Category Archives: Honoring your ancestors at Samhain

2nd Guest Post

Merry meet all,

Today we have another awesome guest post- this one tells us about the amazing number of Witches in North America!!

Number of Americans who practice witchcraft estimated to be as high as 1.5 MILLION

Witches now outnumber Presbyterians in America as number of Pagans soar to 1.5 MILLION – and millennials’ love of yoga and star signs is to blame
  • Pew Research Center survey finds there are 1.5 million Wicca or Pagans in U.S.
  • That means there are more Wicca or Pagans than there are Presbyterians
  • Wicca is a Pagan religion which emerged in Britain in the early 20th century 
  • Experts believe that the explosion in the witch population is due to millennial women’s embracing of new-age spirituality, mindfulness, meditation, and yoga 

By Ariel Zilber For Dailymail.com

Published: 01:07 EST, 19 November 2018 | Updated: 09:23 EST, 19 November 2018

The number of self identified witches in America has soared in recent years to 1.5 million.   

A survey by the Pew Research Center found that 0.4 per cent of Americans, between 1 and 1.5 million – identify as Wicca or Pagan, according toQuartz

That means there are now more witches in the US than there are Presbyterians who have around 1.4 million adherents.

Experts believe that the explosion in the witch population is due to millennial women’s embracing of new-age spirituality, mindfulness, meditation, and yoga. 

Wicca, also called Witchcraft or The Craft, is a Pagan religion which emerged in Britain in the early 20th century. Based on ‘pre-Christian traditions,’ it was popularized by a retired British civil servant named Gerald Gardner throughout the 1950s and 1960s.

Wicca adherents praise nature and nature’s gods and goddesses.

They practice outside in parks, gardens or fields.

They endeavor to achieve self-awakening through dancing, singing, chanting, and with the use of herbs and incense.

Witches, Wiccans, and locals gathered at a Brooklyn metaphysical book store (above) on October 21 to perform a hex ritual on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump, and Senator Mitch McConnell

Despite some depictions, it has no connections with Satanism.

The Wiccan pentacle, a five-pointed star inside a circle, is often confused with symbols of Satanism.

In fact, the five points represent the elements of nature – earth, air, fire and water – and the spirit, within the eternal circle of life.

Before the Pew study, Trinity College in Connecticut conducted three large-scale studies on religion which found that the Wicca population grew significantly between 1990 and 2008.

In 1990, the Wicca in the U.S. numbered an estimated 8,000. By 2008, the number grew to 340,000.

The United Kingdom is also considered home to a sizable population of Wicca. A 2011 government census found that there are 12,000 Wiccans in England and Wales.

Wicca, also called Witchcraft or The Craft, is a Pagan religion which emerged in Britain in the early 20th century. Wicca adherents endeavor to achieve self-awakening through dancing, singing, chanting, and with the use of herbs and incense

This means they are more open to exploring other faiths and customs outside of the mainstream.

While in decades past the term ‘witch’ has misogynistic connotations and was used a pejorative, modern-day witches have adopted the lifestyle as an expression of their feminism.

Social media has been the forum through which witches and witch influencers can gain a mass following.

There’s The Hoodwitch, a witch influencer with 329,000 followers on Instagram.

The Hoodwitch practices ‘everyday magic for the modern mystic.’

Experts say that one does not need to be a Wicca or Pagan in order to be a witch, meaning that the actual number of those who practice witchcraft may be higher. 

WITCHCRAFT AND THE ORIGINS OF HALLOWEEN

Salem’s internationally known and famous Witch Lorelei Stathopoloulos uses dragon powder on a candle in her shop on Halloween in Salem, Massachusetts

The word ‘witchcraft’ has three main connotations: the practice of magic or sorcery; the beliefs associated with the Western witch-hunts of the 14th to the 18th century; and varieties of the modern movement called Wicca.

Wicca was first publicized in 1954 by a British civil servant named Gerald Gardner who said the religion dated to an old witch cult that existed in secret for hundreds of years, originating in the pre-Christian Paganism of Europe.

Wicca is recognized as an official religion in the United States. 

It is a primarily Western movement of nature worship based on pre-Christian traditions.

The Wiccan witch religion honors the ‘Elements of Nature’ – Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Spirit – and their associated directions – North, East, South, West, Center – in ‘sacred circles’ where rituals are held.

The Wiccan New Year of Samhain is considered a precursor to modern Halloween. 

Today it coincides with Halloween on October 31. 

Historically, it was a Celtic festival held on November 1 where the world of the gods was believed to be made visible to mankind. 

Modern witches say it is a time of year when the ‘veil between the dead and the living is thin.’

Source: Reuters

Blessings Spiderwitch

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Honoring your ancestors at Samhain

Merry Meet All,

Ghost Lights

Today we are going to look at the true meaning of Samhain. Halloween is fun, to be sure, but it was a Celtic fire festival and the third harvest Sabbat before the advent of Christianity. It was also a time to honor those who have gone before you.

First of all, I want to talk about ghost lights. Ghost lights are a phenomenon that defy logical explanation. They occur in remote areas of the United States, Britain, Japan, and other countries and appear high or low to the ground. The ghost lights appear in every color of the rainbow. Sometimes the ghost lights appear in only one or two colors. The ghost lights are sometimes joined by musical sounds such as a humming or buzzing. Ghost lights are sometimes referred to as will’o- the wisps. They are reported to be able to move against the wind.

Ghost lights are sometimes connected to a haunting folklore due to a tragedy that occured where they are seen. The Ghost Research Society owns an impressive collection of research. Many logical explanations for the ghost lights have been proposed, but there are some ghost lights that resisted being defined by reason, such as the Brown Mountain Lights in Carolina and the Hornet Spook light in Missouri. Those ghost lights remain unexplained. For more information on ghosts and ghost lights, read The Element Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Hauntings by Theresa Cheung. The photo above is of the ghost lights at Brown Mountain.

Ritual to Honor your Ancestors at Samhain

Here is a ritual to honor your ancestors this Samhain. The first step is to decorate your altar with photos of your family, a family tree, or even a grave rubbing if you live nearby a graveyard. Set the table with care. You could use a special tablecloth. Set up a dumb plate for those who have gone before you to avoid offending them. Set candles on your altar and at your dinner table. Light some appropriate incense and if you are celebrating with your family, gather them around to join you in the ritual.

Once all of the candles are lit, gather the family around the altar. Use black and orange candles, set the family photos on the altar, and concentrate. The eldest adult present should say:

“Tonight the gateway between the worlds is thin.
Tonight we call out to those who came before us.
Tonight we honor our ancestors.
Spirits of our ancestors, we call to you
and implore you to join us.
Watch over us always,
protect and guide us.
We invite you to share our meal
and thank you for your presence.
Blessed Be.”

If you want to, you are welcome to vary the words to suit your preferences. Return to the dinner table and then begin the meal by having the eldest serve a helping of what was prepared. Serve the ancestors food before you serve the family. If you are a solitary, serve your ancestors before you serve yourself and if you are a Wiccan or Pagan, or what have you, and your family does not understand how you choose to honor your ancestors, explain to them why you feel it is so important to you or perform the ritual alone. If you can celebrate with your family, after you have dined, then share stories around the table about your memories of your relatives or grandparents.

Clear the dishes away, except for the ancestors’ plates. Pour the wine or cider and end at the ancestors’ plate/s. As each person receives their cup, they can recite their genealogy if they are aware of it. After the cup has been passed around, place it in front of the ancestors’ plate. The youngest person says aloud:

“This is a cup of remembrance.
We remember all of you.
You are passed but not forgotten.
May you live on within us.”

Pause now to reflect on the value of family and on your relatives who have passed before you. Let the candles burn down overnight in a safe spot and leave the dumb plate and the cup overnight on the table. You can do a seperate ritual for pets. If you prefer, you may choose to perform a seance after the ritual.

Blessings,
Lady Spiderwitch

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