And now we step into the darker side of the wheel. Into the days of roots and stones and antlers and bones. A time to shed what we no longer need to carry, and to squirrel away what will carry us through the cold months ahead.
Samhain, Hallowe’en, Witches New Year…there are many names for this liminal time. For these in-between days when the veils are thinnest. We are now exactly half-way between the Fall Equinox and the Winter Solstice. This is a potent time of magic and transformation. A time that asks us to send our energy downward. Into our roots. Into the Underworld.
Homemade wreaths and swags have long been prescribed by folklore as talismans to protect the thresholds our homes. This simple wreath is a lovely way to enchant your space with protection and abundance for the darker days ahead, and to quietly honor the natural cycles of life and death.
I spent a few minutes wandering through the garden, clipping hearty herbs that had managed to escape the morning frosts, and departed flowers that had dried on their stalks. I used whatever called out to me. Rosemary for remembrance and protection. Lavender for a restful hibernation. Yarrow to shield against melancholy. Eucalyptus to remove negativity. Black feathers because they just kept appearing in my path. I highly recommend wandering through your own yard or neighborhood and taking small clippings of whatever catches your eye. Let your intuition guide you. Don’t worry if they are dead or faded, they will look beautiful. I also had a few pomegranates rolling around our kitchen fruit bowl, which I included to honor Persephone’s decent into the Underworld.
This quiet ritual takes just a few minutes and is best performed with a steaming pot of tea and a few glowing candles. There are no rules or complicated steps. No incantations to recite. Just plants and herbs and a few moments of quiet intention.
Wishing you all a magical, mystical Samhain, dear ones.
Wreath base (I picked this one up years ago for just a few dollars at a craft store. Every few months I change out the flowers and herbs to honor the changing seasons.)
Foraged herbs and flowers
Pomegranate + small kabob dowel (optional)
Wire (whatever you have laying around.)
Once you have gathered your clippings, start by playing around with the overall layout for your design. At this point you can just loosely stick them into your wreath base (not securing them yet) so you can easily experiment with what looks good where. Trim the clippings to size if needed, leaving enough stem to secure them to the base later. I find it’s easiest to start with the larger elements, and then weave in the smaller clippings to fill in the gaps. Like I said, there are no rules here. Just play with combining colors and textures until it starts to feel right. As you are working, see if you can tap into the energy of each plant. Notice the beauty of weaving together the natural cycles of life and death.
Once you have settled on the placement of your clippings, begin securing with wire as needed. With this particular style of wreath, I was able to secure most of the stems simply by pushing them firmly into the base as far as they would go. During this stage, I like to visualize the intentions and feelings I am calling in and weave them into my wreath. If you are calling in protection and abundance, for example, visualize yourself in your cozy home, safe from the wind and rain, with a cup of tea and everything you need.
If you are attaching larger fruit like pomegranates or apples, insert the sharp side of the kabob dowel firmly into the bottom of the fruit. This gives the fruit a nice long stem to securely stick into the base of your wreath. Watch out for the few drops of pomegranate juice that may escape…they stain big time.
Stick the doweled fruit into the base of your wreath. Cut about an arms length of wire and begin wrapping it around the dowel and the wreath base to secure it.
As you are working, hold your wreath up from the top center point (where it will hang) every few minutes to make sure the weight and balance are evenly distributed. You may find as you do this that certain elements need to be additionally secured or moved to keep from falling out. I found that 2 pomegranites was simply too heavy and ended up removing one. Perhaps you use these moments to reflect on the balance in your own life. Does anything need to be adjusted or redistributed?
Once everything is safely secured, you are ready to hang your wreath. I like to visualize a shield of protection as I hang the wreath on my front door. Maybe ring a bell or blow out your candle to complete the ritual. Whatever feels right.