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Home > Holidays > Samhain > Child's Lesson Search

Samhain: A Lesson Outline
for Pagan Children

by Elspeth Sapphire

Here is an edited version of my Samhain lesson...edited because I took out any copyrighted material, such as chants. Plus, I paused every now and then to encourage the kids to discuss the material and tell me what they thought about it.

[Image of Jack-o-lanterns on the doorstep]Samhain or Hallows is the Celtic New Year. (I stopped for a moment to explain the pronouncation of Samhain.) It is one of the great sabbats, opposite Beltane in the Wheel of the Year. As well as being the New Year for us, it is the time of the third and final harvest. (Discussed a bit about how crops ripen at different times and how this is a good thing... makes harvesting easier.) This symbolized by apple and other late autummn crops.

Apple trees were wassailed and toasted with apple juice. The giving of apples to trick or treaters has been passed down from the original beggin' that was done from house to house. Apples have become an important part of modern Halloween parties. Think for a moment. Where would we be without candied apples or apple cider? How many have played games like bobbing for apples or an apple on a string? (We paused here to talk to the kids about other uses for apples.)

Apples are also magical, as any good kitchen witch will tell you. Folk magic abounds with uses for the apple, in everything from cooking to spells. Everyone grew up hearing about "an apple a day -" (Talked a bit about how a visit from the doctor wasn't a good thing in times past.) Cut an apple in half horizonally and what you find? A five pointed star. (Did it for them.)

Samhain also celebrates endings, and as such death. It is the transition from light to dark. The growing time is over for this turn of the Wheel and the Earth sleeps. This is the time when we say good-bye to those who have left this existence. Yet it is not a time of sadness. One way to celebrate with the Dead is to have a Dumb Supper. This can take many forms. It can be as simple as cakes and wine set out on Samhain, or as complex as a formal supper in the circle. This reminds us that death is as important a part of the cycle as life. (Paused to talk about the death and life.)

The final side of Samhain is a time of divination. (define for kids) The Veil between our world and the world of the spirits thins. This makes it a wonderful time to try to see the future and to contact the spirits. Methods for doing this varies from the ouija board to simply inviting them into the circle. Picture of Trick-or-Treater

Think for a moment about why we wear costumes and masks. By donning a mask, we become someone other than ourselves. We can become a princess or a cowboy or a policeman. By donning a mask with a sun face or scattered with stars, we become part of the spirit of the God or Goddess.

We then talked about stereotypes of Halloween...where they came from and what they became. The stereotype witch with the tall black hat came from the Crone. All the other stereotypes, such as cat and broom have explanations. The cauldron, for example, is taken from the large pot used in the kitchen, for most witches were kitchen witches, and all of their tools came from items in use. We also touched lightly on the fact that jack-o-lanterns were made from turnips and were representatives of Jack-in-the-green. Picture of a Jack-o-Lantern

Next, we drew pictures of what this time of the year meant to us. Each child got up to explain their pictures.

Finally, I had the kids write or draw about something that has ended or that you want to let go of. (For example, a bad habit) Fold the paper and empower it. I then gathered them together to burn in the Samhain fire.

For more information on Samhain (Halloween),
visit The Cauldron's Samhain Page

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