Samhain falls on 1 November each year, just after Halloween and coinciding with festivals and holidays for remembering ancestors around the world. If you care to read more about some of them, check out my Venerate Your Dead blog series or search this site for #venerateyourdead.
People of most cultures, and as in this case I am writing about Pagans, believe that the veil between the living world and the afterlife is thinnest during this time of year which makes it easier to communicate with spirits.
My song pick for this entry is the band Samhain’s song “Halloween II”
For my meditation / altar, I set up candles around photos of my maternal grandmother Patricia and my paternal grandfather-by-marriage Roger with obituaries and a few treasures they left behind.
I burned some myrrh copal resin with bits of cinnamon, apple seeds, cloves, and sandalwood oil and sat for a while, speaking out loud all the things I wished to communicate to them at that time. I do this every few months, without any fancy spell or rhyme or ritual beforehand. Just sit and start talking.
Roger is the man to whom I credit my first taste/desire to explore the world, and I wrote Roger That for him. He died from cancer when I was almost ten but I still talk to him often.
My grandmother Pat passed a few years ago under particularly distressing circumstances, and my parents/brother/ I have each had experiences lately that lead us to believe she is reaching out to us.
On my Samhain Sabbat I hosted a party called Totenmahl, the German word for dead meal or funeral feast. The intention/meditation for the night was to remember and celebrate loved ones we have lost, so we stood around the fire and shared stories of how they influenced us and shaped our lives.
In my blog Venerate Your Dead: The Americas I wrote about traditions in Central and South America, and was so inspired by some of those recipes.
I created my own version of mole with ground apricots and raisins, dark bitter chocolate, vegetable broth, garlic, onions, roasted chipotle and Thai chili peppers, bay leaves, cocoa, chili powder, smoked paprika, turmeric, harissa, chipotle, cumin, red pepper, cinnamon, and clove.
I forgot to take a final photo of the mole, but it was so good we kept finding other things to use as a vessel for delivering the mole into our mouths.
My super cool parents have a smoker at their house that they let me use for the chicken and onions (to go with the mole).
Rosemary garlic roasted root veggies – turnips, parsnips, carrots, sweet potatoes. Parsnips always add a taste of lemon sweetness to any dish, and the rosemary balanced out the tartness. I marinated the veggies overnight in olive oil and mixed it up well before roasting.
Macaroni and cheese pie with Gouda, Mozzarella, Parmesan, and herbs.
S’mores brownies- double layer with dark chocolate, honey grahams, and marshmallows on top. I added the toppings after the brownies were done and put it under the broiler for a few minutes.
A friend made these bacon-wrapped dates, and another brought bacon-wrapped asparagus, and I really just do not have any complaints at all about that.
My ladies all brought various side dishes, corn pudding, salads, breads, herbed butters, drinks, and more.
Our sweets table was pretty wild too- double chocolate pretzel bark, strawberry and chocolate cookies, cheesecake, candies, s’mores brownies, dark chocolate truffles, sweet potato casserole, pomegranate seeds, apples and caramel, etc.
We had such a beautiful night. Blessed Samhain!