From the Autumn Equinox until just after the Wild Hunt rides out around Samhain is the Season of the Witch. People all over the United States seem to know that this is true without being told so. The stores decorate for Halloween, reporters develop stories about local Witches, and Witches themselves feel a certain thrill in the chilly autumnal breeze that stirs something wild and magical within them.
We honor this season by flying out as much as possible during this time, in preparation for the Wild Hunt. We also begin our Samhain season preparations, which include: changing over to black robes from white, ancestor contact, a dumb feast, pumpkin guardians, deep divination, and, of course, flying to the Sabbat.
“Beware the autumn people. … For some, autumn comes early, stays late, through life where October follows September and November touches October and then instead of December and Christ’s birth, there is no Bethlehem Star, no rejoicing, but September comes again and old October and so on down the years, with no winter, spring or revivifying summer. For these beings, fall is the only normal season, the only weather, there be no choice beyond. Where do they come from? The dust. Where do they go? The grave. Does blood stir their veins? No, the night wind. What ticks in their head? The worm. What speaks through their mouth? The toad. What sees from their eye? The snake. What hears with their ear? The abyss between the stars. They sift the human storm for souls, eat flesh of reason, fill tombs with sinners. They frenzy forth. In gusts they beetle-scurry, creep, thread, filter, motion, make all moons sullen, and surely cloud all clear-run waters. The spider-web hears them, trembles—breaks. Such are the autumn people. Beware of them.”
– Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes
Our totems for this time of year reflect the themes of this dark tide. The Autumn Equinox is the time we honor the early face of the Black Goddess: The Grail Queen. We see her as the Silver Queen of Castle Perilous, whose treasure is the Holy Grail, the Cauldron of Cerridwen to which we must all return. It is also the bloody Cup of Babalon, who collects blood offerings of sacrifice and transmutes them into magic. Her totems are the swine, the chicken, and the grapevine, all of which offer forth their flesh and blood to feed and nourish us. Early October’s totems are those of deep wisdom: the salmon, the hazelnut, and lapwing. These symbols of sacrifice and wisdom prepare us for our journey into the underworld to seek the heart of all magic at Samhain. Samhain’s totems are the toad, the crane, and the elder tree. It is the time when we honor Tubal Cain in his dark aspect as the Lord of the Dead, keeper of the Quench Tank, the Deathhelm, and the West Gate.
Witches all, we hope to see you at the Sabbat, be it atop the Brocken, under the Walnut of Benevento, at the hill-top cromlech, or around the well-worn Mill Grounds. Celebrate the coming of the Season of the Witch!