Celebrate Samhain 2011

This past Saturday, October 22, 2011, was the 6th annual Celebrate Samhain event in Peterborough, NH. I’m so happy I was able to attend the event again this year. Organizers Kevin and Jess, with a staff of enthusiastic volunteers, once again put together an event that is fun not only for attendees, but for vendors and presenters as well. As much as I like The Peterborough Unitarian Universalist Church’s building, Celebrate Samhain may be so successful that it’s outgrowing its current home!

So what all did I see and do at this year’s event? Not as much as I would have liked. The presenter schedule was jammed packed, so I ended up missing Raven Grimassi’s presentation “Old World Witchcraft” in order to eat some lunch and finish shopping. And when I’m saying I missed Raven Grimassi, well that tells you just how much awesome stuff was going on!

Let’s talk shopping because this year I actually came with a shopping list. By the end of the day Jim and I had almost all of our Christmas and Hanukkah shopping done! We started at Dawn Hunt’s Cucina Aurora Kitchen Witchery table. Not only did Dawn have all of her delicious oils and spice blends, but she had brand spanking new glass plates and mugs hand etched with Celtic knots, and other witchy things. On top of all the edibles we bought Jim decided he wanted a glass mug that reads “Kitchen Witch” to be his new morning coffee mug. Since Jim takes his morning coffee very seriously, this purchase speaks volumes about the awesomeness of these new Cucina Aurora mugs.

Dawn Hunt of Cucina Aurora

Next up were our friends at FairySpa who continue to not only create wonderful, all natural, small batch blended lotions, washes, and fragrances, but they keep adding new products too! They recently launched a whole men’s line that appears to be doing well. I picked up another bottle of their Intense Lotion for me because I LOVE it! I did some other shopping, but since most of what was purchased is for readers of this site, I can’t get into details.

Just a sampling of some of the products from FairySpa.

I got a chance to visit with the great folks at the Temple of Witchcraft table. For those of you interested in attending Templefest 2012, mark your calendars! The 2012 Templefest will be on Saturday June 23rd. I had a great time there last year! But in the surprise news of the event for me, I learned that Christopher Penczak along with Raven and Stephanie Grimassi are doing a “Pagan Dream Cruise” January 19, 2013! It’s a 7 day cruise of the western Caribbean that will feature 4 classes, meditations, a cocktail party with open bar with the three of them, along with all the other cool stuff that comes with cruising. I couldn’t believe it! If you’re interested you can contact Liz Mardis at Books, Beans, & Candles at 205-617-2089.

Some of the friendly folks from The Temple of Witchcraft
Haunted Wood Crafts

Jim and I visited Mike Dolan at his Haunted Wood Crafts table. As usual he had some fantastic new wands to show off along with a dizzying selection of of runes. The big thing for me was the inclusion of traditional tarot images on wood. By an odd coincidence he had a small framed Hanged Man, and that is my favorite tarot card! So that little guy came home with me!

The Hanged Man from Haunted Wood Crafts

My last bit of shopping was probably my favorite of the day. After conversations online and the interview for the site, I got to meet Judika Illes. Everybody told me that Judika is incredibly nice, and they weren’t wrong. She is so friendly and sweet, if I didn’t already adore her, I would now. Instead I am just assured and stable in my state of adore-her-ness. I got to pick up a copy of her book “The Weiser Field Guide to Witches” and her latest book “Encyclopedia of Mystics, Saints, and Sages”. I’m super excited about both of them so I suspect you’ll hear about them again on the site at some point.

In a side note, I did manage to resist temptation and not buy anything from the Pentacle Press/Muse Gifts & Books tables. They had a lot of great stuff there so it was pretty tough to resist, but somehow I managed….. this time.

Some of the things I resisted purchasing from Pentacle Press and Muse Gifts & Books.

Okay, now let’s talk presentations. After missing her last year I made a point to see Dawn Hunt’s presentation “Cooking with Heirloom Magick”. For a presentation she admitted to still be polishing, it was an interesting and entertaining time. For starters, she fed us banana muffins! Yum! She went on to talk about cooking and how it can connect us to our ancestors. Dawn speaks with a lot of heart, if you get a chance to attend one of her workshops (she’s at Muse Gifts & Books in December) definitely go.

Dawn Hunt taking questions.

The next presentation I attended was Christopher Penczak’s “The Dark Garden of the Witch”. Much like last year I was amazed at the wealth of information that he has accumulated (Seriously, does the guy ever sleep?) and the ease at which he can present it to an audience. Also, I was impressed with the subject matter, which was working with the baneful side of herbalism and plant magic. When the speaker gets to look at the audience and say, “This will kill you dead.”, well, you get props from me for going there.

Christopher Penczak addressing the group.

The last presentation I attended was Judika Illes “The Secrets of Successful Spellcasting”. This is what you call “as advertised” since for an hour Judika Illes spoke about ways to be successful when casting spells. Her presentation was reassuring and accessible. There was information there for someone who has never tried casting a spell, but also some thoughts for those who are well practiced. I found it interesting, inspiring, and entertaining. Did I mention that whole “I adore her” thing?

Judika Illes, so magical that her hand is out of focus.

At this point I was 100% exhausted so with great regret I left before getting to see Frenchy and the Punk (formerly The Gypsy Nomads) perform. However I don’t need to have been in attendance to know that without a doubt they kicked ass.

If you’re anywhere in the general vicinity of Peterborough, NH you absolutely must attend Celebrate Samhain. I can’t imagine a better event than what these guys put together.