Awen, Bardic Arts, and the Ancestors

The Druid's Garden

The time between Samhain and Yule is always a time of deep reflection for me.  As a homesteader, this represents the end of the season– the first frost happened in the week I was drafting this post, making everything curl up and die. By the time late November comes around, any major outdoor projects are complete for the year. We anticipate, even embrace, the winter months when snow carpets the ground and all is frozen and still.  While in the light half of the year, I spend most of my spare time gardening, doing various permaculture projects, or just being outside in the summer. In the dark half of the year, this is when I turn to more inward-focused bardic arts, more intense practice of my magic and journeying,  and learning from books of all kinds.  So as we move into the dark half of the year, I’ll be spending…

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Ancestral Herbalism and Samhain: Working Deeply with Rosemary

The Druid's Garden

Rosemary from the Plant Spirit Oracle Rosemary Card from the Plant Spirit Oracle

As we quickly approach Samhain, it is a useful practice to spend some time with rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) and build here into your Samhain practices. In this post, we look into some of the magic and medicine of Rosemary, and I share a number of ancestor and Samhain-focused practices that you can use with Rosemary.

An Ancestral Ally of Humans: History, Medicine, Magic

Before we get into what you can make or do with rosemary, let’s spend some time exploring and understanding this ancient herb. Rosemary has been with humanity almost as long as we have written records. Native to the mediterranean region, rosemary was first found referenced on cuineform tablets from Ancient Egypt that are from 5000 BCE–thus, humanity has at least an 8000 year old relationship with this herb (but I suspect it is much longer than our written history!)…

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All Hallows Eve ‘Soul Cakes’

Samhain: Honoring Ancestors of Craft and Tradition | Coby Michael Ward

Good Witches Homestead

Samhain, the season of the witch, is a time for us to honor the powers that underlie our Craft.  The hidden powers behinds the scenes, guiding our movements and our inspiration.  The Dead guide us; they are present when we weave our magic.  Those who have laid the foundations for our Great Arte, fertilizing our holy ground with their blood.  The Dead are always with us, but this is their time.  The mothers and fathers of our traditions, great witches, teachers, and keepers of lore make their presence known, returning to celebrate with us.  Hallowmas is the great twilight when the worlds of the living and the dead move as one.  The fires we light shine like beacons in the spirit world.  This is also the time to honor spirits of tradition, the collective familiar spirits called egregores that are the manifestation of us coming together.

Honor the Witch Within

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Cake For The Priestesses Of The Dead — Gather Victoria

Halloween takes its roots in ancient festivals and feasts honouring the dead, like Samhain. Which makes it a perfect time for cake…not just any cake, but a cake in remembrance of the Haliorunna. Never heard of them? They were the oracular priestesses of the “underworld mysteries” whose rites of divination and ancestor veneration were demonized and…

via Cake For The Priestesses Of The Dead — Gather Victoria

Samhain in the Devil’s Garden | Coby Michael Ward

Good Witches Homestead

All Hallows Eve is quickly approaching.  The darkness is creeping closer every day.  You can feel the cold grip of the coming winter slithering its way back up from its yearly resting place deep in the Underworld.  The excitement and anticipation on both sides of the veil are tangible.  It is during this time of year that most witches are at their witchiest, reveling in the sensory delights of the coming holiday.  For me, Samhain/Halloween (because I celebrate both) is an entire season, not just one day.  It begins at the autumnal equinox when the scales begin to tip in darkness’ favor.  Then there is the October full moon known as the Hunter’s Moon or Blood Moon.  I look at Samhain October 31st as the culmination of this strange energy that has been building which bleeds into November.  The Sun hangs low in the sky, crows can be heard cawing…

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The Witch Reborn in Autumn: Spiritual Death and the Dance of Bones | Spirits Dance Bones

Good Witches Homestead

The Wild Witch and the Dance of Bones

The moon ascends from her primal cave,
And my feet twitch in excitement.
For this is the long-awaited call
Back to my soul’s home.
I become a wild witch once more.
Hail Autumn,
With your winds of change,
Blowing me free of what has passed,
Dancing in the delight of freedom.
Spiraling joyfully towards the darkness that is my truth.
Spinning onwards to Hekate’s Cave,
The font of magick and mystery.
The spirits of the season join me and the leaves, in our delight,
Knowing deep in our souls that we are connected,
In our pursuit of the deeper truths.
Swirling wildness embraces me,
As I proclaim
My place among them.
Our dance calls forth the spirits,
Of the departed and the mighty,
Night wandering under the pale light of the moon,
Onwards, our steps in harmony,
Towards the crossroads where we…

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BUILD YOUR OWN ALTAR Using These CEREMONIAL HERBS

Good Witches Homestead

Day of the Dead: Ritual and Ceremony 

Little is firmly known about the particulars of today’s holiday since the limited sources available are either folkloric literature like the Celtic sagas or Roman authors who would have likely “trashed” the traditions of a culture with which they were often in conflict.

Although, you can kind of imagine what really went on back then. Different cultures around the world gathered in a ceremony to honor their ancestors on and around November 1st. This sacred day was often known as a cosmic aperture, where the veils get thin, and the souls from “the other side” can contact us with more ease. There’s plenty of written experiences where people have encounters with spirits or ancestral anecdotes from all over the world regarding the ceremonial processing of these mystical energies. Samhain, for example, is very well known as its a three day ancient Celtic pagan festival…

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The Samhain of our Lives

The Druid's Garden

Just last week, we had our first hard frost. After homesteading for a number of years, you grow to be vigilant for the signs of the first frost. The air smells different somehow in the two or so weeks leading up to it. The bird and wildlife patterns change.  The nights have a crisp bite to them that they didn’t even a few days before. And then, just like magic one day, the frost is there, glistening in the morning light. The garden radically changes overnight–even for those things you covered–the entire landscape lies in disarray.

Sunrise at First Frost Sunrise at First Frost

I could feel it on the air, and for the last few mornings, have been going to to see if it had arrived. That morning, I turned the corner and first saw it first on the strawberry patch–white and glistening. The frost is beautiful, magical, and yet, destructive. While the…

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Queen Of Air And Darkness

Good Witches Homestead

The early Celts savoured the dark side of life. They embraced war like a lover, plunging into battle naked, singing gloriously boastful songs. They were fearless in the face of death, which their belief in reincarnation taught them was ‘…but the centre of a long life.’ It was not uncommon for a man to lend money and agree on repayment in a future lifetime. Their day began at dusk; the new year at Samhain, the festival we know as Halloween. Darkness was associated with new beginnings, the potential of the seed below the ground. In Celtic mythology and folklore, the wisdom of darkness is often expressed by powerful goddess figures. Whether in the natural, cultural or individual context, their role is to catalyse change through the transformative power of darkness, to lead through death into new life. A Dark Goddess of nature, particularly in Scotland, is the Cailleach, a name…

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