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Happy Halloween and Blessed Samhain! This is my favorite time of the year. The holiday most known as Halloween has its roots in ancient cultures. It is the celebration of the new year of the ancient Celts, my ancestors. They called it Samhain meaning the End of Summer. Many Northern Europeans also celebrated this time of the year as the time to honor their Blessed Dead. The tradition has been passed down to Catholics as all Saints Day and in Latin America as The Day of The Dead, Dia de los Muertos-November First.

When October comes, the air takes on a crisp and mystical quality. During this season The veil is thinnest between the living and those that have passed on. It is a good time to invite our Beloved Dead (our dear ones who have passed on before us) to visit with us. This is a deep time of appreciation and celebration of them and our memories of them. Every year I set up an altar to my ancestors and blessed dead and invite them to commune with me. I set out their photos and also a feast for them. This year I will remember and honor all the victims of war, especially of the War now raging in Iraq. I will sadly add photos of my dear dear friend Tenley and will especially remember her and other dear ones who also crossed over in the last year. I do this to honor them, call upon their guidance and presence and strengthen my connection with them if they a willing to come.

It is also the time I call upon and invoke the Mighty Dead. They are the Great Ones who have gone before and created the Witchy and Wiccian Path I now tread on. I first learned of the Mighty Dead when I embraced the NROOGD Tradition and later Traditional British Witchcraft and Feri. They are those who contributed to the Magical Path and have passed to the other side. I they believe make themselves available to aid us in our craft at this time of the year.

I find that, because the veil is thinnest, divination can be very powerful at this time. Deceased ancestors and other spirits are easiest to contact. Rituals to honor the dead are performed on this night by many cultures, and divination is at its high point. Gazing into fire, glass, or a dark mirror or bowel is a popular method for this on this night, and guided meditation for the purpose of past-life regression can be successful as well. Spirits may help you in divination, and you may also wish to contact the recently departed to strengthen your karmic ties with them if you wish to help ensure that you will be together again. It is an Irish custom to place black candles in the windows for protection against evil spirits and to leave plates of food out for the spirits who will come and visit you at this powerful and sacred time.

Wiccans call on The Horned One and The Crone, the last harvest of the year is celebrated, the dying God is mourned, and we reaffirm our beliefs in the oneness of all spirits and in the knowledge that our own physical deaths are not a finality.

Various other names for this Greater Sabbat are Third Harvest, Day of the Dead, Old Hallowmas (Scottish/Celtic), Samhain, Shadowfest (Strega), and All Hallow's Eve. It is a time when I invoke Hecate and walk with Her between the worlds.

Some of the fruits of Samhain are Pomegranates, Turnips, Gourds, and Apples. Symbols are Black Cats, Pumpkins/Jack-O-Lanterns, and of course, Witches and Goblins.

Herbs relating to this Sabbat are Cinnamon, Mugwort, Allspice, Catnip, Dragons Blood, Deadly Nightshade, Mandrake, Oak leaves, Sage and Straw