Rhea, Juniper, Melanie, and I, along with all the kids, processed under the bright Moon light to the waiting fire and altar. We held hands in a circle as we gazed at the Moon Herself. I (Chris) then poured out a chalice of milk for Her, along with words of praise. Each person in turn stepped into the middle of the circle to receive a Full Moon blessing. The rest of the circle laid hands on the person while I anointed their forehead with scented oil. “Mother Moon, this is (name) your child. (Name), the blessings of the Moon are upon you.” We tied a white cord around the wrist of each person as they were blessed. We howled at the Moon, had cakes and passed a cup of cider, and some of us stayed outside around the fire to watch Her wend her way across the starry sky.
2 qt. cider
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/2 cup apricot brandy
Cashew Coven Cakes
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup ground cashews
3 drops almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup softened butter
1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp. honey
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the first five ingredients in a bowl. Add butter, egg and honey, creaming with a fork. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Pinch off two inch crescent shapes and bake on a greased cookie sheet for 18 – 20 minutes.
Samhain is the Pagan New Year, when the veil between the living and spirit realms is at its thinnest. Samhain is the Witches highest holiday. Luckily for Pagan families, mainstream culture really embraces Samhain as Halloween, giving us plenty of activities and fun.
Trick or treating, letting disguised children run from house to house, demanding candy, is one of my favorite things! (We ascribe to the “eat as much candy as you can for 24 hours” school of thought.) Sometimes I can’t believe our society has allowed this tradition to flourish! My family went dressed mostly as zombies, with a pumpkin baby.
On Saturday we made lanterns, had a special Samhain meal, Shepherds pie with scary cheese shapes, pumpkin pie and pinot noir. We set a place at the table for our anscesters and invited them to join us. After the meal, the food was taken outside and placed at the foot of our ancestor tree. The jack o’lanterns and altar candles were lit.
Every Samahain evening we have family divination. In past years this has been with runes and tarot cards. This year we began with black mirror gazing. Then a candle lit glow in the dark ouija board. It was a huge success, but it did cause some difficulty with putting the children to bed! A reminder that their Samhain dreams would be prophetic and a blessing eased things.
Also, I mailed my baby’s birth certificate on Samhain- Meabh Phoenix Jean Moore
Chris’ Shepherd’s Pie Recipe
In Chris’ words:
a bunch of TVP mixed with two cans tomato soup mix, cooked carrots, french cut green beans. Make mashed potatoes. Put TVP, soup and veggies (combined) on bottom of 9″ rectangular pan, layer mashed potatoes on top. Cook at 325 for 25 minutes. Let stand for 5 min.
This weekend we set up our Samhain altar/ nature table. Chris and I had planned on having two separate tables. One ancestors altar, honoring our friends and family that have died, and one nature table that the children could play with and add on to as treasures were found. While Chris suited up to winterize the bees, I dug through the alter cupboard, choosing appropriate items: old photographs, acorns, gnomes, tarot cards, etc.
Just as the children began to gather around, excited to help, Chris gave a holler from the yard and I hurried off. (Don’t worry – only a question about where to place the bee escape.)
We returned together, ready to begin the altar building. To our surprise, the children had already finished and were very proud of themselves! They even put an incense burner in the cauldron for a foggy effect. And so, the Samhain season begins at Many Hands House.