This week Heather Lynn maker of the adorable Skull Graveyard Dust Bottles highlighted in her etsy shop Coffincritters shares her views on Witchcraft, and shows us her way for remembering her loveone's that have passed.
Green –skinned hags in pointy hats, cackling over a bubbling cauldron while stirring in the final ingredients for their poisonous brew…made from human and animal sacrifice. And what motivates these evil creatures to perform such heinous rituals? It’s all in the name of Devil Worship, of course! Right…?
Although comical and fun for Halloween, this image of Witches could not be further from the truth! And what better time than now to dis”spell” (pun intended) a few of these myths, as we creep closer to Halloween…the Season of the Witch!
As a practicing Wiccan for more than 10 years, I will tackle a few of the myths and unveil the real truths behind this ancient religion.
IS WICCA A REAL RELIGION? Why, yes it is! Wicca is a form of Paganism, one of the oldest (if not THE oldest) religions that dates back thousands of years before the birth of Christ! Deeply rooted in Pagan beliefs and practices, this modern adaptation is an earth-worshipping , natural way of life.
HOW IS WICCA DIFFERENT FROM PAGANISM? Although it is a form of Paganism, Wiccans adhere to the crede, “Harm none” and “Karmic Law”. This simply means that you practice your Craft and live your life with the intention of bringing no harm to any other human or animal. Whatever you release into the world will come back to you threefold…be it good or bad.
WAIT! DOES THIS MEAN THAT WITCHES DON’T ACTUALLY SCARIFICE ANIMALS? Nope! Modern Witches do not sacrifice animals. In the ancient days, it is believed that animal sacrifices may have been practiced on occasion. But animal, even human, sacrifices are present in many religions, including Christianity. But the reality is, we live in a less savage and more civilized time in the year 2010 than in 4000 BC. We now have the knowledge to perform effective Rites without the need for live sacrifice. Modern-day Pagans and Wiccans typically leave offerings, instead of sacrifices. These offerings can be anything from special herbs to lighting candles/incense to using one’s talents to honor the God and Goddess.
DO WITCHES WORSHIP SATAN? Satan? Who is that??? Such a being is not even recognized in Wicca! Satan was introduced through Christianity and has no associations with Witches whatsoever (other than what has been imposed upon Us). In fact, Witches do not believe in any evil entity or being. We Worship the God and Goddess and nature…there is no evil in that! The only potential of evil resides within the human ego.
DO WITCHES REALLY CAST SPELLS AND HEXES? Yep, sure do. This one is true. Although peoples’ perceptions of what a spell actually is can be ridiculously inaccurate. A spell is not some mystical manipulation of a person to make them do a Witch’s bidding. A spell is simply a prayer. It is using tools and techniques to send a prayer into the universe, a message of what you want to manifest in your life. When done properly, spells can be very effective! When done improperly, a spell can be very ineffective or even dangerous. There are many elements to take into consideration when performing a spell: intent, visualization, herbal and color properties, phases of the moon and sun, even the day of the week and time of day can effect the outcome of a spell.
In regards to Hexes, they are performed by some. Most Witches only use Hexes in cases of emergency, when there is present danger or impending harm. I have never performed a Hex; I have always found other ways to accomplish the goal without needing to manipulate another person. Manipulation, directing a spell toward a particular person, or performing a spell (even with “good intentions” ) without the knowledge of the person involved are highly discouraged. These interfere with a person’s Free Will.
SO WHAT EXACTLY DOES WITCHCRAFT HAVE TO DO WITH HALLOWEEN? Well, my friends Halloween is a Pagan holiday! Dating back as many as 6 thousand years ago (can you imagine that???) Samhain has been performed every year to honor the Dead and loved ones who have passed. Bonfires, costumes, dancing, and feasting have always been a part of the festivities. It is believed that October 31st is the time when the veil between the living and the dead is the thinnest, when souls can pass through our world, when life of the dead is celebrated and not feared or mourned.
The name “Halloween” actually comes from the Christians. In an attempt to replace Samhain with All Saints Day/All-Hallows on November 1st, Samhain was being called “All-Hallows Eve” which was then shortened to Halloween.
With all of that gobbeldy-gook cleared up, how about a fun Witchy project for Halloween/Samhain? I wrote this one myself and perform it in one manifestation or another every year. It is a nice way to honor special people who are passed on, but are still in your heart! You do not need to be a Witch to do this, and you do not have to have experience with magic. Just make sure your intentions are good and you are!
MESSAGES TO THE DEAD
You will need:
*Cardstock or index cards
*Any or all of the following: pen, colored pencils, paint, photos or artifacts of deceased loved ones, decorative paper, glue, tape, ribbon…be creative, or not. This is YOUR project!
*White candles (tealights or chime candles are best, but any white candle will do! You will need one per person you are honoring )
*Heat-proof container for your candles. Take consideration if you are placing your candle outdoors.
*Festive autumn natural décor, such as leaves, pumpkins, acorns, etc.
*Festive food to leave as offerings for your loved ones
*Black pouch or fabric
The purpose of this project to create mini-altars to place outdoors, or indoors in front of windows. You may honor as many people as you would like, but make sure they each have their own separate space. If performing this indoors, try to give each person their own window if possible.
Take the cardstock and cut it to whatever size you want. I like to use 2.5”x3.5” ACEO/ATC size, but it can be any shape or size your heart desires! You will want one card per person you are honoring.
Decorate each card. This can be as simple as writing a few words, or making it into a piece of art! Keep in mind that you are decorating these with the purpose of sending messages to loved ones as they pass through our realm on October 31st. You may want to include photos, images of things they loved, symbols of times you shared together. Let your heart guide you!
Set up your altars on Samhain, October 31st. Find nooks or special places outdoors, or place them in windows (facing out) if opting to stay inside. Each altar should consist of: a card/message, white candle, any additional decorations of your choice. Festive, natural autumn ones are nice or anything feel will enhance your message or display. The altars may be set up anytime on this day, but leave the candles unlit until later.
Sometime between 11:30-midnight (plan it so that all of your candles will be lit by midnight), visit each altar with a lighter or match. Reflect on that person for a moment: what they mean to you, happy memories, the message you want them to receive when they pass through. Light the candle. Repeat this for every altar you have set up. The candles will attract your loved ones, and help guide them safely back to The Other Side.
When all candles have been lit, say:
“On this Sahmhain Eve I send this (these) message(s)
with the wings of love it (they) will soar.
May these thoughts land where they are intended,
Nothing less and nothing more.
After the door to spirit opens,
Once again it successfully closes.
In perfect love and perfect peace, as I will So Mote It Be!”
Place some food outside and say:
“Spirits passing, as you go
please partake to feed your soul”
Let the candles burn out completely, or snuff them if you need to (do not blow them out). On November 1st, dismantle your altars and place all of the cards in the black pouch or fabric and keep in a safe place for next year.
Be it humorous or romantic, cute or creepy, Heather Lynn uses many types of media to try to illuminate the beauty and magic that can be found in darkness. Pretty faeries, cute zombies, and the horror of the undead all live harmoniously in her world of creation. She uses a variety of media such as: oil paint, clay, paper, digital, colored pencil and more.
For more of coffincritters on the web you can find her at …