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Apotheca Botanica

Vicki, Clairvoyant & Medium

Knowledge is Transformation, Transformation is Freedom

Ye Olde Witchy Curiosities

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5th May 2021

4.36 pm

The Final Harvest, Witches New Year,

The Day of the Dead, All Souls Night, Feast of the Dead, Festival of Remembrance, Feast of Apples...

Most cultures have a time of remembrance, a time of commemoration for the dead; usually  or held at the end of the harvest season  The last crops were harvested & dried, salted or stored against the oncoming harshness of winter & old or ill stock were culled & eaten, dried or salted or in order to keep the herds healthy; winter was feared as a time of lack, of darkness, a time when it was believed the dead walked the earth.   

At Samhain, the circle of the year has come to its final spoke in the Wheel. At this time, the harvest has finished, the dying god interred, and the goddess has descended to the underworld to be with her beloved. Above, Her people prepare for the veil between the worlds to thin; dead ancestors will be visiting, and with the harvest tools put away, there’s a new year to think about, resources to manage, goodbyes to say, and plans to make. Meanwhile, the now barren land gives way to the rulership of the Crone.

In some climates, October in the Northern Hemisphere & May in the Southern Hemisphere  is a sad and beautiful time. Autumn leaves cover the ground like bright bleeding, leaving the trees bare. The grass fades from green to brown and in mornings carries the white hoar of frost. The temperatures grow colder, forcing more and more time indoors, and with what we have gathered, we have just a bit more time to remember the loved ones we no longer have. Many Pagans believe a membranelike veil separates the world of spirit from the physical world and that it thins the most in late autumn. Things pass through that membrane. Those things might be spirits, faeries, or even the departed ones we wish so much to see again. own celebrations.

The Fire Festival

To the ancient Celts, Samhain marked the most important important of four Celtic fire festivals. Located halfway between an equinox and a solstice, it is one of four cross-quarter festivals. Every year on the first frost after the full moon in October in the northern Hemisphere, families allowed their hearth fires to burn out. At this time, they brought back herd animals from grazing and completed gathering the harvest. After the fires died, they gathered with the rest of their tribe to observe the Druid priests relighting the community sacred fire using friction.

The priests induced friction with a wheel and spindle: the wheel, representing the sun, turned from east to west and lit sparks. At this time, they made prayers and offerings or sacrifices related to their needs. The Crom-cruach came out: this was an emblem of the sun, and scholars are uncertain whether it represented a Pagan god or symbolized an aspect of nature embodied in a stone pillar. The villagers left offerings of food at the edge of their village for wandering spirits and faerie folk. There was also a sacrifice of a black sheep, a black sow, or cattle. At the end, every person returned home with a brand lit from the sacred fire, which they used to relight their own hearth and then to light bonfires or to set torches at the edge of their fields. These ancients considered it wrongdoing to relight the hearth fire any other way.

To the ancient Celts, Samhain marked the completion of the harvest and called them to put their energy into preparing for the coming winter. It also betokened a day when their ancestors would come to visit, followed across the veil by all sorts of creatures both good and bad that moved freely in the mortal world on Samhain night. Since faeries were often unfriendly, the Celts dressed themselves as animals or as other fearsome creatures as a way to prevent kidnapping by faeries and later by witches.

Rajchel, Diana. Samhain (Llewellyn's Sabbat Essentials) . Llewellyn Worldwide, LTD..

Samhain is a time to reflect on the mortality that inevitably confronts us all, and to learn to deal with the fears that surround death. It is a time to acknowledge & thank those who have gone before us, to reflect that life is cyclical, and that change is the natural order of things. It is a time to confront our own inner demons, and learn to face fear, and to grow stronger by acknowledging the fears that we have.