Monday, October 31, 2011

Samhain, Celebrate the Goddess of Death

Samhain is a time to honor the dead, its the last of the three harvest festivals before Winter. It's a time when the veil between worlds is thin, and communication with spirits and otherworldly beings is possible. It is also a time when we honor those who have gone before us like our ancestors, pets and friends. Samhain is a reminder that we are all connected with the cycles of life, that we too like the earth, will one day die.

This festival of the dead stems from an ancient Celtic holiday known as The Celtic New Year. Just like today, it is referred to as The Witches New Year. The ancient Celts would light bonfires and have feasts. It was also said that they would leave candles lit in their windows, to guide the souls of the dead. Samhain was also known to be a time to see and connect with the Faeries. The Morrigan, Celtic Goddess of sovereignty and fertility, was also known as a Faery Queen. In Celtic Ireland, she was said to lead her Faery court across the land on the night of Samhain.

On Samhain we honor the dark Goddesses such as Hekate, Greek Goddess of Crossroads, Cerridwen, Keeper of the Cauldron and The Morrigan, Celtic Goddess of sovereignty and fertility. We also honor our ancestors and the Faeries. Make a small Faery altar outside with natural items such as rocks, twigs, leaves, shells, flowers and acorns, or any other natural materials you have around where you live. Leave a small offering of milk and honey or butter outside on Samhain night to honor the Faeries.

On your altar, have fall colors such as orange, red, and yellow, have pictures or statues of the dark Goddess, pumpkins and/or apples, skulls, or other natural items such as acorns feathers and crystals. You can also have a small ancestor shrine. Samhain is also a great time for magic and divination. So have out your runes, scrying mirror or tarot cards for Samhain night.

I found a great recipe for Mulled Wine for Samhain, it's called "The Banshee" (which is a type of Celtic Faery) and I thought I thought I would share it here. I'm going to be making some myself over the Samhain weekend!

The Banshee Mulled Wine


  • One bottle of red wine (suggestions: Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Merlot or a Spanish red)
  • One peeled and sliced orange (keep peel to add zest to taste into cooking pot)
  • One peeled and sliced lemon (keep peel to add zest to taste in cooking pot)
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 cup sugar (or honey can be substituted)
  • 2/3 cup brandy or cognac
  • 1/2 cup water


Combine all ingredients in either a large pot or a slow cooker. Gently warm the ingredients on low to medium heat (avoid boiling), for 20-25 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure that the honey or sugar has completely dissolved. When the wine is steaming and the ingredients have blended well it is ready to serve. Ladle into mugs (leaving seasonings behind) and enjoy! Link

I hope you enjoy the wine! I know I will :) Wishing everyone a magical and festive Samhain!

Recipe taken from

Photo courtesy of Wendy Andrews

Friday, October 21, 2011

Samhain Crafts and Magic!

There are many different types of crafts you can do in preparation for Samhain. Since this is the last of the three harvest festivals, you can make fall related items, such as a fall wreath or pumpkin candles. You can use those very small pumpkins or maybe even a medium sized one. Cut off the top and clean out the inside as much as you can. Place a tea light in it, and viola! Pumpkin candles! (See an example picture below) They look so cute in a small formation next to your front door. Also, when carving your Jack O Lanterns to put out on Samhain night, keep the seeds to roast and make a nutritious and delicious snack. Here is a link on how to roast pumpkin seeds from Toasted pumpkin seeds.

Samhain is also a time to remember and honor our ancestors. On your Samhain altar, or a separate altar if you like, create an ancestor shrine with pictures, and objects from your passed loved ones.
It can be pets that have passed or family members, and even dear friends. Place these things on a nice cloth and have a lit candle. You can also add symbols of your own belief like a pentagram or a Goddess. Meditate a little while on these people or pets that have passed, to honor their memory.

This festival of celebrating the dead is also a great time for certain types of magical workings. Divination of any kind, communing with the dead and Faery magic to name a few. You can make your own divination device if you like, like a scrying mirror. Just take a clear glass plate, spray paint it with black matte paint, and once it dries, you can either decorate it around the edges or just leave it plain. Now you can use your homemade scrying mirror for divination on Samhain. You can also use any other divination tools you feel comfortable with such as runes, the pendulum, tarot cards, etc.

Since at Samhain the veils between worlds is this, communication with passed loved ones and Faeries is possible. Try contacting any of your passed loved ones through meditation, and write down any messages that come through. To attract the Faeries to your Samhain celebration, have out offerings of honey, butter or milk. Leave them in little sea shells or any other natural item, they are more attracted to a natural offering dish that a man made one, and make sure to leave them in your garden.

I hope you enjoying making your Samhain crafts in preparation for the biggest Pagan festival of the year!

Photos courtesy of Celtic Lady and Rebecca Calagna

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Energy of the Fae

All of my life, I've had a profound interest and love for Faeries. Since I was a girl, to a teen, to an adult, Faeries have always been a part of my life. When I was younger, I read every book I could get my hands on. Irish Faery tales, books about Faery energy and magic, anything by Brian Froud, really anything I could find to continue my quest for knowledge about Faeries. Most "Faery tales" come from Ireland and the surrounding area. Although they were most prevalent in Ireland, many cultures from around the world have tales of creatures that are very similar or exactly like, the Irish Faery.

When I was younger, I could communicate with and sense their energy fairly easily. Although as I became an adult, and the reality of the mundane world set in such as working, paying bills etc., my ability to sense them and communicate with them left me. Of course I was still Pagan and still practice
my Pagan beliefs, and worship the Goddess (of course), the Faery energy I loved so much was no longer something I could tap into.

Since Im Irish and so is my family, it has been a dream of mine to one day go to Ireland. And that dream came true last year! So as soon as I knew we were going, I promised myself to ask an Irish person about the Faery folk. Even if they looked at me like I was crazy! In many rural parts of Ireland, people still believe in the ancient tales of the Fae, along with other creatures. So one day my husband and I were going to be taking a tour of Newgrange and the Hill of Tara. We had a private tour so it was just us and our driver taking us around all day. Our driver, Jimmy, was so nice and filled with stories of Ireland's sometimes violent and brutal history. I was astonished at how much information he knew and fascinated by his stories. So I thought to myself, this is the man Im going to ask about the fae! After Newgrange, on our way to the Hill of Tara, which was kind of a long drive, I took the opportunity to ask him about Faeries in Ireland. He started off by saying that most people don't really follow those beliefs anymore, but then he went on to tell me how his Mother heard the cry of the Banshee, and that his childhood was filled with tales of all kinds of Faery folk. So, I basically got my answer :)

As some of you may know, not all faeries are sweet and nice fluttering around with sparkly wings. Some are malevolent creatures who lure unsuspecting people into their world never to return again. So as we continue on our trip, going to Kilkenny, and Cashel, we decided to stay the night in a very small town called Adare. This town was very quaint with little cottages and a beautiful old church. We stayed at a beautiful B&B owned by literally the nicest people I've ever met in my life. Although everything on the outside seemed normal, I sensed an energy to the place that I couldn't figure out. It was an energy I had never felt before, and it wasnt necessarily a good energy, but I wouldn't say it was an evil energy either. We had kind of a strange night. My husband ended up getting sick, which never happens, usually I'm the one with the upset stomach. And we ended up going back to the B&B early since he wasn't feeling well. In Ireland, there is no air condition, so the windows are always open to let the cool breeze in. Outside our window, I could sense something, and my attention was constantly drawn to it. The energy I felt is hard to describe. I guess I could say it felt mischievous, in a meddling sort of way, and possibly slightly malevolent. It did not frighten me, I just wasn't familiar with this new energy I was feeling.

That night, I had a terrifying dream that I will never forget. And I kept waking up in the middle of the night through my restless sleep, and being drawn to the open window. The next day we left rather quickly to get to our next destination. It wasnt until after we got home, and a few days or weeks passed, that I realized what I had felt. What I experienced in the town of Adare was most certainly Faery energy. I know this from stories I've read about Faeries, and experiences I had when I was younger. I never felt that energy again in Ireland, nor have I felt it since. But the memory of it will always be with me.

Samhain, the upcoming sabbat, is a time when the veil between worlds is thin, and communication with Faeries and other spirits is much easier. It is said in Celtic Ireland that Faeries would roam the land on the night of Samhain, along with lost souls. People would leave a lit candle in their window to lead the souls home. So Samhain is a great time to tap into the energy of the Fae, just be careful, because as you know, not all Faeries are pretty little creatures. Leave out offerings such as milk and honey in little shells in your garden, they also like butter, this should attract the Fae to you and your garden.

I hope you enjoyed my story of my experience with the Fae! Feel free to share your own experiences as well.

Pictures courtesy of Brian Froud

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Morrigan, Irish Goddess of Battle and Fertility

The Morrigan is an Irish Goddess of battle, fertility and the cycle of life. Her names translates to mean Phantom Queen or Great Queen. She was seen as a triple Goddess, forming a trinity with the Goddesses Badb and Macha. She was known to sometimes take the form of a crow and fly above warriors during battle. She is a dark Goddess, who is also associated with death and shape shifting. Although she is seen as triple formed, It would be most wise to honor her on the dark or waning moon.

The Morrigan is an ancient Goddess, and many are unsure of her exact origins. Some myths say that she was one of the Tuatha De Danann and one of the daughters of Ernmas, who was an Irish Mother Goddess. Whatever her exact origins are, we do know that she was a fierce and powerful warrior Goddess.

The most well known of her myths are those with the hero Cu Chulainn. The Morrigan appeared to Cu Chulainn one day and offered him her love. When he did not recognize her and rejected her, she became enraged and insulted him. Before he could do anything, she turned into a crow and landed on a nearby tree. Realizing now who she was, Cu Chulainn told the Morrigan that had he known who she was before, he wouldn't have acted as he did. But it was too late, The Morrigan then gave him a series of bad prophecies, one of those being that he would die in battle. She declared to him that she would guard his death.

In another myth, while the Cu Chulainn was one his way to battle, he encountered the Morrigan in the form of a hag washing his bloody armor in a ford. This was seen as a bad omen. "The Washer at the Ford" is a legend of a woman who washes the bloody clothes of those who are about to die. She essentially chooses who is going to die in battle. In the final scene of the myth of Cu Chulainn and The Morrigan, when the hero is now mortally wounded, he is said to tie himself to a standing stone, and a crow lands on his shoulder. It is then his enemies know, he is dead.

Although she is known by most as a battle Goddess, there is more to The Morrigan than that. She was also seen as a fertility and earth Goddess because of her association with cattle. In Ireland in County Meath, there are two hills known as "The Two breasts of Morrigan" suggesting that she was also seen as a protector and guardian. Máire Herbert, who wrote about the Morrigan in the book The Concept of the Goddess, suggests that she was not so much a war Goddess, but more like a protector during war. Making her seem more like a Goddess of Sovereignty.

However complex this mystical Goddess may be, she teaches us to act as the Queen in the battles of our own lives. To take control of our lives and reinvent ourselves to be able to deal with any situation life throws at us. This comes from her shape shifting abilities. To be able to change at will, to easily adapt to any environment. This is something we all have to deal with in life, change. Call on The Morrigan to help protect you during a hard time in your life. Or to help you change yourself to deal with and adapt to your environment better. Also, she helps to show us the darker side of ourselves, and learn how to come to terms with it. The Morrigan has much wisdom to offer, she may be vengeful at times, but she is also the guardian who protects those who call on her aid.

On your altar to The Morrigan, have colors of black, red and white, a crow feather, a picture or statue of her, an athame, triple Goddess symbol, and Celtic spiral symbols.

Enjoy working with this ancient and powerful Irish Goddess!

Photo courtesy of Goddess Guru

Friday, October 7, 2011

Winner of Candle from The Sacred Feminine

Thanks to everyone who entered, I hope you had fun playing! And the winner is......Jodine Turner!
Congratulations!! I would like to thank Montserrat for donating her lovely candle for this giveaway. Also, because she is so generous, Montserrat is offering 10% off your order from The Sacred Feminine, as an extra thank you for taking the time to check out her shop and enter this giveaway! Just be sure to mention this giveaway from Love of the Goddess when your ordering, and you'll get 10% off. Thanks again to everyone. I hope you enjoy your candle Jodine!
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