Samhain 2018

Hope you all have a happy, haunted, Halloween!!!

-ashanta

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All Hallows

Happy New Year to all of you who celebrate the Celtic New Year at this season.  The harvests have been collected, the air usually gets a bit crisper, the nights are getting longer, and Halloween is just around the corner.

Samhain is a wonderful time of year to go a haunting.  The veil gets thinner as the end of the month approaches.  You can feel the energy change and get more charged with higher vibrations.  The spirit world in all its manifestations lies close and communication happens faster.

Maybe those feelings you get of being watched are true —  because you are!  How about that something you notice out the corner of your eye?  Perhaps it isn’t a “floater”.  Are you getting more feelings of deja vu?  Do your animals act weird and stare at something you can’t see?  Do they bark or meow for no apparent reason?  Run out of a room they are usually comfortable in?  Do you feel like you may have some sort of message coming that you can’t quite figure out?  This could be a good time to look more closely into the things that just seem like a coincidence.  There’s no such thing as a coincidence.  But, synchronicity is real.

History has it that people dressed up at this time of the year…when they paid tribute to those that had gone on before and paved the way.  The day celebrated the dead, but those who ventured out of their houses didn’t want to be recognized, for fear those dearly departed would follow them home, come in, and stay for a while.  So — people wore masks to keep their identities secret.

The tradition to dress up on Halloween has stayed with us…..even though we know if anyone wants to haunt a house a mask won’t stop them.  Enjoy the day —  and night —  and set an extra place setting at the dinner table.  You never know who may come to visit.

 

–  ashanta

The Ouija Board & Evil?

On All Hallow’s Eve, when the dead come back home and the veil between existences is the thinnest, communing with them is supposed to be easier than any other time of year.  There are a number of ways those who have translated can interact with us on this side, but what do we do to initiate the conversation?  Automatic writing,  candle flame scrying, deep meditation to channel?  How about an Ouija Board?

The witchboard was introduced to our country around 1891 when an interest in the Spiritualist movement was at its peak.  It was a popular form of entertainment for decades practiced by a large following of believers from just about every background, including Mary Todd Lincoln, the President’s wife.

Ouija boards seem to be to the occult what cilantro is to cooking….you either love it or hate it!! I know people who won’t go near one and certainly would never touch one because of the supposed inherent evil they contain.  I don’t understand this questionable thinking process.  How can a piece of wood or pressed cardboard be made bad?  Certainly the movie The Exorcist helped this idea develop!!  And religions, also, jumped on the bandwagon in an effort to scare a dwindling Sunday attendance back into the pews so congregations could keep one step ahead of the Devil….

In November 2014 DailyMail.com ran a story saying the sales of Ouija boards was up 300%.  Couldn’t find stats for this year so far, but imagine sales are still pretty good; especially considering when times are tough people turn more to the paranormal for answers they don’t get anywhere else.  Ouija’s are still manufactured by Hasbro, who bought out Parker Brothers in 1991, and I don’t think they package a piece of Satan in every box!

Ouija, like any other tool, can be used for any purpose. I believe that any evil that is associated with the witchboard comes to it with the intent of the person, or people, using it.  It can work as a conductor for any energy, but does not have any inherent energy of its own.  It’s like white or black magick  —  no such thing  —  there’s only magick.  What you do with it is what defines it.

Happy Halloween!!

–  ashanta

 

We would like to invite anyone who would like to contact us, share a story, comment on anything, or just keep in  touch to reach us at:

ashantaofthelema@gmail.com                                Thank you!!

Horns & Skulls

What is it that evokes so many different responses to the sight of either horns or skulls?  …and most of them are negative.  Horns and skulls were things to be treasured, appreciated, and sometimes venerated before and until the time that religion decided it could make money from a frightened and controlled population.

Horns were not considered a sign of evil or demonic until the Romans were forcing Pagans to give up their gods such as Hathor, Moloch, Pan, Baal, etc. Around that same time Christian art began portraying Jews as evil and depicted them with horns.  Until then they were a symbol of wisdom and a sign of being a ruler.

In 1505 Pope Julius II commissioned Michelangelo to sculpture Moses to adorn his tomb.  Michelangelo created his work with Moses adorned with horns.  They represented his “glorified” head as he descended Mt. Sinai with the 10 Commandments – –  for the second time.

There are other depictions of Moses with horns, also. There is a fresco in St. Andrews Church in Westhall England, a sculpture in Vilnius, Lithuania, and The Well of Moses in a museum in Dijon.

Skulls were another representation of strength, wisdom, and power.  They were neither demonic nor evil until about the same time that horns fell into discretization.

A few examples of this are the Celts use of skulls to depict the seat of the soul.  Winged skulls such as those on old grave markers were considered a sign of life beyond death. Skulls have historically been used to repel evil and achieve wellness and success.  The skull & crossbones symbol represented spiritual rebirth through transformation of a greater spiritual understanding of how the world works.

Some cultures practiced drinking from skulls.  For them, it represented acquiring the traits of the deceased they respected.  The skulls of their relatives were cleaned and gilded to drink from in a ritual of honor for the dead.  This practice is similar to the Mexican Dia de los Muertos – Day of the Dead – when skulls are decorated for festivities to revere those that have gone on before.  This celebration begins at midnight on 31 October and runs to 02 November.  It coincides with All Saints Day, in Christian lore, and with our much celebrated Halloween.

–   ashanta

We would like to invite anyone who would like to contact us, share a story, comment on anything, or just keep in  touch to reach us at:

ashantaofthelema@gmail.com                                Thank you!!

A Haunted Museum – Wistariahurst

Wistariahurst Museum is the magnificent homestead of silk manufacturing mogul William Skinner. It is nestled in the southern Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts and houses a wealth of history. And – it’s haunted.

This 26-room historic mansion has been situated in Holyoke, MA since 1874 after being moved, piece by piece, from it’s original site in Williamsburg, MA. The Skinner’s lived there until 1959 when the youngest of their children, Katherine Skinner Kilbourne, deeded the homestead to the City of Holyoke for philanthropic purposes.

The first incarnation of the Skinner estate, “Wistariahurst” as it came to be known (and spelled in it’s German variation), sat across the street from the Skinner’s first three-storied brick manufacturing plant on the Mill River, which supplied its power. When the Mill River Dam broke in 1874 it brought death and financial ruin to mill workers and owners alike. William Skinner, finding himself in almost complete financial devastation and mill-less, accepted an offer from the Holyoke Water Power Company to move his silk business and family home to Holyoke. A deal too good to refuse, Skinner accepted and the house was moved from “Skinnerville” in Williamsburg to the city block it now occupies in Holyoke.

The house was built large after the fashion of any wealthy manufacturer of its time. It was made larger,and more magnificent by Ruth Isabel “Belle” Skinner, a spinster daughter of the silk industrialist. Money was no object and Belle didn’t mind spending it – especially if it made her look even better in the society to which she had become accustomed.

Many stories have been written about the family, the house, and their history. Nothing, yet, has been mentioned about the peculiar activities that happen on the premises when the visitors leave…and before they arrive.

Formerly, I worked as a volunteer for the museum and was responsible for preparing the house to open for visitors and closing it down when museum hours were over. I’ve been throughout the house on many occasions and have had a number of experiences that weren’t ordinary and cannot be easily explained.

I was on the second floor of the house one late afternoon turning off lights, closing displays, and getting ready to lock doors when there was the sound of a door banging loudly. Could it have been another volunteer or administrator coming in? I called out, “Hello! I’m closing up, up here. (Listening) Hello?.. (Listening. Walking toward the noise.) Hi, where are you?..” No reply. Nobody. No closed doors.

I found the other staff and volunteers downstairs and mentioned the noise. All present said they had heard it, but none knew where it came from.

Other things seen and unseen:

Moving shadows out the corner of one’s eye.

Plugs and extension cords thrown into the middle of hallways.

Footfalls.

Doors closing behind you when you enter a room.

A few of the former servant’s quarters have been closed to the public for one reason or another, but those are the places where a lot of the activity takes place. Perhaps that’s why they aren’t opened that frequently.

On another occasion I was on the second floor locking up one of the servant’s areas. There was always an uneasy feeling in these rooms, like you were never alone. I made sure everything was secure and locked the door. As I was walking down the hallway toward the back staircase when the space between the door and the jamb rattled violently and then slammed shut again. It had been closed when I left it moments before….

Sometimes I had to go to the third floor where the head housekeeper had her bedroom and office. Her name was Hulda and she was like a member of the Skinner family. You never feel alone on the third floor. There are footfalls that follow you and doors will close behind you – even when you don’t want them to.

While the servants quarters seem to be the most active areas of activity, some of the family members also still remain – at least during some parts of the year because you can hear them. And – sometimes see them.

I’ve seen Kittie, the youngest of the Skinner children, at the top of the wrap-around staircase from the main hall. She was elegant in her long, champagne silk gown starting her descent along the suspended stairs. When she got to the landing overlooking the great room she vanished. Her hair was swept up in a loose twist and she wore a string of pearls.

Although Wistariahurst now offers candlelight tours around Halloween time, their actors and effects cannot produce anything like the real thing!!! Seeing and hearing are believing. Artificial presentations don’t produce the same phenomena as the real thing does.

– ashanta