Witch's Broom


Ah! Yes! A scent fills the crisp air of autumn. The indescribable October smell that comes only at this time of year. The smell of pumpkins, apples, dry leaves burning, and moisture - Halloween!

The leaves have fallen, the apples are ripe, frost is on the ground and school has begun once again. Samhain is fast approaching and the veil between the worlds grows thinner each night. You can feel it in the air as the Spirit World draws closer and closer, as the sunlight dwindles into twilight. Our ancestors are honored at this time, as it is the time of death and dying. The spirits of the dead are more accessible, more approachable, during this time of the dying of the land.

We tend to be more introspective at this time, the dark time of endings, completion, and eventual rebirth. In the glowing doom and shadows as the trees cast off their colorful leaves and begin to take on sinister, skeletal appearances, darkness and chill winds prevail.

This is the third harvest as well. In ancient times, it was the time when fattened herds and flocks were slaughtered and the meat preserved for the coming winter months. Only the breeding stock was left alive. The last great burst of life and light, before the inescapable descent of winter, and the decline of light into the longest night of the year - Yule.
This time of year belongs to the Goddess in Her Crone aspect. The Old God has died, and the Young Sun Lord has yet to be born. This is a time for reflection.

Focus of Samhain

This is the beginning of the end of the Pagan year. At this time we reflect on what has gone by in the year past. One cannot (well, at least should not) allow the Wheel of the Year to turn without some kind of examination of what has happened. We try and take responsibility for our actions and find ways to live better lives in the coming New Year.

Ravenna's Samhain 2011

Wow.  It's been a while since I've updated my sabbat practices.  This year was an interesting year.  I managed to attend the Tacoma Earth Religions Revival Association's (TERRA) Witches' Ball.  It's been a LONG time since I've attended a public Samhain event, and this one was very different from what I expected.  Previously, I always went to the Samhain rituals done by the Covenant of the Flaming Star, but since that group is no more, I just practiced by myself.  The rituals in the past have always been solemn events, where we honored the cycle of death in our ritual, and celebrated the Witch's New Year after the ritual had ended.

TERRA was kind of a culture shock for me.  I went to their Beltane event, so I should have expected the unexpected, but still.   There was an air of solemnity, but there was more joy than anything at the Witches' Ball.  People were happy to be there, surrounded by friends, happy to be alive.  The Ancestor Altar was set up in a different room, to allow privacy, and was beautiful to look at.  Seriously, aside from the Altar of 2006, I haven't seen one quite as lovely.

My dear friend WillowStar was there as a tarot reader, and I was really glad to be there with her.  The ritual called on the Goddess Lilith, and WillowStar just grinned at me, asking, "can you feel that?" Oh yes, I could definitely feel the energy when the Priestess called Her in.  It was powerful.  There is just no other way to describe it!  The ritual was about facing Fear - which really hit home for me - and learning to not fear the unknown in our lives.  Wow.

Needless to say, it was different than the rituals I've attended in the past, but different in a good way.  I can hardly wait to attend the next event put on by TERRA.  They're a great group.

Ravenna's Samhain 2006

Samhain was spent with private celebration with my coven. Definitely a beautiful evening. The altar was beautiful, and the ritual was even more beautiful. Spent in the woods, in the dark, we called to our loved ones and honored their memories.

My beloved and I were together and sang what we could remember of "The Park Song" which James wrote so long ago. It was our groups theme song, our anthem. He is still with us, I can feel him every so often keeping watch, guiding us. It's the same with Lina. I miss her so very much, and yet, I know she is still there to watch over and guide us as well.

    You call your friends, and I'll call the other ones.
    We all live together, we all come from those unknown homes.
    And it's the Park. National Stoner Park,
    where we live among the Weed.
    And we all die together.

~ Ravenna Angelline 2006

Ravenna's Samhain 2005

This year's Samhain celebration was definitely one to remember. The whole month of October was filled with preparations for the public Samhain ritual on the 29th, put on by Covenant of the Flaming Star. It was a beautiful ritual all the way around. At the last minute our Priestess became very ill, and had to step down. One of our Sisters filled in for her, which left our Northern Quarter open, and I was asked to fill in for the North. I was so nervous. I was in the public Beltaine ritual, but the energy of Beltaine is different from Samhain. Samhain is much deeper, more solemn. To have to stand and invoke the North was a HUGE thing for me. In the end, everything worked out, and we did very well. Another Sister had an a capella solo for the ritual, and her singing brought tears to my eyes it was so beautiful. She sang the Samhain Chant by Doreen Valiente, to the tune of Hecate, Cerridwen, which is another chant. We had a great time!!

Last night, I had private ritual time. I took my boys out trick or treating between rain downpours. They also had a wonderful time, with lots of candy. There weren't many trick or treaters out though.

It's been a tough year on many people. In February, I dealt with two deaths within the space of one week. My Grandfather passed away on February 7th, and then not even six days later, my dear friend and Craft Sister, Lina passed away on February 12th. It was a hard blow to lose them both that week, but I was allowed some joy during that difficult time - the 14th of February, Valentine's Day, my second child made his entry into this world. It was interesting actually how that one happened. My contractions actually began on the 9th, but stopped completely after hearing about Lina's passing. I woke up early on Valentine's day thinking about her, I felt her presence with me, comforting me, so I wrote about her in my blog. I went back to bed after that and woke up 2 hours later in full blown labor. She was there helping me, I know it.

I'm still processing the loss of those two people who were so dear to me, but I know they loved me, and that someday they shall be reborn.

    Fire red, summer's dead,
    Yet shall it return.
    Clear and bright in the night,
    Burn, fire, burn!

    Dance the ring, luck to bring,
    When the year's a-turning.
    Chant the rhyme at Hallowstime,
    When the fire's burning.

    Fire glow, vision show
    Of the heart's desire,
    When the spell's chanted well
    Of the witching fire.

    Dance the ring, luck to bring,
    When the year's a-turning.
    Chant the rhyme at Hallowstime,
    When the fire's burning.

    Fire spark, when nights are dark,
    Makes our winter's mirth.
    Red leaves fall, earth takes all,
    Brings them to rebirth.

    Dance the ring, luck to bring,
    When the year's a-turning.
    Chant the rhyme at Hallowstime,
    When the fire's burning.

    Fire fair, earth and air,
    And the heaven's rain,
    All blessed be, and so may we,
    At Hallowstide again.

    Dance the ring, luck to bring,
    When the year's a-turning.
    Chant the rhyme at Hallowstime,
    When the fire's burning.

~ Doreen Valiente

Ravenna's Ramblings 2004...

This year has been a difficult one for me personally. There have been several deaths since last Samhain, my Grandfather-in-law, my own Grandmother, and a beloved friend's husband. So at Samhain this year, we will be honoring these three, as well as a dear friend of ours, James, who passed 3 years ago.

I will be attending a public ritual on the 30th... it will be amazing, the Coven doing the rituals hosts the most amazing rituals I've ever seen. After that, I'll be doing my own private Samhain ceremony on the 31st.

I look forward to honoring these amazing people this year... and four of them had a huge impact on my life, and the lives of all those around them. So, until we meet again, I will remember them for all the rest of my days.
~ Ravenna Angelline

Samhain Links