Samhain and The Dishonorable Dead

Samhain/Parentalia Shrine
Samhain/Parentalia Shrine (Photo credit: Sasha Kelley)

In response to someone asking who I honor at Samhain, I replied “everyone who has influenced my life, my outlook, and my path”. Then I realized that this is not true.

Not everyone who has influenced me gets honored on Samhain. If the truth be told, some of the most profoundly influential people in my life were absolute jerks. These are individuals who taught me by their examples how not to treat people, how not to relate to the world, how I do not want to live my life. I’ve learned the value of kindness, compassion, and love, not so much from the people who embody these qualities, but from those who do not. My awareness the sanctity of life has been deepened by witnessing the actions of those who would disregard it.


This brings up the question of what to do with the dishonorable dead on Samhain. Should they be recognized or ignored? Should the good that they unintentionally caused be remembered? Should I honor those who were on the receiving end of their bad behaviors instead?


Has anyone else considered this and/or found a way to handle it in your own practice?



Youngsters lured into the world of Satan by Halloween

Hans Baldung Grien, Witches, woodcut, 1508. Mu...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kevin Carlyon, the high priest of British white witches, warned last night that there has been a huge resurgence of interest in witchcraft.

“Unfortunately some people are then showing an interest in certain groups which in my view do not ­represent the core beliefs of a love for the god and goddess of nature.

“On the internet there are charlatans offering to do ouija board ­sessions and tarot card readings for ridiculous sums of money and they should be avoided at all costs.”

I thought this was just too mind-bogglingly funny. Especially the guy calling himself the “high priest of British white witches” (whoever they are).

Help! Rituals with Kitties!

Gray kitten
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Haha.. contrary to what it sounds like in the title, there’s no animal abuse going on.

I am a momma to not only a two year old but two fur baby cats as well (One being about 13 weeks old and the other being almost two). Well when trying to cast my circle and performing rituals, my kittens will not stop trying to play in the flames of my candles (the ones I have around the circle for the elements and helping show the circle). I don’t know what to do.

Are there any good candle alternatives for placing in the four corners? I am so scared my kitties will catch fire and I’m tired of having to pick up candle wax from them being knocked over.

(I have to perform my rituals inside in my living room as I don’t have a lot of privacy outside.)

Pushy Gods/Goddesses?

English: Egyptian gods and goddesses. These st...
English: Egyptian gods and goddesses. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I wanted to ask a question in general about gods/goddesses… Have you ever had a god/goddess try to push you into some form of dedication to them? If so, is it normal, or something that should raise red flags? Do they tend to cause some chaos in your life if you ignore them?

Why Does Wicca Seem So Expensive?

English: A traditional Wiccan altar displaying...
Wiccan altar displaying magical working tools. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now I know that you don’t have to go and buy purpose-made pagan supplies, but I feel awkward that I don’t have anything yet. Coming from a catholic background I’m not keen on the prescriptive side of some wiccan paths anyway (it just feels like what I’m trying to get away from) but most books seem to be telling me to go out and spend £££s on equipment, this in itself is leading me more towards hedgewitchery and folk magic. Candles in every colour? Cauldron? Athame? Ahhhh!

Anyone else know how I’m feeling?

I’ve been making do so far, I haven’t performed many spells. Haven’t cast a circle or anything before, yet have been reading suggestions for spells, altering them to what I have in stock so to speak, or just looking up uses of herbs and scattering dried herbs from my kitchen cupboard in my garden while praying to deities what it is I am asking for. I am lucky enough to have a tree in my garden which is where I tend to focus my outdoor prayers. Anyone else do something similar? Am I being too frugal?

Samhain – How Do You Celebrate/Ideas?

Clothahump at Samhain 2006
Clothahump at Samhain 2006 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Samhain is approaching and I have a few questions I’d like to throw out there. So here’s the first one:

  • How do you celebrate Samhain? (i.e. Ritual, Pumpkin Carving, Offerings, etc)
  • I know there are a bunch of ways for the pronunciation of Samhain, how do you pronounce it?
  • Ideas for celebrating Samhain when you’re in a completely Christian household?

I’ll elaborate on my last question. I recently moved back in with my parents due to financial issues. They each are aware of my religion but neither agree and like to brush it under the table as we all attempt to avoid religious conversation. To me, since I’m finally of age and a legal adult, I’ve really enjoyed my freedom to do as I please within my religion, but as you can probably tell, moving back home poses a large amount of restrictions of what I can and cannot do.

Along side this, I don’t actually have an altar yet. Which often bothers me at times, but both my parents would “freak out”. I do have my incense, tarot cards, and some votive candles all along my top shelf of my book shelf that I consider sacred, but that is as close as I get to an altar.

(also low on cash) It’s going to be a bit harder to just go out and buy things for Samhain, anything large at least. My best friend’s ashes are also on the mentioned shelf, and I want to do some type of offering or honoring, just not sure what or how.

Celtic Reconstructionism Pros and Cons

Gundestrupkarret (the Gundestrup Cauldron). Th...
Gundestrup Cauldron (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been reading The CR FAQ over the past week during my exploration of different paths, and I’m wondering if any people familiar with and/or practicing Celtic Reconstructionism out there can point out, I guess, the pros and cons of being CR (what’s good about it, what’s bad, problems that arise, things like that).

I’m still learning more about CR and other paths, but I’m just curious as to other people’s experiences with or being CR.

I’m aware that CR requires a lot of work and that it’s based more on archaeological facts and UPG than other branches of Paganism, I’m just curious about other peoples’ personal experiences with it.

Folk Wisdom from Your Childhood

What were some

(Photo credit: Emre Ergin)

s or folk practices you remember from growing up? For example, I was always told that if my palms itched it meant money was coming to me. For some reason, I turned this into my right palm itching when money is coming to me and my left palm itching when I was about to have to pay a big bill.

Hasn’t failed me yet and generally occurs within a 3-4 day window.

Another one; never put your purse on the floor or you’ll always be broke.

On another note; always have your money facing the same way in your wallet.

Never cut your hair during the new moon.

Always sweep from the back of the house to the front. (or in this case vacuum. My mother would twitch something fierce if I started anywhere but the very back room.)

I have NO explanation for any of these but some of them I still do subconsciously (the sweeping from the back to the front and never putting my purse on the floor.) What are some of yours?

What are some of yours?

What are your Prohibitions?

English: prohibited
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On my long and twisted religious path, there are a number of things that I am prohibited to do…usually on request from one of the deities I follow:

  • I am not to actively participate in ritual that does not fall in line with my own path. This means that almost all public rituals are right out for me – I have to opt out of them, as they contain elements that do not apply.
  • If I speak about the work I do, it has to be in part only. I am proscribed against talking about the whole, the goal, or the outcome until it is finished.
  • I am prohibited from sharing information with certain people, or at certain times, or in certain places.
  • Perversely, I am prohibited from not speaking up or sharing information in certain instances.

There are others, of course, but the four above are the ones that come into play most often since my religious community includes TC’s forums and chat. And, in reading a series of blog posts defining piety in ways that are, for me, prohibited to do, I wondered how many others also have proscriptions against things that are seen as “typically pagan”.

So, what are your prohibitions? If you have them, how much impact do they have on your daily life? If you don’t have them, what might you do if given one (or more)?

Europe TC Meet-Up?

English: The City of London skyline as viewed ...
The City of London skyline (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So after Shad had to skip my wedding, she mentioned possibly coming to Europe next year. Which led to discussions about possibly doing a broader meetup surrounding her visit. Which led to NaomiJ and myself getting overexcited (since we had a great time together in London last month), so we thought we’d do some brainstorming etc.

Now this is very early days yet, so there’s nothing specific yet, especially since a lot would depend on how many people would be interested in joining, and where they’re travelling from etc.

I’ll list some current thoughts we’ve been floating, but if you’re interested, DO feel free to make suggestions, but mostly, let us know what would work for you so we can see what would lead to the most people actually being able to make it.

Current thoughts lean to the UK, since we seem to have quite a few members there, but Germany or the Netherlands have also been floated as options. London would be easy by way of travel, but expensive; Naomi and I have been considering whether it would be nice to rent a vacation home somewhere for a couple of days and do our own cooking etc as a cheaper alternative. Alternately, if we’re doing this near my home, I might be able to offer places to sleep to some people. If we go that route, I’d want to suggest that those staying at someone’s home chip in to help with the hotel costs for those who can’t.

Whatever we do, it MUST have a handicap accessible option (whether that’s “near London and Nay joins from home” or “one big accessible rental place” or “multiple hotels rooms/homes and some are accessible”). If we’re renting anything, this means we should plan far enough ahead so we don’t run into the problem of all accessible places being booked.

Considering the regions we’re currently considering, I’d suggest doing this late spring / summer, so we’d have a good shot at decent weather. Of course, that does depend on what we want to be doing as well; if we want to be, say, in a nature area and maybe do some hiking type activities, weather’s more important than if we want to sit inside and talk over our tea and yarnwork.

Again, feel free to chime in with any thoughts; I just thought we’d get things going.