Thursday, 10 August 2017

Samhain Activities,Crafts, Decor(ations)

Samhain is in second in line of four sabbats I celebrate and falls in autumn - which I really like. This is a list of things that can be done alone or with others.


Activities

Samhain feasts are a wonderful way to celebrate the Sabbat! Remember to set an extra place setting as a simple yet powerful way to honor your transcended loved ones. As their spirits roam the physical plane (due to the thinned veil), this serves as a sacrifice to their journey. Pumpkin, squash, and apples are tasty and appropriate for the Samhain menu, as are spiritually-enlightening herbs like cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg! For the safety of nature's critters, use animal-friendly foods, like carrots or cored pieces of apple.

Sewing and handicrafts are popular around Samhain, as people are preparing their Yule gifts as well.

On Samhain, we look back over the year and think about our own inevitable death and what it means to us. Some people use this as a time to collect the final information for large projects that are culminating. This is a time to shed weaknesses, so some people like to write their weaknesses on a piece of paper and then burn it in the cauldron to symbolically release themselves from them. One custom is to light a new orange candle at midnight and let it burn until sunrise for good luck. Black candles are used to ward off negative energies. Another custom is to stand in front of a mirror, look into your own eyes, and make a secret wish. Yet another custom, of course, is to carve a pumpkin or turnip and light a candle inside. Other spiritually-related activities to do on Samhain include past-life recall, spirit contact, meditation, astral projection (or "flying"), and banishing magick.

Handing out candy is a modern-day method of offering a sacrifice. Embrace the festiveness of the evening without stressing and overthinking! You're conjuring happy, positive, light-hearted energy on a night when spirits can utilize these buoyant vibrations to share messages with their loved ones! Remember, nature reminds us to keep life in balance! There's room to enjoy the merriment AND honor the Sabbat!

Go for a spiritual hike

This hike is about you and nature. It's a time to turn off the cell phone, push away the endless stream of thoughts, and to simply take in the world around you. Focus on the smell of the fallen leaves. Pause and let the cool wind caress your face. Place your hands against the tree bark and explore the knotty texture. This is a time to commune, to let the stress of modern life fall away so you can return to your roots.

Take a peek into your future

With the veil between the worlds thinning, now is a time of heightened psychic ability! Try your hand at tarot cards, and possibly see what is to come for the coming year. Break out those runes. Experiement with reading tea leaves. Whatever your oracle vice, put it to good use on Samhain and see what the future holds!

Leave a candle in the window

Leaving a candle in the window is an old tradition to help guide the spirits of the departed to us, letting our loved ones know they are never forgotten.

Watch the sunset

There's little that's more grounding and spiritual than taking a moment to simply watch the sunset. It's a reminder that we are part of this beautiful cycle, that we ARE nature. This is especially poignant on a Sabbat like Samhain, because Samhain is the death of the God (represented by the sun). Watching that blazing orange glow fade beneath the horizon into a sea of purple and pink hues reminds us that this glorious life is not forever, that we must cherish the now because we don't know when our time on this majestic plane will end. But, all is not lost! Not only will the sun rise tomorrow morning, but the rebirth of the sun (Yule) is not far away, promising us that death is not an end, merely a transition.

Remember the forgotten

As Pagans, I think we're innately drawn to cemeteries, so you probably know of a cool little haunt (see what I did there??) near you. Take a stroll, pick some wildflowers or find a pretty stone, and place it on an old grave. Or any grave that looks like it hasn't had visitors in a while. This is a powerful recognition that we are all bound by the same limitless energy. Like the spider's web, our lives are interwoven. Even if we do not live in the same time period, our current lives ARE shaped, formed, and affected by the lives that came before us. Connect with another soul. Take a moment to let their spirit know they are not forgotten.

Let Loose!

While Samhain can be a solemn Sabbat, especially if you're missing someone that has departed, you shouldn't forget to have a little fun. After all, the biggest lesson we learn from death is that life is a gift—a gift that's meant to be enjoyed! So whether you want to watch a scary movie, binge on chocolate, roast pumpkin seeds, or harass the neighborhood children while dressed as Winifred from Hocus Pocus, remember to have some laughs and enjoy the night. After all, what better way to honor the dead than to live?!

Make a jac-o-lantern! This has been a custom for over thousands of years. They were designed to frighten away evvil spirits who were following decesed loved ones and blocking the way back to the land of the living.
Drink warmed apple cider spiced with cinnamon to honor the dead.
For many this is the New Year, this is a day to make New Year Resolutions. Write them down on paper and burn them. The smoke will take them up to the Gods.
Bury apples or promegrantes in your yard for the spirits passing by on their way to be reborn.
Make a spirit candle to burn. Anoint a white candle with patchouli oil. Say: With this candle and by its light, I welcome you spirits this Samhain night." Place the candle inside your jack-o-lantern. If you don't have one, leave it on a table near your entry way or in the center of your dining room table.

Make resolutions, write them on a small piece of parchment, and burn in a candle flame, preferably a black votive candle within a cauldron on the altar.

Wear costumes that reflect what we hope or wish for in the upcoming year.

Carve a jack-o-lantern. Place a spirit candle in it.

Enjoy the trick or treating of the season.

Set out a mute supper.

Find a magick wand of oak, holly, ash, rowan, birch, hazel, elm, hawthorne or willow.

Let this be the traditional time that you make candles for the coming year, infusing them with color, power, herbs, and scent depending on the magickal purpose.



Crafts:

Make a mask of your shadow self.

Make a besom, or witches broom.

Make a witches ladder for protection or as an expression of what you hope to manifest in the year ahead.

Making a Besom

Materials:
4ft dowel- 1" in diameter, ball of twine, scissors, straw or other pliable herb stock.

Take the straw or other herb stalk that you have chosen and soak overnight in luke warm salted water. The water swells the stalk slightly for bending without breakage, and the salt dispels former energies. When ready, remove stalks from the water and dry for just a bit. Not too much or the stalk will stiffen up, again. Place the dowel on a table where you have room to work. Start lining the stalks along the dowel , about 3 inches from the bottom, moving backwards. Begin binding the stalks to the dowel with the twine. Tie very securely. You may add as many layers as you like, depending on how full you want the Besom to be. When stalks are secure, gently bend the top stalks down over the binding. When all have been bent over, secure the stalks again with more twine a couple of inches under the first binding. Allow to air dry for a day or two. The dowel can then be stained, painted, or carved into to make personal. Remember to concentrate and charge at the next full moon. (Explain to the children that the Pagans used to "ride" their Besoms through the fields, jumping as high as they could. This was to show the God/dess(s-es) how high they wanted their crops to grow the next year. Also jumping over bonfires at the Sabbat festivals was for good health and prosperity.)


Halloween Little People Ghosts
Materials needed:
one empty 2 ltr. bottle
two pieces of PVC pipe in 12 to 13 inch lengths
masking tape.
one 6" styrofoam ball
Pair of toddler shoes
Pair of toddler pants
Square of white fabric roughly 24" x 24"
Black felt for eyes
Small plastic pumpkin basket with handle

Holding the two liter bottle upside down, securely tape the PVC pipe to form legs. Wrap the tape around several times. Pull the pants of the legs and body securing with rubber bands at the "waist". Hot glue the inside of the shoes and insert the PVC pipe. Hot glue the styrofoam head to the flat side of the upside down bottle. Hold in place until glue dries. The doll should be able to stand. If not, adjust the tape. Drape the square white cloth over the "head". Cut eyes from black felt and glue on. Sew the plastic pumpkin basket to the front of the ghost.


Jack-o-Twist Lantern
Materials:
1 mini pumpkin and 1 taper candle for each "lantern" to be made.

Cut the top off of a mini pumpkin. Make sure the opening is no larger than a quarter. Remove the seeds with a small spoon or the tip of a peeler. Allow children to paint faces on the pumpkins before sticking a taper candle into it. Carefully cut the center out of the top of the pumpkin, slightly smaller hole than in the pumpkin itself, and slip over the candle. Press the top down gently until it is a tight fit. ( Explain to the children how the Pagan children used turnips rather than pumpkins to make Jack-o-Lanterns, as pumpkins were not indigenous to Europe, but rather introduced after the discovery of North America.)


A dangling spider
With an adult's help, use a ballpoint pen to poke a hole in the bottom of a film canister. Thread yarn through the hole, and make a large knot at the end inside the canister. For legs, cut four 7-inch-by-1/2 inch strips of felt. Spread glue around the inside edge of the canister lid. Place the legs on the lid (over the glue) so that their centers overlap in the middle. Squeeze glue around the open edge of the canister, then push it hard into the lid. Make eyes from paper (or use googly eyes), and glue them on. Hang your spider by the yarn or make him dance along the floor. If you've done this right, the film canister should be closed up, with the lid at the bottom and the legs between the canister and the lid.


Cereal Box Gravestones
Have fun decorating your yard with this craft!
Adult supervision is recommended with the use of a hot glue gun.
What You Need
  • Black and white tempera paint
  • 3 cups for mixing paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Assorted-size cereal boxes
  • 2 sponges
  • Thick black permanent marker

How To Make It
  1. Mix paints to make a light gray, medium gray, and dark gray.
  2. Paint boxes with two to three coats of medium gray. Let dry.
  3. Use the sponges to dab on the light and dark gray paint to give gravestones a mottled look. Let dry.
  4. Write names and dates with marker. Such as: Dracula died here 1768-1842, etc.

Fill Ziploc plastic bags with sand or rocks and place inside boxes to keep them from blowing over. Stand them in mounds of dirt or sand.
Make sure you bring in the boxes if it is going to rain!


Yarn Pumpkin
You need a round balloon, orange thread and white glue to start. Cover your work area with newspaper. Inflate a ROUND balloon and tie it closed.
Wind a large amount of orange yarn or heavyweight crochet thread around your hand. Squeeze white glue all over thread. It should coat the thread. In one hand, hold the thread end and the knot of the balloon. With your other (thread-covered) hand, wrap the thread around the balloon, unwinding it from your hand as you go. If you need more yarn, repeat the steps. The effect should appear airy and open.
When done, set the balloon in a cup. When the glue has dried, pop the balloon. (Overnight or several hours) An orange thread pumpkin will be left.
To make a stem, glue green paper onto an empty thread spool. Glue the stem on top of the pumpkin, pressing down a little. For vines, bend green chenille sticks around threads on the pumpkin then wrap the ends around a pencil. Cut facial features from felt. Glue them on the pumpkin.


Egg Carton Spider
Cardboard egg carton
Black pipe cleaners
Black tempera paint, marker or crayon
Red construction paper
Glue
Thread or yarn

Using paint, marker or crayons, colour the cup sections of the egg carton. Cut each egg cup apart. Push pipe cleaner legs into egg cup and bend to shape legs. Cut red paper and glue on for eyes. Use thread or yarn to hang.



Ghost Puppet
Tissue paper
Cotton ball
Rubber band
String

Place tissue paper over a cotton ball and secure under ball with rubber band. Draw eyes on with marker. Tie a string around neck and hang or use as a finger puppet by hooking over a finger with rubber band.



Ghost from juice can lid
Spray paint the lids white. Provide hammers and nails, and have them punch four or five holes along the inside of the rim, trying to space them out evenly, if possible. Provide a rough piece of board underneath for the nails to punch through. Turn lid over and with the hammer, gently tap the sharp edges down. Safety first!

Tear strips of white muslin or old bed sheets into strips and using a pen or screwdriver, push the end of the strip through from the front to the back. No need for glueing...the rough edges of the lid will catch into the material and it will stay quite nicely. Punch another hole at the opposite end and attach string or yarn for hanging. Glue on huge googly eyes and you have a ghost! You can also use markers or paint to create ghostie features on the face.



Pom Pom Spider
Black yarn
Small square of cardboard
Black pipe cleaners
Googly eyes
Red construction paper
Glue

Wind yard around and around cardboard square until heavily covered. Using a small piece of yarn tie securely at the centre, cut edges and remove the cardboard. Insert three pipe cleaners into the knotted centre and bend to form legs. Glue on eyes if desired, or cut out eyes from red paper. Use thread or yarn to hang spider.


ghost pin
take a cotton ball, put a safety pin thru the back, glue 2 eyes on. you have a simple pin.


spider pin

1 black pom pom ball, 1 smaller purple pompom ball. (any color is fine, but this is the sizes and colors that we had.) 2 pipe cleaners cut to make small spider legs. 1 safety pin. glue the two pom pom balls together. glue the eyes on the smaller pom pom Hot glue gun (leader does this) the legs on the bottom of the larger pom pom... Shove the saftey pin through the bottom and you have a cute little spider pin.



Fake Hand
Take a plastic glove that would have been in the first aid kit. Fill it about 2/3 full or slightly less with bird seed and tie the wrist part with a couple of good knots. paint red finger nail on the glove and you have a fake hand ready to set on the edge of goodie plates or in candy boxes whatever to give a fright.



Halloween Chain
Orange and Black construction paper

Cut orange and black strips of paper, three to four inches long and one-half inch wide. Form a circle with one strip and glue or staple ends. Take next strip and loop it through first circle, again glueing or stapling ends. Continue on making as long as you like, alternating colours.



Tombstones
Styrofoam sheets
Thick Black Marker

Cut Styrofoam shapes into shape of tombstone. Write epitaph on Styrofoam with black marker. Prop up against doorways or walls.



Eye Masks
Inexpensive eye masks
Sequins
Feathers
Buttons
Dried beans

Have kids attach a variety of items on hand to the masks with glue to make their own decorated eye masks.


Halloween table cloth
White paper table cloth
Sponges
Tempera acrylic paint
Markers
Stickers
Halloween cutouts

On white paper tablecloth decorate with assorted shapes cut from sponges. Glue on Halloween cutouts or stickers.


Creepy spiders
Crab shells
Black spray paint

Purchase crab shells at a local market. Spray paint black and use as decorations on Halloween night.



Trick or Treat Bags
Brown paper lunch bags
Felt-tip markers
Halloween stickers
Cutout pumpkins, ghosts, bats, cats
Glue

Decorate the brown paper bags with assorted Halloween designs. Larger brown paper grocery bags can be decorated and used for trick or treating.



Bone mobile
Bone shaped dog biscuits
White spray paint
String
Coat hanger

Spray paint dog biscuits white on both sides. Once dry tie together with string in a variety of patterns. Hang from coathangers or crossed dowels.



Decoration

Colors: Samhain’s colors are those of death and mystery. Black is the shade of night and death. White represents bone and ghosts. Orange is the sun’s color as it dies into night, and the color of pumpkins and autumn leaves. Purple is a spiritual color also associated with magic. orange and black are representing the waning sun (God) and death respectively. But don't forget to turn to nature for your color palette inspiration! Rich crimson, earthy brown, and deep gold.

Flowers:Autumn flowers such as chrysanthemums are popular. Marigolds are associated with death, cemeteries, and Dia de los Muertos in Mexican tradition. Black roses may be made of feathers or other materials. White flowers are also popular. Some people like to use bouquets of dried, wilted, or obviously dead flowers.

Leaves: Autumn leaves may be strewn around or strung into garlands. Orange leaves or dead brown ones are found in nature; black ones can be made of silk, paper, or other materials.

Incense: Samhain fragrances are woodsy and bitter notes such as myrrh, wormwood, mugwort, and patchouli. Spicy ones include sandalwood and pine.

Music: The traditional instruments of Samhain include drums, hunting horns, lyres, rattles, and bells. But this holiday really benefits from modern effects such as echoes and fades, so seriously consider synthesizer music. Play some seasonal music such as All Hallows Eve or 11-Samhain.

Skulls and Macabre Symbols: Many traditional “spooky” things are Pagan motifs including black cats, snakes, spiders, bats, and ravens. Ghosts, skulls, skeletons, and other representations of death also abound. These all symbolize magic, transformation, and mortality.

Animal Parts and Imagery: In addition to those animals considered mysterious, Samhain may also bring out the ones commonly eaten, such as cows, pigs, and deer. All of those also appear in Pagan mythology and magic, however.



Alrar
Altar candles should be orange (represents magick of fire and remainder of fire in autumn leaves), black (collects and absorbs light and keeps you warm), white (sends out energy), silver, and gold (represents Moon and Sun).

Incense may be myrrh or patchouli

Decorate with autumn flowers, small pumpkins, Indian corn, and gourds

Cauldron with black votive candle for petition magick (for writing resolutions on a strip of paper and burning in the candle flame)

Divination or scrying devices -- tarot, obsidian ball, pendulum, runes, oghams, Ouija boards, black cauldron or bowl filled with black ink or water, or magick mirror, to name a few

An animal horn, feather or talon as a power symbol (Samhain is tradtionally the meat harvest)

Symbols of Samhain include black and orange candles, black stones such as obsidian and foods like apples, pomegranate, and of course, pumpkins. Surrounding yourself with these items for the Sabbat and filling the air with your own incense creation, with such aromas as sandalwood, rose, Vervain or nutmeg can be a magical step towards celebration.

Symbols of Samhain: Gourds, Apples, Black Cats, Jack-O-Lanterns, Besoms

Altar Tools – The athame or sword is the primary tool for Samhain, but the cauldron is a close second. Some people prefer a sickle or scythe.