About       Books

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Samhain, Happy Halloween!

All month I've delved on this blog into witches, ghosts, and the history of trick or treating.
You can get an insider's look at one coven's celebration of Samhain (SOW-in) at  
And now the big day is finally here!

As a shaman, Samhain/Halloween is important because the veil between worlds thins at this time of the year. Strangers stop me on the street and tell me about loved ones who have passed. Then they say, "I don't know why I am telling you this." Usually, it is because someone on the other side is trying to come through with a message. Some people dole out candy on Halloween.
I give out messages from the deceased.

As an author, Halloween stands out for me because the holiday provides the ticking clock in 
Spell Check, Book 1, the Teen Wytche Saga.
Spell Struck, Book 2, in the Teen Wytche Saga, begins on Halloween night.

This Samhain/Halloween I am preparing for the launch of my third book, Spell For Sophia.
You'll get a first look at the cover on November 4.
On November 11, Spell For Sophia will be available from Astraea Press on all major online retailers.
I can't wait!

Meanwhile, I wish you all a safe holiday.
 Keep your black cats inside away from the coyotes and crazies.
And spend a few minutes tonight listening for messages from the Beloved Dead.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Three Things You Should Know About Ghosts

The veil between worlds thins as we approach Halloween, Samhain, and All Hallow’s Eve, 
turning my thoughts to ghosts.

1.     Real Ghosts Bear Little Resemblance to Caspar the Friendly Ghost

Many ghosts resemble a slightly transparent version of their former living selves. Others retain an energy field that resembles their previous form. Some appear as beings of light — elongated forms consisting of white light that somehow retains the person or animal’s former essence.

One example of a ghost who retained her physical appearance was a knife-wielding female ghost I encountered during a business conference. Over and over she charged between the two beds in my hotel room with a raised knife. My lucky roommate slept through the whole thing.

2.     Ghosts Can Communicate With The Living

You may be able to hear ghosts even if you can’t see them, an ability called clairaudience. Some ghosts knock on walls to get your attention. Others retain their normal speech. I encountered several ghosts while staying at the Chalice Well Retreat Center in Glastonbury, England. With its gardens and sacred waters, the Center is situated at the foot of Glastonbury Tor. The Red or Blood Spring flows beneath the grounds. Some equate the water with the Goddess, others with Christ. But a far different sort of water, the White Spring, flows just beyond the fence. A simple spigot marks the White Spring, the entrance to Fairy. Not good fairies mind you, but Dark Energy, raucous, dangerous, up-to-no-good fairies.

Ariella Moon about to hike to the top of Glastonbury Tor. July 2010

Fences and walls do not hinder ghosts. Or fairies. Or demons. Every night at the Chalice Center felt like Halloween. The White Spring attracted the underbelly of the human world. The nearly full moon amped up the wild energy.

One night a huge dark presence entered the Chalice Center. I’ve run up against nasty entities during my shaman work. This one was bigger and more evil than all the others combined. It enveloped the third floor like a gigantic black bat with outstretched wings. My room was on the second floor. The bathroom was on the first floor. (A ground floor was situated beneath the first.) I opened my door during the middle of the night and stepped out. Fear bumps prickled my skin, bringing me fully awake. Noticing the gigantic evil presence, I ducked back into my room and locked the door. (As if that would help!) I spent the rest of the night wishing there was an en suite bathroom and layering protection spells around the room.

When the sun finally rose, two ghosts — snow-haired women dressed in day dresses — passed through my door. “It was horrible,” one said in a quivery voice to the other. She clutched the pearls at her neck. “Just horrible.”

I couldn’t agree more.

3.     Animals Can Be Ghosts

Left: Madchen as a puppy. Right: Emily at fourteen years old.

For three nights our white German shepherd, Madchen, waged a losing battle with mushroom poisoning. Without access to a 24-hour veterinary clinic, we were forced to drive her back and forth from a night clinic to our vet’s day office. During the agonizing gaps between the closing of one facility and the opening of the other, we brought Madchen home. During the last of these stops, Madchen remained curled in her kennel, near death. 

Suddenly I heard the distinctive click of dog toenails on the hardwood floor. Emily, a long-deceased but much beloved Jack Russell terrier, hurried down the hall. She had come to escort her old buddy to the other side. Madchen died within the hour.

As Halloween/Samhain/All Hallow’s Eve approaches, be mindful of the night sounds and energies around you. Light candles in honor of your ancestors and loved ones who have passed. Display photos or mementos that remind you of them so they will know you are thinking of them. Be assured; ghosts are among us.

Ghosts in Spell For Sophia

Ghosts play pivotal roles in Spell For Sophia (November 2014, Astraea Press), Book #4, the Teen Wytche Saga, a Young Adult paranormal romance series. Several of your favorite characters from Spell Check, Spell Struck, and Spell Fire return in Spell For Sophia, my most complex and intense book yet! I hope you enjoy it. You can catch up on all the books in the saga by clicking here.

Have you ever encountered a ghost? I'd loved to hear what happened!

© 2014 by Ariella Moon

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

From Goddess to Hag: The Demonization of the Crone

A primary symbol of Halloween is the bulb-nosed, black-clad, eat-your-children-for-breakfast old witch. You’ll recognize her by her pointy hat, broom (besom), cauldron, and black cat. She’s depicted as one of two extremes: a belittling crone caricature or a fierce embodiment of dark magic. Neither image reflects her true origins.

Many cultures throughout the world once revered the triple Goddess. She manifested in three aspects: Maiden, Mother, and Crone. These archetypes matched the phases of the moon, the cycles of a woman’s life, and the Earth’s annual seasons. Halloween and its Celtic precursor Samhain (SOW-en) follow the abundant harvest period of the Mother and mark the fallow season of the Crone.

Before the Christian Church redefined and demonized the Divine Feminine and Her followers, the Crone, a word derived from “crown,” symbolized tribal leadership and/or a priestess in the old religion. The word “hag” derived from the Greek hagia, meant holy woman. The Crone was a Wisdom Keeper, tribal elder, medicine woman, Grandmother, and sage. She is the waning moon and the Gateway to Death. Her cauldron is the vessel of rebirth. Her broom (besom) sweeps away the negative past. Her black cape symbolizes the darkness of long winter nights, death, and the Otherworld. Although a pointy hat has replaced her crown, the hat symbolizes the cone of power witches raise when they perform magic.

The Crone in the Teen Wytche Saga
In Spell For Sophia (November 2014, Astraea Press), Book #4, The Teen Wytche Saga by Ariella Moon, a teen runaway finds temporary sanctuary with an aged voodoo priestess. Sophia’s survival depends upon her mastering magic and the supernatural before her lawless parents and their vengeful boss catch up to her.

Sometimes the worst scars are the ones you cannot see.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Evolution of Trick or Treating

From Samhain to Halloween 

Centuries before modern-day Halloween and its army of costumed trick-or-treaters, Celtic people in Ireland, northern France, Scotland, and Wales celebrated Samhain. The tradition of trick-or-treating evolved from this pre-Christian festival.

The Celts

Samhain (SOW-in, SAH-win, or SAH-ween) marked the end of summer. The veil between realms was thinnest, and the souls of those who had died during the past year traveled into the otherworld. But the portal worked both ways. nacestors and other spirits from the otherworld and fairies from fairy mounds could cross into the human world.
Photo: Ariella Moon. Stone carving,
Barclodiad y Gawres, Wales

The Celts disguised themselves in animal skin costumes to a drive back the spirits. They left food offerings to appease the ghosts and fay. Bonfires were lit to deflect unwanted spirits and to light the way for departing souls.

Mummers. Photo found on Pinterest

In 601 A.D. Pope Gregory the First issued an edict directing missionaries to no longer directly try to obliterate native beliefs and customs. Instead, his followers were instructed to overlay Christian beliefs. Wells sacred to the goddess Brigid became wells dedicated to Saint Bridget. The festival to the goddess Oestra became Easter. Jesus’s birthday was switched to coincide with the winter solstice. The list goes on. In the 9th century A.D. the church tried to subsume Samhain with All Saints Day/All Hallows. All Hallow’s Eve incorporated the belief in high supernatural activity. But the church claimed the Celtic otherworld was the Christian Hell, and demonized spirits, witches, and fairies as well as the Celtic priests, the druids. Mummers, people disguised as the demonized folk, would perform antics and threaten more mischief (tricks). Villagers would appease them with food (treats). All Hallow’s Eve became Halloween.


In 1000 A.D. the Catholic Church designated November 2nd (Samhain) as All Soul’s Day. In England, the poor would visit the wealthy and promise to pray for the wealthy people’s deceased kin in exchange for soul cakes. Later, children would take up the task of souling for treats or coins.

Samhain traditions have survived for over 2,000 years. For an inside look at how one American coven celebrates Samhain, click here.
Copyright 2014 Ariella Moon

In Spell Check by Ariella Moon, high school freshman Evie O’Reilly must prevent her best friend from casting a binding love spell on Evie’s secret crush, Jordan. Soon it will be Halloween, the anniversary of Evie’s father’s death. It’s also when the moon will be optimum for spell casting. Can Evie push past her grief in time to save Jordan? 
To read an excerpt or purchase any book in the Teen Wytche Saga, click below.