onyx , Orange Chalcedony, Smokey Quartz , Cat’s eye , Fossil, Coral and others.

 Spiritual Power  raising ritual

Inscribe a large, purple,  or seven day candle with Elven Star symbol, and place it   over a symbol of Gnostic star on which You have written Your name    .  Light the candle and the incense made from Sandalwood and or Frankincense and Myrrh.  Then chant seven times: 

“On this night, when veil is thin,
I call forth power to  be drawn within
Spirit to spirit, force to me
Bless me with power, so mote it be !  

Or other rhyme You’ve composed Yourself that speaks of Samh ain and invokes power. You can even read a soothing Psalm for example.

Now get some of the following (  an odd number )  : Master root, Solomon seal root, Galangal root, Dandelion root, Bay Laurel leaf ,  Ginger rhizome  , Cinnamon power, Lodestone, piece of Quartz, or Opal stone,  or Onyx and smoke them all with incense.  When the candle burns all the way down, take the symbol of Gnostic star on which the candle burnt, and the remaining of wax and place them all in a purple mojo  bag, along with odd number of ingredients mentioned above, that You have smoked with the incense. As You add each, to the  mojo bag ,  You may smoke them once again and say something along the lines:  I add one more , to gain more power , so mote it be !  If You feel so inclined. Carry the mojo with You when You need quick and powerful boost of power, otherwise keep it safe from praying eyes in Your room, under pillow or in  Your desk.

 Longevity ritual

On Samhain’s midday , get some Honey , Vine and either of: Life everlasting , Linden flowers, Sage and expose them to the light of the Sun for at least  20 minutes . Now latter, set up 3 orange candles so that they form a triangle, and in the centre of them place a chalice or some nice glass cup. Light the candles , and pour little bit of wine, a spoon of honey and bit of powdered or crumbled  herb, mentioned above in a glass, and stir. While stirring, chant:

Gift of longevity I call upon
May body , endure,  blood, flesh and bone,
Vital and pretty  , and of appearance fair
radiant, soft  skin and beautiful hair
Like Sage that in winter shall  not wither
Curse of time  , this body shall  counter
For this I pray on this sacred day
Spirits hear me, ( and  ) aid without delay !

Drink the potion, and You can   add some to Your bath.
Sir Cunnigham’s Power oil

According to  recipe by Sir Cunningham, Scott ( given in his book of formulas ) You should combine

·         Orange essential oil

·         Pine essential oil

·         Ginger essential oil [3]

Now, I’d suggest Ginger to be used in form of rhizome chips, or cubes , and also perhaps a dash  of Cinnamon or even some Frankincense tears and Myrrh resin.  If the spiritual power is sought , roots such as : Solomon’s seal, Master root, Galangal root make a great ingredient. 

You can use this oil to anoint onself for empowerment ,  particularily in difficult situations, or prior to rituals and spells, dress candles  , for example purple candle in  the ritual for raising the power , that was discussed earlier in this  text.

 Samhain oil

This is how I would  compose an  oil  formula that  could  be used as devotional  oil on Samhain, or to counter negative magick, or draw and control spirits.

·         Ginger root / rhizome piece

·         Pine essential oil

·         Rosemary essential oil

·         Large Mulein leaf, dry and crumbled

·         Dried Verbena, in a teaspoon

·         Orange essential oil ( few drops )

·         OPTIONAL: Sandalwood essential oil or powdered

·         All in base oil, of Pumpkin seeds  oil

If You feel so inclined You may add some  Patchouli and perhaps a dash of Lavender too.

 NOTES: This article was written and  composed by myself, therfore If  You wish to use any part of it, elswhere online , feel free but add credits: By Shadow of Shadows magick place, Shadow-333@hotmail.com or a direct link to this post :)
[1] “Golden bough” Sir James George Fraser
[2] guiser’s tradition of scaring,  and going through the  village/town and performing, according to  info   given on Wikipedia’s page : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween
[3] “Book of incenses, oils an d brews” by Cunningham Scott
consulted texts and suggested reading:
IMAGE CREDITS: From : www.witcheslore.com ( candles ) and www.wallcoo.net ( the adorable kittens )  and are used here for illustrative purposes merely, without any ill intentions


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