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Fall: Sun Passing Into Shade

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Summer sun begins to wane,
The trees all fall asleep
The harvest's in, the birds fly south
The leaves are piling deep.

Indian Summer Days are rare,
Long nights bring morning frost,
Fall flowers drying in the fields
Life's beauty fades, is lost
~ Juno (c) 2002

Samhain Is Not Halloween


Victor Anderson says "If a ghost of a loved one shows up, ask him to join the party."

"Samhain happens near Halloween and is when the Wiccan year begins.
  • My altar cloth is black, because we are in the time of year that is dark.
  • On my altar is the harvest, our dead Lord whose life is in the crops and sacrificed when the crops are killed to become our food.
  • This is the time of death, of honoring and communing with spirits that have passed to the other side.
  • Now the veil between the worlds is thin. It is a good time to invite our beloved dead to visit with us. This is not a gruesome exchange, but reverent, earthy, natural, further it is joyous and festive."

~ From Francesca DiGrandis' Faerie Grimoire

Death and Rebirth
The Tarot.Com On-Line Community
Image from The Goddess Tarot (c)

Prayer for Autumn Days

God of all the seasons, who made a time for everything; there is a time for rising and a time for dying. We need courage to enter into the transformation process.

God who made the trees, they are saying goodbye to their green, letting go of what has been. We, too, have our moments of surrender, with all their insecurity and risk. Help us to let go when we need to do so.

God who made the leaves, they are falling, lying in colored patterns on the ground. Our lives have their own patterns. As we see the patterns of our own growth, may we learn from them.

God who made the misty moonlit nights, there is always the dimension of mystery and wonder in our lives. We always need to recognize your power-filled presence. May we gain strength from this.

God who made the geese, they are going south for another season. Your wisdom enables us to know what needs to be left behind and what needs to be carried into the future. We yearn for insight and vision.

God who made the flowers touched with frost, and windows wearing white designs, may your love keep our hearts from growing cold in the empty seasons.

God who made all life, you believe in us, you enrich us, you entrust us with the freedom to choose life. For all this, we are grateful.

Thank you.

-- adapted by Juno from the prayer of an unknown writer, as published in Rondout For more on Autumn, see Fall: Passing Into Shade


The Veil Between Worlds

During the yearly cycle of death and rebirth, autumn is said by some to be "the time of the year when the veil between the worlds is thinnest".  But what does this mean? Where does the realm of the spirits fit within the Pagan construct of the after-life? If you believe in reincarnation, how does the concept of 'ghosts' or contact with ancestors fit in?

As a Christian, I was taught that all kinds of spiritism were a sin against God, condemned by the Bible, and punishable by a sentence of damnation in Hell at some point after death. But the Bible writes of Satan and Lucifer and also of various angels appearing to humans, so it is evident that Christians believe in beings other than humans who can manifest themselves.

And there is also the account of the Witch of Endor. She was begged by King Saul -- the very same who had expelled all the soothsayers and spirit-raisers from the Kingdom of Israel in 1053 BCE -- to raise the spirit of Samuel the Prophet to guide him in the coming war with the Philistines. The Bible does not say that this can't be done. Contrariwise, in the Biblical account, the Witch of Endor did, in fact, "raise" the spirit of Samuel.

So, although the act of spirit-raising was prohibited, it seems that both Jews and Christians believe that the spirits of individuals do exist in some plane of reality where they can be manifested in some manner to humans here on Earth.  -- the Editor


Life After Death: Christianity vs Neo-Paganism

Neo-Paganism and Christianity substantially agree that the spirit, or the energy that is the essence of an individual being, continues to exist in some form after death, though they disagree about what transformation takes place and where it goes. And though Christianity forbids it, both seem in agreement that the spirit is in some state that is available for interaction with the material plane.

Many Pagan traditions believe that the spirits of the dead continue to observe and affect the living, and that a display of reverence for ancestors is essential to appease them and keep them friendly. Many ancient cultures such as the Egyptians buried their dead with personal possessions and food that they were expected to need in their afterlife. Christian funeral and burial customs also seem designed to appease the dead as well as to comfort the living.

In Death Warmed Over, there is discussion of many death customs from around the world, throughout history. There, you can read Eaters of the Deada description of tribal peoples an ocean apart whose death custom is to consume the bodies of their loved ones with the greatest reverence in order to ensure that their essence lives on. -- the Editor

Mid Autumn Moon
-- by Waverley Fitzgerald

Every year I forget why I don't usually celebrate the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, as Chinese women do, by gathering in a courtyard to honor the rising Moon.

It's because we almost never get to see the full moon of September in Seattle. This year, as usual, the moon was muffled by a sea of endless grey rain clouds. I spent the evening with women friends, enjoying a delicious meal, followed by a great conversation while soaking in a hot tub. The wind rustled through the bamboo and struck plaintive tones from a wind chime as we talked.
It was the perfect way to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Moon.

Say a prayer, send wishes of hope for a loved one.
Use the forum to write a message of hope.
Light a candle for the living or those beyond the veil.

Whether they are in this world, or beyond the veil, you can light a virtual candle by writing a few words for a loved one in the forum. Write a prayer of remembrance or wishes of hope for your loved ones.


Page Contents:
  • Suddenly It's Samhain 
  • School of the Seasons: Harvest Links & Harvest Pack
  • School of the Seasons: Mid Autumn Moon
  • Traditional Foods of Halloween
  • The Veil Between Worlds
  • More "Spooky" Links:
    • A Pagan View of the Afterlife
    • Endings: Death Warmed Over
    • Beyond the Veil
    • Sounds in the Dark
    • ESP: Extra-Sensory Perception
  • Light a Candle for a Loved One
  • More Festivals and Holidays Links

Greatly shining,
The Autumn moon floats in the thin sky;
And the fish-ponds shake their backs
And show their dragon scales
As she passes over them.
~ Amy Lowell, Wind and Silver

Autumn Scene

The days of summer have flown like the bats and birds in their annual migrations. Nights are growing longer, the weather is getting cooler, and autumn is announcing its arrival with a frigid bite, depending on where you live, reminding us that winter is growing near. The wheel of the year has spun around again to the witches' New Year, known to some as Samhain. If you're looking for more information on this holiday, or want ideas on how to celebrate, this page at has rituals, recipes and more.

-- By Waverly Fitzgerald
I find research as intoxicating as wine. Which is why it's taken me so long to add links to my site. Every time I start exploring links, I get lost in cyberspace.

I finally decided to add links the way I create packets, one holiday at a time. So I've created a Harvest links section which lists links for more information on wheat weaving, home brewing and home wine making, three of the topics in the Harvest packet. You can view this new section, along with some of my favorite sites, at School of the Seasons.

I've also posted sample pages of the new material I added on wine making to
the Harvest packet so those of you who got last year's packet can add this supplemental material and those who haven't ordered yet can get a taste of what the Harvest packet contains.

Ye Olde Crones
To Words of Wisdom
Sharing Words of Wisdom

Living in Season: Traditional Foods of Halloween
by Waverly Fitzgerald
October 31, 2003 -- I write this dark is falling on All Hallow's Eve. I plan to spend a quiet evening at home carving my pumpkin, setting up my Days of the Dead altar and lighting a candle in each window at midnight to invite the spirits of my beloved dead to visit. As I wander from room to room, checking on the candles, I look forward to their company, which usually surrounds me with warmth, like the soft fluttering of the wings of doves.

Potatoes (perhaps because they come from under the ground or maybe just because they're harvested at this season) feature in many Halloween recipes. Corsicans eat Sciacce, small pies filled with cooked mashed potato seasoned with garlic, tomato sauce and grated cheese, bound with beaten egg on All Saints Day.

Sicilian children receive gifts of marzipan fruit from the ghosts of their ancestors during the Night of All Souls (Nov 1/2). This marizipan recipe come from Mary Taylor Simetti's book on classic Sicilian recipes co-authored with Maria Grammatico, who learned the art of pastry making in a convent.

  • Measure out 2 cups of granulated sugar.
  • Grind 2 cups of whole blanched almonds with 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a food processor, until fine, almost powdery.
  • Add the rest of the sugar, 1/3 cup water and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla (plus a  teaspoon of almond extract if you want a stronger almond flavor) and blend until you have a very smooth paste.
  • Knead on a marble slab or other cold work surface dusted with confectioners sugar.
  • You can wrap the paste in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

When ready to make the fruit, dust your hands and a marble slab (or other cool work surface) with cornstarch and a pinch of cinnamon. Take a small piece of the marzipan, knead it briefly and shape it.

To color the marzipan, set aside fruit you intend to color pink or white (watermelon slices, strawberries, etc.) and "paint" the rest with a base coat of yellow food color, diluted with water until very pale. Dry for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Mix the food colors in saucers to achieve different colors. Start light and apply the darkest colors last. For a natural effect, remember that no fruit is all one color.
A tomato often has green near the stem; for an apple overlay green with red and/or yellow. For spots or speckles, dip a toothbrush in brown food coloring, hold it close to the fruit and run your finger over the bristles. To make peaches and apricots look fuzzy, rub them with a bit of cotton dipped in cornstarch.
-- Excerpted from the School of the Seasons newsletter. There are more recipes and lore in the Halloween Packet Copyright (c) Waverly Fitzgerald 2003. All rights reserved.

More Spooky Topics

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