“Once upon a midnight dreary, I sat in my chamber oh so weary." Sound like me when I make a new column sometimes. Halloween is just around the corner, my favorite holiday! Aw, I just love Halloween/Samhain! I love the magickal spark in the air, the festivities and spookiness, everything filled with mystery and joy - Not to mention the free candy, dressing up in ridiculous costumes and being silly, I love those too.
Halloween is often referred to as Samhain (pronounced Sow-en) in Paganism. Derived from a Celtic background, Samhain was the mark of the new year, falling on Oct 31 and ending Nov. 1 as it was the last harvest before the coming winter and celebrated as a festival of the year coming to an end. Samhain means “summer’s end” for it marked the “death” of the old year and the “birth” of the new year, much like the modern depictions of the old man resembling the old year and a newborn representing the new year. Samhain was also considered the day of the dead because it was (and still is) believed that the veil between the living and the dead was at the thinnest at sundown on the last day of the year. In modern times, Samhain/Halloween is considered the Witches’ New Year. The word “Halloween” stems from “All Hallow’s Eve” as it was to be the day before Hallowmas (Hallow means “holy”), otherwise known as All Saints’ Day.
Halloween/Samhain, has different backgrounds all over the world as well as different names. Of course I can’t talk about all of them here but you can definitely read up in Witch’s Halloween by Gerina Dunwich, which is where I gleaned some of the Samhain history from. The book will be featured in The Arts: Samhain Edition next week. One representation of Halloween is in Mexico, the Day of the Dead celebrated on Oct 31 (or Nov1-2) where feasts are made for those who have passed on and gifts are left at graves for it celebrates death as a natural part of life. Since many Pagans (including myself) believe in reincarnation, death is not seen as the end but another phase of life in a never-ending cycle.
What do I do for Halloween? Nothing too out the ordinary. I watch Michael Jackson’s Thriller, eat candy corn (my favorite Halloween treat), and go to a metaphysical shop where they’re playing Rocky Horror Picture Show and mill about, chatting and looking at the Tarot cards or wands and pendulums. As you can see, I’m pretty low key about it all, I’m not a party person, I don’t seek out any spirits to talk to (not like they’re silent for the rest of the year), no spells or rituals, nothing spooky or definably “witchy”. I’m not Elvira for goodness sake and I’m a Witch 365 days a year, spells don’t really stand out from my personal norms. Now, some Witches and Wiccans actually do something special but nothing like what you’d see on tv, no kitty-killin or baby eating or anything else that’s staunchly against a Witch’s ethics such as murder or causing harm. Those who do those crazy things are honestly psychotic and most certainly need to be locked away in a cell.
Actually, I think the only special thing I do besides watch Thriller or go to a metaphysical shop shindig is use my spiffy Halloween Tarot deck that I love so very very much! It’s cute!
Ain’t it cute?
I do wish to be in New Orleans at the Voodoo Festival because it sounds amazing and I also wanna see Janelle Monae’s show (while being able to scout for nice smoky quartz maybe or a good mortar and pestle, perfect way to spend a Halloween Night: with Wondaland and magick.) but I also wished to be in Chicago on Halloween as well! Ha, falling back on tradition…and a K-OS concert in Baltimore on Oct 26.
Oh, and that devil thing I'm gonna hafta address. Halloween has nothing to do with Satan or Satanism, the Devil is the Christian bad guy and as far as any Pagan is concerned, he can stay there. Samhain has many different backgrounds worldwide but nothing to do with summoning Satan (why anyone would want to do that is completely beyond me). We don’t sacrifice animals either, that may have been what the druids did in Ireland about a couple thousand years ago because cats were considered to be the souls of the wicked or a result of evil deeds buuuuuuut just like Christians eat shellfish, wear clothes with mixed fabrics and don’t stone adulterers, we don’t sacrifice animals. I, as well as other modern Pagans, really prefer that. I like my kitty.
Ain’t she cute?
That’s all for now, have a safe and happy Halloween! Have lots of fun, eat lots of candy and have a good time! I’m sorry to my Chicago readers I couldn’t spend this day with you but I am planning to get up to the Windy city, just plotting the when and how’s. If my New Orleans readers are going to the Voodoo Festival, have a fantastic time! (And wear black and white!) As for everyone else, this Black Witch and AfroPunk has been working together to bring you a live vcast for Halloween. I will be having a live video stream and you guys can chat to me in real time either here on AfroPunk or at the Black Witch Ustream. I’ll answer questions, show off stuff since I’ll be in a metaphysical shop at the time and we’ll have fun! The chat starts at 7:30 PM EST on Oct. 31. Be there or be square!
Next week will be the announcement of the Samhain Pickers winners on the Black Witch twitter and BW external site next week. All winners will be contacted and announced on Oct 22. There’s still one more week left to get in this! This is what the giveaway is all about:
I usually don’t give readings to my readers because I’m strictly a columnist but it’s Halloween, let’s get three lucky people a reading. Here’s what you can choose from:
Want in? Still got one more week left, all you have to do is send me an email (email@example.com) with “Samhain Pickers” in the subject line and this info:
• Name • Email • Selection (if you choose natal chart, please have birthtime ready)
Good luck! Get your entries in!
Oh! And the next Black Witch post here on AfroPunk will be Ask Black Witch so if you have any questions, any at all about me, what I do or even questions about yourselves, you can comment, tweet them to me on the Black Witch twitter (@thisblackwitch), email or fill out the submission form!