Soul Cakes for Samhain

Trust me, I’m the Doctor.

This is a shining example of Recipes Gone Wrong! When I looked over the recipe, I really felt like something was missing, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I think there either needs to be a “Put dough in fridge for 30 minutes” step or a “Use half a stick of butter” step.

I mean, they’re still edible.

In the video, I read what the Llewellyn’s Essentials writer says about soul cakes. But, obviously, there’s more information than just that tiny blurb in an overview book! So, to the internets I travelled–and I was not disappointed!

First, there was this site which offers a few other recipes for soul cakes–recipes I wish I had thought to look up before I did the one straight out of the book! NPR had a great little article, as well; and, blessed be, Holidappy put the recipe at the top of the post (they must have the same mindset as me: Recipe first, life story later–in my case, video first, life story after).

Second, it seems that Soulmas is the name that came from the idea of making soul cakes to offer to beggars and poor who came seeking food in exchange for prayers for the dead. According to another site, the soul cakes were originally a form of lottery during Druidic rituals, pre-8th Century Ireland/England. You draw the burnt cake, you have been selected as the human sacrifice to ward off the evil spirits and bring a prosperous new year. Around the 8th Century, Christianity (as it often did) engulfed the holiday and tried to Christianize it, which is when the cakes started being seen as “alms” for helping to buy souls out of Purgatory. The cakes were then set out, along with a glass of wine (or other libation), for the dead. Children would also go “Souling” (ritually begging for cakes door to door) on either Hallow’s Eve (Halloween/October 31), All Saint’s Day (November 1), or All Soul’s Day (November 2).

Like many Pagan-turned-Christian holidays, Samhain has become commercialized and only bears mild resemblances to its original intent and spirit (see what I did there!? Spirit! Samhain! I slay me!). Trick-or-Treat is the modern “souling” for children; the costumes are more fun and light-hearted instead of intentionally grotesque.

Perhaps a way we can start reclaiming the true spirit of Samhain, we can bake batches of soul cakes and take them to local homeless and women’s shelters and offer prayers with those who choose to for remembrance of their loved ones and for prosperous new years.

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Incense for Mabon

I’m very proud of myself.

Mabon is coming up quickly and I’ve been trying to make some little tokens for the sabbat (even though it is not one of the sabbats I, personally, celebrate). I love incense, so it made sense for me to make this wonderful, loose incense for you as a way of demonstrating some of the things you can incorporate into your Autumnal practice.

The book I used for this video is simply called Mabon. There is a good history of the roots of Mabon and how you can celebrate it in the modern age. It also gives recipes, crafts, rituals, correspondence, prayers, etc. One of the recipes in it is for this incense.

You will need dried marigold (calendula), mint, and sage. I used rubbed sage for this because I use that in cooking. Since I do not have the appropriate environment in which to grow sage properly, I tend to use rubbed sage where I can, instead of sage that you’d find in bundles. Once I have a bit of earth and can plant my garden the way I want, I’ll harvest and dry my own sage. Regardless, use whatever sage you’d like in this. It will still smell amazing.

Make sure that when you go to burn this, you have a charcoal round. I did not have any (they’re in storage), and it does not burn well on it’s own. It needs help. But, it still smells really good, so you have that to look forward to!

This incense can be used for Mabon rituals, or around Thanksgiving to help cultivate a sense of thankfulness and gratitude, or any time of year, really. It’s a delicate scent and works well to relax and open your heart to give thanks and show gratitude for what the Universe has blessed you with during the year into this Second Harvest.

I hope you enjoy this incense. Let me know in the comments how yours turned out!

Witch’s Bells

Excitedly recording by myself.

So, first of all, I’ve heard these items called many different names: Witch Bells, Witches Bells, Witch’s Bells, etc. Call them what you want. I call them Witch’s Bells and, though popular in Wicca, are used by many different religions throughout the world. I’m not Wiccan, for example, and I still use them on my door to ward off malicious or ill-intended spirits and energy.

You could buy some via one of the many sellers on Etsy. There certainly are some beautiful ones available. I, however, cannot do that. As a very strong empath (like, I can see the evil spirits manipulating and taking over certain people–also, that link, if you are like me, will knock you out of your chair), I have to spend energy to strip tools and protective items of the energies put in by the creator so those energies do not conflict with mine or my households. I’ve been told my energy is very warm and sparkly, that it’s quite unique. Unique energies, in my experience, do not play well with others. Cameraman Ken and I have a balance in our energies and our fur babies contribute to that balance. If the balance is off, the first one to notice is Midnite and he will not stop telling me about it.

So, I make my things. Or I buy things that are not intended for spiritual worship and imbue them, myself. Which is what we’re doing with this decorative piece.

Really, you can use anything you want to make these. I chose to use a ring, cotton yarn, and 4 silver bells. Since I had made one around Imbolc, I removed that one from my door, thanked it for it’s service and removed the bells, expressing my desire for them to continue their service. This isn’t a requirement; it’s just what I do. I cut lengths of yarn in yellow (for fire), white (for air), tan (for earth), and blue (for water) and tied them to the ring. I wrapped the ring in tan and blue because my Sun sign is Capricorn–the Sea Goat. Earth sign, born in a Water month (December). Earth and Water ground me and recharge me. You can, of course, choose whatever speaks to you.

You do not have to imbue your bells if you do not wish to. I do. This is an anytime of year project and can be changed as little or as much as you desire. I would love to see examples of the ones you create! You can share them with me via Discord, or pop over to Patreon and for as little as $2/mo, you can message me there and share your thoughts and spells and attempts and success and failures! I welcome them all!