The Witches Spell I Give You For Jan. 4th: Ward Off Evil Spell

Gothic Comments

Ward Off Evil Spell

To ward off evil spirits or energy:

In a small jar, place sage, sandalwood, galangal and brimstone herbs. Mix well and sprinkle sea salt on top. Cut a three inch piece of red string, and tie on knot into it and place it in the jar. Next, place three pins or nails in the jar and close it. Light a black candle and say the following:

“Pins that prick, herbs and string, to protect me now, my guardians do sing!”

Hide the jar in a dark place to ward off evil.


A Little Humor – Learning your ABC’s for Witches and Pagans

Learning your ABC’s for Witches and Pagans

To learn your letters you must start With a clever mind and a willing heart Each one is special, just like you And you will learn them all by the time we are through!

  • A is Athame, the knife that we use
  • B is for Beltane, when partners we choose
  • C is for Circle where we all are one.
  • D is for Deosil, path of the Sun.
  • E is for Esbat, when we gather round
  • F is for Fire and its crackling sound
  • G is the Goddess in beauty and love.
  • H is the Horned One, our Father above.
  • I is for Imbolg, candles light the way,
  • J is for June when it’s Midsummer’s Day
  • K is for Karma, the things that we do
  • L is for Lammas, harvest’s almost through!
  • M is for Moon, riding way up so high,
  • N is for Nighttime, which darkens the sky
  • O is for Ostara, when we hunt for eggs,
  • P is for Pan, with hairy goat legs
  • Q is the Quarters and there are just four,
  • R for the Rites when we open the Door
  • S is for Samhain, end of the year,
  • T is for Tarot cards, futures to hear
  • U is Undines from the watery West
  • V is Vervain for protection and rest
  • W’s Widdershins, the path of the moon.
  • X is the sign that’s the sign of the God
  • Y is for Yule and the sun’s return
  • Z is the Zodiac, 12 signs to learn

To learn them all you will have to try And now it is time to say goodbye Merry have we met, and Merry have we been Merry shall we part and Merry meet again!

About the Celtic Tree Month Reed October 28 to November 24

Celtic Tree Month Reed


October 28 to November 24

Those Born Under This Sign:

Reed signs among the Celtic tree astrology signs are the secret keepers.  You dig deep inside to the real meaning of things and discover the truth hidden beneath layers of distraction.  When there is a need to get to the heart of the matter, most certainly the Reed sign will find the core.  You love a good story, and can be easily drawn in by gossip, scandals, legend and lore.  These tendencies also make you an excellent historian, journalist, detective or archeologist.  You love people because they represent a diversity of meanings for you to interpret.  You are adept at coaxing people to talking to you, and sometimes you can be a bit manipulative.  However, you have a strong sense of truth and honor so most of your scheming is harmless.  Reed people join well with other Reeds, Ash or Oak signs.

Celtic Meaning Of The Reed:

The Celtic meaning of the reed within the Ogham deals with:

  • Purpose
  • Protection
  • Purification
  • Clarification
  • Communication

Today we may not consider the reed a tree, but in the time of the ancient Celts their landscape held prolific reeds in swamp areas; some growing up to 20 feet tall.

The druids viewed any large plant like this with a woody stalk to be a tree, and the reed was considered very important.

All things of the natural world were honored by the Celts, and all things represented the connection with life.   In this way, the reed was highly revered for its usefulness in the day-to-day practices of the Celts.

The reed was used for many purposes by the Celts.  Specifically, they would weave reeds together to make thatched roofs on their homes – some of which (when properly constructed) last up to a decade or more.  This is where the reed obtains its symbolism of protection.  It is also a natural insulator, and the Celts honored it highly during cold, wet months.

Reed gives off a faint sweet smell when macerated, and so the Celts were known to lay out pressed reeds as flooring in their homes to deodorize.  This was also a practice for cleansing and purifying homes.

Reeds also made good candles, and were viewed as beacons of light during the dark nights.  This is another facet of the reed’s purposefulness in the life of the Celts.

The reed gets its symbolism of communication from several sources.  In the hands of a good craftsman (and there were many among the ancient Celts), a reed would make a fine whistle, flute or recorder.  These were highly prized amongst the people, particularly bards. Through these flutes and music the spiritually-minded Celts would communicate fantastic worlds of vision, heroism, and beauty.  

Secondly, if you are still enough, you can hear them sing a song when the wind blows through a field of reeds.  If you’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing it, you know it is an eerie experience.  The Celts viewed this as an otherworld voice, and considered it a message of powerful importance.

Take the time to incorporate these symbolic meanings of the reed in your life.  Gather some up and bring them into the house to open up the energy and clear the air.  Or, try fashioning a flute from a reed and take it to your next drum circle to play!  Your Celtic ancestors will get such a kick out of that!


Questions & Answers Regarding The Old Religion

The following is an excerpt from “Witchcraft: The Old Religion”

by Dr. L. L. Martello.

Questions and Answers.

Q. What is the  best way for one who  is interested in the Old  Religion to     make contact  with a genuine  coven?

A. Subscribe to  all of the  Pagan and     Witchcraft publications. It’s easier to get into a  Pagan grove which often     acts  as a backdoor  to the Craft,  since many are  Wicca-oriented in their     worship  and rituals.  Fill out  a Coven-Craft  application form  issued by     WICA. To obtain yours, enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope.      WICA’s address is Suite 1B, 153 West 80 Street; New York 10024.

Q. What are the major  feast-days of Witches? Could you tell me  more about     the origins of Halloween?

A. Most Anglo-American covens celebrate the following      holy days. The four major ones  are Oimelc or Candlemas on February  2; May     Eve, Beltane, or Walpurgisnacht on April 30; Lammas on July 31 or August 1;     and of course Halloween or Samhain on  October 31. The four minor Holy Days     are the two solstices: Yule, around December 22; and Midsummer, around June     21 or 22. The other  two are the equinoxes: March 20-21 for  spring and the     fall  equinox on September 22  or 23.  The following  will help to give you     some idea of the origins of Halloween:

November Eve, All Hallows’  Eve, the Gaelic fire festival  of Samhain,     now generally called Halloween, represents the summer’s end, when the Earth     Goddess turns  over her reign to the Horned God of the Hunt, the transition     from life to death, from an agrarian time to one of hunting, from summer to     winter,  from warmth  to  coldness, from  light to  darkness.  It has  been     Christianized into All Saints’ Day,  a time when the souls of  the departed     wander the land and in some cases where the souls of the living temporarily     join  their spirit brethren, a time for mediumship, remembrance of departed     loved ones,  and celebration (as  opposed to  mourning) of the  dead.   The     Roman Goddess of fruits and seeds, Pomona, was worshipped on  this day. The     stored fruits and seeds of the  summer were then opened for the celebrants.     Apples and  nuts were the  main fruits.  This was also  the autumn  harvest     festival of the Druids.

They believed in the transmigration of souls     and taught that  Saman, the Lord of Death, summoned  those wicked souls who     were   condemned to  occupy the bodies  of animals in  the preceding twelve     months. The accused believed that they  could propitiate Saman by gifts and     incantations, thus lessening if  not eliminating their sentences. This  was     also the time when the Druids lit huge bonfires in honor  of Baal, a custom     continued in Britain and Wales until recent times.    In Ireland October 31     was called Oidhche Shamhna, or Vigil of Saman.  In his Collectanea de Rebus     Hibernicis,  Villancey says  that in  Ireland  the peasants  assembled with     clubs  and sticks, “going from house to house, collecting money, breadcake,     butter, cheese, eggs, etc., for the feast, repeating verses in honor of the     solemnity,  demanding  preparations for  the festival  in  the name  of St.     Columb Kill, desiring them to lay aside the  fatted calf and to bring forth     the black sheep. The good women  are employed in making the griddlecake and     candles; these  last are sent from house to  house in the vicinity, and are     lighted up on the (Saman) next day, before which they pray, or are supposed     to pray, for the  departed soul of  the donor. Every  house abounds in  the     best viands they can afford: apples and nuts are devoured in abundance; the     nutshells are burnt, and from the  ashes many strange things are  foretold;     cabbages are  torn up by the  root; hemp-seed is  sown by the  maidens, and     they believe that if they look back they will see the apparition of the man     intended for their future spouse; they hang a smock before the fire, on the     close of the feast, and sit up all  night, concealed in the corner of  the     room, convinced  that his apparition will  come down the   chimney and turn     the smock; they throw a ball of yarn  out of the window, and wind it on the     reel within, convinced that  if they repeat the Pater Noster backwards, and     look  at the  ball of yarn  without, they  will then  also see his  sith or     apparition; they  dip for apples in a  tub of water, and  endeavor to bring     one up in the mouth; they suspend a cord with a cross-stick, with apples     at one point, and candles lighted at the other, and endeavor to catch the     apple,  while  it is  in a  circular  motion, in the mouth.”

Vallancey concludes that these practices are the  remnants of Druidism and will never     be eradicated while  the name of  Saman remains. In  this brief passage  we     will see  the origins of many  modern Halloween practices, such  a trick or     treat, the Jack-o-Lantern, and apple bobbing.

In the island of Lewis the     name Shamhna, or Saman, was called Shony.  One writer  in disgust described     “an  ancient  custom  here to  sacrifice  to  a sea-god,  called  Shony, at     Hallowtide.”  The supposed Christian inhabitants would gather at the Church     of  St. Mulvay, each  family bringing provisions and  malt which was brewed     into ale. They chose  one of themselves to wander into the  sea at night up     to his waist. He  then poured out a cup  of ale calling upon Shony to bless     his people for the coming year.   “At his return,” this writer says, “they     all went to church,  where there was a  candle burning upon the  altar; and     then standing silent for a little time, one of them gave a signal, at     which the  candle was  put out,  and immediately  all of  them went to  the     fields, where they fell a-drinking ale, and spent the rest  of the night in     dancing  and singing.   The ministers in  Lewis told me  they spent several     years  before  they  could persuade  the  vulgar  natives  to abandon  this     ridiculous piece of superstition.”

The name Saman shows evidence of      Druidism in the Irish. Another  word, the name of a drink,  is “lambswool.”     It is made from bruising roasted apples and mixing it with ale or milk.     The  Gentlemen’s  Magazine  for  May,  1784,  says,  “this  is  a  constant     ingredient at a  merrymaking on  Holy Eve.” Vallancey  shrewdly traced  its     etymological origin when he said, “The  first day of November was dedicated     to the angel presiding over fruits, seeds, etc., and was therefore named La     Mas  Ubhal, that is,  the day  of the  apple fruit, and  being pronounced     Lamasool, the English  have corrupted  the name to  Lambs-wool.” The  angel     referred to of course is the Roman Goddess Pomona.

Q. Are these Holy Days the same throughout the world?

A. No. However, there are many universal similarities between all the pagan     religions. Names, dates and days vary according to national origin.     For instance, one of the Holy Days still celebrated by many Italian and     some Sicilian  traditions is the Lupercalia,  on February 15. It  has since     been Christianized into  St. Valentine’s Day on Feb. 14.  Let me quote from     the WICA  Newsletter:  Ancient Roman  festival  honoring Lupercus,  God  of     Fertility. It was  called dies  februatus meaning ‘day  of expiation.’  The     Lupercal–‘wolf’s grotto’–a cave on the western slope of Palatine Hill.     Near it was the ficus ruminalis, the fig tree under which Romulus and Remus     were  found and  nursed by a  she-wolf.   The Lupercai  who celebrated this     yearly festival  were made up of the Fabian who belonged to the Sabines and     the Quintilian Lupercai, the Latins. Later in honor to Julius Caesar, there     was added the Julian  Brotherhood. They sacrificed a goat.  Young neophytes     were brought in. The  High Priest touched their  foreheads with the  bloody     knife. Then another priest wiped away the blood with wool dipped into milk.     The feast began with the celebrants clothed only in goat skins and carrying     (really hiding) thongs made from the same goat hides.  They ran up and down     the  streets  of the  city striking  anyone who  passed  them.   Women came     forward to  be hit  by the  goat-thongs, believing  it  enhanced their  own     fertility. This was also a symbolic purification of the land and of the     persons touched. This was on   of the last Pagan rites to be given up     before  Christianity   completely  dominated  the  country.   It  is  still     celebrated today but in modern form, without the goat or  any other kind of     sacrifice, but  all wearing  skins  and goat  horns  in a  special  streghe     ritual.”

Q. What are some of the Christian holy days that are based upon or borrowed     from ancient Pagan Religions?

A. You’ll  find many of them discussed in this book. However, briefly, here     are some  of them. December 25 in  ancient times was the  day celebrated in     honor of  the sun, deified  in such figures  as Mithra, Osiris,  Horus, and     Adonis. It was also the  feast day of Bacchus, Krishna, Sakia,  and others.     The legends of these Gods were the same as those attributed to Jesus Christ     by  the early  Church.  Pope Julius  I  in A.D.  337 made  December  25 the     official day to celebrate Jesus’s birth, following older traditions who      honored their founders on that date. It was also the ancient celebration of     the  winter  solstice.  There  is absolutely  no  record  in  the  Bible or     elsewhere  of when Jesus  Christ was born.      All of us  are still paying     tribute to the ancient Gods  and Goddesses by the names of our  days of the     week.

English French Italian Spanish Planet Deity
Sunday Dimanche Domani Domingo Sun Mithra
Monday Lundi Lunedi Lunes Moon Diana
Tuesday Mardi Martedi Martes Mars Tiw
Wednesday Mercredi Mercoledi Miercoles Mercury Mercury
Thursday Jeudi Giovedi Jueves Jupiter Jove-Thor
Friday Vendredi Venerdi Viernes Venus Venus-Freya
Saturday Samedi Sabato Sabado Saturn Saturn

Two of the English  names come from Old Saxon rather  than Latin. Tiw’s Day     became Tuesday  in honor of the old Teutonic deity, Tiw or Tives. Wednesday     is named after the  old Teutonic Norse God  Wodan or Wotan. The Saxon  word     for  day  is  doeg.  In  olden  times the  days  were  called  Jove’s  Doeg     (Thursday), Mercury’s  Doeg (Wednesday), Mar’s <sic>  Doef <sic> (Tuesday),     etc.  Friday was the day when the  ancients paid tribute to Venus–the love     day. When  Christianity became dominant,  Friday was  no longer  considered     lucky–Jesus  was crucified on that day; also, the uninhibited sexual rites     dedicated to the love  Goddess Venus was considered a  great “sin.” Besides     the days of our week our months are also named after the ancient deities:

January: From Latin Januarius, honoring Janus, a Roman God. He presided     over the Gates of Heaven, which the Christians later assigned to St. Peter.     The Anglo-Saxons called it Aefter-Yule, and prior to that Wolf-monat.

February:  From Februus, another name  for the God  of purification Faunus,     thus fertility. The feast was held on February 15 (see  Lupercalia) and was     called Februa.

March:  After Mars, God  of War. Anglo-Saxons  called it     Hraed-monat,  rugged month, or Hlyd-monat, stormy month. A stormy March was     an omen of poor crops. A dry March indicated a rich harvest.

April: From Latin aperio “to open,” like buds. Anglo-Saxons called it Easter-monat, in honor of the Teutonic Goddess of the same name. She ruled spring and light. The Romans dedicated this month to  Venus, often referring to it as Mensis Veneris instead of Aprilis.

May: Named  after Maia  Majesta, ancient Roman Goddess of Spring. Considered Vulcan’s wife. Look up the folklore regarding the May Day celebrations, bonfires, and other rites  celebrated throughout Europe.

June: Named after the Roman Goddess Juno.     Called Sear-monat by Anglo-Saxons. Juno was Queen of Heaven and Guardian of     Marriage and ruled childbirth. June is still the most favored month for      marriage today.

July:  Originally called Quintilus, the fifth month. Old     Saxons  called it Maed-monat, “mead  month” the time to  gather honey for     the drink called mead.

August: Named after the Roman Emperor Augustus. Was once called Sixtilis, the sixth month.

September: Named  after the     Latin  number for seven,  that being the  month in the  old calender <sic>.     Saxons  called it  Gerst-monat,  barley month,  as  this crop  was  usually     gathered then.

October: From octo, the eighth  month in the old  calendar.     Saxons  named it  Wyn-monat,   “wine  month.”  This was  harvest time,  and     Bacchus and Dionysius and all the other ancient deities were honored.  See     Halloween  above.

November: From the  ninth month in  old Roman calendar.     Saxons called it Blot-monat,  “blood month.” This was  when the cattle  and     sheep were  slaughtered for food and  sacrifices.

December: Named after     the tenth month in  the old calendar. It was consecrated  to Saturn, and on     December 17  the great feast of Saturnalia  began, lasting several days. It     coincided  with the winter solstice  and the Yule  season. The Anglo-Saxons     called it Yule-monat, “midwinter month.” It coincided with the winter      solstice and the Yule season.

Calendar of the Sun for November 10th

Calendar of the Sun


Ancestor Day


Black and grey
Element: Earth
Altar: Spread a black cloth, and lay it with photographs, paintings, and other depictions of our ancestors. Add also symbols of their old tools, and statues of ancestral deities, a bowl of seeds for the future garden, pots of soil, a pitcher of water, and many candles of black and white and grey.
Offerings: Things they would have liked to eat, drink, smoke, or smell. Tend a cemetery and clean up the graves.
Daily Meal: Food from an earlier era, using authentic recipes.

Invocation to the Ancestors

Our ancestors got up at dawn,
Slaved in the dirt,
Sweated in the sun,
Chilled in the cold,
Numbed in the snow,
Scattering each seed with a prayer:
Pray that there be enough,
That no one starve this winter.
Pray that no bird nor beast
Steal the food I have struggled for.
And most of all,
Pray that each seed I save
Of this harvest
Shall next year
Bring forth a hundred more.
We live today
Because they worked
Because they sowed
Because they harvested
Because they prayed.


Those who came before
We are your children
Those who came before
We honor your names

(Each person takes seeds from the bowl and plants them in the pots of soil, speaking the name of one of their ancestors as they do so, as in: “In honor of _______.” The pots are watered, and the candles put out one by one.)



[Pagan Book of Hours]

Seasons of the Witch

Seasons of the Witch

  • Birthstone: Topaz, signifying fidelity      
  • Third Station of the Year      
  • Kalends of November, ancient Rome      
  • The Isia, ancient Egypt (Oct 28-Nov 3)      
  • Day of the Awakeners, Bulgaria      
  • Day of the Banshees, Ireland      
  • El Dia de las Muerte, Mexico (Day of the Dead) – feast and festival celebrating Death and commemorating the dead.      
  • Voodoo: All Saint’s Day – ritual bonfires are lit for the sun loa Legba, symbolizing the re-firing of        the sun at the beginning of the new year.      
  • All Saints Day is a day of religious feasting that, with no coincidence, follows the originally pagan holiday of Halloween.  More than 2,000 years ago, Celtic peoples in Ireland, Scotland, and Great Britain held harvest feasts to which they believed the souls of their dead returned. These feasts evolved into what we now know as Halloween.
  • Voudun/Catholicism: All Saints Day – feast in commemoration of all the Christian saints. Moved from springtime to Nov. 1st to         counter the Druid’s celebration of Samhain.      
Kitano Odori, Kyoto, Japan (Nov 1-15) At Kamikyo-ku, Kitano Kaikan theatre, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture Dancing  groups and music.
World Community Day–Day for celebrating the unity behind diversity and remembering we are all one people – all  children of the one universal Deity of many names and aspects.
11/1 to 11/4: Diwali/Lunar New Year/Festival of Lights–Hindu festival for Goddess Lakshmi (source of health,  fertility, and prosperity) and Her consort, God Vishnu (the preserver); focus is on peace-making and new beginnings. [a/k/a Divali, Dipavali, Deepavali,  Bandi Chhor Divas]
Excerpted From GrannyMoon’s Morning  Feast Archives, Earth, Moon and Sky and/or School of Seasons .
Remember the ancient ways and keep them sacred!

“Reclaiming Samhain”


“A year of beauty. A year of plenty.
A year of planting. A year of harvest.
A year of forests. A year of healing.
A year of vision. A year of passion.
A year of rebirth.

This year may we renew the earth.
This year may we renew the earth.

Let it begin with each step we take.
And let it begin with each change we make.
And let it begin with each chain we break.
And let it begin every time we awake.”

– Starhawk, Reclaiming Samhain

How To Celebrate the Cycle of Life and Death

How To Celebrate the Cycle of Life and Death

By , Guide

Samhain is a time like no other, in that we can watch as the earth literally dies for the season. Leaves fall from the trees, the crops have gone brown, and the land once more becomes a desolate place. However, at Samhain, when we take the time to remember the dead, we can take time to contemplate this endless cycle of life, death, and eventual rebirth.

Difficulty: Average
Time Required: Varied

Here’s How:

  1. For this ritual, you’ll want to decorate your altar with symbols of life and death. You’ll want to have on hand a white candle and a black one, as well as black, red, and white ribbon in equal lengths (one set for each participant). Finally, you’ll need a few sprigs of rosemary.

    Perform this rite outside if at all possible. If you normally cast a circle, do so now.

  2. Say:

    Samhain is here, and it is a time of transitions. The winter approaches, and the summer dies. This is the time of the Dark Mother, a time of death and of dying. This is the night of our ancestors and of the Ancient Ones.

    Place the rosemary on the altar. If you are doing this as a group ceremony, pass it around the circle before placing on the altar. Say:

    Rosemary is for remembrance, and tonight we remember those who have lived and died before us, those who have crossed through the veil, those who are no longer with us. We will remember.

  3. Turn to the north, and say:

    The north is a place of cold, and the earth is silent and dark. Spirits of the earth, we welcome you, knowing you will envelope us in death.

    Turn to face the east, and say:

    The east is a land of new beginnings, the place where breath begins. Spirits of air, we call upon you, knowing you will be with us as we depart life.

  4. Face south, saying:

    The south is a land of sunlight and fire, and your flames guide us through the cycles of life. Spirits of fire, we welcome you, knowing you will transform us in death.

    Finally, turn to face the west, and say:

    The west is a place of underground rivers, and the sea is a never-ending, rolling tide. Spirits of water, we welcome you, knowing you will carry us through the ebbs and flows of our life. 

  5. Light the black candle, saying:

    The Wheel of the Year turns once more, and we cycle into darkness.

    Next, light the white candle, and say:

    At the end of that darkness comes light. And when it arrives, we will celebrate once more.

  6. Each person takes a set of ribbons — one white, one black, and one red. Say:

    White for life, black for death, red for rebirth. We bind these strands together remembering those we have lost.

    Each person should then braid or knot their three ribbons together. As you do so, focus on the memories of those you have lost in your life.

  7. While everyone is braiding or knotting, say:

    Please join me in chanting as you work your energy and love into your cords:

        As the corn will come from grain,     All that dies will rise again.     As the seeds grow from the earth,     We celebrate life, death and rebirth. 

    When everyone has finished braiding and chanting, take a moment to meditate on the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. Is there someone you know who reminds you of a person you’ve lost? Have you ever looked into a baby’s eyes and seen your late grandfather looking back?

  8. Finally, ask everyone to take their knotted ribbons home with them and place them on their personal altar if they have one. That way, they can be reminded of their loved ones each time they pass by.


  1. Rosemary is used in this rite because although it seems to go dormant over the winter, if you keep it in a pot you’ll get new growth in the spring. If there’s another plant you’d rather use, feel free.

What You Need

  • Ribbon in black, red and white
  • A white candle and a black one
  • Rosemary

Samhain Ancestor Meditation

Samhain Ancestor Meditation

Calling Upon the Ancient Ones

By , Guide


When performing an ancestor meditation, people experience different things. You may find yourself meeting a specific person that you are aware of in your family history — maybe you’ve heard the stories about great-uncle Joe who went out west after the Civil War, and now you have the privilege of chatting with him, or perhaps you’ll meet the grandmother who passed away when you were a child. Some people, however, meet their ancestors as archetypes. In other words, it may not be a specific individual you meet, but rather a symbol — instead of adventurous great-uncle Joe, it may be a non-specific Civil War soldier or frontiersman. Either way, understand that meeting these individuals is a gift. Pay attention to what they say and do — it may be that they’re trying to give you a message.

Setting the Mood


Before you perform this meditation, it’s not a bad idea to spend some time with the tangible, physical aspects of your family. Bring out the old photo albums, read through wild Aunt Tillie’s diary from the Great Depression, get out your grandfather’s old pocket watch that almost sank with the Titanic. These are the material things that connect us to our family. They link us, magically and spiritually. Spend time with them, absorbing their energies and thinking of the things they’ve seen, the places they’ve been.

You can perform this ritual anywhere, but if you can do it outside at night it’s even more powerful. Decorate your altar (or if you’re outside, use a flat stone or tree stump) with the symbols of your ancestors — the photos, journals, war medals, watches, jewelry, etc. No candles are necessary for this meditation, but if you’d like to light one, do so. You may also want to burn some Samhain spirit incense.

Claiming Your Birthright


Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Think about who you are, and what you are made of, and know that everything within you is the sum of all your ancestors. From thousands of years ago, generations of people have come together over the centuries to create the person you are now. Think about your own strengths — and weaknesses — and remember that they came from somewhere. This is a time to honor the ancestors who formed you.

Recite your genealogy — aloud if you like — as far back as you can go. As you say each name, describe the person and their life. An example might go something like this:

I am the daughter of James, who fought in Vietnam and returned to tell the tale. James was the son of Eldon and Maggie, who met on the battlefields of France, as she nursed him back to health.    Eldon was the son of Alice, who sailed aboard Titanic and survived. Alice was the daughter of Patrick and Molly, who farmed the soil of Ireland, who raised horses and tatted lace to feed the children…


and so forth. Go back as far as you like, elaborating in as much detail as you choose. Once you can go back no further, end with “those whose blood runs in me, whose names I do not yet know”.

If you happened to meet a certain ancestor, or their archetype, during your meditation, take a moment to thank them for stopping by. Take note of any information they may have given you — even if it doesn’t make sense just now, it may later on when you give it some more thought. Think about all the people you come from, whose genes are part of you. Some were great people — some, not so much, but the point is, they all belong to you. They all have helped shape and create you. Appreciate them for what they were, with no expectations or apologies, and know that they are watching over you.

How To Honor the Ancestors at Samhain

How To Honor the Ancestors at Samhain

By , Guide

For many modern Pagans and Wiccans, there has been a resurgence of interest in our family histories. We want to know where we came from and whose blood runs through our veins. Although ancestor worship has traditionally been found more in Africa and Asia, many Pagans with European heritage are beginning to feel the call of their ancestry. This rite can be performed either by itself, or on the third night of Samhain.

Difficulty: Average
Time Required: Varied

Here’s How:

  1. First, decorate your altar table — you may have already gotten it set up during the End of Harvest rite or for the Ritual for Animals. Decorate your altar with family photos and heirlooms. If you have a family tree chart, place that on there as well. Add postcards, flags, and other symbols of the country your ancestors came from. If you’re lucky enough to live near where your family members are buried, make a grave rubbing and add that as well. In this case, a cluttered altar is perfectly acceptable — after all, each of us is a blend of many different people and cultures.
  2. Have a meal standing by to eat with the ritual. Include lots of dark bread, apples, fall vegetables, and a jug of cider or wine. Set your dinner table, with a place for each family member, and one extra plate for the ancestors. You may want to bake some Soul Cakes.

    If your family has household guardians, include statues or masks of them on your altar. Finally, if a relative has died this year, place a candle for them on the altar. Light candles for other relatives, and as you do so, say the person’s name aloud. It’s a good idea to use tealights for this, particularly if you have a lot of relatives to honor.


  3. Once all the candles have been lit, the entire family should circle the altar. The oldest adult present leads the ritual. Say:

    This is the night when the gateway between our world and the spirit world is thinnest. Tonight is a night to call out those who came before us. Tonight we honor our ancestors. Spirits of our ancestors, we call to you, and we welcome you to join us for this night. We know you watch over us always, protecting us and guiding us, and tonight we thank you. We invite you to join us and share our meal.

  4. The oldest family member then serves everyone else a helping of whatever dishes have been prepared, except for the wine or cider. A serving of each food goes on the ancestors’ plate before the other family members recieve it. During the meal, share stories of ancestors who are no longer among the living — this is the time to remember Grandpa’s war stories he told you as a child, tell about  when Aunt Millie used salt instead of sugar in the cake, or reminisce about summers spent at the family homestead in the mountains.
  5. When everyone has finished eating, clear away all the dishes, except for the ancestors’ plate. Pour the cider or wine in a cup, and pass it around the circle (it should end at the ancestor’s place). As each person recieves the cup, they recite their genealogy, like so:

    I am Susan, daughter of Joyce, the daughter of Malcolm, son of Jonathan…

    and so forth. Feel free to add in place names if you like, but be sure to include at least one generation that is deceased. For younger family members, you may wish to have them only recite back to their grandparents, just because otherwise they can get confused.

  6. Go back as many generations as you can, or (in the case of people who have done a lot of genealogy research) as many as you can remember. You may be able to trace your family back to William the Conqueror, but that doesn’t mean you have it memorized. After each person recites their ancestry, they drink from the cider cup and pass it to the next person.
  7. A quick note here — many people are adopted. If you are one them, you are fortunate enough to be able to choose whether you wish to honor your adoptive family, your biological family, or a combination of the two. If you don’t know the names of your birth parents or their ancestry, there’s nothing wrong with saying, “Daughter of a family unknown.” It’s entirely up to you. The spirits of your ancestors know who you are, even if you don’t know them yet.
  8. After the cup has made its way around the table, place it in front of the ancestors’ plate. This time, a younger person in the family takes over, saying:

    This is the cup of remembrance. We remember all of you. You are dead but never forgotten, and you live on within us. 

    Take some time to meditate on the value of family, how fortunate we are to be able to know the connections of kin and clan, and the value of heritage. If your family has a tradition of music or folktales, share those as a way to wrap up the ritual. Otherwise, allow the candles to burn out on their own. Leave the plate and cup on the altar overnight.


  1. If you didn’t do a separate ritual for animals, you can add photos and candles for deceased pets to your family altar.
  2. If you like, you may wish to follow this ritual with a Seance.

What You Need

  • Items to represent your family members
  • A meal to eat
  • A cup of cider or wine to drink
  • Candles