Pumpkins are a common decorative item to see around the Fall Equinox and Autumn Season. They come in many shapes and sizes, too, making them perfect for decorating your home or baking. Pumpkins can also be used in witchcraft! From Pumpkin Spice Lattes to pumpkin pies, I’m sure you can find a magickal use for the great gourd that is the pumpkin! (Also, I keep typing Pumpking, so there’s that, too!)
Pie filling, sweet drink ingredient, or scary Halloween decoration - the choice is yours! In the common world, the word “pumpkin” is considered a vernacular word used for a type of winter squash. The world of pumpkins contains many different varieties of winter squash. These include edible squash such as those used for making pumpkin pies, but also inedible (or not-so-tasty) squash such as those carved as Jack-O-Lanterns in the United States.
Pumpkins generally have a hard outer shell and are filled with stringy insides and large seeds. On an odd note, pumpkins are considered a fruit! Just like the banana, pumpkins are considered a type of berry known as a pepo - who would have thought?!
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In an 1836 edition of an Irish newspaper, The Dublin Penny Journal, the author tells the story as told by his uncle of Stingy Jack. Supposedly, Stingy Jack is the reason turnips (and later, pumpkins) are carved every Samhain season.
Jack was a stingy and clever man who tricked the devil many times during his life. Without recounting the entire tale as told in The Dublin Penny Journal (but you can read it here if you’d like), let’s just say that at the end of his life, hell didn’t want Jack and heaven refused to take him. Now, he is known as Jack of the Lantern.
Our story draws near its close - Jack, with all his skill, could not baffle the assault of Death. He paid the debt of nature; but when his soul was dismissed to its final residence, the porter at the gate of the infernal regions stoutly denied him admittance - the fiends turned pale with affright - and even Satan himself fled within the lowest depths to hide his head from the dreaded enemy. Then, because he was unfit for heaven, and that hell refused to take him, he was decreed to walk the earth with a lantern to light him on his nightly way till the day of judgment.
E. W. (1836). Jack o’ the Lantern. The Dublin Penny Journal, 4(185), 229–232.
– Jack o' the Lantern on JSTOR
The story of Jack of the Lantern gives turnips and pumpkins an associate with death, liminality, and transformation. There are other correspondences from folklore and tradition, too!
If you choose to use pumpkins in your spells, here are some correspondences to keep in mind. These are drawn from my own conclusions as well as various sources online and offline. They may or may not resonate with you, so follow your intuition if you choose to utilize pumpkins in your craft.
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- the Otherworld
Pumpkins are some of the most versatile gourds out there, used to create everything from sweet dishes down to savory soups. In witchcraft, the pumpkin is just as versatile! How you use it is up to you! Add a bit of pumpkin spice to your coffee or tea to draw in prosperity. Hollow out a pumpkin to use for protection magick, placing that which you want to be protected inside. You may even choose to use pumpkin seed oil as a base for an abundance spell oil! The options are endless - you only have to follow where the pumpkin takes you.