In Irish mythology, the hero Bran mac Fiobhall takes off on a journey to the Otherworld, the land of mystical beings. While there, he spies a silver branch with golden apples upon it - and when the branch shakes, the apples sound like tiny bells ringing. In some Druidic and bardic magical traditions, the silver branch, or bell branch, is used in ritual for dual purposes. The sound of the ringing bells is said to be pleasing to the gods - it shows them that someone is about to pay them tribute. On the other hand, the bells are said to drive away malevolent spirits, keeping them out of the sacred ritual space.
It is also said that the ringing bells can call one’s ancestors from the world beyond ours. Make a silver bell branch, or “Craebh ciuil” in Irish Gaelic, to use in your Samhain rituals. You’ll need the following:
- A branch - you may wish to select a wood based upon its magical properties
- Silver paint
- Ribbon or wire
Use spray paint to paint the branch silver. Tie ribbons to one end, and thread the bells onto the ribbon. Tie a knot in the end of each ribbon to keep the bells in place. Use this on your Samhain altar, and ring the bells to welcome the ancestors and the gods of your tradition.