Friday, October 1, 2010

31 Days of Halloween Post!

Yep, people. I like to do blog carnivals, if the mood strikes me. I wrote this one for the carnival of feminist parenting. Now I am writing one about Halloween for Mrs. B's 31 days of Halloween, a carnival that lasts all October long!

As a kid, Halloween was one of my favorite holidays. I enjoyed the costumes, the shenanigans, the candy, and the parties. Halloween, as it is practiced in the US (as a secular holiday), is pretty awesome. The revelry that most folks have in their Halloween festivities rivals most pagan sabbats if you ask me! I see nothing wrong with witches embracing the secular holiday of Halloween- and of course turning that stereotype of a green skinned, warty-nosed witch on its head. Most witches I know are damn sexy!

So as a pretty religious person, I now indulge in both Halloween AND Samhain (a religious holiday for us witches when we commune with our dead). They feel very different to me, have totally different purposes, and I love them both.

What do I do for both? As an adult for Halloween, I used to go to parties dressed in costume- the more elaborate the better. San Francisco's Castro district has one hell of a party for Halloween, or at least it used to. These days, now that I have a son, I will leave the partying to him! We never miss a chance to dress him up in costumes anyway, and now he'll be able to have lots of fun like I used to as a kid. I look forward to him going to costume parties and trick or treating. I like the idea of hearing his stories about trick or treat adventures when he gets older. Living vicariously through your kids does not have to be a bad depressing thing, people! I love that I get to experience "beginner's mind" all over again- because of Rowan!

from Ye Olde Witches Brew Magazine
To commemorate Samhain, I help plan a ritual for the Feri Tradition each year (I have done this for the last 4 or 5 years, as it is one of our holiest days on the wheel of the year), held at the cross quarters (not on the 31st of October, when Halloween falls). At this time of year, I also tend and fuss over our beloved dead altar, our mighty dead altar, and make sugar skulls for my dead. I make and consume lots of seasonal foods, medicines, and beverages (pomegranate mead, anyone?). I listen to the dead and what they want- and I go to cemeteries to listen to them and tend their graves. This is the time of year when the veil between their world and ours is thinnest, so people who are not as attuned to hearing them might even be able to do so!

At our Feri ritual, we call to and bring in the dead and let them ride our bodies to experience what it is like to be embodied again- so we prepare their favorite foods and eat them, dance like crazy, and other embodied experiences. We do other things, too- but that is a consistent thing that we do.

Samhain is also the witches' new year, so I often take stock of the previous year and make resolutions. Often we throw wishes for the coming year into a flaming cauldron to send them up on the wind.

What are your traditions this time of year, for either Halloween or Samhain?


  1. What a great post! Thanks for participating today!

    Anyone stopping by here can take an extra entry to today's giveaway by leaving a comment here, then posting the word "Feri" to the contest comments!

  2. What beautiful Halloween post! I loved the image from the Witches' magazine, I'll borrow it for my blog if you don't mind! :)

    I wish we had something more traditional here in my country for this sacred sabbath!

    At least I do my simple rituals with my little witch honoring my late relatives. You can read about it here:

    Hope you have a blessed month and Samhain!

  3. I'm visiting from Mrs. B's and have to tell you, I love your post!

    I celebrate both Halloween and Samhain as well. My typical celebrations last the entire month of October as I decorate the house, pick pumpkins and apples, bake, make my costume, create incense, ponder what the previous year has meant and brought forth and what I'd like next year to bring.

    I finish it all up on the evening of the 30th or 31st with a large Halloween party at my home and once the revelry has died down, I slip off to my altar to celebrate the sabbat in peace and quiet. Typically I'll do a ritual thanking the gods for the bounties and challenges of the last year as they've all helped me to grow, followed by a release ritual to help rid myself of a specific negativity and finally I write out my New Year's wish on a piece of paper and burn it in my cauldron.

  4. What a great idea to honor the ancestors! I think I'll try that this year. I also set up a food offering altar for my ancestors and as for the partying,if a friend of mine isn't having a party I stay at home and hand out candy to the little ghouls. It's sad though as it seems that more kids are either going to parties or the malls because of safety issues...I miss dressing my son up at Halloween. I hope you have pictures.

  5. Absolutely beautiful blog, love the blues, and the owls. I am looking forward to reading your posts as time allows. Found you through Mrs. B. Nice to find more witches on the blogs.

  6. your celebrations sound similar to mine, Except I still dress up for Trick or treating, even if it's just to put on some cat ears and paint of some whiskers.

    I attend the local public ritual held by the Vancouver Reclaiming Witches and we dance the Spiral, honour our mighty dead, the recent dead and beloved dead, welcome the newborns.

  7. Wonderful post-thank you so much for sharing! Wow you blog is just gorgeous-I love it! Enjoy this month and all the fun it brings!


  8. I've come on over from MrsB!

    Great post. I do the same as you - I dress up with the kids and go trick or treating. I'm a bigger kid than they are at this time of year.

    Halloween/Samhain dinner we always set a place for ancestors then any ritual is done when the kids are in bed.

    Is't that a beautiful picture from Ye Olde Witches Brew too!

  9. Love the layout of your blog I look forward to reading more Hopefully tonight!

  10. I enjoyed you post . I am visiting via Mrs b's haunted blog tour

  11. Welcome to all the newcomers! Thanks to Mrs. B for hosting the blog carnival- what a great way to build web community!

    I encourage all of you to join the witch mom forums. There we can talk about what we do as witches, pagans, and parents.

    For those of you that like the look of the blog, I must agree- my template images are by Violet Scribe. I told her what sort of symbolism and colors I wanted, and wow! I was blown away with the finished product. If you are looking for graphic work, I can send you her email addy (her web site isn't up yet!). She is helping me work on a whole site (not ready yet!) and is also a mama!

  12. Great post! I hope you have an amazing Halloween!

  13. Your blog is beautiful, and it is a great honor to be launching Mrs. B's Halloween season! If the elements cooperate on Halloween, I build a bonfire in my backyard. I protect my space with lit jack-o-lanterns and commune with my people, dead and alive.

    Some day I would love to spend Samhain in the cemeteries where my ancestors are buried. *Anne adds this to her 'to do' list.*

  14. Here for the tour, love subscribing on RSS feed. Don't really understand it but it means when you do a new blog, I see it when I open Outlook. :D

  15. First off had to say what an awesome page that you have. Just beautiful!
    Second, thank you for sharing how you spend your Halloween and Samhain and how you make both of them work! Love the idea's you have given me and will be incorpating them this year too.
    Blessing to you and yours!

  16. Stopping by from Mrs. B's. Love you're blog. :)


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