Seasons of the Moon
Volume 1 - Issue 1 - Samhain 2003

 

Seasons of the Moon is a quarterly online magazine published by students and members of The Order of The White Moon, an eclectic international order of women dedicated to The Goddess. The Order provides personal empowerment and priestess training, and operates local groups. All contributions are original material submitted by our students and members. (We do not accept outside contributions.) Please direct comments and questions to the Ezine Editor.

Seasons Of The Moon Editors and Council: GrannyMoon - Teal Moon - AmberSage
Assistant Editors: Heathwitch - Kelly - Artemisia
Webmaster: Heathwitch

Issue 1 - Samhain 2003: Contents

pumpkinGoddess Work
Astrology of the Seasons by Diana of the River
Moon Moon, Mother Moon by GrannyMoon
Goddesses Of Seasons by Heathwitch
Entering the Crone by Gaya
Honoring Yourself by Artemisia
An Introduction to the Labyrinth by Majka Zmaj

Traditions
This Is Halloween! Salem During The Samhain Season by Artemisia, Nicole, Maeve, Phoenix ShadowDancer and Roisin
The Dark Side of the Moon: Embracing the Darkness of Samhain by Nicole
Halloween Activities For Children Of Any Age! by Jade
Samhain Traditions by Jade
Recipes Fit For A Goddess (Various Authors)
Diverse Traditions and Thoughts by Gabriela
Witch Works: Spells and Rituals for Every Season by Kelly
Haunted Tools by Majika Zmaj

Poetry and Artwork
Poems Of The Goddess

Reviews
If You Like Harry Potter You'll Love These Books! by Luna Blanca
Book Recommendations by Willow Moonswan

Weaving The Web: Samhain Web Resources

 

Goddess Work

Astrology of the Seasons
A Column By Diana of the River, HPS, Order of the White Moon

We will focus on the sign Scorpio for this addition. Scorpio, unlike any of the other signs, is represented by 3 symbols. The symbols are scorpion, dove, and eagle. Some will use the phoenix instead of eagle. Some see Scorpio as secretive, vengeful, manipulative, and criminal. All signs have the ability of great destruction and potential to do GREAT things.

Actually, Scorpio has the potential to be a great healer. This is a powerful sign filled with much courage and determination. This sign has the ability to go deeper within then any other sign and face the true root of addiction with courage and strength. This is the potential of Scorpio.

This sign also represents birth, death, and rebirth. With emphasis on rebirth. Isnít this the cycle of true healing? Isnít it appropriate that this sign has Samhain in the middle of it? Samhain is the time when we honor our ancestors and do our deepest divination work. It is also an appropriate time to let go of our negative coping skills and addictions and replace them with positive behaviors.

The Sun enters Scorpio on October 23 and will remain there until November 22. On the early morning hours of October 25 the Moon will enter Scorpio and remain there until October 27. The Moon become new in the morning on October 25 and this is considered Lunar Samhain.

Lunar Samhain is a perfect time for self healing work. What things do you hold onto that no longer serve you? Is there something positive and life affirming you would like to replace it with? On this day all banishing work should be done with water since both the Sun and Moon are in a water sign. Deep trance work will be made easier on this day. This is too powerful of a healing day to let it pass. Embrace Lunar Samhain and release the emotional baggage that only hinders you. You will be able to go deeper on this day. Go deep.

About The Author: I have recently become a HPS of the Order of The White Moon. I am slowly beginning to open a new branch called Moonlit River. I specialize in healing and divination. At this time I offer a 4 week astrology course entitled "Introduction to Astrology: Planets, Signs, & Houses Oh My!" I am also a Reiki Master and offer attunements. Email Diana of the River

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Moon Moon, Mother Moon
A Column By GrannyMoon, HPS, Order of the White Moon

The Full Moon

When the Moon is completely illuminated in the sky and looks like a sphere, she represents the Goddess in her Mother aspect, as Isis, Inanna, Selene, Demeter, just to name a few. The Full Moon is when a witch may feel the most powerful. Traditionally the time of the month when witches gather, it's a good time for casting spells outwardly and for celebrating all the gifts and glory of the Goddess. Sing and dance in praise of the Ancient Mother Goddess under the Full Moon.

Try conjuring now, for artistic endeavors; beauty, health, and fitness; change and decisions; children; competition; dreams; families; health and healing; knowledge; legal undertakings; love and romance; money; motivation; protection; self-improvement.

A Full Moon increases perception and is an ideal time to prepare and use potions that increase the psychic abilities. A time when spells and plans come to fruition. Take a moment to breathe deeply and slowly. The Goddess is within each of us. Listen to your Inner Wisdom and walk a path that nourishes your spirit.

A witch's kitchen should never be without a lunar calendar showing the phases of the moon. Once you understand her monthly cycle of growth, fruition, and decline, you can use the moon's phase in your own spiritual practice and spellwork.

Chicken and Dumpling Soup
Submitted by Anyahta in New York

I serve it at our normal family dinner for all to share. The chicken soup is for health and wealth. The dumplings are for the Full Moon in all of her ripe energies. I have used the Jiffy mix and added a bit more baking soda -it rises a bit more and looks very round and full when they are cooking in the stock. When I add each one to the stock to cook---I whisper in a wish. As they cook and rise up -----I envision the prayers/wishes taking place!!! When we eat it all---we are consuming in all of the positive energy as a family.

Full Moon Incense

~4 parts frankincense
~3 parts myrrh
~2 parts benzoin
~1 part sandalwood
~1 part gardenia petals
~1/2 part orris
~1/2 part thyme
~1/2 part poppy seed
~1/2 part rose petals
Burn during rituals and spells on the full moon.

Full Moon Holy Water

pink - self love and friendship
red - passionate love
green - money
blue - healing
purple - increase of psychic abilities

Fill a glass of water and place a stone in it to charge it with what you want to bring to you. Ask the blessings of the Earth and Goddess and then drink a bit to cleanse you inside. The remainder of the water can be kept tightly corked to use in spells and recipes anytime you need the extra power of the Full Moon!

Full Moon Blessings!
GrannyMoon

About The Author: GrannyMoon is a High Priestess and Charter Council Member of The Order of the White Moon. Former staff member and student of the Esoteric Theological Seminary, attended LDS Seminary and is an ordained Metaphysical Interfaith minister with doctoral degrees in Theology and Divinity. Doula, Reiki Master and Lifetime Member of Herbal Healer Academy, Inc. Founder of Sisters of the Burning Branch, dedicated to the Feminine Divine and is currently taking students in Virginia and the Washington DC area. Feel free to contact her at GrannyMoon@goddessschool.com or visit her website: http://goddessschool.com.

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Goddesses Of Seasons
A Column By Heathwitch

Lady of the Crossroads
by Heathwitch

One on three
which way to go
a second stood still
faces outcast
Darkness about clasped
with snake and lion and hound
thin veins under leather
untouched by time
outstretched a touch
with eyes of heaven.
One on three
take a step
make a choice
I will be with you
silent when needed
A fury when you fear
Face the Moon
I will be here.

At Samhain, our thoughts turn toward the memory of our ancestors, the mysteries of death and rebirth, the practice of divination. We decorate our altars with blacks and oranges, photographs of those who have passed on, and we commune with the Lords and Ladies of the Underworld such as the Greek Goddess Hecate.

Hecate is the Thracian Goddess of the moon, absorbed as a Titan by the Greeks and worshipped at crossroads, for She has the ability to see past, present and future pathways. Though most commonly perceived as a Crone Goddess, Hecate can also appear as a Maiden, terrible and beautiful to behold.

She is the dark Goddess, the Lady of the Wild Hunt and keeper of occult knowledge and wisdom. Known as the "Goddess of Witches" and the "Patroness of Priestesses", Hecate stands at the gateway between life and death, such is Her role as Queen of the Underworld and the Lady of Spirits. She is also the changer, the one who destroys in order to cause rebirth and regeneration.

Hecateís roles are not solely tied to the "darker" aspects of life however. She is also the midwife who blesses new life in the world, the teacher who guides seekers and the witness who aides with decision-making and determining truth, the giver of courage and strength. She is intuition and psychic ability, the Lady of dreams and nightmares who helps us see the deeper, shadow-side of our psyches. She is the Wise Woman who sees all and knows all, and who will willingly share Her knowledge and wisdom with you, if you but ask.

Hecateís colours are deep reds, purples and black, and She rules over all wild animals - in particular dragons, dogs, frogs, horses, reptiles, toads and snakes. Her trees are willow and yew, most commonly seen in graveyards, and She can be found in the tarot cards the Hermit, the Moon and the High Priestess.

You can invite Hecate into your life by mixing an oil for Her (add 10 drops cypress oil, 6 drops patchouli oil and 4 drops sandalwood oil to 20ml of base oil) and including it in a ritual or meditation dedicated to Hecate. Alternatively you could make an incense blend to honour this Goddess - try the following recipe:

Ĺ part crushed garlic
Ĺ part mandrake root
Ĺ part mugwort
2 parts willow bark
1 part lavender
4 parts myrrh
A few drops of cypress oil
A few drops of myrrh oil

You can also work with Hecate in ritual; She can be invoked to aid in inner exploration, dream-work, divination, healing, spells of all kinds, banishings and the release of negativity, communicating with the dead, and meditations and journeys to your inner self.

At Samhain, Hecate can be called upon to focus your intuition when practicing divination on this night when the veils between the world are thin. She can be invoked for help in spell workings and the making of charms, or to help in soul-searching meditations.

Most often, though, Hecate is invoked at Samhain to aid in honouring and contacting our Beloved Dead, those who have passed from this physical life before us:

Decorate the altar with blacks and oranges. Use flowers of the same colours, and fruits of the season (pumpkins, root vegetables). Light orange and black candles if possible and use a mixture of cedarwood and sweetgrass incense -- cedarwood for purification, sweetgrass for your ancestors.

Assemble on your altar pictures of your ancestors and mementos you may have received from them.

Cast circle in your usual way. Invoke Hecate:

"Hecate, Goddess of the Realm of Spirits,
She who stands at the crossroads,
Seer of past, present and future,
Guardian of all Witches and Lady of the Dark,
I ask you to come forth into my circle
And stand with me this night
Hail and welcome!"

Feel Hecate come into your circle. Sit with your altar and slowly focus on each of your ancestors. Speak aloud of their life and their impact on you. Ask Hecate to acknowledge your reverence of those who have gone before, and ask that your ancestors know of your love and thoughts.

Take your time and do not be afraid of the emotions which may come to you; embrace them and welcome them into your circle. As you speak of your ancestors you may feel them draw near from the Summerlands; do not be afraid -- instead, feel touched by their presence and thank them for all they mean to you.

Thank Hecate and your ancestors for their presence and say goodbye. Blow out the candles and
take up circle.

Have a Blessed Samhain!

Sources:
Ann, Martha, and Dorothy Myers Imel. Goddesses in World Mythology: A Biographical Dictionary. Oxford University Press: New York (1995).
Ardinger, Barbara. Goddess Meditations. Llewellyn: Minnesota (1998).
Conway, D. J. The Ancient and Shining Ones. Llewellyn: Minnesota (1993).
Franklin, Anna. Magical Incenses and Oils. Capall Bann: Berkshire (2000).
Marashinsky, Amy Sophia. The Goddess Oracle: A Way to Wholeness through the Goddess and Ritual. Element: Boston (1997).
SjŲŲ, Monica & Mor, Barbara. The Great Cosmic Mother: Rediscovering The Religion of the Earth. HarperCollins: San Francisco (1991).
Zell, Morning Glory. "Manifesting Hecate", SageWoman # 60 (Winter 2003). Blessed Bee: California (2003).

About The Author: Heathwitch is a Witch, teacher and author. She runs courses and workshops on energy work, healing, Witchcraft and magic. High Priestess of the Circle of the Moon coven, Heathwitch lives in Cheshire, England. web: http://www.heathwitch.com - email: heathwitch@heathwitch.com

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Entering the Crone
by Gaya

Samhain is the halfway point between the Fall Equinox and the Winter Solstice. The wheel of the year is turning from light to dark. Our Earth Mother who was so green and vibrant is changing to the dark hues of the Crone. Traditionally this has been a time to honor our ancestors but there is so much more to learn from this time of year.

Crone card from the Motherpeace Tarot Our ancestors worked diligently throughout the summer and fall months to ensure that they would survive the harsh winters. They planted, nurtured and harvested the crops; slaughtered the livestock; gathered the firewood. They prepared for the dark. At Samhain when the work was finished, they celebrated. They gave thanks for their bounty, they honored those who had passed over in the previous year and they rested. Plans were made for the next year. They took stock of their lives and threw out what was no longer needed. It was a time of quiet solitude, of retreating and going within.

We have been taught to fear the dark. The darkness holds the unknown. It is a dangerous territory without hope, full of despair. If we enter the dark, there is no return. The Crone teaches us something different. She teaches us that all things will be reborn. And to be reborn, we must enter that place of darkness. This is the natural cycle.

Take time to sit quietly with the Crone between Samhain and the Winter Solstice. Listen to what she has to teach you. It is not a time to rush around, caught up in the modern day activities of Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is a time for introspection, meditation and prayer. We have so much to learn from our Mother Earth if we will listen and be aware of her cycles. This is a time of rest.

About The Author: I am a witch on the Wise Woman path, living in the southwestern region of the United States. Ever the student of our Earth Mother, I work with herbs, stones, feathers, twigs; whatever She provides. I am honored to walk this path with all my relations; two-legged and four. I can be reached by e-mail at moonstone@zianet.com. Blessed Be.

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Honoring Yourself
by Artemisia

Most of us know that Samhain is the time of year to honor Mother Earth with gratitude for the food she has provided us this harvest, and many of us remember that at Samhain the veil between the worlds is thin, and that we should honor our Ancestors and those who have passed over. Many of us honor our loved ones during the holiday season that follows Samhain, at Thanksgiving, Yule, and Christmas, by cooking, throwing parties, buying or making gifts, and by attending gatherings, but how many of us remember to honor ourselves this time of year?

Just as the moon cycles through its phases thirteen times a year, from waxing to full to waning to dark again, so do the sun and earth cycle through their phases together in one year. Beginning at Fall Equinox, for us here in the Northern Hemisphere, the sun enters the waning phase in a noticeable way. The days begin to get shorter and the nights get longer. There is a lot more darkness (and cold depending on where you live). Samhain marks the point where the darkness really takes hold and Yule, the winter solstice, is the dark moon of the solar year.

What does this waning into dark phase mean to us and how can we use this time to honor ourselves? Well let's think about the waning moon for a moment. This time of the month energetically corresponds to a woman's cycle just before her bleeding time begins. During this period, we can become extra sensitive or angry because we are no longer able to put up with things in our lives that make us unhappy. We no longer hide our emotions. In fact, we can't keep them from coming out. This time of the month is about letting go of old, negative thought forms or self-talk which hold us back and don't do us any good. It's about speaking up for yourself and communicating what you need from others around you and how they should treat you. It's also a time of letting go of emotional attachments to extraneous material possessions, projects and people that drain our energy, and of clearing space in our lives for the transformation and healing that comes when we finish bleeding and/or the moon breaks from the dark into the new.

In the bigger, solar picture, during the waning and dark parts of the year, we can honor ourselves by taking time out of our hectic schedules just for us. Make time and space to be alone and reflect upon the past year. What is no longer of use to you? What needs to change? Get in touch with your heart and find out how you truly feel and what is really important to you. Once you are clear about what is holding you back and what needs to be cleaned out, make the time to release it. You can do this through physical acts like a thorough housecleaning or a new haircut or symbolically through ritual or meditation. Whatever it is you need to release, honor yourself by taking the steps necessary to clear away the excess baggage. After you have let it all go, take time to enjoy, celebrate, accept and love the new, lighter you.

I'd also like to encourage you to honor yourself during this busy season by tending to your body in addition to your spirit. The fresh, seasonal foods this time of year are very tempting: bright orange pumpkins, multi-colored squashes, red and yellow apples, purple and green grapes, yellow and golden pears, pink pomegranates, dark leafy greens, brown nuts of all shapes and sizes, red juicy cranberries. Nourish yourself by taking part of Mother Earth's harvest and celebrating the mystery and magic of the growth cycle. As it gets colder and darker, keep yourself warm with bright, cheerful, herbs and spices in your drinks and cooking such as ginger, cayenne, curry, garlic, cinnamon and pepper. This time of year, especially when we are so busy, it is easy to neglect our bodies. Take time for yourself to stretch and move around joyfully to keep your inner healing fire burning. Perhaps even consider learning tai chi, yoga, pilates or meditation to access the healing power of your breath and bring yourself peace and calm in the midst of the most hectic season of the year.

Whatever you do, make sure that it feels good to you. The easiest way to honor yourself is to live a joyful life.

Many Blessings for a Loving Holiday Season!

About The Author: Artemisia is studying to become a Priestess of the Order of the White Moon. She is a graduate student in Natural Health and a Holistic Lifestyle Counselor.

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Sacred Space
a Column By Majika Zmaj

An Introduction to the Labyrinth

"Your life is a sacred journey. And it is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way. You are on the path... exactly where you are meant to be right now... And from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of healing, of courage, of beauty, of wisdom, of power, of dignity, and of love." ~ Caroline Adams

The Labyrinth is a symbol of spirituality that transcends the human boundaries of space and time. It is found in the oldest of human records. Ancient coins and artifacts include labyrinth designs. You can travel to the arid deserts of South America and frigid bays of Scandinavia and see the same labyrinthine images. Is it any wonder in this age of renewed spiritual exploration that a "Labyrinth Movement" has been born?

A labyrinth should not be confused with a maze. A maze requires left brain thinking to sort out multiple paths, dead ends and wrong turns. By contrast, walking a labyrinth is a right brain activity. A labyrinth is a deceptively simple design; a single path to a single target. There are no dead ends or decisions to make.

As one day will follows another, so goes your journey along the path of a labyrinth. Just like the days of your life, no walk through a labyrinth is like another. Every labyrinth has a beginning and an end and they never change. If you walk it 100 times, you will always begin and end in the same physical place. However, whatís on your mind, the burdens you carry, the environment you walk in all make each labyrinth experience unique.

Ancient uses of the labyrinth included meditation and prayer. They were used as part of rituals. Scandinavian sailors would walk a labyrinth before going out to sea. The use of labyrinths in modern religions can be traced back to the Crusades in the 12th Century. Christians today use them for contemplation and prayer. Some hospitals and hospices have them for mediation and therapy.

The origin of the labyrinth may date back to 18,000 BC. While it might be subconscious, itís manifestation is tightly linked to our interpretation of the physical and metaphysical world. Traditional geometry, Magic squares, sacred geometry and astroarcheology all have a relationship to the labyrinth. The table on the back of this pamphlet shows some of the correspondences for the labyrinth.

Labyrinths are integrated into western mythology and legend. In old Europe labyrinths were called "City of Troy", a reference to their connection to the Troy legend. The labyrinth at Glastonbury Tor, is the largest three dimensional labyrinth in the world. We are currently in a Labyrinth Renaissance. In most of the western world, labyrinth are being constructed and used with new vigor.

I hope that you will investigate labyrinths for yourself. To start, some excellent resources are listed at the end of this article. Also Veriditas includes a labyrinth locator.

About The Author: Majka Zmaj is a perennial student and teacher. Most recently she has enrolled at the White Moon School to further her studies into Goddess Spirituality. She is a profession scientist and project manager in her mundane life. Gardening is one of her passions. When she discovered the labyrinth and its mythology, she knew she was destined to teach others about it. She is always ready to discuss labyrinths or other sacred space at pixelluna@oddpost.com. Her other interests include cooking, web design, blogging, beading and writing. Her current home is in North Carolina.

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Traditions

This Is Halloween! Salem During The Samhain Season
by Artemisia, Nicole, Maeve, Phoenix ShadowDancer, and Roisin

Salem, MA was founded by Puritans sailing from England in 1629. The town is notorious for the witch trials that took place in the vicinity in 1692. We know that the Salem "witches" were innocent victims of mass hysteria. The first "witch" was hung in June of that year. In October, 13 executed women and 5 executed men later, the witch-trials were suspended. From then on, witches, the devil, and any vestige of the occult left Salem for over 250 years and Salem reverted to yet another boring, Puritan New England town.

Not until the 1970s did the witches return to Salem -- and this time they brought T-shirts.

Salem is Halloween 365 days a year, so you can imagine what events take place during the week of Halloween! A few former-residents of Salem along with some local pagans offer an insidersí view of Salem during this season.

Fun Things To Do In Salem by Phoenix ShadowDancer

Living close to Salem has always felt like a privilege to me. From the days when I was a child, when my dad would take me to the "witch shop" (Crow Haven Corner) to today, when I go to feel the amazing spiritual and magickal energy, I have always loved the town. There are so many things that a magickal person can do in this beautiful little town, from historical site-seeing to really amazing food. One of my favorite things to do is to walk through the "witchís memorial" (which isnít really a memorial to witches at all -- since it is most likely that the women and man killed were probably not witches) to the old cemetery, sit on the wall, and write in my journal or just meditate. Itís a beautiful site. Another favorite is to visit all of the occult shops. Of course, many of them carry the same products, but the atmosphere when you walk into these shops creates a warm, fuzzy feeling all over.

There are millions of historical sites to see in Salem. There is the Witchís Museum (which harbors a bunch of wax figures and tells the story of the Salem Witch Trials), the House of Seven Gables, which was once home to writer Nathaniel Hawthorne, and, of course, the Witchís Dungeon which I have actually never been to. During the autumn season, Salem hosts a month-long festival called "Haunted Happenings", which creates an eerie flare for visiting these sites.

Finally, there are numerous groups of pagan men and women in Salem who never feel squeamish about walking around in their cloaks, and "witchy attire". This was my favorite part about Salem. Usually, a large pagan group called the "Temple of Nine Wells" will put on a public ritual for each pagan holiday, which are inspirational and all-together fun. For Samhain, they often gather at Gallows Hill for a large public ritual (which often consists of hundreds of people) and then process to town from there in memory of those who were executed for their beliefs. No matter what your interest, the autumn season is always a wonderful time to visit the town of Salem. During this season, everyone is a witch .

Avoiding Salem by Roisin

I have never been to Salem for Halloween. Iíve thought about it a few times, but Iíve always decided not to go. I go up to Salem a few times a year, usually on weekends in the summer to check out the Peabody Essex Museum and do a little shopping. You may wonder why, and many people Iíve met, given my religious beliefs and geographic location, are shocked to hear that I avoid Salem from October 1 through November 2. The reason for that is the same reason I avoid all Irish bars on St. Patrickís Day. It doesnít have a lot to do with green beer and green beer vomit (but that does count for something). No, I stay away because I celebrate my heritage 365 days a year. I donít need to be squeezed into an overcrowded bar and have some drunk spill beer on me while singing "Danny Boy" off-key. As for Halloween in Salem, I celebrate my faith in the Goddess every day. I donít need to freeze my ass off wandering around the streets of Salem while freaky (deliberately freaky) guys and girls try to pick me up, on the assumption that Pagan chicks are poly, easy, and like to fuck anything. I also donít need to deal with the witchier-than-thou types in Salem, whose own brand of Goddess is the only one acceptable. I also donít like the overly commercial nature of the holiday up there. Still, Salem is a fun town to visit, but I like to do it on my terms, not everybody elseís.

When You Canít Get To Salem, Go To Boston! By Nicole

I have lived in Boston all my life and since Salem on Halloween can be pretty a pretty crowded scene, I usually stay local and keep it simple. Salem is not the only spooky place in New England. A trip to some of the oldest cemeteries in America makes for a "grave" Halloween experience. Mt. Auburn Cemetery, founded in 1831, is the final resting place of thousands of distinguished people including 19th century poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and artist Winslow Homer as well as 20th century visionary Buckminster Fuller. Mt. Auburn commemorates the dead in a tranquil, natural setting "embellished" with ornamental plantings, monuments, fences, fountains and chapels that also makes it a place for the living. You can go, have a picnic on a tomb, write in your journal, and romanticize about the past. Park Street Church, the site of the old town granary (where grain was kept before the Revolution) dates back to 1809. The Church was the first location of Sunday School in 1818. On July 4th, 1829, William Lloyd Garrison gave his first public anti-slavery speech here and two years later "My Country, Tis of Thee" was sung for the first time by the churchís choir. But Park Street Church is best known for its cemetery, where at least 1,600 people are known to be buried, dating from the 1600s. Among those laid to rest are Paul Revere, John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and the victims of the Boston Massacre. Elizabeth Vergoose, buried here in 1690, is believed to be the storyteller later immortalized as Mother Goose. Thereís nothing more fall-feeling than crunching through fallen leaves around the Granary graveyard with the smell of roasting peanuts in the air and sipping some hot cider.

A day pensive day spent grave-hopping ends nicely with a night dancing at ManRay Nightclub, home of New England's underground scene, catering to a variety of alternative cultures. ManRay can guarantee a spooktacular Halloween night! Dance the night away with vampires, dominatrix damsels, and sexy heathens -- and those are the regulars! With an annual costume competition cannot be rivaled with awards like "best use of pvc tape in a costume" the night always promises a lot of laughs, dancing, and great people watching.

Disillusionment Of Salem by Maeve

\Dis`il*lu"sion*ment\, n. The act of freeing from an illusion, or the state of being freed there from. As a child growing up I always thought of Salem of being this real life mystical place. As a teenager I craved to be there on Halloween. The night that was already charged with so much meaning I felt would be that much more powerful there. A couple of years ago I was able to realize that childhood idea but it wasnít what I expected. The only thing to compare it to is Mardi Gras: streets full of people, outrageous costumes, insane behavior, drinking and a few drugs here and there -- not much in the way of mystical experiences. Salem is an old town with a lot of history but it was not the source of a lot of the history we were taught. There was a lot of energy but it was very chaotic and came from the people I was surrounded by not the environment. I think in my head I had pictured bustling activity of like-minded people or some such thing. While I can say that I have experienced Salem at Halloween and there were some positive things; it was an experience that freed me from my childhood illusions.

Living In Salem On Halloween by Artemisia

As someone who can claim to be quite familiar with Salem, once being a local and having much family who lives in the area, I feel that there is definitely something special about Salem. The energy in and around the area is very mystical; perhaps because it is surrounded by the ocean and marshland or perhaps it just cannot be explained. I can say for sure, however, that the endearing qualities of Salem are not due to the Haunted Happenings events each October, but rather, in spite of the hordes of people that go there for Halloween. There is nothing better than walking down the brick-laid streets looking up at the brick buildings, crunching along in the leaves, watching your breath puff in the cool, damp air on a sunny October day. This downtown area has something for everyone: great restaurants, cafes for the college kids, shops full of supplies for the practicing pagans, tourist traps for the visitors, local grocers, museums, unique book stores, plenty of good seafood, great bars full of local characters, antique shops, one of the oldest hotels in America, and great architecture. If you wander a little further off the path, you can walk out to the wharf and see the boats in the harbor, or go down to Winter Island and walk around on the beach, or sit on the benches at Salem Willows and enjoy the beautiful ancient trees overlooking the bay, or even hop in your car or on the bus and head towards Marblehead to visit the hidden treasure of Salem: Forest River Park and enjoy a walk on the waterfront overlooked by gorgeous, friendly trees and many seagulls. Whether you go to experience the beautiful natural sights, to window-shop downtown, or to get some great food, one thing you will be assured of: an eclectic group of people, ranging from the blue-collar "townies", to the black-caped pagans, to the college students at Salem State, to the old Salem families, and the recently or not so recently immigrated, living and working in harmony and tolerance together in this unique city.

No matter what you do on Halloween -- whether itís to camp it up in Salem, participate in a Samhain ritual outside the beautiful autumn weather and reclaim your freedom of religion, spend a quiet day among the dead, or a loud night dancing -- have fun, be safe, and be true to yourself!

About The Authors: Artemisia, Nicole, Maeve, Phoenix ShadowDancer, and Roisin are Keepers of the Moon. We meet twice a month to meet, discuss, act, and do ritual work in a safe, supportive atmosphere. Our goals are to facilitate spiritual growth, be spiritual resources to one another, and enact positive change in our lives and communities. These goals are strengthened through regular meetings, rituals, and celebrations, all which honor the Universal Feminine Divine. We are a group of women who believe in, practice, and foster an egalitarian society that is based on tolerance, wisdom, compassion and respect.

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The Dark Side of the Moon: Embracing the Darkness of Samhain
by Nicole

There are some obvious reasons why Halloween is so often associated with death and darkness: the sun is approaching itís nadir, the leaves are falling from the trees, the death and decay in the natural world reminds us of our own mortality. Halloween marks the time of the last harvest, the winter slaughter, the death of the crops and the rest cycle of the land. Martinmas, November 11, was the traditional time for slaughtering livestock which could not be maintained for winter. The Welsh called November the Month of Slaughter while the Saxons called it the Month of Blood. These historic traditions have influenced modern pagan practice of Samhain as well as current perceptions of the autumn holiday.

Often in the mundane world, Halloween is associated with darkness and evil. Neo-Paganism, in reaction to persecution, has tried to emphasize the more positive aspects of the holiday namely the turn of the year and ancestor veneration. In itís efforts to be recognized as a life-affirming spirituality, Neo-Paganism often focuses on the positive, creative, and nurturing forces in nature. However, because of this is it easy to lose touch with the darker aspects of the Universe, especially since our Modern, Western culture has taught us to be afraid of the dark.

Darkness offers us the opportunity to empower ourselves, to reach for our full potential. Power does not come from the darkness itself, but from the realization of the power that we ourselves holding within. Similarly, the mystery often associated with darkness is in actuality the potential that lies within each of us. When we are faced with the mysterious, our sense of awe awakens our connection to it -- we become part of that mystery.

Halloween begins the dark season in the Western Hemisphere and it provides us with the opportunity to embrace the darker side of life. Darkness is magic, reflection, mystery, change, sensuality, the Waters of the Underworld, the Womb of the Goddess. There is a beauty in darkness for those who dare to dance in the shadows.

Here are a few suggestions:

Dark Deities

There are many "dark goddesses" to embrace during this dark cycle of the year including Hekate (Greek, "She who sees from afar", spelled Hecate in Latin, goddess of magic, ghosts and hidden secrets of the dark moon), Sekhemet (Egyptian, goddess of battle), Tiamat (Babylonian, goddess of chaos), Nemesis (Greek, goddess of divine anger), Lilith (Sumerian, goddess sexuality), Morrigan (Celtic, "Ghost Queen", "Great Queen", goddess of battle and death), Kali (Hindu, ďTime,Ē Goddess of chaos, destruction, transformation, and re-birth) and many others. Do some research on these Dark Goddesses and see how you can incorporate their energies into your Samhain ritual and work with them throughout the dark cycle.

Masks

The tradition of dressing in costume for Halloween has both European and Celtic roots. Hundreds of years ago, winter was an uncertain and frightening time. Food supplies often ran low and, for the many people afraid of the dark, the short days of winter were full of constant worry. On Halloween, when it was believed that ghosts came back to the earthly world, people thought that they would encounter ghosts if they left their homes. To avoid being recognized by these ghosts, people would wear masks when they left their homes after dark so that the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits. I remember the feeling the spark of wildness when I went trick-or-treating as a child. Even now, I like dressing up in costume to display some aspect of myself (usually glamorous or sexy) that I normally hide.

You can take this tradition of costumes to a spiritual level and create a mask to represent your shadow-self -- the attributes you try to hide. You can make the mask out of a paper plate or a brown paper bag, or go to a party store and buy an inexpensive half-face mask. Decorate with glitter, feathers, ribbons, leaves, twigs, beads, etc. Wear the mask for your Samhain ritual or use it for your dark moon work.

Plan your funeral

Itís important for us to acknowledge our mortality. During this dark cycle, plan your own funeral. How do you wish to be buried? What music do you want played at the service? What words would you like said? Poems read? Write your obituary as you want it to appear (not how you think it will be). Save your notes and tell a loved one about your plans. Then, start living your life so that you can fulfill your obituary!

Experience the Dark World

Our society focuses so much on the 9-5 life-style and we often never experience the world beyond our bedtime. Take one night and stay up late; experience the world at 2 a.m. What is the light like? How does the night sound? Whoís awake? Take a walk. How does this world of darkness differ from the day of light? How do you feel? Remember this side of the day as a lesson that thereís more to life than what we experience. Meditate on it.

Feast of the Dead

Set your Samhain table with pictures and tokens of loved-ones past (friends, family, pets, ancestors known and unknown). Cook their favorite dishes, or if you donít know their favorite dish, cook something with cultural significance. Set a place setting for those departed, making sure to share helpings of the food with them. Invite friends and family for a "feast of the dead" in which you part-take of the meal in silence. Itís a somber occasion; so create an atmosphere that inspires silence, introspection, and reverence (candles, black fabrics, quiet music, etc.). Place your spirit guestís the full-plates outside as an offering.

Laugh at death

Los Dias de los Muertos, the Days of the Dead, is a traditional Mexico holiday honoring the dead. It is celebrated every year at the same time as Halloween and the Christian holy days of All Saints Day and All Souls Day (November 1st and 2nd). Los Dias de los Muertos is not a sad time, but instead a time of remembering and rejoicing. Usually, the townspeople dress up as ghouls, ghosts, mummies and skeletons and parade through the town carrying an open coffin. The "corpse" within smiles and waves as it is carried through the narrow streets of town. The local vendors toss oranges and flowers and candy inside as the procession makes its way past their markets.

The traditions of Los Dias de los Muertos remind us that this season provides us with the perfect time to recognize that death is not some judgement day when you face your sins and are cast into the pit of Hellóitís just a change of clothes. So mock death, relish in all that is putrid and decaying, so that you remember that death is nothing to be afraid of. Have a fancy picnic in a graveyard. Go to a haunted house. Watch a cheesey zombie movie. Keep in mind that death is just another part of life.

About the Author: Nicole is finishing her first level of the White Moon School. She frequently dances in the shadows of gravestones, walks around at 2 a.m., and laughs at zombies.

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Halloween Activities For Children Of Any Age!
by Jade, Order of the White Moon

Eyeball Spoon Race. This is a spin-off of the traditional egg on the spoon race. You need one Ping-Pong ball for every spoon. Draw eyes (bloodshot or pretty etc...) on the Ping-Pong balls. The children then race with the Ping-Pong balls balancing on the spoon. To make things more difficult, have the free arm behind the back. Adults can do this blindfolded with their team partner calling their name to give them direction. The children then get to keep the ping pong eyeballs as a toy.

Fishing for Fortunes. Another children's activity. You need a clear fishbowl (or other bowl) and fill it up with various mini toys (inexpensive ones). An adult or teen is the fortune teller and the child comes to the table and draws out a prize from the fishbowl. The fortune teller than tells a fortune based on the prize drawn. For example, if the child drew out a quarter, they could be told that they will go on to find a buried treasure someday. Or if they drew out a pencil they could be told that they will become a writer etc......

Mummy Wrap: This may be difficult for me to explain. Get one roll of toilet paper. You also need one prize for each child participating in this game. (plastic spiders, rings etc.....) You will unroll the toilet paper and re-roll it. As you unroll it, place a prize every once in a while and re-roll the toilet paper so it now contains prizes throughout it. The children sit in a circle and each person takes a turn wrapping (mummifying) part of their body. The wrap this body part until they come to the prize. Then the prize is theirs and they tear the paper off at that point and pass it to the next child.

Pin The Stem On The Pumpkin. (or any other variation you can come up with....maybe pin the hat on the witch) You need some markers and a large piece of posterboard. Draw the Pumpkin on the posterboard and color it in. Out of a smaller piece of posterboard, make the stem and cut it out. I just use sticky tack on the back of the stem. You need a blindfold. Blindfold the person who is ready to give it a try and give them the stem with the sticky tack on it. Turn them around three times and make sure they are facing the larger poster to start. They then try to "pin" the stem on the pumpkin. (basically this is just pin the tail on the donkey but themed to Halloween)

Ghost In The Air: You need one (or more to make it challenging) white balloon with ghost eyes drawn on it. (blow up the balloon) The children have to keep the balloon(s) in the air at all times.

Witches Stew: You need drinking straws (one for each person) and various construction paper cut outs in Halloween shapes (each shape should be about the size of a yo-yo). And a cauldron or bowl. Place the shapes in a pile beside the cauldron. Using the straw as a vacuum, each child should try to pick up a shape and place in the cauldron to make the Witches stew. You can time the players to see who is fastest or have two players compete against each other at the same time. (given equal shapes)

Just a Little Witch on High
She'll tell you that
your love is nigh.
Your fortune on Hallowe'en
when told
My secret will the Witch unfold.
(from a early nineteenth-century Halloween postcard)

About The Author: Jade is a special education teacher turned stay at-home mom. 30-something Mom to six children via birth and special needs adoptions. Our family resembles a beautiful, diverse, and colorful patchwork quilt. Witch. Married. Living near the beautiful Wind River Mountains in Wyoming. Human to one standard poodle, one Siamese cat, and one cat who is truly my peer, companion, and equal in many ways. Member of the Order of the White Moon. Currently trying to connect to my ancestors and learn about our family's Celtic roots and traditions to pass along to my children.

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Samhain Traditions
by Jade

I'm sending in just a few things we do here at our house for Samhain. (me, and our children...my husband is agnostic and is there physically but does not participate in everything) We do celebrate this as the pagan new year in our home. (as a witch, I see it as a witches new year, but the children are being raised pagan so we call it the pagan new year) I'm also going to share the menu we will be using this year.

We let the old year out the back door and welcome the new year in the front door.

We also write something we want to eliminate in the coming year on a slip of paper and we take turns burning the slip of paper in the flame of a small black candle. We focus on that thing disappearing from our lives.

We also write a wish for the new year on a slip of paper and some years we burn it in a white candles flame but we have also put it in our pillowcases next to the dream pillows we have made previously.

Feast to honor our ancestors. Setting a plate for our deceased ancestors.

Also putting framed pictures of our beloved dead in a prominent place and talking to the children about how Samhain is the time when the veil between the worlds is the thinnest.

We also do tarot readings with the *Halloween Tarot* deck.

We also do more secular Halloween things.

We also carve pumpkins and I am hoping to tell the story of Jack....(read it yesterday in Silver RavenWolf's book *Halloween*) I'm hoping to get some more ideas for this Samhain from that book. I just started reading it.

Recipes include: (I make sure to stir all ingredients clockwise and pour love and health into the cooking) These recipes are more traditional to Samhain so they may not be for everyone.

PUMPKIN BREAD
( all recipes I share are taken from the great book *Celtic Folklore Cooking* by Joanne Asala)

1 large can pumpkin
1 C melted Butter
3/4 C water
4 eggs
2 tsp baking soda
3-1/2 C flour
2-1/4 C sugar
1-1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 C chopped walnuts
1 C raisins

Mix together pumpkin, melted butter, water, and eggs. Blend in baking soda, flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, walnuts, and raisins. Place batter in greased an floured loaf pan. Bake 350 degrees for 1 hour or until top is golden brown.

** some neat lore about walnuts since this recipe has them. Walnuts attract lightning, and people have been struck by a bolt out of the blue when carrying walnuts. Brides have long taken that risk, however, for wearing walnuts in your bodice on your wedding day will prevent pregnancy. Each nut will keep the occurrence from happening for one year. (lore is from the same book *Celtic Folklore Cooking* )

APPLES IN RED WINE
(the long simmering time burns out most of the alcohol, so we will be serving this dessert this year to our children) Apples is a traditional festival food for both Mabon and Samhain, as is red wine.

6 large Granny Smith apples
1/2 bottle red wine
2 cloves
1/2 C sugar
1 stick cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 T cornstarch
Whipped cream

Peel, core, and segment the apples (for fun, toss the peels over your shoulder...the letters they form will indicate the initials of the next guest to your home!) In a saucepan, bring the wine, cloves, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla to a boil. Add apples, reduce heat, and let simmer for about an hour, until fruit is almost transparent. Remove the apples and blend the cornstarch into the sauce. Cook the syrup for a few minutes until thickened. Pour it over the apples and serve or shill it in the refrigerator for later use. Top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. This dessert will keep for several days in the refrigerator, and can be reheated. You can also try pears in place of the apples for another Sabbat.
Serves 6

***Manx Proverb: When the apple is ripe, it will fall.***

I also read that red meat is a festival food for Samhain. Vegetarians will not like this recipe but the ancient Celts did eat a lot of meat. *lol*

PAN FRIED STEAK WITH IRISH WHISKEY

1 (8 to 12 oz) sirloin steak, room temperature
Black pepper to taste
1 T butter (or lard)
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 C Irish Whiskey
1 C Heavy cream
Salt to taste

Serves ONE

Season steak with pepper. Add butter and oil to a hot pan. When butter is foaming, add steak so the fat maintains the heat and seals the meat quickly. Reduce heat and cook to taste (3 to 4 minutes rare, 4 to 5 minutes medium, 5 to 6 minutes well done), turning steak only once. Remove steak to warm plate. Pour off fat from pan and discard. Add whiskey and cream to pan, stir until thickened. Season to taste and pour over steak.

I have not tried this recipe but plan on trying it since it is a Irish recipe and we are Irish so we feel this recipe will be a good one for our feast for our dead ancestors on Samhain.

ACORN SQUASH WITH CINNAMON AND HONEY

Serves EIGHT
4 acorn squash
8 T of honey, or to taste
8 T unsalted butter
8 tsp of cinnamon
8 pinches of brown sugar

Halve each squash and remove seeds. Add 1 T honey, 1 T butter, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1 pinch of brown sugar to each half. Cover with aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 1-1/2 hours.

***Lore about acorns: Acorns, whose resemblance gives this particular squash its name, can be used in a variety of magic spells. Place them on your window to prevent lightning from entering your home, or keep one in your pocket to protect you from storms while on the road. Carrying one will also protect you from illness and headaches, keep you young, increase both fertility and sexual potency. Like many nuts, acorns can be used in money spells. Plant one in the dark of the moon to increase your profits in any business deals.*** (taken from Celtic Folklore cooking book)

CELTIC BLESSING:
"These things I warmly wish for you:
Someone to Love
Some work to do,
a bit o' sun
a bit o' cheer
And a guardian spirit
always near.
.
About The Author: Jade is a special education teacher turned stay at-home mom. 30-something Mom to six children via birth and special needs adoptions. Our family resembles a beautiful, diverse, and colorful patchwork quilt. Witch. Married. Living near the beautiful Wind River Mountains in Wyoming. Human to one standard poodle, one Siamese cat, and one cat who is truly my peer, companion, and equal in many ways. Member of the Order of the White Moon. Currently trying to connect to my ancestors and learn about our family's Celtic roots and traditions to pass along to my children.

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Recipes Fit For A Goddess
Recipe Column

Hauntingly Good Popcorn

6 c Popped popcorn *
1/2 c Dried apple slices; cut
1/2 c Dried cranberries
1/4 c Raisins
1/4 c Walnuts; chopped
1 T. Brown sugar
1 tsp Pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp Ground cinnamon

* can use 1 bag of microwave popcorn. Do not use lite or air popped popcorn as seasonings will not stick to it.

In large bowl, toss together popcorn, dried applies, dried cranberries, raisins and walnuts. In small bowl combine brown sugar, pumpkin spice and cinnamon. Add to popcorn mixture and toss until popcorn is coated!

Goddess Blessings!
Live Well - Laugh Often - Love Much Granny ©Ņ©¨ Moon

Strawberry & Spinach Salad

1 pint strawberries (cut strawberries into fourths)
1 red onion (chop onion to your liking)
1 bag of spinach (10 oz. bag)
1/2 cup slivered almonds or pine nuts

Mix ingredients together in large bowl & refrigerate till ready to serve

Dressing (pour dressing on right before you serve)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp. finely chopped red onion

Stir dressing till sugar dissolves and dressing thickens slightly & refrigerate till ready to serve

*NOTE - if serving to a larger crowd use a quart of strawberries and a 16 oz. bag of spinach

Submitted By Cassiopeia

Samhain Oatcakes
3 cups flour (whole wheat or white, or a combination)
3 cups rolled oats (or rolled barley)
3/4 cups sugar (white or brown)
1 cup butter
1 cup shortening
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Divide into several mounds. Sandwich a mound between two pieces of waxed paper and roll out until about 3/8 to 1/4 inch thick. This is tedious work, but it's necessary. Baking the entire sheet won't work Cut into squarish shapes, place on an unbuttered cookie sheet, and bake at 375 degrees until edges are golden (about 15-20 minutes)

Samhain Cider
Make sure you do drain it with a cheesecloth or you will end up with chunks of spice that stick to each other and make the cider difficult to enjoy.

Ingredients:
3 quarts (12 cups) apple cider
4 whole cloves
3 cinnamon sticks
1 cup dark rum

Directions:

In a large pot, combine the apple cider, cloves, and cinnamon sticks. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and allow cider to simmer for 25-35 minutes. Pour cider mixture through a cheesecloth-lined strainer into a large saucepan, and keep warm. When ready to serve, put 1 or 2 tablespoons of dark rum into each mug, then fill with mulled cider.

Submitted By Kelly

Pumpkin Muffins

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Ĺ teaspoon salt
1 stick butter or margarine, softened
Ĺ cup sugar
2 eggs
Ĺ cup buttermilk
2/3 cup cooked, mashed pumpkin
ľ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
Ĺ teaspoon cinnamon
Ĺ teaspoon ginger
Ĺ teaspoon ground cloves or allspice

Directions:
In small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate large bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy and pale. Beat in eggs and buttermilk until well-blended. Add flour mixture to form a batter. Preheat oven to 375ļF. In medium bowl, mix pumpkin, brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves until well-blended. Stir into the batter. Spoon batter into 12 2 Ĺ-inch greased muffin cups and bake for 15-17 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes, then cool on rack.
Makes 1 dozen.

Submitted By Kelly

Pumpkin Stew

Darkness descends, frosts in the air,
as family and friends gather near
For laughter and entertainment too,
while we serve up this pumpkin stew!

Being diabetic, I am always looking for ways to turn my favorite recipes into healthier options for me. I love beef stew, but the carrots and potatoes are not good for me. I love pumpkin and squash, so substituting these fall beauties for the standard ingredients helped make one of my favorite meals one I can enjoy throughout the autumn and winter months. This can also make a great vegetarian meal if various types of squash and vegetables are substituted for the meat. Be creative and enjoy!

Bright Blessings,
Willow Moonswan

ĺ cup all purpose flour
Ĺ tsp salt
Ĺ tsp pepper
2lbs beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
(Optional step: I like to marinade my stew meat overnight in soy sauce and garlic for a little added kick)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium onions, chopped
3 scallions chopped
3 tablespoons minced garlic
3 thinly sliced celery sticks
1 medium sliced squash (zucchini, yellow, butternut etc - your favorite)
4 cups water
1 tsp beef bouillon
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp sage
Ĺ tsp sweet basil
5 cups peeled and diced pumpkin

In a bowl combine the flour, salt and pepper. Dip each piece of meat into the mixture coating it. In a Dutch oven, or stew pot, brown the meat in the oil and butter. Add the onion and garlic and let simmer for 4 minutes. Add the celery, squash, water, bouillon, thyme, sage, and basil- bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add the pumpkin. Cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes until tender.

Makes 12 servings

Submitted By Willow Moonswan

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Diverse Traditions and Thoughts
A Column By Gabriela, Adept, Order of the White Moon

Samhain

Samhain, the Celtic festival marking the end of the year and the beginning of winter, is perhaps the most loved great Sabbat for many Pagans. It is dedicated to the concept of eternal life, and our connection with our ancestors. The "veil" between the worlds is exceptionally thin on this Sabbat, thus spirit communication is highly effective.

There are many other traditional beliefs and customs associated with Samhain.

The wearing of masks and dressing up was particularly strong in Scotland and was popularized in the U.S in the late 19th century by newly arrived immigrants, and later developed into the custom of playing "Trick or Treat".

In Irish, Scottish and Welsh pagan traditions, Samhain night was the time of the wandering dead, and the practice of leaving offerings of food and drink to masked revelers, and the lighting of bonfires was being practiced long before Samhain was adopted as a Christian festival.

In Germany, the custom of wearing masks and dressing up is associated with Karneval or Fastnacht at the end of February, which marks the end of the year according to the Roman calendar.

However, Samhain celebrations are slowly beginning to be recognized. The custom of "trick or treat" is still not common but is becoming more and more popular each year.

A good friend of mine, who is residing in Germany, shared with me her impression that, even though Pagans recognize Samhain in terms familiar to us here, it is very difficult to be "open" about it.

Pagan circles held on Halloween night are still seen as something demonic and thus secrecy is of great importance to many Pagans.

It seems, according to my friend, that people are more fearful on Halloween to get "caught" and found out as being Pagan, than on any other occasion.

About The Author: Gabriela, Counselor and Doctor of Naturology, apprentice in the Society of Celtic Shamans and Adept in the Sisters of the Burning Branch, Order of the White Moon.

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Witch Works: Spells and Rituals for Every Season
A Column by Kelly

Samhain is a wonderful time of year for many kinds of ritual and spell work. Samhain is the night on which it is said that the veil between the worlds is the thinnest, making it an excellent time to conjure the dead, perform rituals honoring those who have passed on to Summerland, and to scry and divine the future. Samhain is also the Witch's New Year, making it a perfect time to banish any behavior within oneself that is negative and toss out a portion of the emotional baggage we have collected over the last year. There are many approaches that one can take to ritual and spell work at this time of year. Below are some of my favorite workings for Samhain. Decide how you will focus your energies this Samhain and try on one of the below workings for size!

Any element within these workings can be substituted or changed to better suit your needs.

Depression Banishing Ritual
You will need:
3 Goddess candle: White, one at center of the altar, or two at the back.
1 Banishing Candle: Black, placed at the left front of the altar.
1 Invoking Candle: Pink or red, placed at the right of the altar.
Incense: Sage, cedar, rosemary or pine at the beginning of the ritual, changed later to rose or amber.
Oils: Use Goddess or Altar oil on the Goddess candle, sage, pine or other banishing oil on the banishing candle and rose oil on the invoking candle and for self-blessing.

Ritual Outline
Light candles: "Dress" the candles with the oils, working base to tip, (away from you) for the banishing candle and tip to base (towards you) for the invoking candle and the Goddess candles. Visualize the intent, banishing depression when handling the banishing candle, and invoking joy and self-love while "dressing" the Goddess and invoking candles. Light only the Goddess candles at this time.

Purify: Start the charcoal block or stick incense. If using a charcoal block, give it time to heat up. Sprinkle loose herbs of sage, cedar, rosemary or pine on the hot coal and use the smoke to purify. Visualize the intent of the ritual. At this point visualize banishing depression and emotional pain, while smudging with the smoke. Then light the black candle from the Goddess candle.

Cast a circle/invoke a Crone Goddess or Goddesses to help in banishing, and a Goddess of gentleness and peace for the invoking part of the ritual. Try Kali the Destroyer or Hecate for banishing, and Kwan Yin for gentleness and invoking. Use Goddesses for the five elements or these two aspects only, or whatever feels right. Perform a full casting and invoking to make the circle, or as informal invitation to the aspects and elements.

Invocation: Dear mothers of wisdom and grace, I invite you here to ask your help. I refuse my depression and choose to banish it, and ask instead for joy and peace of mind. Help me in my work tonight, Kali and Kwan Yin.

Body of ritual: Focus on the flame of the black candle, thinking of all the things that need changing. Remember fully all the reasons for depression and pain, acknowledge all your anger, all your rage, and all your fear. Dwell on every source of pain, emotional injury and negative though that mires you down. When you have focused them all onto the candle, shout "NO!" and blow the candle out in a decisive, quick motion. Watch the smoke rise from the extinguished candle, and feel all the negativity dissolving in the rising air. Breathe the banishing incense for a while.

Light the invoking candle. Do it from the Goddess candle, and sprinkle rose incense on the charcoal block or light a stick of rose incense. Let the light of the pink candle and the fragrance of the rose incense fill you as you watch and breathe them. Breathe the energies in deeply, remembering the qualities of Kwan Yin, or other Goddesses of mercy invoked in the ritual. Ask Kwan Yin for her presence and help. Focus on the candle flame and think of all the good things in your life. Refill each banished item and negativity with some positive attribute; where there was pain before, replace it with love. For every wrong remember something to give thanks for; for every pain remember something joyful. Remember your accomplishments in life, what a genuinely good person you are or individual self attributes that you feel make you a wonderful person. Do a series of affirmations, "I am" or "I have", to list your good qualities and the qualities you choose to become or gain. Continue stating the positives and affirmations until you feel filled with pink light and the scent of roses.

Self-blessing: If you feel inclined, insert a self-blessing into the ritual at this point. This portion is optional.

Thank Kwan Yin for your joy and Kali for her energy of change.

Open circle/ground.

Allow the pink candle to burn out itself, or extinguish and relight it nightly until at least the next Full Moon. Do affirmations nightly with the flame. Continue burning pink candles for as long as needed to remind you of new joy and positive energy. Repeat the ritual on the next waning moon if needed; it will be needed less each time you do it. Each time, bury the remains of the black candle in the earth, along with the ashes from the incense; visualize your pain being buried with them. Repeat the self-blessing at any time, and do it often, at least every New and Full Moon.

Ancestor Dinner
The concept of the ancestor dinner is very basic and simple while at the same time it provides a manor in which to honor those who have passed beyond the veil.

At your next Samhain dinner, set one extra place setting at your table. Feel free to set more than one extra setting if you have the room. You may also place pictures of the deceased or remembrance items around this place setting. Take a few quiet moments before the dinner begins and invite the departed to join you at your feast. Once the dinner is being served, it is entirely up to you whether or not you actually put food on the empty place setting dishes. If you wish to offer sustenance to the departed, I recommend using wild bird seed so that after the dinner it can be left as an offering to The Mother and will feed our winged friends.

Ancestor Shrines
Samhain is the perfect time to create an Ancestral Shrine in your home. For the night of Samhain if you are honoring the dead, you can place items that belong to the deceased on your altar and leave candles burning through the night to let them know that they are loved and honored. Photographs of the deceased work as well. A separate ancestral shrine can be created using the same items in a different location in your home. A simple wall shelf or an end table can make wonderful ancestral shines as well. The location and the make up of the shrine are totally up to you. You can be as creative or discreet and you need to be.

Summoning the Dead
If you choose to summon the dead on Samhain, there are several ways in which you can approach it. The first will require you to venture to the cemetery that the deceased party is interred in.

Select some sort of offering to leave for the spirits of the dead. The dead are attracted to shiny colors, so glass beads, gem stones, even glitter or confetti can be used as an offering. Have your offering selected before you travel to the cemetery as you will need to leave it at the entry way. Also, take a piece of white chalk with you to the cemetery. When you arrive at the grave of the deceased, draw a door with a knob on the headstone or grave marker. Focus your intentions whether it is an unresolved issue or something you feel you need to say to this person that you never were able to. After the intention is clear, knock 3 times on the door you have drawn and place you palm flush against the door knob you drew. The deceased is now listening. When you are finished speaking, withdraw your hand from the knob and erase the door widdershins.

Another way to summon the dead is in ritual. If you are going to honor the deceased on Samhain, invite them into whatever ritual you are planning on performing as a way to honor their memory. Placing their picture on your altar will aid in keeping your intent clear. If you need to resolve issues or speak with the dead about a very specific instance, create a ritual around that issue. Tailor your correspondences to the issue i.e. if you need to resolve something that haunts you so to speak, perhaps you would want to set the ritual up as a banishing ritual. Not to banish the deceased, but whatever the issue is. When you cast the circle, invoke the person and call them into the circle. Be sure to take care when doing this. Ensure that your circle is well in place before you call upon the dead. Spirits can be hostile sometimes and you will need to be able to control that through the construction of your circle. Speak to the spirit as you would have when they were alive, keeping your intent clear at all times. When finished, thank the spirit of the dead for being present and then release them from the circle. I recommend keeping the circle intact for about 10-15 minutes after you dismiss the spirit to allow the energies to have time to dissipate. Finish your ritual as you normally would.

Divination
Because the veil is at its thinnest on Samhain, it is a superb time for divination and scrying. You can consult whatever oracle you prefer, whether it is the tarot, a gazing ball or a scrying mirror. You could scry or divine the outcome of a specific situation or obtain a preview of what the New Year has in store for you. Burn black and white candles while scrying and mugwort on a charcoal brick or in stick incense form as it aids divination.

New Yearís Resolution Spell
As afore mentioned, Samhain is the Witchís New Years. All Hallows Eve is a perfect time to perform a New Years Resolution Spell. You could implement it on Samhain and then perform the spell again on the traditional New Yearís Eve to reinforce the intent. Write your New Yearís Resolution on a square piece of parchment with dragonís blood ink. Dragonís blood ink is traditionally used for spells involving strength and power. Then, sprinkle dried mugwort on the paper and roll it into a tube and secure it in the center with a red ribbon. Anoint a white candle with bergamot oil as you state your resolutions aloud. Light the candle and use its flame to set fire to the rolled-up parchment. Cast the parchment into a small cast iron cauldron and thrice recite the following incantation:

To the flames my words are spoken as the new-born year unfolds
Resolutions be not broken, promises be upheld

Have a happy and safe Samhain!

About the Author: Kelly is a solitary practitioner from the Midwest. She is currently a student at The White Moon School, studying to become a High Priestess. Kelly has been a practicing witch for 4 years and performs tarot readings and long distance energy work via the Internet. To contact the author, please email kelly@spell-bound.net

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Haunted Tools
by Majka Zmaj

Obsidian is a rock formed during volcanic activity. There is a type called Apache Tears. They are pieces of naturally formed black glass up to about 3 inches in diameter. I have quite a few pieces from Northern California. It is used for scrying and grounding. I offered one to a friend and she chose a large one. She took it home and that night sitting on her back porch, under the moon, she took it out of the bag.

She looked at it in her hand and saw a shadow on her hand. She moved the stone and the shadow remained on her hand. She remembered me explaining that they were from volcanic activity - so she thought it was ash. That seemed a little odd though, because she knew it had been in a glass jar for about 30 years. Back in the house, right before she washed her hand (to get the "ash" off) she looked down at them and the shadow was gone.

She didnít think much of it. Just an aberration in the moonlight; until she took out the stone to put in her cupboard of alter tools. Then she felt it. Something very old and very dark. "Black," she described it to me later. When she opened herself up to it, she found there was something very dark, maybe a little angry, but not necessarily evil. Still, she thought it was time it moved on. Fortunately, sheís very experienced and well versed in ritual, including cleansing. She said it took some focused energy, but the shadow did leave.

I have also heard of two instances where a deck of cards (Tarot) have had negative energy associated with them. I recommend cleansing and blessing the deck. If I work with anything to channel power (a tarot deck, crystals, other tools) I always meditate on them, try to feel their energy. All things have energy and a "vibration" of their own. If I feel nothing, I might have a friend "feel" them as well". Whether there is neutral, positive or negative energy - I still cleanse and bless anything to be used in divination or ritual (don't we also "cleanse and bless" the people in a circle, our most important tool?). Many BOS have cleansing rituals that you can use. If there is ever any doubt about the energy in a tarot deck, keep it for the pretty pictures (don't we all collect tarot decks??) and buy/obtain another deck.

About The Author: Majka Zmaj is a perennial student and teacher. Most recently she has enrolled at the White Moon School to further her studies into Goddess Spirituality. She is a profession scientist and project manager in her mundane life. Gardening is one of her passions. When she discovered the labyrinth and its mythology, she knew she was destined to teach others about it. She is always ready to discuss labyrinths or other sacred space at pixelluna@oddpost.com. Her other interests include cooking, web design, blogging, beading and writing. Her current home is in North Carolina.

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Poetry and Artwork

Poems Of The Goddess
A Column of Original Works

Halloween Night in Tahoe National Forest
Painting on your mask (to blend in with the trees)
you unmask yourself, become transparent:
aquiline nose, high cheekbones melt and
(stubble and worrylines gone)
you become The Pan
almost, here in the forest.
Ex-army scout, you expertly lead the way.

With slipping steps down steep leafy ground
we find our knoll in the dim flashbeam,
stop, and listen to the night
barely daring to breathe --
we two, the only humans for five miles, you say.
Under this oak-canopy
you toss away dead branches,
smooth the dirt with your boot.
Then (we take off our shoes) I cast the circle
by incense and candlelight.

We hum and chant and sing together
our separate songs,
we hum and chant and breathe together
and in the echoes
we sing and chant
until our pulses drum together.
Beads slithering over, slithering over maraca
snake-rattles chills up my spine.
The spirits looking on must gather
just beyond our circle
(the white-painted boy, the old Indian guide)
in raccoon rustlings,
almost giving glimpse of themselves
but not

except for the Shadow Womyn who dances with me
to your primal conga drum, so big
she reaches beyond the trees, touches the stars:
snake-arms undulating, stomping feet lift high,
hips swaying with bear-like grace -
At first just my reflection, then separate
she comes alive,
beckons me into her Shadow World.
I am frightened and have to look away.

"It's that fear that holds us here in this world," you say.

I see the pitted eyes and gaping mouth of The Devouring Goddess
in the red candle melting
and I pray
she will eat me up tonight,
(eat up my fear)
and rebirth me new
when the charcoal moon is chased out of the sky.

Submitted by Luna
1994

Halloween Echoes
Moonrise, twilight fades into the night,
as below witches, ghouls and apparitions
prepare themselves by cool moonlight
for honoring the dead and divination.

The veil of fog, of smoke, of mist
between the realms of life and death
thins this night, yet lingers as a kiss
upon the brows of those who are left.

We don our masks to fright- to scare,
the restless spirits who pass us by.
Jack-o-lanterns alight, a silent beware
to spirits haunting the cool night sky.

Remembrance is the theme,
as we celebrate this Halloween.

Submitted By Willow Moonswan

GRACE
Let me move with grace
butterfly wings
pirouette
Grace with long outstretched
fingers
and head to the sky
Soft gentle strides
through the afternoon
rains. Warmth from inside
through the chilling winds.
Grace with her wisdom
like the milk of her breast
To nourish the spirit
of a tender heart.
Grace above anger, regret and brooding
With her roots planted firmly
on an earth sown of compassion
So that love like the sun
can give life to her bloom

Submitted By Oshun Love
melissaberman@aol.com

PEACE
The clearing
Dissipation of all things
negative
The place where there
is room
A gymnasium of openness
Filled with the harmony
of silence
An open filed, green with
possibilities, bright with love

Here love exists because
I know you and I are the same
because of our bond
In spite of whatever differences
we may perceive
Color, power, pride
and prowess - slide away
Like snakes shimmying out of
their skin

Submitted By Oshun Love
melissaberman@aol.com

TRUTH

Dig dig dig
Wrangling yourself
A tiny jagged tunnel
Light creeps in from cracks in
The side
And you scratch your
Belly. Straining to squeeze closer to it.
Out
Where truth shines
Undeniable and clear
The answer to it all
Scrape your elbow
Edging past a particularly
Sharp turn.
The pain, a bit of blood
Nevermind
You're coming closer
To it
Around the corner
And the opening will be
There waiting
Welcoming you
With soft sand for
You to tread upon
As you wander now
In the land of truth
Where doubt and fear
Dissipate with the
Morning fog
But first you must twist
Some more
Your head now stuck
In a precarious situation
Cradled in the armpit
Of another bend in the rock
Here movement is
Nearly impossible and your
Eyes receive only the blackest
Reflection off the cold, dense
Rockface.
Your neck strains and then for
A moment your succumb to
The darkness
Maybe there is no
Truth
Only the struggle
You are beginning to callous
Your skin rough and dry
Fingers numb with
The pulling, scratching
When you hit another
Too tight crevice, snag your
Ankle and you almost don't
Mind
Then again a splinter of light
And you pulse again
With the search
Dragging, pulling , contorting

High above the flapping of
Wings - heavy with the
Sound of air
The song of truth
Closer the flapping sound
Moves in circles overhead
Joyful, free
If only you could get there
You could glide
Joyously through the light
With the certainty
That erases the squalor
Of a thought filled mind
The clarity that gives
Wing to the heart
High above the bird
Looks down upon you
Amazed by your struggle
Flapping its wings harder
Now, like a quickening
Heartbeat
And you hear it. You feel it
Yet still you do not
Shift - simply roll to face
The beat
To see the bird peering
Down at you
A view unobstructed
For there is no ceiling
On your tunnel
Only the most
Open of spaces
To where the bird circles
And beckons
From the place of truth
The eternal space
Always there- always

Submitted By Oshun Love
melissaberman@aol.com

About Oshun Love: I am a writer and a nomad who lives and travels with her dog Luna. And just finished my first film, "Seaside Trilogy" which I wrote and directed.

Eulogy: Written With Love, For My Dark One
By Artemisia

My dear friend, my dreamer for the hopeful future
She was always disappointed
She always managed to see
the bad side to every situation
She pointed the negative out for all of us to see
because we usually didn't see it on our own
She looked for the perfect in everything
and always found it flawed,
something was always missing
off
wrong
not quite right
not what she wanted
She hoped and wished and dreamed of the perfect
situation
timing
relationship
circumstances
fantasy,
And she lived out her life, patiently waiting,
critical of everything that presented itself.
Some may think that she never understood
that nothing is perfect
everything is flawed
everything has good and bad sides
every moment is an opportunity
But I knew her well, and I think that she just chose
to overlook the good in everything
just as I chose to overlook the bad.
She preferred the disappointment, discouragement, depression
It suited her,
my beloved Dark Sister.

About The Author: Artemisia is studying to become a Priestess of the Order of the White Moon. She is a graduate student in Natural Health and a Holistic Lifestyle Counselor.

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If You Like Harry Potter You'll Love These Books!
A book review by Luna Blanca, Head of The Order of The White Moon
In Association with Amazon.com

So You Want to Be a Wizard: The First Book in the Young Wizards Series
by Diane Duane

Prepare to enter the magickal world of young wizards, every bit as complex as the world of Harry Potter. Two young teenaged wizards meet and become partners in dangerous errands to save the universe, "for life in life's name." Shape-shifting, astral travel, visiting alien worlds, and dealing with non-wizard parents are all in a days work for our young hero and heroine. Once you start his seven book series, you won't be able to put it down! The best news of all -- new books are being added to the series! Visit the Young Wizard's Website for more info.

The Sorcerer's Companion: A Guide to the Magical World of Harry Potter
by Allan Zola Kronzek and Elizabeth Kronzek

Just the resource every Harry Potter fan needs! This reference work covers all things magical in the Harry Potter series, from Amulet to Zombie. The authors begin by noting how and where each item appears in the books and then move beyond Rowling's work to give historical background. For example, the Werewolf entry begins with Professor Lupin, then moves on to state, "Tales of man-wolves have been around since antiquity," beginning with Greek mythology. A valuable guide to better appreciating Rowling's complex, well-rehearsed world. A fun resource for readers young and old. For one White Moon member's page on Veelas, Click Here.

The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter: A Treasury of Myths, Legends, and Fascinating Facts
by David Colbert

Another handy reference for Potterites, this storehouse is organized by Q & A. Have you ever wondered: Why do trolls stink? Is Avada Kedavra a real curse? or Where does magic come from? Then this is the book for you!

J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter Novels: A Reader's Guide (Continuum Contemporaries) - Unauthorized
by Philip Nel

For the intellectual adult Potter fan, I recommend this scholarly work. Nel knows that sound scholarship need not be boring, and Nel's survey of the novelist, the novels, the reviews of the novels, and the performance of the novels is anything but dull. Potter-mania as well as Potter-phobia are chronicled here, and the last section recommends other fiction fans might like (some of which will be visited in future columns here).

This column will be continued in future issues!

About The Author: Luna Blanca is a college professor and spiritual teacher who lives in the foothills of northern California with her partner, Red Beard, and her cat, Lion. She heads White Moon School of The Feminine Divine through her website TheWhiteMoon.com. You can email her at Luna@TheWhiteMoon.com

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Book Recommendations
by Willow Moonswan

Non-fiction

The Pagan Book of Halloween: A Complete Guide to the Magick, Incantations, Recipes, Spells and Lore
by Gerina Dunwich

Gerina Dunwichís book contains a richly detailed list of Halloween symbols, myth and lore. It is a fascinating exploration of the origins of Halloween. She covers Halloween customs from many different traditions giving the reader a broader sense of the meaning behind the holiday. Along with the symbolism of this widely celebrated holiday, Dunwich includes traditional spells and divination methods. She concludes the book with a collection of old fashioned Halloween recipes perfect for entertaining on a cold blustery fall day.

Halloween: Customs, Recipes & Spells
by Silver RavenWolf

For anyone who enjoys the Halloween season I highly recommend this volume of the Llewellyn holiday series. RavenWolf has gathered together historical origins, symbols and superstitions surrounding Halloween alongside modern associations, rituals, and recipes. Whether your interests lie in the academic, magick and divination, or treats and crafts you will enjoy what Halloween has to offer.

Fiction

Here There Be Witches
written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by David Wilgus

Jane Yolen has gathered together a compilation of her poems, short stories and folk tales all with a decidedly witchy turn. Each entry is introduced with personal commentary on what inspired its creation. Yolen admittedly borrows from Shakespeare, fairy tales, folklore and legend to create highly entertaining fair for readers of all ages. She breathes life into old tales creating an intriguing glimpse into the witch archetype.

About The Author: I am a 34 year old eclectic witch. I hold an M.A. in English Literature and am contributing author of two textbooks. I have been following the Goddess path for the past twelve years and am currently an adept in the Order of the White Moon

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Weaving The Web...

Samhain Web Resources

Further information on this issue's theme can be found by searching online using a search engine such as Google. Here are some links to get you started.

WitchVox: Samhain
An incredible collection of articles from the largest Pagan site on the internet.

The Sabbats: All Hallow's Eve
Mike Nichols' comprehensive guide to the history of this sabbat.

A Samhain Ritual
A short ritual for both solitary practitioners and groups.

Hallowe'en Online
Planning that Hallowe'en party? This is the only place you need to visit.

samhain.com
A search engine concentrating on all things Samhain/Hallowe'en.

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DISCLAIMER:
The articles featured in Seasons of the Moon are written and/or submitted by members of The Order of The White Moon and are their own intellectual property. Please feel free to share this publication but please do give credit where credit is due and link back to the source.

Thank you for reading, we hope that you have enjoyed it just as much as we have enjoyed presenting it to you!

Many blessings to you and yours!
Seasons of The Moon Staff

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