Friday, 30 October 2009

Samhainn planning

It's cutting it fine but I have most things I'll need for all the things I've been planning over the next few days for Samhainn - I'm sticking to my usual format of spreading everything over three days (well, nights, mostly), so I'll be starting tomorrow and finishing up on Sunday. Last year I ended up realising each day I celebrated had a kind of theme - starting with the ancestors as the main focus for the first day, the spirits for the second day, and the gods for the third day. It worked well so I'm planning on doing the same again.

Tomorrow, then, after Tom's fancy dress Hallowe'en party at nursery, I'll start on our winter mural for the kitchen with the kids. We did glittery snowflakes last year, but I think we'll save those for when Tom finishes nursery for the Christmas holidays. They feel a bit too 'festive' to do right now (bah humbug) and it will give us something to do then. We're going to try a wintery mountain scene, I think, and we can hang the snowflakes up later on. I'm not sure I posted a picture of the autumnal mural that we did at Lùnasdal, so here it is, just for the record:

It's currently partially obscured by a giant pumpkin, though - I got one today, much to Mr Seren's disapproval because it's not traditional (although he didn't say anything until after I'd already bought it, so tough). I've got three tumshies to carve as well but I'll have to do those by myself, and the pumpkin seemed like it would be good fun for the kids to help scoop out the innards. It would be nice to include them in the festivities. And I'm willing to bet it's a bit easier than carving a turnip or two, at least...

If we have time I might bake some gingerbread men (or skeletons - Tom's going as a skeleton to his nursery party) that we can decorate as well, and I'll be saving some for the cranachan the day after. I've thought about putting some charms into the cream so everyone can dig in, but I think the kids are too young yet - maybe next year (and that'll give me time to plan for what I'll use as the charms...). I'll be making some treacle scones for games on Saturday as well - and I found this video about traditional Scots celebrations to show you what I'll try and do with them (it's only a short clip, from 1961), and we might try some dookin' for aipples if I can find something big enough for that.

Over the past week I've been trying to get the garden in order but the weather's been so wet that I've not done as much as I wanted - it'll do for the winter, though. Weather permitting, I want to build the cairn, in honour of my ancestors, beside the wee pond I've done, and bury the turnip lanterns I saved from last year so they can act as guardians in the coming year. I was hoping to get some nice rocks to dress the cairn with from the beach - larger ones so the cairn's a bit sturdier - but again, seeing as the weather's been so bad I haven't been able to yet. I was hoping to do the cairn tomorrow to fit in with my ancestral theme but I'll see how it goes. I'll be making some offerings to them, anyway.

Tom and Rosie are a bit young to go guising themselves just yet (we wouldn't get very far, accounting for Rosie's legs and my back, and she'd fall asleep in the pushchair if I took that), so instead we'll light the lanterns and put them in the window on the Saturday and give treats out to the guisers that come to our door. Hopefully we'll manage some games as well. After our feast and the kids are in bed I'll get down to my devotional stuff and light a fire in the garden (if it's dry enough...otherwise it's the hearth) as the focus - I'll perform the deiseal as usual, make some rowan charms, sain the house, take some ogam, make some offerings and leave a meal out for any visitors overnight after time to meditate.

In the morning I'll perform the frìth ritual and see if I have any better luck than last time I tried it (and at least the sun rises at a more reasonable hour now). Bannocks will be made for breakfast (Brodick bannocks, probably, the kids like them the best). And I'll finish the evening off with more offerings and some quiet contemplation to absorb everything.