Samhain Prayer Chapbook

A full moon gift from me to you: a small chapbook of prayers you can use for your Samhain celebrations. This little chapbook will take you through Three Nights of Samhain, where we can honour the Ancestors of Blood, Kin, and Land in short devotional rituals. You can perform these devotional prayers one a day leading up to the night of the 31st, or you can use them all in one ritual to honour all of the Mighty Dead. Let me know in the comments if you used them in your rites.
samhainchapbook

Resource Roundup: Samhain Music

I love seasonal music, and I hope you do too. Luckily, there’s a whole community of people who have curated playlists for us, so all we need to do is sit back and listen. Here’s a few playlists from 8tracks.com to get you in that Samhain mood. Listen to them for inspiration when planning or preparing for your celebrations, or even as background music to give your rites a little extra something.

earthwitch
Earthwitch

Earthwitch – My high rotation playlist of choice for the Autumn. It’s an eclectic mix, but there’s something comforting, folky, and earthy there that keeps drawing me back. It makes me yearn for something that I don’t have, but desperately want. The cover art is from the YA book Wise Child, which I read because of this playlist.

 

 

witchsrune
Witch’s Rune

Witch’s Rune – Delightfully witchy, featuring some favourite pagan artists like SJ Tucker. When I’m thinking about pagan music, this is what I think of. I’d play this mix as guests arrive for the Samhain rite held in my living room.

 

 

 

aquietlittlehalloween
A Quiet Little Halloween

A Quiet Little Halloween – If you’re looking for some background music for sipping your pumpkin spice latte in your oversized sweater and reading socks, this is the playlist for you.

Review: The Memory Tree

thememorytreeThese two children’s books may be helpful to you if you are looking to teach a young one about death. The Memory Tree is about an old fox who lays down in the forest for the last time, and his friends share their memories of him. The memories grow into a tree, which remains a part of the forest and the animals’ lives, showing that the memories of Fox are still relevant and comforting to those living. This could be a great way to teach your children about the Ancestors and their continued presence in our lives.

 

acornfullofmemories

Chester Raccoon (of Kissing Hand fame) has to come to terms with the death of his friend, Skiddil Squirrel, who has had an accident. Chester’s mother leads him through understanding Skiddil’s death, and they visit the pond together to “make a memory” of Skiddil. By visiting a place that Skiddil liked, and sharing stories of him, Chester learns to remember his friend. He even chooses to have an acorn symbolize those memories, perhaps helpful for teaching children about why we have Ancestor shrines and treasured possessions belonging to those we love who have passed on.

A Hearth-Centred Practice, Revisited

A long, long time ago, when this blog was just a baby, I wrote a post called A Hearth-Centred Practice, in which I explored what I want our home religious life to be. In that post, I posited that this practice would include:

–         daily worship, performed by myself on behalf of the household
–         other regular worship, perhaps weekly, performed by both of us
–         meal blessing, said by either of us when we eat at home

We only achieved one of the three on a near-daily basis, the meal prayer. Go us!

You see, it’s a lot easier to be pious in your head and on paper than it is to physically do the work each and every day. I tried, most definitely, but as we all know, life has challenges that sometimes get the best of us, and as a person who struggles with depression, sometimes life getting the best of me happens more than I would like.

Since 2009, when that post was first shared, the idea of what a hearth-centred practice looks like hasn’t changed all that much. Each of those three things named is still important to what our home practice looks like, though the “other regular worship” I would say should now be Full Moon rites, held as feasts, as opposed to a weekly household rite. There should also be seasonal celebrations held at home in addition to at the Grove, for hearth worship should be the focus of our spiritual lives.

For a time, I thought that Grove and group worship was the most important aspect of my spirituality, but I was wrong. It is our personal and home worship which should remain the most steadfast and supportive – for me at least. Your experience may differ, of course, but for me, the reliance on others to provide what I need spiritually is an error. For you, and for others, attendance at group worship may be all you need, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

So with that realization, I turn back towards the hearth to find comfort in its warming glow. Our meal prayer has remained consistent for years, and even if I do not perform any other devotions that day, the meal prayer remains a pause in time to reconnect with the Earth Mother and the cycle of things.

Now, if I were to outline our hearth-centred practice, I would say that it would contain

  • daily devotions, performed on behalf of the household by myself;
  • daily meal prayers, to give thanks to the Earth;
  • regular seasonal and lunar worship feasts;
  • seasonal activities, not necessarily religious, but important for immersion;
  • attendance at a Grove to connect with the wider community.

Over time, I will share some of this with you, my readers. It is my goal to live a devoted life, as best I can, as a wife, mother, and Priest. Please come along with me.

A Morning Prayer

morningprayer

[image: A woman covered in tiny lights, backlit by the dawn.]

I will kindle the fire this morning
And centre myself among the Three Realms:
Upon the firm and bountiful Land,
Beside the wide and mysterious Sea,
Under the bright and shining sky.

I will kindle the fire this morning
In the presence of the Three Kindred:
The Nature Spirits, my neighbours on this land,
The Ancestors, for without them I would not be,
and the Shining Ones, who give order and inspiration in my life.

I will kindle the fire this morning
And carry within my heart the virtues of
Hospitality, that I may be kind and receive kindness,
Wisdom, that I may grow in knowledge and experience,
and Integrity, that my words and actions be true.

With the fire burning bright this morning,
I go out into the world
with the blessings of the holy Kindreds.

Review: Three Dark Crowns

 

Three dark queens are born in a glen… this young adult fantasy series takes place on the isle of Fennbirn, where every generation the queen gives birth to triplets, each one possessing a different powerful magic. But only one can become heir and rule the island, so on their sixteenth birthday, the young queens are unleashed upon each other in a fight to the death for the crown.

Mirabella is an elemental, able to control the winds and fire. Katharine is a poisoner, trained in crafting poisons and immune to them herself. Arsinoe, a naturalist, can command the plants and animals. Raised apart from each other in three cities of magic, the queens have not met since they were children. But as their sixteenth birthday at the Winter Solstice, and the Beltane ceremony approaches, it becomes apparent that the rise to power of the next queen is dependent on a lot more than their natural gifts, as some of their natural gifts are lacking. Mirabella is the most talented and has the support of the Temple, but Arsinoe and Katharine each have powerful friends and allies willing to risk,  themselves for the queen who shares their magic.

The cliffhanger ending of Three Dark Crowns will make you eager to keep reading. After the second book, One Dark Throne, make sure you read the prequel stories The Oracle Queen and The Young Queens, as separate ebooks or collected together in print as Queens of Fennbirn. These novellas will explain some backstory referenced in the main series, giving a depth to the mysterious world and answering some of your questions. I’m currently reading Two Dark Reigns, where the history of queens is influencing the present, and the Goddess’s power rises. Read it! You know you want to.

Finding Piety Again

The last year has brought a lot of change to my life. After my Bean was born, everything was so different. It was hard to remember the person I was before. I mourned her and cried for her, and it took quite some time to find my footing again. A mother is only as old as her baby is, so as he discovered how to be a human, I discovered how to be a parent. Some days, I had to push myself to be strong for my child. I had to be resilient, and my prayers were often formed from desperation, calling to Brighid and my Ancestors to help.

And help they did – with Brighid’s blessings I was able to produce almost enough milk for my son. The strength of my Ancestors carried me through some hard nights. And through it all, my piety was there, quietly waiting for me to find it again and bring it to the forefront – to have a clean altar with a lit flame, prayers calmly spoken. When we are challenged, sometimes we have to put aside things with the promise to pick them up later. We must prioritize in order to have a functional life. I did this with my religion, with my piety, and I’m glad to have found it again.

So, with a new baby, new house, and renewed joy, I thought I’d take it one further and have a renewed blog also. If you’ve been a reader for a while, you may see some previous posts edited and republished at a later time. I hope that everyone will find some useful content here, and that I can be of service to you with my words and small offerings.