Stones for the Season: Samhain-tide

Stones for the Season: Samhain-tide

by Sarah Lyn

Stone has a beautiful language. Anyone who has ever had a rock jump out at them has heard it. Pick me! Pick me! Before you know it, you have either slipped it into a pocket, or you find yourself holding it in your hand, uncertain of how long it has been there. Do you remember stuffing rocks in your pockets as a child? How they were each a tiny treasure all their own?

Do you remember how you saw their magic before you knew what it was?

Deep stone sleeps but the more surface it gets the more connected it is to us and our life cycles. Some rocks just want to introduce themselves and have a conversation. Some rocks do bite and want to be left alone. And some rocks have been looking for you to take them on a quest to some unknown corner of the world they have only heard about in the whispers of the deepest bedrock (even if that’s just your front yard).

[ALWAYS respect places that ask you NOT to take their rocks.]

The Trio

Labradorite, amber, and black tourmaline

Different stones I encounter have different energies to them. Some energize me and some ground me. Each sabbat, I put together a trio of stones to focus on for that season. It’s divination to me. I reach out into the web and see where we are in the world, creating a recipe of stone allies, and then I send that energy back out into the web.

It’s not the same grouping of stones every year. I will work with these ones in my nightly meditations until the next sabbat, sometimes individually and sometimes as a group.

The stones I chose for Samhain this year are Amber, Black Tourmaline, and Labradorite.

Amber is fossilized sap from ancient forests. I have seen it mostly in rich amber hues, but I have also seen versions of it that are blue, red, yellow, and black. It is light to hold and transparent. A lot of the inexpensive stuff on the market right now has been heated and formed in molds. It still passes amber tests, but the age of the inclusions in it are suspect. It has history in it and it strengthens the magic in my Work.

Depth and fortitude, is what it says to me.

Black Tourmaline gets heavy use in my home. It is great for taking negative energies in and transmuting them into positive ones. It is a power boost to any spell I work. It is a good stone for people uncertain about spirit visitations at this time of year and a good talisman for sensitive people.

Trust yourself. Do your Work, it whispers steadily.

Labradorite is a Feldspar mineral that can look like a dull brown lump of rock. Certain cuts of it display a wide array of iridescent colors; yellow, red, blue, purple, etc. This stone is a journey stone. I call it the Samwise Gamgee of the quest I am on, called Life. I have pieces I have been using for twenty years and they have grown and evolved with me. Whenever something calls for deep Work I turn to this stone.

We got this. Let’s see what’s out there, it says.

These stones, together, become sentinel magic workers, quest guardians that walk with you as you discover what waits for you come Winter time.

For Advanced Work

If you want to go deeper into the season? Use fossils. I can’t say that enough. My favorites? Ammonites and Petrified Wood. To touch something that was once alive, millions of years ago, when you can tap into its energy…? I have had some of the deepest and most visceral ancestral connections through the use of fossils.

Ammonite and petrified wood

A Grief Balm

Rose quartz and howlite

If your heart is heavy with grief this season, I recommend keeping some Rose Quartz and Howlite nearby. Rose Quartz is a soft pink crystal with soothing energy. Howlite is white with grey veins and eases anxiety and claustrophobic feelings in crowds. A fun fact about Howlite is it takes dye well, and most of the inexpensive ‘turquoise’ you see on the market is dyed Howlite.

[Notes from Sarah Lyn: I never purchase rocks from people who do not know where they are sourced from. It’s important to know where your rocks come from so you can make informed decisions about where to put your money. For those of us buying tumbled stones at rock shows, we’re picking up the chips of what has already been cut from the earth, we are not part of the demand of the mining world. But know where your stones come from.]

All photos © Sarah Lyn

Samhain Musings

by Deirdre Pulgram Arthen

At this time of year I feel especially conscious of the deepening darkness, the stark stillness of the Earth. As the sap slows down in the trees and the animals gather food and ready their homes preparing for the cold, I too look into the cold and the dark and prepare, recognizing my own fragility and mortality in the face of the winter to come. I stack the wood, rake and mow the grass, put away the tools and toys of summer, and I go out to tend the Ancestor Shrine. 

Nestled deep in the woods by the stream and against an old stone wall, this space is dedicated to those beings whose lives have made ours possible, and to the ones we love who have gone before us into that other way of being that we call death. I rake the path and brush off the leaves that have accumulated in the Shrine, revealing the growing moss and stones beneath. I uncover the trinkets that have been placed there and offer libations to the ones whose bits of ash or hair are buried beneath the trees. I make sure that the clouties tied on the branches are not preventing growth. I add this year’s offerings – a stone, a key, a yarn-wrapped stake. 

It is now, at Samhain, in the quiet of the twilight of the year, that we can find an opportunity to truly see, to feel and to listen – to be fully aware of and acknowledge those who came before us, and those who came before them. I feel surrounded by my ancestors, by the spirits of the woods, by the songs of the stream and the caress of the wind. I feel welcome and a part of everything. 

photo by Deirdre Pulgram Arthen


Today’s post is by Deirdre Pulgram Arthen.  Deirdre has been a witch for over 30 years and is the executive director of EarthSpirit.
I spent the day today in the presence of my ancestors – beginning this morning as I raked and prepared the path through the woods to the Ancestor Shrine, lay the fire and collected the tools that I needed. Then this afternoon, as a part of EarthSpirit’s Sacred Lands series, I led a ritual of remembrance and honoring as I have for the past several years. It is a simple ritual and sometimes that is the best.
At mid-afternoon a small group of us walk in silence through the meadow, under the archway of trees and into the woods alongside the stream, which talks and sings as we pass. Dry leaves crunch underfoot but the winterberry is in full display and the moss on the wooden

Ancestor shrine in the woods

The ancestor shrine at Glenwood

board we cross over is thick and green. We travel over the hemlock-needled trail until we reach a stone fire circle. Beyond that is the shrine. This whole area is dedicated to those who have gone before us and even at other times of year you can feel their presence in the dark moss, mushrooms and rotting wood. Today the feeling is stronger still.

We have brought a decorated pole from the web ritual at Rites of Spring and some of us set to work planting it in the ground. Two people set the shell spirals from Twilight Covening in their new places and a others light the fire.The ritual is simple, as I said. We gather and open to the natural space around us with words and song and then we sit on the logs around the fire each with a stick to add when we choose to speak. As in a dumb supper without the food, each one of us in turn calls to mind and speaks of an ancestor or loved one. We make an offering to the fire in their honor, the bell rings three times, and we take white cotton cloth to tie as a cloutie on a tree near the Shrine where it will remain until it rots.One call follows another – this person’s mother, that one’s brother, a family dog, ancestors long past, an aunt, a grandmother – all join with us in the web of creation which is made of all we know. We finish with a cup of cider raised in honor of their lives, another song and time for ourselves in the woods there by the stream. Then, as we are ready, we make our own way out of the woods.

Samhain is a season more than a day. As the leaves fall and October slips by, the closeness of the spirit world is tangible and the call to enter in grows stronger. Our ancestors, whether of blood or heart, of spirit or of tradition are part of who we are. This is a good time to reach toward them and remember.