Samhain is a time to honor the dead, its the last of the three harvest festivals before Winter. It's a time when the veil between worlds is thin, and communication with spirits and otherworldly beings is possible. It is also a time when we honor those who have gone before us like our ancestors, pets and friends. Samhain is a reminder that we are all connected with the cycles of life, that we too like the earth, will one day die.
This festival of the dead stems from an ancient Celtic holiday known as The Celtic New Year. Just like today, it is referred to as The Witches New Year. The ancient Celts would light bonfires and have feasts. It was also said that they would leave candles lit in their windows, to guide the souls of the dead. Samhain was also known to be a time to see and connect with the Faeries. The Morrigan, Celtic Goddess of sovereignty and fertility, was also known as a Faery Queen. In Celtic Ireland, she was said to lead her Faery court across the land on the night of Samhain.
On Samhain we honor the dark Goddesses such as Hekate, Greek Goddess of Crossroads, Cerridwen, Keeper of the Cauldron and The Morrigan, Celtic Goddess of sovereignty and fertility. We also honor our ancestors and the Faeries. Make a small Faery altar outside with natural items such as rocks, twigs, leaves, shells, flowers and acorns, or any other natural materials you have around where you live. Leave a small offering of milk and honey or butter outside on Samhain night to honor the Faeries.
On your altar, have fall colors such as orange, red, and yellow, have pictures or statues of the dark Goddess, pumpkins and/or apples, skulls, or other natural items such as acorns feathers and crystals. You can also have a small ancestor shrine. Samhain is also a great time for magic and divination. So have out your runes, scrying mirror or tarot cards for Samhain night.
I found a great recipe for Mulled Wine for Samhain, it's called "The Banshee" (which is a type of Celtic Faery) and I thought I thought I would share it here. I'm going to be making some myself over the Samhain weekend!
The Banshee Mulled Wine
- One bottle of red wine (suggestions: Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Merlot or a Spanish red)
- One peeled and sliced orange (keep peel to add zest to taste into cooking pot)
- One peeled and sliced lemon (keep peel to add zest to taste in cooking pot)
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 5 whole cloves
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 1/2 cup sugar (or honey can be substituted)
- 2/3 cup brandy or cognac
- 1/2 cup water
Combine all ingredients in either a large pot or a slow cooker. Gently warm the ingredients on low to medium heat (avoid boiling), for 20-25 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure that the honey or sugar has completely dissolved. When the wine is steaming and the ingredients have blended well it is ready to serve. Ladle into mugs (leaving seasonings behind) and enjoy!
I hope you enjoy the wine! I know I will :) Wishing everyone a magical and festive Samhain!
Recipe taken from About.com
Photo courtesy of Wendy Andrews