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Witches Dance

In honor of the Halloween SAL that I found online.  I thought I would share this old design.

Witches Dance

Here is the PDF file of the pattern.

Witches Dance

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Twas the evening of Samhain

Twas the evening of Samhain, and all through the place
Were pagans preparing the ritual space.
The candles were set in the corners with care,
In hopes that the Watchtowers soon would be there.
We all had our robes on (as is habitual)
And had just settled down and were starting our ritual
When out on the porch there arose such a chorus
That we went to the door, and waiting there for us
Were children in costumes of various kinds
With visions of chocolate bright in their minds.

In all of our workings, we’d almost forgot,
But we had purchased candy (we’d purchased a LOT),
And so, as they flocked from all over the street,
They all got some chocolate or something else sweet.
We didn’t think twice of delaying our rite,
Kids just don’t have this much fun every night.
For hours they came, with the time-honored schtick
Of giving a choice: a treat or a trick.

As is proper, the parents were there for the games,
Watching the children and calling their names.
“On Vader, On Leia,
On Dexter and DeeDee,
On Xena, on Buffy,
Casper and Tweety!
To the block of apartments
On the neighboring road;
You’ll get so much candy,
You’ll have to be TOWED!”

The volume of children eventually dropped,
And as it grew darker, it finally stopped.
But as we prepared to return to our rite,
One child more stepped out of the night.
She couldn’t have been more than twelve or thirteen.
Her hair was deep red, and her robe, forest green
With a simple gold cord tying off at the waist.
She’d a staff in her hand and a smile on her face.
No make-up, nor mask, or accompanying kitsch,
So we asked who she was; she replied “I’m a witch.
And no, I don’t fly through the sky on my broom;
I only use that thing for cleaning my room.
My magical powers aren’t really that neat,
But I won’t threaten tricks; I just ask for a treat.”

We found it refreshing, so we gave incense cones,
A candle, a crystal, a few other stones,
And the rest of the candy (which might fill a van).
She turned to her father (a man dressed as Pan)
And laughed, “Yes, I know, Dad, it’s past time for bed,”
And started to leave, but she first turned and said
“I’m sorry for further delaying your rite.
Blessed Samhain to all, and a magical night.”

Written by Cather Steincamp

Halloween

Elderberry Cordial

  • 1   quart fresh, ripe elderberries, stems removed
  • 1   cup water
  • 1   teaspoon-size piece of whole fresh gingerroot
  • 1   teaspoon whole cloves
  • Honey
  • Brandy

1. Combine elderberries and water. Simmer over low heat for 40 minutes, or until berries release their juices with the help of a potato masher.

2. Strain pulp and seeds from hot berry juice and return liquid to a clean pot. Add the ginger and cloves. Simmer 15 minutes and strain again.

3. Measure amount of spicy elderberry infusion, then add an equal part honey and a half part good brandy. Stir until honey melts and is incorporated well with juice and brandy. Allow to cool completely.

4. Bottle and store in the refrigerator until it can be enjoyed on the first chilly night of fall or Halloween.

—Recipe courtesy of Hollerbeier Haven, newsletter of The Three Sisters Center (e-mail: Thr3Sisters@aol.com).

“But perhaps the plant with the strongest ties to Halloween was the elderberry, Sambucus nigra. A small, bushy tree with white flowers and almost black berries, the elderberry was associated with the Germanic goddess Holle (or sometimes Hulda) and was named Hollerbeier for her. Guardian of the dead, the goddess survives today in caricature as a Halloween witch. But as Frau Holle, she was a caring grandmother and wise crone. She helped souls cross over and took messages to them— perhaps written in elderberry juice ink.

In North America, European immigrants found their elderberry’s close relative, S. canadensis, and continued their traditions. People carried pieces of its wood for protection, tied prayers to its branches and left apples beneath it as offerings. “When you think of the magical plants of the Pennsylvania Dutch, the elderberry is number one,” Tobin says.

The elderberry also has been revered for its health benefits since the time of Hippocrates. A tea from its flowers treats cold and flu symptoms, substantiated by the German Commission E (that country’s equivalent of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration), and its berries are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C. “Elderberry was so important in Europe, and in almost all cases, it has the same associations,” Tobin”

Excerpted from “The Scary Herbs of Halloween

Samhain Chant

Fire red, summer’s dead,
Yet shall it return.
Clear and bright in the night,
Burn, fire, burn!

Dance the ring, luck to bring,
When the year’s aturning.
Chant the rhyme at Hallowstime,
When the fire’s burning.

Fire glow, vision show
Of the heart’s desire,
When the spell’s chanted well
Of the witching fire.

Dance the ring, luck to bring,
When the year’s aturning.
Chant the rhyme at Hallowstime,
When the fire’s burning.

Fire spark, when nights are dark,
Makes our winter’s mirth.
Red leaves fall, earth takes all,
Brings them to rebirth.

Dance the ring, luck to bring,
When the year’s aturning.
Chant the rhyme at Hallowstime,
When the fire’s burning.

Fire fair, earth and air,
And the heaven’s rain,
And blessed be, and so may we,
At Hallowstide again.

Dance the ring, luck to bring,
When the year’s aturning.
Chant the rhyme at Hallowstime,
When the fire’s burning.