All Hallows Eve is quickly approaching. The darkness is creeping in closer every day. You can feel the cold grip of the coming winter slithering its way back up from its yearly resting place deep in the Underworld. The excitement and anticipation on both sides of the veil is tangible. It is during this time of year that most witches are at their witchiest, reveling in the sensory delights of the coming holiday. For me, Samhain/Halloween (because I celebrate both) is an entire season not just one day. It begins at the autumnal equinox when the scales begin to tip in darkness’ favor. Then there is the October full moon known as the Hunter’s Moon or Blood Moon. I look at Samhain October 31st as the culmination of this strange energy that has been building which bleeds into November . The Sun hangs low in the sky, crows can be heard cawing in the distance, and the smell of bonfires and fallen leaves is thick on the air. These are the signs that the Season of the Witch is upon us.
We are witches all year long, but at Samhain we get to tap into that dark current that pulses deep within us; that sense of mystical trepidation that first called us to the Crooked Path. The gates of the spirit world are thrown open. Those allies that we have worked with from across the Veil enter our circles without inhibition. They are enlivened on the physical plane by the deep and eternal burning ember that is at the core of this sacred time. It is now that we can truly embrace our fairy lovers and familiar spirits, strengthening the bonds of blood and word that bind us to one another.
Samhain and its celebrations take us beyond simply remembering the Dead and paying them respect. During this time we become part of their world as they become part of our. When we walk our path against the Sun around or circle’s bound we walk with the Dead, we are them and they are us. It is through this united power that our greatest magic is worked. To me that is what this holiday is all about; forging a bridge, a lasting connection that does not wax and wane with the tides of Moon and Sun. The more we traffic with the Other, the more we ourselves become Other.
The tides of the spirit world are reflected in the green world because in reality the two are one. The world of root, stone and claw are the physical manifestation of a more subtle current. Samhain is the perfect time to turn our awareness to the Poison Garden, the Devil’s Acre; those forgotten and forlorn places. Plants that bear poison and thorn instead of fruit and flower. Like all of the things most closely aligned with the Crooked Path of the Witch, the baneful herbs of the Witches’ Garden are in full form at Samhain. The berries of Deadly Nightshade are ripe, staring like hundreds of black eyes. The precarious seed pods of the Devil’s Trumpet are split at their seems, spilling hundreds upon hundreds of seeds containing both the potential for life and death. The Henbane has dried; its little cauldrons have emptied themselves and they now stand at the altar waiting to be filled with the spirits of the Dead. The arching brambles of blackberry, whose hoof-marked berries have become tainted with darkness stand sentry.
The Witching Herbs of Old World Witchcraft are perfectly suited for this time of year, their dark talents and mercurial natures are put to good use. Their realm is below. The realm of the dead. These plants give voices to the dead and open our eyes so that we may see them more clearly. They are the quintessential witching herbs of the Poison Path, and are sought by those who wish to not only reach out to the Other, but to walk among them. Plants like Belladonna, Wolfsbane and others are under the domain of the Queen of Witches and the Old One. They are suitable offerings for those who dwell in the deepest depths of the Earth.
The spirits that we work with most closely and regularly leave their Mark upon us, as we do with them. Those who work intimately with these types of plants on a regular basis will recognize the connection between the nature of these plants and the spirit of Samhain.
Happy Halloween Witches!!!!