Newsletter: Samhain 2021
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The darker half of the year has arrived. Harvest season is coming to an end and the cold is coming at us more quickly now as winter is just around the corner. To mark this time of the year, some witches and pagans celebrate Samhain.
Samhain is a festival celebrated from the evening of October 31st through the evening of November 1st. The holiday has celtic origins and is often considered the “celtic new year.” Many believe that Samhain marks a time in which the veil between this world and that of the dead is at its thinnest, making it a perfect time to celebrate the dead.
Many of the traditions of Samhain can be seen in the modern western celebrations of Halloween. In fact, dressing up in costumes to go “trick-or-treating” has roots in the practice of “mumming and guising.” People once left out offerings of food to placate the spirits. The offering of candy has ties to this old tradition, as eventually people started dressing as these spirits and going door to door for offerings of food or drink. The practice, in part, paved the way for today’s “trick-or-treating.”
Also of note: There are other cultures with long (and even ancient) traditions linked to this time of year (and having ties to celebrations of the dead).
The Dumb Supper
One of the most popular rituals in celebrating Samhain is a “dumb supper.”
“Dumb?” You might ask. First, we need to remove ourselves from the more modern and informal use of “dumb” often referring to stupidity. “Dumb” once referred to an unwillingness or inability to speak. However, the term for that use is often considered offensive in modern contexts (likely because of the aforementioned rise in the informal use to mean “stupid,” and the good foresight of noting the probable link people might make between the dated and informal use). Although that term is not used much in modern vernacular, it is the dated use of the word that gives name to the “dumb supper.”
The dumb supper is one way in which some pagans and witches honor the dead and recognize an important step in the cycle of life. For many pagans, death is just a reality of that cycle. But death does not need to be the end. Remembrance and honor of those who came before us, especially our ancestors, is one way to stay connected to and learn from our past, heal generational traumas, and more.
The primary attribute of holding such a meal is that it is silent. No one speaks.
Outside of the silence, there are a variety of different ways one could facilitate one of these suppers, but here are some ideas:
Set a space at the table and make up a meal as an offering to the spirits and and/or your ancestors.
Ask each of your guests to bring a note or two, written to someone with whom they would like to communicate across the veil. If you have set a space at your table to honor the spirits, you can have everyone place an offering on a separate plate (or other receptacle) at the honorary place at the table. After dinner, you can burn the letters in a bonfire or ritual fire.
Set the table with plenty of napkins; well dispersed condiments, salt & pepper, butter, etc. This will help to eliminate some common needs for conversation around a dinner table.
Many like to eat by candlelight.
Some will use their best dishes or attempt to use all black plates, cups, etc.
Many choose to hold their meal at midnight.
However you choose to celebrate, stay safe (particularly with fire)!
Shadow Work Prompt: Goal Setting
Samhain is widely considered the beginning of the Wheel of the Year, making it a great time for considering the culmination of our past year and goal-setting for the one ahead. What are a few things that you would like to leave behind you from this past year and a few new things you would like to work towards? How will you actively work towards leaving behind what no longer serves you and bringing about the changes you desire in this new cycle?
BONUS PROMPT: Do something here to help yourself toward your goal: Make yourself a “rough” plan, a “to do” list, or perhaps a week by week projection of where you would like to be in relation to your goals. Perhaps you can use this space to make a flow chart of the steps you need to take and the order you need to take them in.
Do what feels right to you in the moment, but just put something on paper (virtual or literal) that you know will be useful to you in pursuit of your goals.
Southern Hemisphere Shoutout
Blessed Beltane to our southern hemisphere friends! We hope your plant life is lush and the sun brightens your days. Please feel free to check out our Beltane newsletter from this year for some information, ideas, prompts, etc.
Oct 31 Samhain Begins
Nov 1 Samhain ends
Nov 4 New Moon (4:14pm CST)
Nov 5 MWCCP:Weekend Reads S2E3
Nov 12 MWCCP:Weekend Reads S2E4
Nov 18 Put out Full Moon Water
Nov 19 Full Beaver Moon (2:57am CST)
MWCCP:Weekend Reads S2E5
Nov 26 MWCCP:Weekend Reads S2E6
Dec 3 MWCCP:Weekend Reads S2E7
Put out New Moon Water
Dec 4 New Moon (1:43am CST)
Dec 10 MWCCP:Weekend Reads S2E8
Dec 17 MWCCP:Weekend Reads S2E9
Dec 18 Full Cold Moon (10:35pm CST)
Dec 21 Yule Begins
DIGITAL DOWNLOAD: Yule Card
This month's perk is a PRINTABLE Yule Card. There are two different OUTER designs, one for printers capable of BORDERLESS printing and another for those which are not. There is also an INNER design that you can use with either outer card design (or just skip to write in your own message).
Use 8.5" x 11" card-stock
There will be two cards per page. So, for example, if you need 20 cards total, only print 10 pages
Print the OUTER design file
Print the INNER design file (if you wish to use it)
NOTE: You may want to print ONE test copy first to make sure you have your paper properly loaded so that the cards will be properly aligned and the inner message appears properly when the card is folded over).
Cut each printed page in half so you have two 8.5 tall by 5.5" wide cards
Fold each card in half to be 4.25" tall by 5.5" wide.
Cards will fit in A2 size envelopes, which can be purchased at most major office supply retailers.