Feast of Simovane Foods

Feast of Simovane Foods

Traditional Recipes – Parkin and Soul Cakes
Arch Madria Georgia


Excerpt taken from: A TASTE OF YORKSHIRE:
Pudding, Parkin and Pomfret Cakes by Dawn Copeman

The Vikings are said to have invented our next Yorkshire food.

Parkin is a type of ginger tea-bread, known as a ‘cut and come again cake’, because it is an economical cake that lasts for a long time. Many versions of Parkin were made around the country, but the Yorkshire one, made with just a little fat is the one which is still made today.

Parkin was often traditionally eaten on Bonfire night, the 5th November, when we remember the attempt by Guy Fawkes to blow up Parliament. In parts of West Yorkshire the 5th November is known as Parkin Day. One place where Parkin is reputedly not eaten on Bonfire Night is St Peter’s School in York, where a certain Guy Fawkes was educated.

1 cup self-raising flour
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup soft brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup black treacle
1/2 stick butter
1/3 cup milk
1 egg
1 seven inch square tin greased & lined with greaseproof paper.
1.Mix all the dry ingredients together.
2.In a pan, warm milk, treacle and butter, then remove from heat add all the dry ingredients and the egg and beat well.
3.Pour mixture into tin and bake for 50 – 55 minutes in the middle of the oven at 160°C, 325°F or Gas Mark 3.

From: Time Travel – Britain.com,8b1d017d&icp=1&.intl=us&sig=JaJ1KeiPMULsMRl6MA1t7Q–


Soul Cakes: A British Halloween Treat

Soul cakes are large spiced cake-like cookies that were traditionally handed out in Britain instead of candy during the time of All Hallows Eve.

Each cookie represented a soul that had died in the past year and as the cookie was eaten, it was believed that if the soul had gone to Purgatory, it was then released. Originally, soul cakes were used as a sacrificial food in the Celtic festival of Samhain.

The cookies are typically spiced with allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, or other pumpkin pie-like spices, and include raisins or currants. The top of each cookie is marked on the top with a cross.

Eventually, it became tradition to put these little cakes out with glasses of wine on All Hallows Eve for the souls of the dead. Then, on All Saints Day (November 1st), children would go “souling,” traveling from house to house calling out the following verse:

“Soul Cake, soul cake, please good missus, a soul cake.
An apple, a plum, a peach, or a cherry,
Anything good thing to make us merry.
One for Peter, one for Paul, & three for Him who made us all.”

Soul Cakes Recipe
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup superfine sugar
4 cups flour, sifted
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon allspice
3 tablespoons currants or raisins
a little milk

1. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale in colour and fluffy in texture. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time.

2. Mix together the flour and spices. Fold into the creamed butter mix.

3. Gently stir in the currants/raisins. Add enough milk to make a soft dough.

4. Form into flat cakes and cut each top with a knife to make a cross.

5. Bake on a well-greased baking sheet at 350 F for 10 to 15 minutes until golden.,e221d6e9&icp=1&.intl=us&sig=PuFytNui_GmCuEJpgksMUg–


Sophia Ruth:

Another great tradition is that of Soul Cake recipes and songs. Scroll down for the vegan and gluten free versions. Please read through the recipes because some of them explain the origins of some of our Halloween traditions, especially the third recipe of Biscuit/Cookie.

Soul Cake Recipes and Songs:

First Shropshire Recipe – Buns

“Soul cakes were of different kinds. Formerly, some cakes were flat and oval. Others were plump and bun-like. There was a spiced-sweetened variety, and the sort that resembled a small fruit cake. All were rich with milk and eggs.

The following recipe is an adaptation of an old Shropshire formula. The light fluffy buns, delicious for any occasion, are especially appropriate for Halloween. Serve them hot, with plenty of butter and strawberry or raspberry jam. Accompany them with mugs of cider; or with hot chocolate, topped with marshmallows, for the young; or with coffee or tea for those who are older.


Cream shortening and sugar. Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup lukewarm water to which a teaspoon of sugar has been added. Set aside. Scald milk and add to the creamed mixture. When cooled add yeast mixture and stir until thoroughly blended. Sift together flour, salt, and spices, and add gradually to other ingredients, kneading into a soft dough. Set sponge to rise in warm place in greased covered bowl. When doubled in bulk, shape into small round or oval buns. Brush tops with slightly beaten egg white. Bake in moderately hot oven (400° F.) for 15 minutes. Drop temperature to 350 ° F. and bake until delicately browned and thoroughly done.”

Recipe Source: Feast-Day Cakes from Many Lands by Dorothy Gladys Spicer, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1960


Second Shropshire Recipe – Scone like

” Mrs Mary Ward is the author of several Shropshire recipe books. She is known to be the last person to keep up the tradition of giving out Soul Cakes at her home in Pulverbatch. She died in 1853 at the ripe old age of 101. Rather amazingly, to celebrate her 100th birthday she wore her wedding dress of yellow satin and received Holy Communion with her friends and neighbours.”

Here are some recipes and songs The recipes are in the Metric system. Conversion tables may be found on the internet. This first recipe is said to be highly symbolic, if a bit dull in taste.
750g plain flour
100g butter
1 teaspoon yeast
1 egg
350ml milk
100g caster sugar
1½ tsp allspice


Preheat the oven to 220°c, gas mark 7. (425 degrees/US).

Place the flour and yeast into a large bowl. Melt the butter and warm the milk. Beat the egg in a mug or small bowl. Add the butter, milk and egg to the flour. Mix together well until smooth. Make into a ball. Cover with a large plastic bag or oiled clingfilm. Place in a warm spot and leave to rise for half an hour. Add the sugar and allspice to the dough and knead until well combined. Place onto a lightly floured board and roll rather flat! About 2 cm and these are a bit too biscuity. About 4 cm and these work well as a scone. I also tried the last one like a bread roll and that worked well too.

Place in the hot oven and bake for about 20 minutes until golden. They taste good warm with butter and strawberry jam.

Both of these can be scored with a silver star, like this



Third – Biscuit / Cookie

Ireland is known for its spiced biscuit soul cakes. The following is the Cheshire version:

“This Soul Cake recipe is from the Cheshire region, on the border with North Wales. A Soul Cake (or Souling Cake) is a small round cake, like a biscuit, which is traditionally made for All Souls’ Day (the 2nd November, the day after All Saint’s Day) to celebrate the dead. These plain cakes, often simply referred to as souls, were given out to the soulers, children and the poor, (beggars) who would go from door to door during this period saying prayers and singing psalms and songs for the dead.

Traditionally each cake eaten would represent a soul being freed from Purgatory. The practice of giving and eating soul cakes is often seen as the origin of modern day Trick or Treating, which now falls on Halloween (two days before All Souls’ Day). The tradition of ‘souling’ and giving out Soul Cakes on All Soul’s Day originated in Britain and Ireland hundreds of years ago, from giving out bread on All Souls’ Day during the devout Middle Ages (see John Mirk below).”

Soul Cake Recipe

Makes 14 large ‘cakes’
Recipe Ingredients:

340g plain flour (sifted)
170g sugar
170g butter (softened & diced)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 egg (beaten)
2 tsp of white wine vinegar

Recipe Method:

Preheat the oven to 200C (400 degrees US) and grease 2 flat baking trays.

Thoroughly mix all the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl – sifted flour, spices, and sugar. Rub in the diced butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add in the beaten egg and white wine vinegar and mix with a wooden spoon until a firm dough is made. Then cover it and put it in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Flour a working surface and roll out the dough to medium thick and using a large round pastry cutter cut into rounds, (optional: use a straight edge to press into, and then draw a [solar] cross shape, in the top of the dough). Place these rounds on the greased baking tray and bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes at 200C (400 degrees) until slightly coloured. Serve warm or cold.”



Fourth – The Vegan Soul Cake (biscuit) version

400g Flour
55g Sugar
110g Butter
½ pint sack (use sherry well diluted in water)
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
Pinch of powdered cloves
Pinch of mace
25g Yeast
½ teaspoon saffron filaments


Pre-heat oven to 400°F., 200°C., gas mark 5. Put the saffron to steep in a little of the warmed sack, while you prepare the dough.

Modern fresh or dried yeast prefers its liquid warmed, so melt the butter in the rest of the sack and, as soon as it has cooled to blood heat, dissolve the yeast in some of it.

Mix together the flour, sugar and spices, work in both the saffron and yeast mixtures, and add as much more sack as you need to make a light firm, elastic dough. Leave it to rise, shape it into buns, range them on baking sheets and leave them to prove again in a warm place.

Bake for 20 minutes.”



Fourth – The Gluten free Vegan Soul Cake (biscuit) version

“The basic coconut flour shortbread is adapted from Eat the Cookie’s version.

Grain Free Gluten Free Soul Cakes
Makes 12-18 cakes, depending on thickness

Ingredients (shortbread):
1 3/4 cups sifted coconut flour (If you don’t have a sifter you can gently spoon/shake the flour into the measuring cup)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup room temperature butter (for dairy-free you could sub coconut oil here, making a total of 3/4 c. coconut oil)
1/4 cup soft coconut oil
1/2 cup palm sugar (or other natural sweetener of choice; add more if you’d like your cakes sweeter)
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 tablespoon cacao nibs

Note: You can adapt this with whatever trail mixy-items of dried fruit and nuts that you happen to have around.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Using a spray olive oil (or softened butter or coconut oil), lightly grease silicone baking cups. (In the U.S. a cupcake or muffin pan with or without muffin/cupcake foils).

Combine the flour, the salt, and the baking soda thoroughly in one small bowl – if necessary, use your fingertips to crush any clumps of coconut flour. In a separate larger bowl, cream the butter, coconut oil, and palm sugar together – and then mix in the eggs one at a time, followed by the apple cider vinegar and the vanilla extract. Add the dry flour mix to the wet mix and combine thoroughly.

Press the dough into the greased silicone cups at desired thickness. Press a few slivers of almond and cacao nibs into the dough. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

Once you pull the cups out of the oven, warm:

1 tbsp. butter (you could sub coconut oil)
1 tbps. heavy cream (you could sub coconut cream concentrate)
1 standard size bag bittersweet chocolate chips (go for quality)

…for 2 minutes and half power in the microwave. (You can also melt everything in a double boiler, though that may take a while longer.) Mix the ingredients with a spoon until the chocolate melts into a smooth ganache, and spread the chocolate over the shortbread in the silicone cups. Press some dried cranberries into the ganache.

Allow the shortbread and chocolate to cool.”
Soul cake songs:



“15. Soul-Cake Song
The words and music for the Soul-Cake song (which begins “A soul, a soul, a soul-cake!”) are available as Soul-Cake Song on Digital Tradition. This is the short version which is just sung repetitively. Another version with additional verses sung to the same tune is the Souling Song also at Digital Tradition. There are very pretty performances such as The Souling Song recorded by John Langstaff, on the Jackfish CD; and by the children’s chorus on A Child’s Christmas Revels CD. These two can be listened to on MySpace. Another good version is the Souling Song by the Watersons on the Frost and Fire CD which has the subtitle “A Calendar of Ritual and Magical Songs.” This has the sharp change in tempo which isn’t marked on the notated music.

There is another version of this song with better, more traditional words, published by Jon Raven (p. 23):

Soul! Soul! for an apple or two;
If you’ve got no apple, pears will do,
Soul! Soul! for your soul’s sake,
Pray good mistress, a Soul Cake!

An apple, or pear, a plum or a cherry,
Or any good thing to make us all merry.
St. Peter was a good old man,
And so for his sake, give us one.

None of your worst, but one of your best,
So God may send your souls to rest.
Up with your kettles, and down with your pans,
Give us a Soul Cake and we’ll be gone!

16. Antrobus Soulcakers Song
There is a second Soul Cake Song which begins “We are one, two, three hearty good lads….” This song was sung by the Antrobus Soulcakers and they were recorded by Alan Lomax or Peter Kennedy on the English Customs and Traditions CD, Vol. 9, Songs of Christmas. The lyrics to this Soul Cake Song are at the Mainly Norfolk: English Folk and Other Good Music website put together by Reinhard Zierke. This website gives lyrics to many traditional folk songs, and it’s well written. The notated music is available as the first song for the Rudheath (Cheshire) Souling Play which follows next on this list. A version of the song has also been recorded recently by the Watersons on the Voices of Harmony: English Traditional Songs CD. The Antrobus Soulcaker’s Song is sung at the beginning of the Greenman Mummers Souling Play.

17. Souling Plays
There are entire plays for celebrating this festival written out. Back in the 1800’s the Soulers or Soul-Cakers were adults and they would go from house to house and perform Souling Plays, and these were written down by early collectors. People still perform them, some by tradition and some as a revival. Of course the grownups would ask for beer and money, not cookies; some don’t ask for anything. The practice of Souling is thought to bring good luck to all the houses that are visited. Souling Plays are usually distinguished from other folk plays by having a “Horse” which is actually a horse’s skull on a broom handle, manipulated by someone referred to as the “Driver” played by an actual human being. Usually the Driver speaks for the Horse, with a speech that introduces the Horse, here called “Dick”:

In comes Dick and all his men,
He’s come to see you once again.
Was once alive and now he’s dead,
And nothing but a poor old horse’s head!

Although this play is in English, the use of a horse in this context may show Celtic influence. Aside from the Horse and a Souling Song, Souling Plays include the same elements as most English folkplays: a fight between two famous warriors in which one is killed, and then revived by a Quack Doctor, with much silly slapstick humor and jokes. Souling Plays include the Guilden Sutton Play and the Rudheath (Cheshire) Souling Play, named for the geographic areas of England where they were first collected by folklorists in the 1800 and 1900’s. There are many folk plays which for some reason the English refer to as Mummer’s plays. Many English folk plays, some with music, are given on the website:www.folkplay.info. This website gives the entire script for the Rudheath (Cheshire) Souling Play, including the words and music for the introductory Souling Song.

There are at least five Souling Plays performed on YouTube. My favorite is the Comberbach Souling Play with a really creepy horse. This has good clear words and it’s only about 10 minutes long.

18. Hop Tu Naa
Note that Naa is pronounced “nay”, rhymes with “pay” in English. This song is known from the Isle of Man and is sung in Manx Gaelic and in many versions in English. It is their customary song at this time of the year, sung as part of house to house visits by children. A very brief version of the song was recorded by Winifred Woods in 1965, with the words:

Hop Tu Naa, Hop Tu Naa!
Ginny the Witch went over the house
To get the sticks to lather them out!
Hop Tu Naa, Hop Tu Naa!

She gives more information with links to several videos on her Hop-Tu-Naa page, and the videos can be used to learn the songs. Another website gives many variations of Hop Tu Naa with the words in both Manx and English. The music for one version of the song is published in Bronwen Forbes’ book Make Merry in Dance and Song.”


Buttermilk Bread

“Buttermilk Bread Charm for Samhain.

You will need:

3 mugs of strong white flour

500 ml of Buttermilk (available from the supermarket)

I teaspoonful of bicarbonate of soda

Samhain ribbon in black or purple.

A handful of rye flour

A scattering of oats

twig of rosemary for remembrance

Place the flours in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre. Sieve in the blended salt and soda and pour in the buttermilk. Mix well with a wooden spoon until the dough feels springy. If it feels too sloppy just add a little more flour. Turn it onto a board and cover with a fine dusting of flour. Pat it with your hands until you have a round shape. Take a sharp knife and score lightly into eight sections, one for each festival. Our picture shows the bread scored five times to make a pentacle.

Place onto a greased baking tray and pop your buttermilk bread into a moderate oven for about 20-25 minutes. Keep and eye on it. When the bread is ready it will change colour and it will sound hollow when you tap the bottom. Cool completely on a wire rack. When it is cool, place the rosemary on top and tie it with Samhain ribbon.

Take time to concentrate on the bread you have created and turn the loaf three times saying

“From the fields and through the stones, into fire, Samhain Bread, as the Wheel turns may all be fed. Goddess Bless.”

Now take your bread and share it with your family and friends and pass on the generous blessings of this festival of completion and beginning. Eat it fresh, as soon as it is made if you can.

Recipe donated by the Counter Enchantress. Adapted by the Boss Lady with permission.

The Counter Enchantress is discovering that you can add almost anything appropriate to this simple bread recipe and it STILL WORKS beautifully. You can decide for yourself what the appropriate additions are for a particular festival, in this case rye flour. oats and rosemary, and just do it. There is much kitchen magic in working with one recipe through the Wheel of the Year just changing it a little as the wheel turns…..”


A list of seasonal recipes http://yeoldewitchesbrewmagazine.presspublisher.us/issue/samhain-2009/article/soul-cakes-and-other-traditional-samhain-recipes


Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

2 cups pumpkin seeds (approx.)
2 TSP melted butter or oil (approx.)
Salt to taste
Optional: garlic powder; cayenne pepper; seasoned salt; Worcestershire Sauce; Cajun seasoning; or Hot Spice Mix (1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce, 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp. cumin, 2 tsp. chili powder)

Preheat oven to 300° F. Toss pumpkin seeds in a bowl with the melted butter or oil and any optional ingredients of your choice. Spread pumpkin seeds in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crispy. Store airtight.

Option: If you roast them without any of the above optional flavorings, you can now flavor them Spicy-Sweet by doing this:

Heat a TBSP of peanut oil in a skillet, add 2 TBSP sugar, and the seeds. Cook the pumpkin seeds over medium high heat for about 1 minute or until the sugar melts and starts to caramelize. Place pumpkin seeds in a large bowl and sprinkle with this mixture: 3 TBSP sugar, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ginger, and a pinch of ground cayenne pepper.

From the English Catholics we get begging from door to door, the earlier and more pure form of “trick-or-treating.” Children would go about begging their neighbors for a “Soul Cake,” for which they would say a prayer for those neighbors’ dead. Instead of knocking on a door and saying “Trick-or-treat” (or the ugly “Trick-or-treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat”), children would say either:

A Soul Cake, a Soul Cake,
have mercy on all Christian souls for a soul cake!


Soul, soul, an apple or two,
If you haven’t an apple, a pear will do,
One for Peter, two for Paul,
Three for the Man Who made us all.

While Soul Cakes were originally a type of shortbread, it is said that a clever medieval cook wanted to make Soul Cakes designed to remind people of eternity, so she cut a hole in the middle of round cakes before frying them, thereby inventing donuts! Fresh plain cake donuts would be a nice food to eat on this day.

Cake Doughnuts (makes 20)

2 quarts canola oil
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 packet active dry yeast or 0.6 ounces cake yeast
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons nonfat buttermilk
1 extra-large whole egg
2 extra-large egg yolks
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups nonmelting or confectioners’ sugar

1. Heat oil in a low-sided six-quart saucepan over medium-high heat until a deep-frying thermometer registers 375°. Lightly dust a baking pan with all-purpose flour, and line a second one with paper towels; set both aside.

2. Meanwhile, place sour cream in a heat-proof bowl or top of a double boiler; set over a pan of simmering water. Heat until warm to the touch. Remove from heat; set aside.

3. In a large bowl, sift together all-purpose flour, cake flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Make a large well; place yeast in center. Pour warm sour cream over yeast, and let sit 1 minute.

4. Place buttermilk, whole egg, egg yolks, and vanilla in a medium bowl; whisk to combine. Pour egg mixture over sour cream. Using a wooden spoon, gradually draw flour mixture into egg mixture, stirring until smooth before drawing in more flour. Continue until all flour mixture has been incorporated; dough will be very sticky.

5. Sift a heavy coat of flour onto a clean work surface. Turn out dough. Sift another heavy layer of flour over dough. Using your hands, pat dough until it is 1/2 inch thick. Using a 2 3/4-inch doughnut cutter, cut out doughnuts as close together as possible, dipping the cutter in flour before each cut. Transfer doughnuts to floured pan, and let rest 10 minutes, but not more.

6. Carefully transfer four doughnuts to hot oil. Cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Turn over; continue cooking until evenly browned on both sides, about 2 minutes more. Using a slotted spoon, transfer doughnuts to lined pan. Repeat with remaining doughnuts.

7. Gather remaining dough scraps into a ball. Let rest 10 minutes; pat into a 1/2-inch-thick rectangle. Cut, let rest 10 minutes, and cook.

8. When cool enough to handle, sift non-melting sugar over tops; serve immediately. (Recipe from Martha Stewart).


Colcannon Recipes:


Sacred Month of Samhain October 31st – November 27th Feast of Simovane

Sacred Month of Samhain October 31st – November 27th

For my predecessors in the Deanic Faith this month was also named Samhain (pronounced Sa-Win or Sow-in).

Arch Matrona Georgia Cobb has mentioned that another pronunciation for Samhain (usually pronounced Sow-en) is also Shah-vin. And I have found this here: (http://clubs.ncsu.edu/spm/FAQ/11pronounce.html).

It is also the Irish for November. We use the older word Simovane which is pronounced Shim-o-vane, very similar to the short Sha-vin. Thank you, Arch Matrona Georgia.


From The Tale of Thirteen Months copy write of Arch Madria (Bishop) Pamela Lanides

Samhain’s magick’s in the wind.
The supper is served and the veil has thinned.
The luminous Darkfire shadows the hill,
where runes divine the Great One’s Will.


The Madrian1’s later named it the month of Werde, or Fate.

From The Tale of Thirteen Months copy write of Arch Madria (Bishop) Pamela Lanides

Werde ends Summer’s Noontide fate,
spinning the threads of Dia-Janna’s Gate.
Lady Werde’, the soul’s destiny winds,
but with Our Lady’s Grace, it need not bind.


There were 2 groups of Madrians, 1 the publicity seeking, lesbian separatists and 2 the more secretive gender inclusive group from which Clan Jana originates. So in future I will number the source Madrian1 and Madrian2.

Feast of Simovane

Notes from Madria Olga transcribed by Arch Matrona Georgia

The fire-festival of late Autumn is a festival of transformation, fire being the element of transformation and death, the agent of the transformation of the soul’s state of being. The fire also symbolizes purgation and purification which many souls experience during the process of change which begins with physical death.

Samhain is strictly a three-day festival, although the main celebration is usually on the first day. The souls of the dead are made expressly welcome at the Rite of the day, and offerings of “soul cakes’ or candles may be in memory of friends and relatives for aid and comfort.

The festival is celebrated with bonfires and fireworks, and with ritual games such as Duck-Apple and Snap-Apple. The apple as symbol of eternal life, is closely bound up with the meaning of the festival; baked and toffee apples and cyder are seasonal foods, together with baked potatoes, parkin and popped corn. It is a time when the worlds are close and discarnate souls may return to their earthly habitations.


This world shall dissolve and its splendors be vanished; its pains and its sorrows shall pass like the summer rain. Life is not long, death is swift in the coming, and the ninety and nine thousand things shall be gone, but the Truth shall remain.


Originally 3 days at the beginning of the month.

1 Simovane older form of Samhain, pronounced Shimm oh vian, which means Summer’s End. (Note, the Celtic lands generally had two seasons, Winter and Summer.) / October 31st: Feast of Ancestors.

The apple is also considered one of the foods of the dead, so they are often piled high on Samhain altars, for Samhain (Simovane) is sometimes known as the Feast of the Apples.


2 Simovane / November 1st: Feast of Harvest’s End. Third Harvest Festival.

3 Simovane / November 2nd: Feast of Darkfire. (Celebrating the luminous Dark Light of the Great Mother). Cross Quarter Day.) Third Fire Festival.

In the Janite Deanic tradition formally Clan Jana, only the Feast of Ancestors is held, in consideration of time constraint.


From https://matronite.wordpress.com/2015/11/03/feast-of-the-ancestors-silent-supper-part-one/


As noted in a previous article, Simovane (Shim-o-vane) is an older Celtic word for Samhain (Sow-en). In our modern day parlance, Simovane/Samhain is the spiritual aspect of Halloween; Halloween being the holiday (a word derived from holy day), Simovane being the holy day.


Simovane is a three day festival. In Clan Jana, we begin with the Feast of Ancestors on the eve of 1 Simovane/Oct. 31. This is followed by the third and final Harvest festival of the year which takes place on 2 Simovane/Nov. 1 which, in turn, is followed by the Feast of Darkfire on 3 Simovane/Nov. 3. Darkfire is celebrated in honor of the Dark or Great Mother.


On the Feast of the Ancestors, when the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest, we remember our loved ones who have passed beyond the veil. In many cultures, there is a tradition of offering the ‘Dumb Supper’ or as it is now being referred to, the Silent Supper, where a place is set at the table for the ancestors. It is called the dumb or silent supper because the supper is eaten in silence in honor of those who have passed beyond the veil.


The practice of the Silent Supper in honor of those who have died spans many cultures.


Around the time of Sukkot, a fall festival of Judaism, when Jews build their Sukkahs, (booths, shelters for the festival of Sukkot), they put a table and one chair for each family member, plus an extra chair. This extra chair is for a “guest”, which is thought to be an ancestor. A prayer is said to invite them in to dine with the family under the sukkah. (1)


A custom and belief within the Catholic Church, that is no longer well known, is practically a universal folk belief that the souls in Purgatory are allowed to return to earth on All Souls Day. In Austria, they are said to wander the forests, praying for release. In Poland, they are said to visit their parish churches at midnight, where a light can be seen because of their presence. Afterward, they visit their families, and to make them welcome, a door or window is left open. In many places, a place is set for the dead at supper, or food is otherwise left out for them. (2)



In Mexico, there is the Festival of the Days of the Dead. This festival is over 3,000 years old, but now has Christian over-tones. (3)


The more we research, the more we discover that many, if not most, indigenous cultures had some type of feast day which honored those who died with a food offering.


The Dumb Supper was not originally part of the old Celtic tradition of Samhain, which dates back to the fifth century B.C.E. Samhain was originally called Trenae Samma and was the Celtic celebration of the end of the harvest. For three days, the Celts would feast, dance and make merry. Gradually, remembrance of those who had passed on during the previous 12 months came to be included. It was believed that for one night that signified the end of autumn and the beginning of winter, the dead could return to the land of the living to celebrate with their family, tribe or clan. (4)



Some practice the Silent Supper by shrouding everything in black, the table, chairs and so forth. The meal is eaten in a solemn manner. Others simply offer a plate of goodies and drink either on a table especially set up for the occasion or on the home altar. I practice the latter. I have an enclosed porch and so I prepare a tray of feast foods and drink and leave it on a table with candles. I sit by it for a while, in order to ‘greet my guests’. I have felt my father’s presence on more than one Simovane.


When we think of our ancestors, “we are reminded how human lovers tend to appreciate a blend of respect, passion, kindness, and quality time with each other. Plants enjoy a nice balance of sun, moisture, and healthy soil. The Buddha seems to have a taste for incense while the love goddesses may favor honey, flowers, and all things sweet. Just as we feed our human relationships with particular kinds of attention, engagement, and gifts, so can relationships with the ancestors be fed through the practice of making intentional offerings. Acts of ritual feeding may underscore a request we are making of our ancestors, convey gratitude for support already received, or just be a way of sustaining the intimacy of ongoing relationship.

As a general progression, it’s a good idea to first determine what kind of offering is called for. Then present the offering along with your intention, after which you may inquire as to whether the offering has been received well. Finally stay open to guidance or ripple effects such as intuitive communications, messages in dreams, or other signs from the ancestors. Physical offerings may include food, drink, coins, cloth, tobacco, ash, tears, stones and other found objects, flowers, fire, and creations made with our hands. Offerings to the ancestors may also take less physical forms such as song, dance, prayer, practices of healing and forgiveness, release of a pattern or relationship that no longer serves, and commitments undertaken for personal or collective good.

One specific practice that expresses the importance of making offerings is that of the spirit feast or ritual meal shared with the ancestors. After you have identified where you will share this meal with your beloved dead (e.g., a special place in nature, your ancestor shrine, at a cemetery) and what type of food and drink offerings they would enjoy from you, you are then ready to call them to be present. Again, the only “right way” to invoke your ancestors is whatever works for you. (5)


Another common practice on this night is divination, whether through the tarot, runes, pendulum or other forms.



My favorite prayer to end the Silent Supper is an haunting, consoling and beautiful prayer written by Silver Ravenwolf which may be found in a ritual from her book, Halloween. I keep my list of those who have died nearby so that I may recite their names at the proper time:

By the threads that still connect us,

by the silver cord unbroken,

by the love that is eternal

now (name list of loved ones who have passed beyond the veil), I will call you.

As the Western Gate stands open

to that land of golden sunsets.

In that peace that is unending

in that life that is eternal.

On this night of ancient wonder

where our souls can join together,

I’ll close my eyes and see you smiling

as I slowly reach to touch you,

in that land beyond the dawning

where your journey never ended

where the pathway still leads upward

on that circle laid through time.

May the moonlight guide your footsteps,

may the starlight be your pathway,

as we journey to the center

on this ancient night together.

When our souls can be united,

when our worlds are now the closest,

when the silence choirs our love

when the circle is unbroken.

By the mystery all surrounding

with this breath by which I call you,

in the flickering of the firelight,

I say your name(s) within my heart.

It echoes down through time unending

in the protection of this evening.

May your presences wash through me

and together we are one.

You, who have passed to another plane

(read names, again)

I remember you. (6)


Let us bless the Queen of Heaven.

Blessed is She.

Let us thank the Seven Great Geniae.

Thanks be to the Seven Genaie.


ArchMadria Pamela Lanides

1) Thank you to Shoshanna Marie Woods.

2) http://www.fisheaters.com/customstimeafterpentecost12ac.htm

3) http://www.azcentral.com/story/entertainment/holidays/day-of-the-dead/2014/09/24/day-of-the-dead-history/16174911/, http://www.pbs.org/foodancestor

4) http://www.paganlibrary.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=5

5) http://ancestralmedicine.org/five-ways-to-honor-your-ancestors/ (thanks to Sophia Ruth).

6) Silver Ravenwolf, in her book, Halloween, Customs, Recipes and Spells published by Llewellyn.




Important thealogy of the scary imagery


Oil Lamp Beauty by  forsakenraptor

All of the frightening images of goblins, witches, the use of the color black, ghosts etc. symbolizes the darkness of ignorance and being spiritually lost. It symbolizes the unknown which is illuminated by the light of the lanterns and the bonnie fire. Fire on Earth is directly linked to Spirit and the Holy Mother Mari as the supernal Sun. The lantern guides us along the pathway to our Divine Mother and Eternal Life.

Here is a nice list of symbolism, many of which also occur in our Faith.


One of our members, Sophia Ruth, has graciously shared with us many wonderful Simovane (Samhain) traditions of the British Isles. Thank you so much, Sophia Ruth, for this invaluable article.



There are many wonderful traditional foods for the Feast of the Ancestors. The caramel apples of New England are known as toffee apples in the British Isles. Both cultures share the traditions of apple dunking, the apple being the symbol of Eternal Life. The British game of snap apple is equivalent to the hanging donuts game of the U.S., and both cultures share the tradition of bobbing for apples. Many of our members place an apple on the home shrine or altar because it is a symbol for eternal life. Popcorn, candied corn, pumpkin cookies and pretty much pumpkin anything along with apple cider may round out the fare.


The idea of the thinning of the veil at this time of year pervades many cultures. As noted in the previous article, in Catholic Culture it was believed that the souls of purgatory were allowed out to visit their descendants on All Souls day. (2) Though in many cultures, it was not only good souls that we able to cross the veil and so these cultures had traditions in place which would protect against the evil spirits.


One such custom was the carving of white turnips in order to make them look like skulls. This was intended to scare away evil spirits and is the equivalent of our Jack O’ Lanterns carved from pumpkins.


[ During my childhood we did not have pumpkins. My mother would carve the biggest turnips from the garden. It was very hard flesh and needed a very sharp knife. As children we would draw a frightful face each and mother would carve that for us on our vegetable.
A small tea light candle would be lit inside them and they would be placed on the front garden wall if it was not too windy (otherwise on the front windowsill).

Turnip Carving: Carved pumpkins are a Halloween classic, but before these squashes came to Britain from America, the Scottish were carving turnips into lanterns. The story of Jack O’Lantern may have grown out of the practice of carving turnips into faces and placing candles inside, or vice-versa. The original idea was probably to frighten evil spirits away from the home. A bone-white turnip with its resemblance to a human skull would certainly look more frightening than the big orange pumpkins we carve today.
Photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/irishfireside/4805643407/


2016 autumn in Britain became tropical with pineapple carved lanterns.

We played apple games:
Apple ducking or bobbing

“The game is played by filling a tub or a large basin with water and putting apples in the water. Because apples are less dense than water, they will float at the surface. Players (usually children) then try to catch one with their teeth. Use of arms is not allowed.”
The person who catches an apple can either take it to bed and place it under their pillow, hoping to dream of their future best friend or if older their romantic partner. Or they could peal and eat it, the skin ribbon was circled 3 times sunwise around the head and thrown behind. Guess the initial of the alphabet and take a look. The initial of their future best friend or if older their romantic partner. As children we played this version, so that we could eat the apples!

Snap Apple

Either the washing line or rope suspended between two trees has apples suspended from it. The people are blindfolded and the first full bite meant that you could keep the apple.  We also played this version.
But not the following one.
“Today, some parents may keep their kids away from the tub of apples for fear of spreading germs, but bobbing for apples is a comparatively safe tradition when compared to another old apple-centric Halloween pastime: Snap Apple. In the game of Snap Apple, an apple was speared on one end of a stick while a lit candle was fixed at the other end. The stick was spun around, and the participants’ goal was to take a bite of the apple, avoiding a face full of hot candle wax—definitely not a game to play with kids!”

Snap apple night, or Halloween or Colcannon night.


Sophia Ruth]


“Until recently trick or treat was unknown in Scotland. Instead children here dressed up in old clothes, or pretended to be evil spirits and went guising. The custom traces back to a time when it was thought that by disguising children in this way they would blend in with the spirits that went abroad that night. Any such child who approached a house would be given an offering to ward off evil. These days children who knock on their neighbours doors have to sing for their supper. Or tell stories for a gift of sweets or money.”
In other areas of the British Isles, children were dressed in ragged old jumpers and jackets with strips of material hand sewn on. They would enact a little play on the doorstep about a good person saving someone from a ghost or monster for a biscuit or sweets!
“In parts of Scotland it was customary to throw a silver coin through the front door of the house on the morning of November the 1st. The coin had to remain hidden where it had fallen to bring luck in money matters concerning the house.”
We may incubate ancestral dreams. Simply create a question or statement like, “Ancestors, please share a message with me in my dreams.”
Or “Ancestors, please tell me a story about Grandma.” Or “Ancestors, how can I heal

_____ part of my life?”
Prayers of Gratitude:
“One does not evolve spiritually in a vacuum. The strength of one’s spiritual House depends on the integrity of one’s lineage. By this, I mean being in right relationship with our ancestors. This is attained by honoring them regularly, rightly, and well. One’s ancestors and the vaettir of our world can assist us in our journey and in our spiritual Work. We can learn much from them but only if we empower them to act with us. A brick house requires many separate bricks to be built. Bricks cannot be secured without mortar. Paying homage to one’s ancestors and the spirits of the land is the mortar and clay from which those bricks are formed. We begin in the physical because we are physical beings. Our own physicality, the sense of touch, of sight, sound, smell, and hearing are the primary filters through which we experience our world. The first step in growing strong and whole and heal in this tradition, is honoring those who have struggled to do exactly that before us. This process is helped by the fact that many spirits choose to stay as guides/watchers and protectors.”
Seed Scattering Charm for the Ancestors:
“This simple charm is designed to honour the Spirit of those who have passed onto the Summerland. The seeds you scatter will grow in memory, a gift of remembrance to the Earth.

You will need:

A packet of seeds of your choice

A small dish

A small white candle in a suitable holder

A pouch or bag for your seeds

The night before your Seed Scattering Charm, pop the seeds into the dish and light the candle. Think about the person or people you wish to honour and remember, and as you do so say ‘gone from sight but not from the heart. Merry Meet Merry Part.’ Or you can use your own words. Leave the seeds in the dish overnight and let the candle burn down completely – always taking safety precautions. When you are ready place the seeds in your pouch and hold the pouch in your right hand on the way to a place of your choosing. On arrival take the seeds and scatter them, saying ‘You are remembered and held in my heart’. Repeat three times.

Where to do this? You can go to a favourite special place of your choice, a place that holds fond memories of the people you are honouring, or even your own garden – the idea of watching the seeds germinating and growing in honour of people you love is very special.

The charm works just as well if you plant the seeds in a small pot.
Charm donated with generous heart by the Counter Enchantress.”
“The Ivy Leaf:
Each member of the family places a perfect ivy leaf into a cup of water and it is then left undisturbed overnight. If, in the morning, a leaf is still perfect and has not developed any spots then the person who placed the leaf in the cup can be sure of 12 months health until the following Halloween. If not….. ”
The Acorn is the seed of the great Oak, representing wisdom, longevity, rebirth – a promise of strength to come. An acorn in your pocket is an amulet of good fortune to come.”


May Dea’s Face shine upon those who have passed beyond the veil.

We wish our ancestors who visit us this night, Hail and Welcome. We remember you, always.




This year The Feast of Ancestors was especially relevant, as my human birth Mother passed between the veils this Summer. I set up my altar early with her Italian Millefiori Micro Mosaic flower brooch, also the enamel 5 petaled flower pendant ( I think of as a dianthus flower for our Great Mother) which I wore to my Mom’s Life Celebration Service and Party. The ear of barley is from a walk my Dad and I took on Father’s Day before we knew that Mom was in the last days of life. This is the first altar setting that I have had with all the 5 sacred symbol pendants of our Janite Deanic faith. The altar cloth is a commission from Rosalind of https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/MyfanwysAppliques in Haverfordwest, Wales. I conducted my silent supper early too. On the actual day I was on a 2 stage journey to visit my Dad. My bonnie fire (good fire) was as usual in England around November 5th / 4th Samhain, it came via a delightful invitation, from one of the married couple who run the nursing home, that my Mom lived in. The bonnie fire (good fire) was on the grass lawn surrounded by specimen broad leaf trees. It was wonderful to be surrounded by the carers and their grandchildren. Sharing and making happy memories.


I later purchased my Dea candle stick and Janati candle stick to add to my altar.

style-of-walther-sohne-pink-heart-shaped-1930s-candlestick bagley-amber-angel-wing-shaped-1930s-candlestick

In the style of Walther & Sohne pink glass heart shaped 1930s candlestick

Bagley amber glass angel wing shaped 1930s candlestick

Janite Deanic Altar Instructions

Images of Dea and the Janati may be pictures, icons or statues. Devotees may have one image or many according to desire.

The altar is placed in the East or as close as possible to the East. The devotee or priestess should be facing East when facing the altar.

Two main altar candles are placed at the back of the altar. These may be in the form of oil lamps or candle lamps.


A central candle for Dea is placed in the middle of the altar. One Janati candle should be placed in something silver. I use the silver tree sold by Yankee Candle as shown above. It can also be a simple silver candle holder or it can have other forms that might be symbolic of the Janati. The Janati candle is placed to the right of the altar.

On the altar should be a bowl of holy water, a vial of holy oil and incense (unless one is allergic to incense.)

The altar cloth is always the Elemental color of the Season. In the Deanic Faith, the color for Fall is Green, for Earth. Priestesses will accent their white dresses/robes with the liturgical colors which are the colors of the Jana of the Season. For Fall, the liturgical colors are blue and purple for Madria Thema. So, a priestess might wear a sash, shawl or scarf/mantilla/chapel veil in either purple or blue colors or both.

During liturgy or ritual, the ‘patene’ or sacred plate of bread, which is placed to the right and the chalice of white wine, on the left.