Fall 2012 Celebrating Samhain!!
Willow Moon Herbals, LLC

Celebrating Samhain!

Welcome to our seasonal newsletter! 

As newsletters go, this one is decidedly late due to Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy visiting NJ on Oct 29 and plunging several million people in the NJ/NY/CT tristate area into complete darkness and chaos.  In case you are not aware, the Jersey shore is forever changed, with several towns nearly wiped off the map and many of the historic boardwalks destroyed along with folks's primary homes.  In a curious twist, Lucy the Elephant in Margate, NJ is still standing and reopened today.   

Amid all this chaos, I am one of the lucky ones because my power was restored after 4 days.  13 days into this catastrophe, much of Morris county and huge swatches of  NJ still remain without power, with the average night-time temps being in the low-to-mid 20's.  Throughout the state, trees are still entangled with powerlines, and many roads remain blocked.  A new FEMA center just opened today in Broadway, NJ (Warren county).  Schools are still closed, and even Doctors Without Borders, the International humanitarian-aid group best known for conducting emergency health care interventions in war-torn countries, set up a makeshift clinic for Hurricane Sandy victims in one of New York’s worst-hit communities, The Rockaways.    Transition energies have certainly grabbed our attention!

Hurricane Sandy's arrival at Samhain - followed closely by Winter Storm Athena - does not feel like a coincidence.  Samhain is often referred to as the Celtic New Year - it marked the end of Summer and the beginning of the fallow time of year when the Crone aspect of the Goddess was celebrated.  Traditionally, it was a time to embrace the darkness, the chaos, the death cycle of plants and nature.  It is the time of year to follow the pattern that the trees follow:  slowly and steadily shed our outer ornaments, thicken out our skins as the tree bark does to prepare for the coming bitter winds, ice and snow, and pull our energies within.   Slowing, Rooting and Releasing is the order for the fall, and Samhain is the pause between.  

At one time in pre-recorded history, Halloween, All Soul's Day, and The Day of the Dead were considered a three-day month all to itself, and it stood apart from the rest of the year. 
"Freeing the passage of three sunrises and sunsets from the written calendar added to the otherworldly feel of this triad of days.  Indeed, unbound from a predictable, calendric rhythm, these three days inspired devotion to the unknowable and invisible, the chaotic and surprising."  Pausing exists in the most basic rhythms of nature and the universe.  Just as the waves at the shore have a distinct yet brief 'pause' between inwave and outwave, so does our breathing have a distinct 'pause' between our inbreath and our outbreath.  So, as we come to the end of another yearly cycle, it is most fitting that we stop briefly and embrace the void between one year and the next.

Green Blessings!
Donna at Willow Moon Herbals

In this issue:


Celebrating Samhain!

"Samhain (pronounced Sow-en), dates back to the ancient Celts who lived 2,000 years ago. Contrary to what some believe, is not a celebration of a Celtic god of the dead. Instead, it is a Celtic word meaning "summer's end." The Celts believed that summer came to an end on October 31st and the New Year began on November 1st with the start of winter. But the Celts also followed a lunar calendar and their celebrations began at sunset the night before.
Many today see Halloween as the pagan holiday. But that's not really accurate. As the pagan holiday of Samhain is on November 1st. But their celebrations did and still do, start at sunset on October 31st, on Samhain Eve. During the day on October 31st, the fires within the home are extinguished. Often families would engage in a good "fall" cleaning to clear out the old and make way for the new. Starting the winter months with fresh and clean household items.
At sunset on October 31, clans or local villages begin the formal ceremonies of Samhain by lighting a giant bonfire. The people would gather around the fire to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. It was a method of giving the Gods and Goddesses their share of the previous years herd or crops. In addition these sacred fires were a big part of the cleansing of the old year and a method to prepare for the coming new year.
During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, and danced around the bonfire. Many of these dances told stories or played out the cycles of life and death or commemorated the cycle of Wheel of Life. These costumes were adorned for three primary reasons. Remembering our Transitioned Loved Ones
The first was to honor the dead who were allowed to rise from the Otherworld. The Celts believed that souls were set free from the land of the dead during the eve of Samhain. Those that had been trapped in the bodies of animals were released by the Lord of the Dead and sent to their new incarnations. The wearing of these costumes signified the release of these souls into the physical world.
Not all of these souls were honored and respected. Some were also feared as they would return to the physical world and destroy crops, hide livestock or 'haunt' the living who may have done them wrong. The second reason for these traditional costumes was to hide from these malevolent spirits to escape their trickery.
The third representation was a method to honor the Celtic Gods and Goddesses of the harvest, fields and flocks. Giving thanks and homage to those deities who assisted the village or clan through the trials and tribulations of the previous year. And to ask for their favor during the coming year and the harsh winter months that were approaching.
In addition to celebrations and dance, it was believed that this thin veil between the physical world and the Otherworld provided extra energy for communications between the living and the dead. With these communications, Druid Priests, and Celtic Shamans would attempted to tell the fortunes of individual people through a variety of methods. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter. "

Samhain Sweet Potato Pumpkin Soup
2  sweet potatoes or yams, peeled or scrubbed, and diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBS. butter or olive oil
4-6 cups vegetable broth or stock
1/3 cup canned or fresh cooked pumpkin
Freshly grated nutmeg and ginger to taste
Salt to taste (optional)
1/2 cup light cream

Cook the potatoes, onion and garlic in the butter or olive oil for several minutes until slightly golden.  Add broth or vegetable stock to cover vegetables and bring to a boil.  Simmer until potatoes are soft, about 25 minutes.

Add the pumpkin, nutmeg, ginger and salt and puree this mixgture in batches in a blender or food processor.  Add in the cream and return the mixture to the saucepan.  heat, thinning with more broth if necessary, to make a creamy soup.  Serve in small pumpkins, with a dollop of sour cream, if desired.

(Sources:  "Herbal Rituals" by Judith Berger;; "Celebrating the Great Mother" by Cait Johnson and Maura D. Shaw;)


Note: Any remedies or information listed on this newsletter are from historical references and used for teaching/educational purposes only. The contents are not meant to diagnose, treat, prescribe, cure or substitute consultation with a licensed health-care professional. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.


 Holistic Consciousness of OneHolistic Consciousness of One!

A new Holistic Practitioners support and Community networking group in Chester, NJ!

Finding a home within the historic business district of Chester enables the Holistic Consciousness of One to reach out to and provide a central meeting place for holistic practitioners and folks interested in learning more about holistic modalities within the surrounding communities.  Meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month from 7:00PM - 8:45 PM.

So spread the word!  Come and join us as we support each other and work collectively to promote all holistic healing modalities and build our Holistic Community.  Visit their website for updates, community events and speaker schedules:

RSVP to Sue at The Art of the Heart, 908/879-3937 or 


Currently Scheduled Classes
NOTE:  We are booking classes for 2013, and taking a much needed 'pause' as 2012 comes to a close. 
Look for new classes beginning January 2013!

Unless noted otherwise, RSVP by email to: or call 201/650-7500.  Checks can be made out to Willow Moon Herbals and mailed to PO Box 147, Schooley’s Mtn, NJ 07870, or visit our website and use PayPal to register.  Remember to bring the receipt with you.

Classes at The Art of the Heart in Chester!  http://www.theartoftheheart-chester.comBe sure to check out the other wonderful holistic classes on their website calendar.   They also have a new Healer's Co-op!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Time:   Lunch & Learn - 12:00 - 1:00 PM
Class: "Herbs for Optimal Winter Health"
A lunchtime talk about the herbs that assist you with maintaining optimum winter health!  Will be very informative and helpful!
Fee:  $15

Contact Sue at The Art of the Heart to register for these classes: or 908/879-3937


Classes at The Room Above!  2 East Main Street, Brookside, NJ.  Be sure to check out the other wonderful holistic services and educational classes offered at The Room Above!  Visit their website calendar:  or  The Room Above on Facebook


Even though we don't have any more classes in 2012, be sure to check out the other holistic classes scheduled at The Room Above!

Other Classes by Date:

Sunday, November 11, 2012
Location:  Circle of Trees Women's Retreat
Class: "Intro to Ayurveda Herbs for Optimal Women's Health"

This class provides an introduction and a high-level review of the Five Elements and the Three Doshas of Ayurveda.  We then discuss 16 Ayurveda herbs and formulas that can be used every day in cooking as spices and/or as food, and also taken as supplements.  A nourishing tea is sampled during class, as well as other Ayurveda foods used as part of a daily protocol for health.

Note:  This class is tailored to the requests of the director of the Circle of Trees Retreat.  We can customize a class to fit your group, garden club, classroom, scout troop, church group, senior centor, arboretum or other organization.  Contact us today!


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Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Location:  Garden Club of Hunterdon Hills
Class:  "Your Medicinal Backyard"
This class is presented in a powerpoint format, and introduces folks to the medicinal side of common weeds that can and do grow in almost everyone's yard.   Students will learn the latin binomial name, the common name, common growing conditions, medicinal actions, and common illnesses that are benefitted from each herb.

About 40 common herbs/weeds are covered in the core class.  Additional classes cover trees, spices and even Italian herbs/weeds.  This class can be tailored to include any or all of the above listed herbs/weeds.

Note: This class is tailored to the requests of the Garden Club of Hunterdon Hills.  We can customize a class to fit your group, garden club, classroom, scout troop, church group, senior centor, arboretum or other organization. Contact us today!


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May 3-5,  2013
Location: Circle of Trees Women's Spring Retreat
Class: TBA


More classes are pending, so be sure to check our website for updates:

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