What is it?
Samhain (pronounced sow-en) is the cross-quarter holiday where the veil between planes is the thinnest. It is an ancient Celtic fire festival much like Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead). This is a day of celebrating our ancestors and those who have come before us.
Samhain also signifies the end of the harvest season. The trees are losing their leaves, the frost is killing vegetation, the earth is preparing for winter and all is complete. It is the end of the birth and life cycle and the earth is ready for death and sleep until it is rebirthed at Yule.
It is time to descend into the darkest part of the year and where we are able to release all that doesn’t serve us and dream of the ideas that will be re-birthed next year. This is the time of introspection and a drawing in your own energy in preparation for Winter.
This is the time we reflect on our year and honor our ancestors and those who have come before us. Samhain is the time when the veil is thought to be the thinnest. There are many different rites and rituals to communicate, celebrate with, and honor the dead.
Symbols for Samhain:
Acorn: Acorns are a symbol of protection, fertility, growth and friendship. They’re given as tokens of good luck and fortune for the year to come. It is also said that during the Burning Times, giving someone an acorn was a symbol that you were a witch.
Besom (broom): A broom is used to sweep out the last leaves of the fall and ritualistically it’s used to sweep out any old energy and create space for the new.
Cauldron: A cauldron or the holy grail is considered feminine and the creation of all life, death and transformation.
Colors: Black for death and endings, orange for the vitality of life within death, purple for wisdom, insight and inspiration.
Honoring our Ancestors: make an altar with photographs and items of family members, loved ones and pets. Arrange them on a table, light a candle in their memory and offer a prayer or word or two of thanks. As you arrange the altars, you may want to speak their names out loud to thank them for being in your life.
Reflecting: look back on your year by reading old journals, or looking at photographs or anything you’ve created over the year. Reflect on how you’ve grown, what you’ve achieved, and the challenges you’ve overcome.
Candle/Fire Magic: Write a list of everything you want to let go of — people, places, things, habits, challenges etc. Place this list in the Samhain fire and let it burn to ashes.
Scrying and Divining: Scry and/or use Divination to reflect and gain guidance for the upcoming year.
Apple Magic: Cutting an apple in half will reveal a five pointed star, representing the elements, earth, fire, air, water, and spirit. After cutting, bless the apple and meditate on all that you’re grateful for this year. Bury it in the earth the next day to complete the ritual.
Research and notes taken from:
Witch by Lisa Lister
Goddess and Greenman blog https://www.goddessandgreenman.co.uk