Samhain in Australia

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The nights are getting longer and the weather is getting cooler. You may feel like you need to grab a blanket to keep you warm at night. During the day the shadows are getting longer. Samhain time is coming around again.

Samhain, the Witches New Year. Its the time of year when the veil between our physical world and that of the other world is at its thinnest. A time when we become aware of our Ancestors and their legacy. Our Ancestors are not just the our blood relations. Ancestors are those who have passed over who have contributed to our lives, or our culture. They can be teachers, neighbors, friends, or anyone who has made an impact on how we live our life. Loved ones our families of choice.

During this time we can also honor our pets who have passed over. They have made a difference to our lives. As children our pets taught us how to care for others. Our pets taught us the meaning of unconditional love.

In Australia Samhain occurs around the same time as Anzac Day. I find this significant as Anzac Day is the time of year that those from Australia and New Zealand remember those who died prematurely in war. Anzac Day is Ritualized across the country with services, parades, people getting together for meals to remember their deceased friends and relatives. Anzac biscuits are eaten and the game of Two-ups is played.

1360871787_anzac_biscuitsAnzac Biscuits.

two-up Two up stick and coins.

As a way of celebrating Samhain we can go out into nature. This could be our back yard, park, or if we are fortunate enough we can get away from the city and into the country. Sit and look around and feel the air around you. Think about your ancestors and those who have been here before you. Think about how they lived. Quietly pay them respect. You can leave them an offering. If they were a casualty of war and you know they would appreciate it. Leave them an Anzac biscuit. If not leave them some food or drink that they liked. If you are unable to stay in the area or its not your home you can place the food or drink onto the Earth as an offering. Visit a cemetery and take an offering of flowers or food.

Have a meal with your ancestors. This is called a Dumb Supper. Its called a Dumb Supper as its traditional not to speak during the meal. You lay our a meal for those who would like to attend plus an extra meal or meals for relatives and loved ones who have passed over. This is done to show respect and to remember the wonderful times that you had with them. Its important to have a darkened room with some candles burning and to be as quiet as possible and not to talk. It is hoped that messages from those that have passed over will come to you.

At home you can make a small altar to your ancestors. Have a photo of them on your altar. You can place objects that you know would appeal to them, crystals, a candle, flowers. This does not have to be elaborate or large. A small altar can be just as respectable or even more respectable than a large one.

You can also decorate your home with Samhain symbols. Use the colours of Orange and Black. Make an Autumn wreath and place it on your front door. Create displays with pumpkins and apples. What are the crops in your area? What plants are flowering where you live? Make a display using what is growing around your home or in crops near where you live. Set candles in cauldrons. A jack-o-lantern is fun to make and looks impressive with a candle in it. Be care when carving our the pumpkin pulp. You don’t want to cut yourself.

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Samhain is the last of the harvest festivals. A Greater Sabbat. The time when the Earth is about to rest for the Winter.

Samhain Music:

Samhain Eve by Damh the Bard-      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcDLcQk1Ntg

Samhain Song by Lisa Thiel-           https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rC-H9gYFWGc

Souling Song, Samhain Version by Kristen Lawrence-         https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j35dvmdse9k

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Sacred Space: A Meditative Approach to Good Health

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Development of an outdoor altar not only is a wonderful way to ad beauty to your garden, but it is a great way to develop a place where you can be in the open. Your own little bit of nature to get in touch with the Lord and Lady. It’s sometimes difficult to find that extra bit of room in our homes for mediation, so look outside, and if you have a spare place, begin to erect your place of peace. Begin your project slowly and see how it begins to unfold. Before you know it you will have a wonderful place which is pleasant on the eye, plus you will be able to reap the health benefits of Meditation for your body and soul. You can make this altar an offering project to the Goddess and God.
First of all, where are you going to put your Altar? You could use Geomancy to place your Altar in area that will draw the best healing energy to you. If you have a place in the East you can draw on the fresh energy that the rising sun will naturally provide. The element of air will provide that breath of fresh air bringing in clean energized healing vibrations. North will give you strong Earth energy that will provide you with stable health and strength. Having said this there is no reason why you can’t put your altar in the south or west of your home if you would like to. I personally have mine to the West. The reason for this was not to harvest energy but plainly because I have a wonderful fence where my Sacred Place Painting is situated. It’s over a waist height retaining wall that I can place meditative objects and plants on. Before you choose your place, cleans and release, then walk around your yard to feel the energy and feel where you believe will be the best place for your Altar. Then do some divination and meditation and your answer will come to you. Remember to take into consideration cardinal correspondences. Light and shade throughout the year and the feel and energy of the place of choice. Put magic into every step of your creation.

When you have found your chosen place cleans the area to remove energies that will not be useful to your endeavour. Bless and consecrate the land with a Ritual. Since you are beginning a project, the new moon would be an ideal time for this. Prepare your Altar for an Esbat, making sure you have incense for cleansing such as sage or rosemary. Also Lavender can be used for its magical properties of peace and tranquillity. The herbs can be burned separately putting your intent into each one as you pass the smoke around your circle or you can make a blend. You could make an offering to Goddess and set your intend by making a charm and burying in into the ground. If you are going to bury your offering, try to choose a place where you hopefully won’t need to dig into the ground again. By cleansing and consecrating your Sacred Space prior to constructing it you will have a space that is going to readily accept and work well for your project. Also at this time it is polite to communicate with the ancient spirits and guardians of the land for permission to use the place for your meditation and rites and ask them to share in the positive events that will be happening there.
Build your Altar Slowly. There is definitely no rush to make your Altar. Just knowing that you are going to build it will get things started with your magical intent. Are you going to build your altar to honour your Patron Deity? Or, even just create a beautiful place? Choose plants to frame your outdoor creation. Plants that correspond to water will resonate subconscious, meditative healing vibrations. Peace Lily will give your space a gentle healing fluid feel. The beautiful white flower is cleansing. You could choose one with a red flower to add a depth to your meditations. Aloe Vera has amazing rejuvenating and healing qualities. It corresponds to the Moon which is the astrologically connected to meditation. Your Sacred Place will be an ever changing creation. It will reflect part of your spiritual development. Take photos occasionally, date them, and refer back to them and you will see a timeline of your journey.

What do you have in your home that you may be able to add to your altar without having to go and buying expensive items? Do you have a statue of a Deity that you don’t mind exposing to elements? Items that bring peace to your mind like small water bowl with some floating candles or plants. A little battery operated water feature has a relaxing background sound. Make sure this is kept out of the rain as if it gets too wet it may stope the circuitry. What crystals do you have in your possession? Take care when placing crystals outside. Some crystals such as Selenite are water soluble and will melt in the rain. Also some will lose their colour due to sunlight. Choose crystals that you feel want to stay outside. Hold your crystal in your hands and ask the crystal what it would like to do. It’s nice to have a few objects to assist you with your meditation. This area is also perfect to place a libation bowl.
A chair or outdoor setting can be used but this is not necessary. You could sit in your chair with your shoes removed so that your body will benefit from grounding while you are meditating. Grounding with your bare feel on a damp grassy area makes it easy for balancing your body of charged ions. This gives you physical and emotional health benefits just in doing that. That is why people feel so healthy and refreshed after walking bare foot along the sandy beach. Also you could have no furniture and sit or lay on the grass. If you or someone you know is handy with wood and tools your could erect an arch, frame or small sheltered area to turn your Altar into a peaceful grotto.
Development of your Altar will provide you with a place of peace where you can enjoy the health benefits and spiritual refreshment that meditation and energy work will provide. Health benefits such as increased in peripheral circulation, lowering of blood pressure, decrease severity and incidence of depression and stress related illness. Also you will have a nice place to go for your discussions with Deity, Ancestors, Guardian Angels and Spirit Guides. You will also be away from the phone and hopefully house hold noises which will be replaced with the sounds of birds and nature. Remember to cleans and consecrate your Sacred Place regularly to maintain the psychic hygiene of the area.
Being a Wiccan sacred place Wiccan Symbols will bring your place to life. Pentacles made of natural substances are excellent. I have a Pentacle that I made with bamboo in my area. You can make one from plant cuttings in your garden. Also symbols that represent the elements, Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit will lift the energy. A beautiful Rock formation can represent Earth. A wind chime for Air, a sun dial for the sun, a bowl or small water feature for water. Spirit can be represented by a statue of your Patron Deity or power animal.
You may like to place items that represent the four sacred tools. Make sure that you choose safe items though as you do not want anything in your garden that can be used as a weapon. You also want your area to be safe if there are children or pets around. Instead of a real Athame you may choose a photo of one as this will be a safer option. You could draw Sacred Ritual Tools and put them into outdoor art. The pictures of them will then ad energy to your Wiccan Sacred Place. If not you can bring these outside during Esbats and Sabbats for your Rituals only.
Wicca is an Earth bound religion and with that we like to be outside. Our church is all around us. Having Altars allows us to focus energy, honor our Deities, and quiet our minds in our hectic lives. They don’t have to be formal Altars. Less can sometimes be better. The best Altars are the ones that bring your mind into a state of peace and closeness to Deity. They can be built to honor and celebrate the elements of our existence that are dear to our heat. Having an Outdoor area that is considered a Sacred Space can quickly bring peace of mind when you are near it and you will have created a beautiful place for you to enjoy.