Bon Weekend – Samhain preparations.

{ Thank you Sarah Rae! }

I’m posting this a little early as Michael and I will be out of town this weekend and it’s not very easy posting via my phone. Today’s post is focusing on our Samhain interior decorations. The main area we focused on was the dining room|foyer. Goodness, I find myself more excited than usual about the upcoming sabbat. We didn’t decorate or really take part in any festivities surrounding the sabbat last year as my fathers illness was progressing and we were still in the ‘trying to diagnose’ phase. He was hospitalized for the final time just after.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the term Samhain and how I sometimes interchange it with Hallwe’en, I asked Michael to write some of the history|origins of the sabbat, and how it is celebrated. I wouldn’t be surprised if more things find their way into this setting!

On October 31 we celebrate the Celtic feast of Samhain. Samhain, is Gaelic for “summer’s end,” and is the most important of the ancient Celtic feasts. During this time we honor the opposing balance of intertwining forces of existence: darkness and light, night and day, cold and heat, death and life. Our year is divided into two seasons: the light and the dark, celebrating the light at Beltane on May 1st and the dark at Samhain on October 31st. Therefore, the Feast of Samhain marks one of the two great doorways of our year. We believe that Samhain is the most important festival, since it marks the beginning of a new dark-light cycle. We observe this time as proceeding from darkness to light because we understand that in dark silence comes whisperings of new beginnings, the stirring of the seed below the ground. Whereas Beltane was welcomed in the summer light with joyous celebrations at dawn, the most magically potent time of Samhain is at night. The Eve of Samhain, is the most important part of our celebration. We will gather our best autumn harvest for a feast. We will put out food and drink fthat was special to those who have passed on with great ceremony, and we will leave windows, doors, and gates unlocked to give our ancestors free passage into our homes. We will offer personal prayers in the form of objects symbolizing our wishes or notes stating ailments to be healed will be cast into a fire. We will offer up many gifts in thanksgiving for the harvest. We carve “jack o’lanterns” and keep them at our doors to keep out unwelcome visitors from the Otherworld. We also dress in costumes in the tradition of our ancestors symbolizing the spirits of departed family returning home for the festival. For us this is a great time of contimplation as we come to recognize our own part in the eternal cycle of Life.

I generally love to decorate for the seasons|sabbats|holidays using family heirlooms, but it always feels more appropriate during this particular time of year.

Samhain tablescape
{ All images click through to larger versions }


Samhain tablescape

Samhain tablescape

Samhain tablescape

Samhain tablescape

Samhain tablescape

Samhain tablescape

The tablecloth is basic gauze and the netting we picked up at the dollar store. I’m hoping that the gauze develops picks and runs as time progresses. I want it to feel tattered. That’s my mothers wedding china, silver and crystal, and we also acquired those 1960s wheat glasses several months ago. The black place mats can be seen in greater detail here. The black box in the center held my grandfathers important papers at the house and the birds were painted by my grandmother.

The very lovely tankard – or beer stein as my mother calls it 😉 – has been in my mother’s family for multiple generations and came from England. The branches were collected in the woods behind the house and we spray painted them black. The brass candleholders were part of a cache we scored from the thrift store recently. We painted some them black but keep these untouched, as they have a lovely patina on them.

Photos of our deceased family members have been placed on the hunt board as well as a dish, bowl, and glass.

Samhain

garlandBefore

Bat garland information can be found in this post.

Chandelier

Vintage glasses

Samhain tablescape

Samhain tablescape

The hexagonal terrarium in the front was purchased last fall at the same thrift store that we’ve found so many wonderful treasures. The tri-candle holder was purchased a while back on Etsy. The Staffordshire dog is another one of our ‘old’ things.

The dish that holds the eyeballs can be seen in more detail at http://thehappyheathen.com/?p=269.

Raven

Raven

The tree in the foreground came from the DC area, I believe. My mother bought it in ’73 and I need to look on the plaque for the artist’s name. I’ve always loved this tree.

And of course some of my great loves, our Carew Rice tumblers.

Foyer scene

Bats

The black candleholder is actually brass and came from the same the thrift store we love so much, for about a dollar. We spray painted it matted black. The bowl the skull is sitting in is a Goodwill score from last week for $3.50. The black and gold tin tray has been with us for a very long time!

I downloaded the image of the bats from The Graphics Fairy and printed it. The frame came from the thrift store and the ribbon is was used to hang the photos on our memorial tree at our wedding: www.flickr.com/photos/38016153@N03/3637770059/in/set-7215

Goodness, I hope I haven’t left anything out! Happy ready and bon weekend.

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