Samhain Newsletter 31 October 2019
Welcome to Winter…yes, this is the end of the Celtic calendar, the start of winter and New Year for us witches. Now we really enter the darkest part of the year as we head to the shortest day. Cannot believe we are here already with summer just passing us by. The hawthorn bushes are covered this year…never a good sign – the last time I saw that, we had bad winter so we may have the Beast again…it all depends on if the jet stream changes direction or stays put! As the cold nights pull in, it’s time to close the curtains, switch on the lights, light the candles and t-lights, put the fire on and get the home warm and cosy against the coming winter.
As the year dies, and the Earth goes to sleep, we acknowledge Death at this time…hence why kids go around dressed as witches, ghosts and zombies playing “Trick or Treat”. The veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest and the Lord of Misrule gets to visit this plane… this is who the kids represent, so he is never forgotten. We also turn our thoughts those who have left, lighting candles to remember those in our family now gone.
The Yew – Druid tree of Death & Rebirth…
I adore trees and watching them change through the seasons. My holly keeps me right regarding winter and my Birch accentuates the seasons with its dramatic change over its year. I did begin a journey through the Ogham, but lost my way slightly, so we begin revisiting trees, but this time at the end first, for this is our year’s end and the time we acknowledge death of the Earth and remember those who have died.
You will find Britain’s longest living tree present in olde graveyards, as they represent “as above, so below” because they are usually as wide as they are tall and their roots as deep and wide under the soil as he tree is above! They often have many trunks which grow into a central trunk and can have gaps or become hollow over time. They thrive in damp, milder climates and mark the oldest places in Britain with a spiritual significance. They would have already marked these spiritual places which later had churches built near them and burial mounds becoming graveyards. The oldest living thing in Britain and probably in Europe, I believe, is the Fortingall Yew here in Scotland. It is in a graveyard alongside Loch Tay and marks the geographical centre of Scotland! How did they know that, especially as it is thought to be over 5000 years old! How much that tree has witnessed over all those years? Hopefully it will outlive us all (as long as idiots stop climbing on it to take souvenirs and causing damage… really??) In Ireland, 2 out of the 5 great magickal trees used as gathering places for armies and Druids were also Yews and they believe that the Nordic World Tree Yggdrasil was too. They are found upon barrow mounds and places were the ancients would have used them as markers for our eternal spirits. Yews were believed to also be planted upon the graves of fallen lovers so their souls would be united…isn’t that beautiful?
The Yew is also linked to the salmon, who is thought to be one of the oldest creatures, according to folklore, knowing the mysteries and magic of the Universe. Not surprising, as the Tay is a famous salmon river and will have always been so, as they always return to spawn and die where they came from! One of the oldest Iron age homes, the Crannog, is also on Loch Tay so this was truly a Celtic stronghold of the mysteries should you ever visit…search well and you will find standing stones too!
In the Ogham, the Yew represents the letter ‘I’ and the last day of the Celtic year, Samhain, and is the only poisonous tree in the Druid alphabet, a symbol of protection and why the people of the past used the wood for their dagger handles and longbows, and the juice of the berries, once the most poisonous thing known to man, dipped on the arrowhead fired from their bow of Yew, would have meant certain death to the enemy!
The stone of Mourning…Jet
Two stones are traditionally associated with witches are Jet and Amber, and are often worn together. I had a visit from my Polish Amber supplier (from Poland) and, after years of my ‘suggestions’, told me, he has finally obtained ‘Whitby’ Jet to create some mixed jewellery!! To prepare for what may be arriving next year, I am covering Jet on this newsletter and Amber on the next…while I quietly jump up and down in anticipation of what’s to come! There are other jets available, but the Whitby Jet is the best quality and the rest simply don’t come close, especially the shine when polished. The centuries of invaders have all been attracted to, mined and used the Whitby Jet, from the Vikings to the Romans. Nuns at Whitby Abbey, beginning with Abbess Saint Hilda, had quite a cottage industry going making crucifixes and rosaries for themselves, but any extras were sold to pilgrims and visitors! It has been used since ancient times, alongside amber, to guard the bones of the deceased and wish them luck in the next life. Back then, Jet was referred to as “Black Amber” However, it gained notoriety for mourning when Queen Victoria wore it constantly after the death of her Prince Albert. Once she wore it, it became the thing to have, and every home had something made from this material, whether a simple crucifix or an intricately carved brooch!
From organic beginnings, Jet began life as buried rotten wood which, over millions of years, was compressed into a type of ‘coal’. As mentioned above, Whitby Jet was not only easily worked to carve into intricate designs, it had a beautiful sheen too when polished. Like coal, it sometimes contains Pyrite inclusions and, here’s a tip: to check if it’s real Jet or amber, rub it on your clothes to charge it with static and it will pick up a small bit of paper/tissue!
Magickally, as the Witches stone, we use it for luck and protection; I have a piece that I can never sell, hidden with amber, to ensure the protection of my business. Wives of fishermen burnt it in their fire to ensure the safe return of their men, protecting them whilst at sea, and I gave some to Mike to place on the tummy of his newborn son straight after the birth for protection and luck (and it still hangs with a rose quartz heart in his room). I also like to wear it when travelling into the unknown. When I ventured to the Arctic Circle, I wore Jet earrings, but lost one by accident on Svalbard, so provided some secretive magickal protection for the Polar bears! When I returned home, I replaced my Whitby Jet earrings with another pair of identical ones…to ensure my luck and protection continue! Nowadays, the best place to buy Whitby Jet in jewellery or carvings is Whitby itself, still collected and sold by locals as their business. I obtained a bag of it some years ago and am still using it but when it has gone, there is no more, hence my excitement at Amber/Jet jewellery heading my way!
Make your own Witch’s bottle for Business
It is well known how my business struggled until Harry Potter gave me my 5 minutes of Fame, but one of the things I used was make my own Witch’s bottle. If you look carefully in the shop, you will still see it hidden in the shop!! I used an old bottle found up at the local quarry, cleaned it and magickally began to transform it. As mine was for business, I was using Earth as my vibration; I didn’t need a quick fix, but a long-term business…so, with my Earth incense created (we still use the same recipe used for incense in the shop range), I sat with my pestle and mortar. I first ground some dried soil from the garden, added a tiny piece of magickal jet and ground it in. A sprinkle of salt for protection and some patchouli herb for abundance and visualised whilst grinding, people coming through the door, a till full of cash and my large overdraft slowly but surely coming down. With this still in mind, I filled my bottle with the mix. I was going to add some money but the neck was too small so I simply sealed it with a cork, drew a pentagram in gold pen on the front and with a “So mote it be” I stashed it on a shelf, where it has remained untouched ever since. It might be simple, no fancy words used, but there it still sits, my business still flourishing nearly 24 years later!! Sometimes simple is simply the best…
A serious trip for Samhain
A walk in an old graveyard to meet the local Yew is a great thing to do at this time, and should the wind have blown some yew leaves to the ground (NEVER remove from the tree), take a tiny bit home to add to your Samhain altar to keep negative forces at bay!! Never burn Yew in incense, as it can be toxic!!
I love old graveyards and I find them so peaceful. Walking and paying respect to those that have been laid to rest is something I love to do, and an old thing of the past is to leave a coin or stone on their stone to show you have visited and they have not been forgotten. Visiting the family graves of your elders and leaving a flower on their grave or planting a rosemary bush for remembrance is another lovely thing to do at this time too.
In the past, I have gone in search of standing stones, olde worlde graveyards and even Salem, but my Samhain trip this year is a whole lot more serious. We are doing this trip to be reminded of when hatred took over from sense, leading to the destruction of those who were deemed different. They wanted a perfect world with a perfect race, and if you didn’t fit, you had to be exterminated! I am talking, of course, about ‘The Holocaust’.
The Jews & Romanies were regarded as inferior and had to be removed from The Fatherland, but homosexuals, Communists, Negroes, Freemasons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, the disabled, the old & sick in care, alcoholics, criminals the homeless and prostitutes were all affected…in fact, anyone who wasn’t tall, fair, thin & of the ‘superior’ race.
As our world gets less tolerant once more, I want to remember the worst of the worst in our living history, and of a situation that should never be repeated again …ever!! Auschwitz-Birkenau near Krakow in Poland will be one such reminder, where an estimated 1,100,000 Jewish men, women & children died, just in this one camp! By the end of the war, 90% of Polish Jews and European Jews had been massacred, simply because they were different! Representing a group persecuted for their ways over centuries, with trials, laws and cruelty, it was nothing, zero, in comparison to the sheer cruelty, insanity and inhumanity of the Holocaust; the Nazi’s called it ‘The Final solution to the Jewish Question” but those people killed just because of their beliefs & DNA should never be forgotten…
New Moon: Mon 28 Oct @ 03.39 hrs Full Moon: Tue 12 Nov @13.35 hrs
New Moon: Tue 26 Nov @ 15.06 hrs Full Moon: Thur 12 Dec @ 05.13 hrs
Halloween craziness & shop closure 25/10 coming up
After our crazy summer, I have been buying lots of crystals & jewellery to replace sold stock, & helped a supplier get ‘rid’ of incense to create space! We will be closed Fri 25th Octre my trip to Poland and on my return, we will give away incense with every stone purchase until the stock has all gone…he had a lot! His space now is your gain, so let’s smudge those stones and smoke out the house at Samhain. Have a haunting & meaningful Halloween
Seriously Spooky Blessings from Chris (alias the Green Witch)