The Whispering Winds
October 2002 Issue

"Her Light shines on our path."
Featured Topic - Samhain

Samhain (Oiche Shamhna) is the most important sabbat of the year. Pronounced as "Sow-in by the Irish, as SAV-en by the Scottish and as SOW-een by the Welsh. It is exactly opposite Beltaine on the Wheel of the year. It is reckoned when the sun has reached 15 degrees Scorpio. Samhain lies exactly between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice. This is a Cross Quarter day.

It is known as "Samhraidhreadh" which means "summers end". Samhain is the start of the Celtic "New Year". The Celts divided the year into two seasons, which are summer and winter. The summer is governed by the Big Sun (the sun) and the winter is governed by the Little Sun (the moon).

This is one of the four Fire Festivals and is known as "Trinoux Samonia." Originally this sabbat was celebrated for three days, the day before, day of and day after.

It is the day when the God symbolically dies and the Goddess is in mourning, though She knows that He will be reborn at Yule.

It is the Third and Final Harvest. A time for preparing for the coming year. It is also the day of the Feast of the Roman Goddess "Pamona".

It is the day that the Tuatha De Danann, realized their permanent victory over the Fomorians.

Since this is the time that the veil between Annwn (the Underworld) and our realm of existence, is at its thinnest, it is a time to honor and connect with our ancestors. To some wiccan faiths, this means direct descendants who have passed over. To those of us in the Celtic/Faery tradition, this means the ancestral spirits and deity that resides within the earth.

One way to honor this day is "Fleadh nan Mairbh" (Feast of the Dead). Set an extra plate or two at the dinner table for visiting spirits. Another way is "Bannock Samhain". Setting out cakes and milk outside the door. This is also the time for the "Dumb Supper", a meal served in silence in honor of those who have passed to the Summerlands.

Remember, this is not a time of mourning, but rather of rejoicing and connecting with those that have gone before us. We do not conjure up these visitors as a medium would do . But rather we invite them to share the day/night with us.

This is also a great time for divination.

Roasting nuts in the fire and bobbing for apples are a couple of examples of divination from olden times. Another traditional way is to set a shirt on a thorn bush near a stream and see what spirit comes along to fit it on. At which time you would make enquiries.

Some of the Celtic Deity that you may appeal to for assistance during divination are; Oghma, Rosmerta, Baile, Beli, Coventina, Badh, and Gwyn Ap Nuad to name a few.

The concept of the carved pumpkin came about from the belief, that carving a scary face on the pumpkin and using it as a lantern as one walked at night, would scare away evil spirits. Originally they were carved out of turnips.

There is an Irish legend about an Irish lad named Jack. He tricked the devil into climbing a tree and then quickly carved a cross into the tree so that the devil could not get down. He then made a deal with the devil so that he would not go to hell upon passing. But when Jack did pass, not only was he barred from hell, but he was barred from heaven as well because of the doings of his life on earth. Hence he was doomed to walk the earth carrying a lantern to light his way. Thus the Jack-O-Lantern was created.

Another custom is to light a hearth fire on this day and to keep it lit until the first day of Spring as a way of honoring our spiritual ancestors and deity. Originally, all hearth fires were extinguished on this day and then relit from the Druidic fire which was lit at "Tlachhtga". This fire represented the center of Ireland.

Leaving a candle in the window as a beacon for spirits is also customary.

Samhain is a time for reflecting on the year just past and preparing for the coming year. One way to do this is to write the weaknesses and negative actions of the past year down on a piece of parchment. After a period of reflection/meditation, burn the parchment in the cauldron or hearth fire. In this way you are starting out fresh for the New year.

Some of the foods associated with Samhain are; pork, corn, apples, pomegranates, pumpkin pie, and cider.

The colors associated with this day are; red, orange, yellow, brown and black.

For incense, you can try basil, lilac, clove, yarrow or frankincense.

Some plants or herbs are apple trees, sage, mugwort (divination), and gourds.

Some crystals are onyx, carnelian, and obsidian.

Featured Herb: Marigold - Calendula officinalis

According to Greek legend, a fair maiden by the name of Caltha fell in love with the Sun God. She spent each morning awaiting his arrival. Her passion for the God, wasted her away unto death. In commemeration of her devotion, the very first marigold bloomed upon the spot where she sat in wait each morning.

The leaves are used to make a yellow dye. Planted in the flowerbed, it repels certain harmful insects.

In various cultures the Marigold is known as the "Death plant".

It is said that when a girl touches marigold petals with her bare feet that she can understand the language of birds.

Marigold is a protective flower, string garlands of marigold around your home for protection. Marigold assists with divination and seeing faeries. A tea made of marigold is said to enlighten the heart and spirit.

Placed under the pillow, marigolds inspire prophetic dreams, carried upon your person they assist in legal matters. Marigolds should be gathered at noon for their full potential.

Marigold is associated with the Throat chakra.

Marigold is useful as a face cream, for stomach pain, as an antiseptic, for stimulating the liver and as a antifungal. It contains vitamin A. Th leaves can be used in salads as well.


Crystal of the Month: Obsidian

This crystal vibrates to the number 1. It comes in many different colors, each with it's own special qualities.
In general the astrological sign is Saggitarius, thought this changes with the specific color. And the planet is Saturn. It is ruled by the Fire Elemental. This is a stone of the Goddess "Pele". It is associated with the Root Chakra.
The obsidian is considered to be an excellent stone for grounding. It is also used for protection. It is often used for inner reflection in order to see ones personal flaws and thus enabling the user to improve spiritually.
It is also a healing stone of some proportion.
In ancient times, it was used for scrying purposes. It is suggested that you use the moons rays to cleanse this crystal, rather than that of the sun.
It is commonly carried as a Good Luck charm and for instilling self-confidence.

  Featured Recipe: Irish Apple Fritters

5 ounces flour              5 fl. ounces water           1/4 tsp. salt              2 eggs (seperated)

1 tbsp. melted butter              2 large cooking apples                  4 ounces sugar

Lemon juice                   Oil for cooking

Make batter atleast an hour before required, using following method. Sift together flour and salt. Make a well in the center. Add the cooled melted butter and some of the water and egg yolks.

Work in the flour and beat until smooth. Add remaining water. Leave to stand. Just before using, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold into batter mix. Peel, core, and slice apples (slices about 1/4-1/2 inch thick). Dip into batter and deep fry in very hot oil (175-180 C) until golden. Drain and serve dredged with sugar and sprinkled with lemon juice.



                     Crick's Rants

Greetings, having been pagan for close to 50 years, I have seen many changes to our beloved faith. The one thing that really saddens me, is how a few members of our community have presented themselves. These commercial witches have written a book or two or so and/or came up with a gimmick to sell to our children. They then have set themselves up as representatives of the pagan community. And then they sell memberships to their covens as if they were selling health club memberships. They bring to mind an image of the carpetbaggers that plagued the southern united states after the american civil war.
I have one thing to say to these people;   SHAME!
To begin with, each and every witch is unique in their personal power and spirituality. No one can represent anyone but themselves. Even within the coven, we are individuals. Also we are in a period of time when we can communicate freely without fear of dreadful retribution. I would suggest that we use this period of religious freedom to strengthen the ties amongst the pagan community. As well as building bridges to those who are ignorant of our ways and beliefs. Only through knowledge and understanding can we eliminate the fear and hatred that has been perpectuated over the last 2000 years.
Don't get me wrong. There are a number of fine authors who have made much needed contributions to the pagan community, by way of their writings.
This rant is meant for the few who have made a Spiral dance to the bank at the expense of our pagan faith.
This is my ranting for the month. Until next month.
Warm Blessings to all of you Cailleachs ..... Crickjumper

Want to help your community? Plant a tree or two. Check out the National Arbor Day Foundation at

"Oscar cach gceird araile"

                                                         (Everyone is a beginner at anothers trade or Craft)

Did You Know ???
The first medical doctor to practice in Rome was a Greek by the name of Arcagathus. He was an expert wound surgeon (uulnerarius). And the year was 219 B.C.E.

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