And over the ashes the stories are told, of witches and werewolves and Rock Island gold…
By Kate Braun / The Rag Blog / October 20, 2010
Sunday, October 31, 2010 is Samhain (Halloween, Third Harvest, All Hallows Eve). This begins “the time that is no time,” the dark of the year that lasts until Yule (the Winter Solstice), when once again Lord Sun emerges from his slumbers to warm and renew Mother Earth. Lady Moon is in her fourth quarter, in Leo, suggesting an emphasis on nurturing our histories, sharing our stories, using that knowledge to prepare for the coming year.
Array yourself and your surroundings using the colors black and orange. Red, brown, and golden yellow may be used as accent colors. Pumpkins, cornstalks, cauldrons, apples, black cats, and images of the waning moon are only some of the typical decorations for this celebration.
Since this is Third Harvest, your menu can be bountiful: beef, pork, poultry, apples, nuts, turnips, gourds of all kinds, mulled wine, and especially pumpkin. Pie is not the only way to serve this vegetable. Other pumpkin possibilities include: soup, sauteed, stuffed, and muffins. If you choose to use fresh, not canned, pumpkin, remember that toasted pumpkin seeds are also a tasty and nutritious food.
A favorite activity for this season is bobbing for apples. As with many of the Samhain traditions, this activity can be used for receiving insights from “the other side.”
Set a large tub, preferably wooden, on the floor (with a waterproof tarp under it if you set it up indoors) and fill it with water. Add lots of apples and stir them with a long pole or wooden spoon to set them spinning. Participants kneel around the tub, and get 3 tries each to grasp an apple in their mouths as the apples swirl by.
If an apple is captured, s/he who caught it should, before the stroke of midnight, sit before a mirror in a room lit by only one candle while holding the apple and contemplate the apple while focusing inward and asking a question. The candle flame should not be reflected in the mirror.
The apple should then be cut into nine pieces and, while sitting facing away from the mirror, eat eight of the apple pieces, then throw the ninth over the left shoulder. Turning the head to look over the same (left) shoulder into the mirror can show in the mirror an image or symbol that will answer the question.
This is the season to tell and re-tell stories from your past. Encourage your guests to tell the tales they heard from their grandmothers. The past lays the foundation for the future; sharing this sort of lore keeps us in a never-ending loop of remembrance, preparation, and action that, ideally, avoids repeating mistakes.