Getting ready for Samhain (Halloween)

It is no secret that in the witchy world Samhain is the mack-daddy, grand celebration to end all celebrations. This is the Witches New Year and we take it very seriously (and also like to have fun too!).

I actually started thinking about Samhain at the beginning of the year. I knew I wanted to offer some special spells on that night (two new ones this year! check out mysticspells.com) and also wanted to craft an exciting feast and ritual night as well.

I have all kinds of neat things for the house. I usually do the dining room table up and the snack bar in the kitchen (which I use as the buffet) with candles and vintage inspired decorations. (Check out the Victorian Trading Company to see some of the cool stuff that I use to decorate.)

I also decorate the altar and get all my spells supplies together for the bonfire. One of the great things about living in Central Florida is that the weather is perfect for casting outside at this time of the year and I can get a great fire going in the fire-pit. This is where I do the ritual to mark the holiday and cast the spells for the night. It’s funny because everywhere people are dressing as witches on this night and there I am with my family in the backyard – real witches casting spells!

I usually wear my purple gown, all my most sacred ritual jewelry and my High Priestess torque. I do have a lovely cloak I like to wear sometimes but it is usually too heavy once I get the fire going. Zaliha (my best friend) knows this cape well since she taught me how to wear it during a special festival that was as muddy as the original Woodstock! With her help I never got a spot of mud on my cloak, though my boots were history.

During the year (except at other important sabbats) I rarely dress in my witch finery. I usually have a scaled down version of sacred objects and a special robe I wear for casting but often during the summer months it’s too hot and I just wear regular clothes. Putting on my jewelry always puts me in the right mood though. I have some items I wear that have been with me since my initiation and I have worn them for over 25 years.

The feast is probably the most exciting part of Samhain for the whole family. We drink mead, punch, and go all out with dinner, desserts and tons of candy!

A traditional feast we often have is Pub Pie (we do ours with root vegetables and onions since we don’t eat meat) which is based on the original Scottish pasty, Colcannon (delicious Irish dish made with cabbage and mashed potatoes), Irish soda bread,  mushy peas and Scotch Eggs (done with vegetarian sausage). I usually bake an apple pie and my sister-in-law will bring her famous peanut butter cookies (the best ever) and sometimes I might do a pumpkin cheesecake if I get really inspired.

One year we decided to have the feast catered and had wonderful platter of fruit, vegetables and dip, spinach dip in a rye bowl (another of my sister-in-laws best) and a huge platter of cold shrimp for those in the family who eat seafood. That was a really nice event since I didn’t have to spend hours in the kitchen before I had to do the rituals.

This year it will be a combination of catered and home-cooking as I am dying to have Pub Pie and we will have a full family gathering (though without my brother who will be at sea).  We’ll start the party around nine in the evening, do the spells and ritual at ten and then have our feast until the wee hours.

I’m really looking forward to it!

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