I was lucky enough to get the lowdown from Australia’s most famous Witch, Fiona Horne, on how to enjoy Halloween (this Sunday, 31st October) in a more girlie and spiritual way and step away from the commercial focus of it being all about trick or treating!
As Fiona states: “It\’s not all about tricks, treats and pumpkins. Traditionally Halloween is known as Samhain or the Celtic New Year. Many traditions and beliefs mark the 31st of October as the end of summer and the end of the light. It\’s a magical night because the veils between the worlds are at there thinnest so communicating with the spirit world is very common. “
Today modern witches and their covens continue to celebrate and honor this date and often conduct ceremonies and rituals taken from the old traditions. But it\’s not only the witches celebrating.
“You would be surprised at how many modern Halloween activities reflect rituals from the old days, eg. bobbing for apples may have been part of an initiation into the craft, dressing up as spirits attempted to scare away the uninvited and many more icons and activities.”
So let’s get into it!!!
Sassi: What are the historical roots of Halloween?
Fiona: The roots of Halloween are anchored in ancient pagan times during the period of the tribal cultures of the Celts and Teutonic Tribes in Northern Europe.Â In other words, before Woolworths, Health Food stores and Christianity.
Its spiritual name is ‘Samhain’ (pronounced ‘Sow-wen’) and it is the Celtic new year – a Harvest festival from when people lived close to the earth and the turning of the seasons and the natural growth of food influenced our spiritual lives.Â In the northern hemisphere (where this all originated and where I live in Los Angeles) we are now heading into winter.Â Leaves are falling from trees, the nights are getting longer…darkness is upon us.
And so we ponder the role that death plays in our lives.Â Face it, we all will do it.Â So this festival is seen as a way to understand and appreciate death and not be scared of it.Â We also feel that the ‘veils between the worlds are thinnest’ at this time and it is the best time to be able to connect with the spirits and ghosts of our dearly departed ones.
Sassi: How will you be celebrating Halloween this year?
Fiona: I will taking part in a public Witches ritual in Los Angeles as part of an event called ‘Seven Year Witch’ – it is the seven year anniversary of my girlfriend’s store ‘Cauldron Kitty’ – www.cauldronkitty.com It is a wonderful store and hub for witchy types in LA and we will be doing a sacred ritual honoring the dead in a Unitarian Church in North Hollywood.
Sassi: Why is Halloween such a big deal in America, but not so much in Australia?
Fiona: Because it actually is getting colder and darker here and you feel a sense of change in the air.Â Real Witches in Australia celebrate Samhain on the 1st May.Â The seasonally correct time to honor death on the land and its essential role in the regeneration of life.Â At every ending is another beginning after all.Â And a flower has to die and fall from the plant in order for another to blossom.
Sassi: As someone who is sensitive to energy, what changes do you notice around October 31?
Fiona: I have a lot more dreams about ghosts – well actually they are not dreams – I think I am actually interacting with them.Â Sometimes its really intense.Â I will be having a ‘dream’ and there will be someone else standing in the room talking to me.Â Sometimes they are agitated and unhappy and they can even get aggressive.Â I say to myself ‘Wake up Fiona it’s only a dream’ – and I go to sit up, but all of a sudden they are standing next to me and I can feel their skin and smell their breath.Â Like I said, intense!Â I have learned over the years that spirit energy feeds on your energy, so its important to remain calm and compassionate.Â When souls come to you they usually just want to be heard – often those still hanging around this plane feel that there is unfinished business of some kind.Â So if you just talk to them and most importantly listen to them – they usually settle down and go away feeling somewhat at peace – and leave me in peace so I can go back to sleep!
Sassi: What’s your advice if someone is feeling spiritually scared or spooked?
Fiona: Like I said above – stay calm.Â Be friendly.Â I don’t believe in demons and have never experienced supernatural evil energy.Â I have experienced unhappy ghosts though and their energy can get a bit toxic.Â Just remember love can heal anything – it really can.Â Just stay calm, love yourself and share your love with others – the living and the dead.
Sassi: Aside from trick or treating, how else can we celebrate this celestial time?
Fiona: Make an altar in your home that honors and celebrates the lives of those you love who have passed on.Â Black and red candles, dried roses and petals, harvest foods like pumpkins – and photos and memorabilia celebrating their lives.Â On Samhain light the candles, maybe light some rose incense for love or rosemary incense for remembrance and share stories of the ones you are honoring.Â Toast them with some wine or other libation and remember to pour a little on the earth as an offering to the Greek Goddess of the Underworld, Hecate – who presides at this time.
Sassi: Do you have some suggestions (maybe a spell) of how we can celebrate?
Fiona: Well in Australia you should be celebrating the approaching summer to be honest!Â Â ButÂ Aussies can combine both the Samhain energy of the North with the Beltane energy of the South in a powerful and life changing way â€“ that not only enhances your own life but life everywhere, think locally and you will act globally!.Â To align with the Northern Samhain energies:
Make an altar in your home that honors and celebrates the lives of those you love who have passed on.
Black and red candles, dried roses and petals, harvest foods like pumpkins – and photos and memorabilia celebrating their lives. Â On Samhain Eve light the candles, maybe light some rose incense for love or rosemary incense for remembrance. Â Declare the ones you are honoring and either reflect on their lives yourself or share in story with people joining you for the ritual. Â Toast your departed loved ones with some wine or other libation and remember to pour a little on the earth as an offering to the Greek Goddess of the underworld, Hecate – who presides at this time.
Halloween/Samhain is a good time to let things die that no longer serve you, being that it marks the end of one year and the beginning of another. So use this starting point as you go on to embrace the Southern â€˜new life\’ affirming energy of the Beltane â€˜approaching summer\’ season that Australia is experiencing on the 31st October.
Write down what you want to let go of on a piece of paper and burn it using the flame from one of your Samhain altar candles (be careful not to set anything other than the paper on fire â€“ we have to be practical as well as magickal!)
Save the ashes in a bowl.
And then write on a piece of paper your hopes and goals for the coming year â€“ it is a Witches New Year after all!Â Place this piece of paper in the bottom of a planter pot or in a hole you have dug in the ground if you have a garden.Â Turn the ashes of the past (your burned paper) into some soil so that the lessons you have learned can nourish your future.
And then place this ashes/soil combination into the hole or pot on top of the paper (effectivelyâ€˜planting\’ your goals and dreams.)Â It is also lovely to place some seeds aligned with your goals into the soil â€“ rose seeds for love, mint seeds for prosperity or lavender seeds for health and peace.
As you water and nourish your pot plant or garden in this special blessed area and your seeds grow to living plants so will your goals and dreams manifest from the world of energetic potential into physical reality.
If you want to explore the realm of witches more Fiona recommends a good meditation on her new CD ‘Magickal Life-Guided Meditations and Spells for Positive Change‘ (available at her online store, in music stores and through ITunes), the track ‘Psychic Intuition‘ will help you connect with the spirits of your beloved departed ones should you choose to. There is also a track called ‘Never Repeat‘ about letting go of ‘dead end’ relationships and not making those mistakes in your life anymore.Â So make some resolutions and plant the seeds!!
You can get Fiona’s books or new album Magickal Life: Guided Meditations and Spells for Positive Change from her website: www.fionahorne.com.
Happy Halloween/Samhain everyone!
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- Fiona Horne talks Halloween! : www.rebeccadettman.com | 31 October , 2010