• Caitlin Keely Gemmell

Samhain Reflections and a Samhain Bread Loaf.

Although Samhain is over according to some, I tend to think of it as a season rather than a one day celebration. My Samhain celebrations have continued over the past two weeks, and I keep drawing within to connect with my ancestors and other loved ones who have passed through the veil.


Perhaps the most important of these, to me, is my familiar Ginny, who died in April. Losing a cherished animal companion can be excruciatingly painful, especially for an introvert who often prefers the company of animals to those of people.


I honored Ginny's memory by leaving a bowl of milk beside the front door, setting up an altar dedicated to her (with a gorgeous print by my friend Jill of The Dreamwood), and just being still to really feel her energy. Around this time, I had a dream visit from a new cat friend. Although I don't feel ready to adopt a new cat, I am now open to the idea of welcoming one into my home when the time is right.

Samhain celebrations don't have to be elaborate or fussy, though they can be if that is your cup of tea. I prefer simple and cozy. That being said, this year I was determined to bake my Samhain loaf of bread, a tradition that brings me so much joy and comfort. Each year the loaf is slightly different, and this year was no exception. I wanted to include some of the wild foraged ingredients I had gathered and dried over the summer and early autumn, including black trumpet mushrooms and nettles. It was also important to me to direct my energy into this loaf, as a way of drawing in the things I hope to achieve over the next year. I focused my intent as I kneaded the dough, and when I carved special rune s into the loaf.


Though the bread didn't look as beautiful as I had dreamed, it tasted DIVINE. I'm about to share the recipe with my newsletter subscribers. You can subscribe here if you haven't already. I try to send out a newsletter once a month, though it tends to be somewhat neglected when I'm busy writing. I don't always share fairy food recipes, though I do try to share something magical each time.

Besides baking this loaf, I carved jack'o'lanterns, read one of my dad's favorite poems, and visited Grandmother Pine who is one of my favorite tree friends. A simple, yet deeply meaningful way of honoring my loved ones who have passed on.


As Samhain season comes to a close, I find myself thinking a lot about what I need to release from my life and who I need to say goodbye to. Things have been very difficult lately. Some of you know what has been happening and all that I've had to deal with, and I am grateful to those who have offered their love and support. I can't help but feel disappointed and somewhat neglected though too. I firmly believe that what we put out into the world has a way of returning to us. It's just that it doesn't always manifest in the ways that we expect. There are people I have poured love into who have reciprocated by turning away from me in my time of need, and yet there are others who have unexpectedly opened their hearts to me and have been supportive and loyal. It isn't easy cutting energetic cords, severing ties with those who have become more of a burden than anything, but it is absolutely necessary.


As the wheel turns, and the velvet curtain of night grows longer, tune in to yourself and really feel what needs to be done. Perhaps there are people who no longer add anything magical or joyful, or are sincerely loyal, that you need to say farewell to. Perhaps there are certain behaviors within you that you know its time to really work on healing. Let's release all the murky, dark, negative energies and really purge ourselves of them as we embrace the dark winter and let ourselves dream of what we want to manifest when the year is reborn.

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