How to: Samhain Bread

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups white sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 (15 ounce) canned pumpkin or pumpkin pie filling for a sweeter bread

1/3 cup water

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Additionally: Allspice

Mix wet and dry ingredients together. Fold in walnuts. Separate into two greased bread pans and bake at 350F. Bake until golden and springy.

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Samhain (pronounced Sow-in), is the final harvest festival on the Wheel of the Year and marks the beginning of winter. It begins at Sunset on October 31st and ends the same time the evening of November 1st. It is the time at which light fades and we prepare for the dark winter, a time when the dead return to us to feast and celebrate together. An extra place setting is made for our ancestors and placed either at the table or on an ancestral altar where we also place small portions of the meal. Samhain is also a perfect time for divination and spell-work focusing on change, as the cycle of death and rebirth is felt more keenly at this time.

Although Samhain and Hallowe’en are not the same holiday, many Hallowe’en traditions do come from these pagan celebrations. Similar also is the Mexican Day of the Dead.

We remember that the gifts of the Earth are not our entitled right, but exemplify the give and take of what we owe to each other. We remember the three-fold law: that all things we release will return to us three times. We remember that we are as much nature as the crops, and for this we are thankful.