"Look on my Angry Face, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Samhain is right around the corner and pumpkins are starting to show up in supermarkets. It is a Halloween tradition in the US to hollow out pumpkins and make them into angry-faced lanterns by carving faces in them and placing candles in their innards.
With Samhain approaching it is a good idea to add a little more protection to the household as the veil starts to thin and spirits come out to play. I've created a spell using this popular craft as a base—a simple ward to keep away what spirits might wander by during the Samhain season.
The Spell: Dead Gourd Ward; or, Mr. Angry Face
This spell creates a frightening ward to scare off meandering harmful spirits during the Samhain season.
PumpkinPumpkin carving supplies
Black votive candleAngry herbs—Cayenne pepper is angry, and so are other peppers... except white pepper. Plenty of other herbs will fit in here if you do some research. When you light your jack-o-lantern you will be able to smell these herbs, so try and pick something that you like the smell of as well if you plan to spend time around the finished ward. Generally speaking, though, we want things to dislike the smell of the ward to keep them away. (Minor note: Pets and most mammals seem to dislike the smell of cayenne, so if this is going by a door your dog or cat uses you'll probably want to find a different herb)
First, get your pumpkin. Briefly thank the gods for giving you this gift, then cleanse it in whichever way you prefer. Once you've done this it is time to carve the pumpkin. This can be harder than it looks. If you've never done this before you'll want to look on-line for directions. This article from ehow about carving pumpkins seems informative.
You'll want to carve a frightening face on the pumpkin for the ward, so don't carve the mouth into a smile. It doesn't matter if you aren't a good artist, even the simplest design will work. Smiles just don't work to scare things away! Pointy teeth and an angry scowl are definitely the way to go here. As you shape the pumpkin you will be charging it with your energy. Envision it in its completed form as a terrifying beast, a warning to keep spirits away. When you are finished carving take your herbs and rub them into the cut edges of the lantern's face and the hole at the top while pushing memories of scary movies or dreams into it.
The last thing to do is seal the spell: hold the black candle in your hands and charge it as you recite these words:
fear my ward.
Dare ye not
approach this gourd.”
Place the candle in the lantern, and place the jack-o-lantern on your doorstep. Light it when you feel necessary or festive. Just don't leave the candle burning all night: It is a fire inside a dead plant, after all, and can cause a bigger fire if left unattended.
Suggestions for modifying this spell:
There's numerous ways to modify this spell to suit your needs or desires. Here are a couple suggestions:
#1: Paint the pumpkin instead of carving it to create longer lasting, less flammable ward.
#2: Make the pumpkin innards into food that can be baked into additional spells.
#3: Make a jack-o-lantern to light the way to your door and invite in benevolent spirits or ancestors.
#4: Create and bind a servitor spirit to the jack-o-lantern by carving its sigil into the back of the pumpkin for a more active defense.
#5: Modify the spell to keep away ALL harm. Generally, you'd want a more permanent ward for this, though, instead of a pumpkin which will rot away.
Take the spell and do with it as you will! I hope we all can use the potent and terrifying magicks of Mr. Angry Face to keep away wandering spirits for a safe and happy Samhain season!
Interested in learning more? Read Gwinevere's 2008 Samhain Ritual!