Samhain Secrets

These Samhain Secrets will not be so secret since I am publishing them here! I thought you might like a rundown of how my holiday went.

It began at midnight on Saturday, which is when I cast the spells that I had for the Full Moon (which was yesterday) using Halloween as the ultimate power night for witchcraft. Even my regular spells were cast at this time. I made a big bonfire in the fire pit (even though it was kind of warm out) and cast everything, then came back in to re-charge and supposedly to take a nap before I started making the feast for Samhain later that night.

I was too keyed up to sleep so I did some reading (that is why I love my Kindle so much – anything I want to read is right at my fingertips) andso I chose a pretty scary book and stayed up late reading it. Perfectly Halloween oriented.

I finally did get some sleep and then awoke to make the feast. I baked a Scottish Pub Pie with potato and leek (delicious!), green bean casserole, yeast rolls and honey glazed baby carrots. What a meal! My sister-in-law brought her family favorite Spinach Veggie Dip and we had a delicious Cherry-Orange Punch and later with dessert, some mead.

We did the ritual after the feast (sometimes I do it before but felt like eating first this year – I was starving!) and then hung out a bit by the fire. It was a little cooler but still unseasonably warm but that was ok since to be outside when the moon was that glorious on Samhain was utter perfection.

The worst part of course is always clean-up after a feast and this I left till the next day. I was exhausted but felt so good and happy and haven’t felt this good in a long-time so it was very meaningful for me.

Fortunately we have a slight lag before the major holidays kick in – but two birthdays (my Mom and brother) then Thanksgiving, Yule and Christmas! Where did the year go?

Here are some other Samhain Secrets:

1. Dumb Supper

A dumb supper is a wonderful way to celebrate Samhain, especially if you are honoring someone in particular. There are many ways to do this. If you like, you can have dinner as usual, and simply leave an extra plate and dinner out for your “guests”. You can have dinner as usual, or perhaps talk to the person you are honoring. Laugh and joke with them, or ask them how they are doing. Another way is to have dinner completely in silence. This is a good opportunity to reflect on who you want to be having dinner with, and why. If you are honoring someone in particular, remember to make something that you know or think they might like.

The Dumb Supper:

In some Pagan and Wiccan traditions, it has become popular to hold a Dumb Supper in honor of the dead. In this case, the word “dumb” refers to being silent. The origins of this tradition have been fairly well debated — some claim it goes back to ancient cultures, others believe it’s a relatively new idea. Regardless, it’s one that’s observed by many people around the world.

When holding a Dumb Supper, there are a few simple guidelines to follow. First of all, make your dining area sacred, either by casting a circle, smudging, or some other method. Turn off phones and televisions, eliminating outside distractions.

Secondly, remember that this is a solemn and silent occasion, not a carnival. It’s a time of silence, as the name reminds us. You may wish to leave younger children out of this ceremony. Ask each adult guest to bring a note to the dinner. The note’s contents will be kept private, and should contain what they wish to say to their deceased friends or relatives.

Set a place at the table for each guest, and reserve the head of the table for the place of the Spirits. Although it’s nice to have a place setting for each individual you wish to honor, sometimes it’s just not feasible. Instead, use a tealight candle at the Spirit setting to represent each of the deceased. Shroud the Spirit chair in black or white cloth.

No one may speak from the time they enter the dining room. As each guest enters the room, they should take a moment to stop at the Spirit chair and offer a silent prayer to the dead. Once everyone is seated, join hands and take a moment to silently bless the meal. The host or hostess, who should be seated directly across from the Spirit chair, serves the meal to guests in order of age, from the oldest to youngest. No one should eat until all guests — including Spirit — are served.

When everyone has finished eating, each guest should get out the note to the dead that they brought. Go to the head of the table where Spirit sits, and find the candle for your deceased loved one. Focus on the note, and then burn it in the candle’s flame (you may wish to have a plate or small cauldron on hand to catch burning bits of paper) and then return to their seat. When everyone has had their turn, join hands once again and offer a silent prayer to the dead.

Everyone leaves the room in silence. Stop at the Spirit chair on your way out the door, and say goodbye one more time.

By Patti Wigington,

2. Honoring the dead

How exactly do you honor the dead? Simple- remember them. Don’t let their memories fade. What do you know about them, what were they like, what did they do, what did they feel? Do you miss them? Tell them. Tell them you still love them. Talk about them and remember the person they were.

3. Bobbing for apples

Bobbing for apples?This wonderfully pagan activity is great for kids and adults alike. The tub of water (read: Cauldron of Renewal), and apples (read: Magickal Fruit) are perfect for the season. How long will it take you to catch your apple?

4. Carving a pumpkin/turnip

Okay, while carving ugly faces into pumpkins isn’t actually a pagan activity, it does have some roots there. The vegetable of choice used to be the turnip, however. But this is one tradition I’m glad has been adapted. (Have you ever tried to carve a turnip)? Anyway, the theory is that if you carve a scary face in to a lantern  then you will frighten away any spirits of the dead that mean harm. Friendly spirits, however, will recognize it as a lamp and will be welcome.

5. Divination

This is one of the times of year that the veil between the two worlds is thinnest. If you are planning on doing any divination work, this is probably the best time you will have until Beltane. Tarot, Runes, Scrying, pendulum, and any of the hundreds of other methods of divination are easier to read at this time.

From Keitha at