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Saturday, November 01, 2008

All Hallows Eve

Bide The Wiccan Law Ye Must,
In Perfect Love, In Perfect Trust.
Eight Words The Wiccan Rede Fulfill:
An Ye Harm None, Do As Ye Will.
And Ever Mind The Rule Of Three:
What Ye Send Out, Comes Back To Thee.
Follow This With Mind And Heart,
And Merry Ye Meet, And Merry Ye Part.

By Beth

Oh there you are come gather around this friendly balefire. Don’t the flames smell absolutely wonderful, burning brightly with the woods of apple, oak and ash and scented with fresh branches of lavender , wild sage and rosemary? It’s a beautiful evening , cool and crisp and I’ve laid bales of fragrant fresh hay all around where we can sit. The waxing crescent moon is hanging by a silvery thread in the sky and the woods are quiet, except for the disconcerting sense that we are not alone. I’ve brought homemade ale which is laced with nutmeg , fresh honey and apples. The tureen is filled with steaming hot pumpkin soup, laced with curry and cumin and the last of the season’s sweet corn is roasting by the edges of the fire waiting to be drenched in the melted butter that has been laced with the disarmingly sexual flavor of black truffles and salt.
Because it’s Halloween, I have to have candy corn and homemade spicy caramel apples!

The winds are stirring tonight and if you listen carefully they will tell you anything that you need to know. Take a deep breath, notice the smells that come to you. Yes, we are in the deep woods and there are the familiar sounds of animals curling in the brush and the smells of wet leaves, rutting deer and apples . The animal that is me is also aware of fragrances that don’t belong. Sweet smells that I don’t recognize, strange skin scents and pungent , decaying smells that make the hairs stand up on the back of my neck . An owl flies past silently as they are prone to do, wings strong and the shriek of it’s prey breaks the still night. It is all part of the great dance among the strands of the web of life. Tonight is All Hallows eve and the veil between the worlds is so very thin. It’s true, you are closer to the dead tonight than any other time of the year. Dead ancestors, dead dreams, I know that for many the mysterious end to that which we call life is truly frightening, but I’ve always thought the latter to be much scarier. My mother whose memory I honor tonight used to tell me that those who are afraid to die are instead truly terrified to live. I remember once kissing a man and knowing immediately that his soul was dead. His cruel lips pulled the air from my lungs, his fairly vampiric essence flooded my veins and in that instant I knew. I ran away fast, scared for my very life. There is no smell on earth more putrid than the scent of the living dead. It’s not a scent I’ve ever forgotten. Sometimes by the time you’ve figured it out it’s too late. Sometimes you have to die a bit yourself before you learn the lesson.

Halloween is a special time for’s the time of year that I simply stop and remember everything and especially in this year which has been filled with unexpected endings I feel the need for pause. Samhain or as you’ll know it , “Halloween”, is the Wiccan New Year and I am a witch. I really do believe in magic. Halloween is my time for deep reflection and divination, the time to honor endings and a time for us all to cast powerful new wishes. Tonight we’ll look to the night sky to dream of peace and a prosperous world. Our creed is to harm none, we are the keepers of the earths secrets. For years we’ve been the healers, the herbalists and the perfumers who walk unnoticed among you. We tend the gardens. We mix the potions that make life just a bit more interesting. For years we’ve lived cloaked in secrecy, afraid to be known.
No longer.

Please don’t be afraid and be filled with the knowing that there is no magic without love and don’t be fooled. We are all capable of bewitching, some of us just come by it a bit more naturally then others. The very nature of magic is enchanting. The true nature of enchantment is sweet fun. Yes we witches are mischievous, but it’s born from a deep need to celebrate life. This is the one time of year when the beginning and end of the wheel of life meet, so you can hardly blame us for wanting to have a bit of fun! We love to dress up, all that black is simply good for a bit of mysterious, good-natured fun. I for one cannot resist a flowing cape of any kind or deep smoky black eyeliner worn like Kim Novak in the classic movie, Bell, Book and Candle and I have to wear velvet as much as possible. I use my makeup to cast a spell of seduction and power or sometimes to be invisible. I adore talismans of all kinds, crystals and gems and I stuff my pockets with acorns and pennies, rocks and feathers that I cannot resist picking up for unexplained reasons. I have an almost unnatural love of cats. In the playful words of my favorite movie “Practical Magic” lies what I believe to be a simple truth, ” that there is a little witch in every woman”. I believe that there’s a little witch in every man too, I’m married to one. I found the only man in the world that I couldn’t control and then I married him. He enchanted me the instant I saw him, I’ve been incredibly spellbound by him for almost 30 years. He lets me tempt him over and over again with the most delightfully fragrant potions, he in turn entices me to believe that I am the most beautiful woman alive. By now all of you know just how much I love perfume and I use it abundantly like we all do, to bring about a mood, to cast a spell, to enchant, to allure, to weave a story. Tonight I’m wearing Annick Goutal’s very sexy , very witchy Mandragore , a scent which my husband adores. I love it’s strangely metallic, almost bloody yet warm blend of bergamot, black pepper and spearmint layered with boxwood, sage , pink peppercorn, star anise and ginger. The musky , sexual allure of Mandragore comes from the alchemical presence of the European mandrake which has been used for centuries as a powerful narcotic and an aphrodisiac, as well as to promote fertility and cure impotence. It’s perfect for an evening such as this one where we are playing with all of our senses.

Yes, sometimes I think that people are afraid of witches simply because our very nature is bestial, sensual and earthy. No, I will not steal your husband or seduce your son. Be warned though , I may flirt with them a bit and I’ll probably flirt with you too. I can’t help myself, I love to tease and provoke using inspiration as my wand and love as my muse. As a delicious southern enchantress I know is fond of telling her husband, “Darlin, I don’t care where you get your appetite as long as you come home to eat”. I don’t mean you any harm and my wish for you is unbridled passion and joy. Magic for me is happiness, playfulness and tenderness. It’s about knowing that there are some things that you can control and many things that you can’t. It’s about acceptance and taking care of others as you would want to be cared for yourself. It’s about living powerfully with all in the world , not being afraid to see all that the world has to offer. It’s about being at peace with the duelistic nature of creativity and destruction. It’s about creating your own reality, not waiting for it or someone else to create you.

So dance with me for a bit, come find your inner witch. For you I’ve brought a sterling mug filled with my favorite brew. Be careful it’s very very hot. It’s made from steaming milk and fragrant dark chocolate, agave nectar, allspice, cinnamon, a touch of vanilla for passion and a lusty shot of tequila to enable you see between the worlds.

Sip it slowly , savor it’s smoky aroma and tell me, What would you like to create this year?

Annick Goutal Mandragore can be found at Saks Fifth Avenue

Photograph of Mandragore from Painting by John William Waterhouse

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Blogger waftbyCarol said...

Beauifully written...I was there , it was so real . I brought some frogs breath and eye of newt , for the potion that brings abundance and peace to our troubled world...I am wearing Chanel Cuir de Russie...and a leopard skin with nothing underneath !!

1:42 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


2:41 PM EDT  
Blogger ScentScelf said...

Very much enjoyed reading your was the inspiration behind me putting on Mandragore today, which I usually associate with warmer weather (and enjoy quite a bit)...

LOL at the line about where to bring your appetite. Will try to create your potion later today. :)

5:05 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovely explanation of Wiccan life, Beth! Thank you!

Yesterday I was trying to think of an appropriate scent for Halloween/Samhain. First I thought smoky or amber, but then it hit perfect! Full of the playfulness and magic that we associate with this holiday.

Then this morning, I was watching the new Disney movie, Tinkerbell, with my 9 yo daughter, and wondered what was the perfect 'fairy' scent. (I admit, I am obssessed :~) Again, I arrived at Mandragore and it indeed conjured images of little flying magic folk.

I will turn to it again when I feel a need for a bit more magic in my life.

Blessed be!


7:39 PM EDT  
Blogger Janet said...

wow! I loved this, thank you so much for sharing :-)

7:45 PM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

Your post was a joy to read! Thank you! The world seems sadly deficient in good magic these days. I'm glad you're out there and doing your part to remedy that.

8:47 PM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

Wow, Beth, that is exactly what I always thought being a witch SHOULD be like! Magnificent and magical prose! If I am caught out dancing in front of a bonfire dressed in naught but a velvet cape, I will have you to blame. :-)

I am wearing my Black Widow Perfume this weekend, it is warm and spicy and heavy with nutmeg, and it turns very sexy on the skin and lasts for hours. Perhaps I can do some enchanting of my own...

1:13 AM EST  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...


I'm so glad that you liked it. Love the leopard skin too,
How beautiful! Your addtions to our spell will bring about success I am sure!

Thank you,

7:38 AM EST  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...


Thank you! Your praise always makes me so happy!


7:39 AM EST  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...


I'm so glad that you've enjoyed the post! I hope that you have fun with the brew. It's a very traditional Mexican Day of the Dead potion so if you need help with proportions you should be able to find it anywhere, but feel free to email me and I'll send you mine!

7:43 AM EST  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...


Thank you very much! I am glad that you enjoyed my writing. It was a tough job, yet a lot of fun to distill those thoughts into words that could cross into other realities. Funny that you were thinking smoke and amber. The other things that I almost put on was Annick Goutal's new Amber Fetiche....If you haven't tried it, it's fabulous but just didn't feel quite right for the season.
How much fun to have a darling daughter! Enjoy!

Blessed Be!


7:48 AM EST  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...


You are so very welcome! I am so glad that you enjoyed it!

7:50 AM EST  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...


Thank you so very much! Right now, I'm concentrating on the election! So much of life as we all know it depends on Tuesdays outcome!

I am so glad that you enjoyed the article!

7:52 AM EST  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...


That is something that I will happily take responsibility for! I am so glad that you enjoyed the writing, it was a fun piece to work on. I totally need to find the Black Widow that you are referring to. Where can I find it?

See you around the fire!


7:56 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dearest B.,

You miss the ground. You will soon have your own plot again, tho it's always been within you. Like Vampires, we cling to the theobromine dirt of our mother lands-all of them! It is the essence of life itself and your article surveyed that sentiment well.


12:50 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this homage to Mandragore. I really love it, though I wish it was a bit stronger and longer lasting. I put some on today due to you making me think about it. I must light some candles today for Dia de los Muertos, in honor of some very dearly departed.

Some of you may know that there is a sweet bread made in Mexico for Dia de los Muertos which is flavored with orange flower water (it's a really wonderful flavor), so I also associate that scent/flavor with this day.

5:35 PM EST  
Blogger Flora said...

Beth, Black Widow is only sold on the "Web" as far as I know, here is the link:

It's "cologne" strength but that's plenty. :-)

12:48 AM EST  
Blogger Lodestone and Ladys Mantle said...

Happy (belated) Samhain to you. Really enjoyed the post, can't wait to grab a bottle! :F

1:51 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovely post, thank you for the pleasure of reading it!

4:45 AM EST  
Blogger Unknown said...

Blessed be, and Happy New Year!

love Stella

1:58 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOVE this post. This is why I come back to this blog over and over - but as a another witchy gal, I liked this post most of all.

3:02 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hello beth, lunarose here.

"I remember once kissing a man and knowing immediately that his soul was dead. His cruel lips pulled the air from my lungs, his fairly vampiric essence flooded my veins and in that instant I knew. I ran away fast, scared for my very life. There is no smell on earth more putrid than the scent of the living dead. It’s not a scent I’ve ever forgotten."

oh, this brings back memories for me. it's actually comforting that other people have had a similar experience.

i was spiritually involved with a group of women, one of who was dying of cancer and not happy about it. her approach was to seductively guilt-trip and entrap others in the group in order that she could get some emotional tenter-hooks into them and suck out their life force (needless to say, without the suck-ees permission or consent).

i avoided her as much as possible. shortly after she died, several times in my room (where the group had occasionally met) i was assaulted by a horrible smell of rotting flesh, and felt her presence very strongly, almost tactile-ly. i remained neutral, smudged with white sage, and wished her well - i wished her the strength to let go and move on.

this only happened 3 - 4 times, but it was truly one of the creepier experiences i've had. also so sad that a person could become so mistaken about their soul's purpose. thank you for posting your experience, as i think it's helpful for people to know about these things in order to trust their own feelings.

and thank you for a lovely evocation of the magical life!

4:14 PM EST  

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