Samhain (pronounced SOW-IN) is one of the 8 traditional holidays and is celebrated on November 1st. What most of us would call Halloween originated from this traditional day. Samhain was a day to honor those who have passed on, and as the earth prepared for winter and began to "die".
Sunset on Samhain is the beginning of the Celtic New Year, symbolizing the death of a season and the rebirth of a new one. This is an excellent time to wrap up the old to move forward into the new. Resolving anything that has been lingering, whether that is a relationship, a job, an idea, is a great way to honor this sacred day. Cutting the cords to whatever has been holding up back or binding us is what the transition into winter is all about. We cannot enter winter stuffed full of unresolved matter.
Winter is a time of renewal, inward reflection and pause as we sit in the darkest part of the year. Honoring that time and the need for cleansing encourages us to let go during Samhain.
Honoring the dead is a large part of Samhain. It;s a time to honor our ancestors and those who have gone through the veil. It is said that this day is when the veil is thinnest between the two worlds. Traditionally, Samhain was a 3 day long celebration with each evening ending in ritual and a large feast. If you can't find a way to celebrate for 3 days, here are some powerful but easier ways to celebrate sacred Samhain. :)
1. Make an Altar to your Ancestors
Make an altar with a white candle and a black candle representing life and death. Place dried herbs like Rosemary on the altar, light some incense and lay out crystals like tourmaline and celestite. If you can, lay photos of your loved one on your altar and hold the space for love and renewal. You can speak to them if you feel called, you can mourn, you can do anything that feels good for you in that moment. Hold the intention of love and light as you sit at your altar. This can be an especially powerful practice if you lost a loved one and have never had the space to simply honor them. If you've never made an altar, click here.
Enjoy the bounty of the harvest! Some of my favorites dishes to prepare for gatherings include pumpkin pie, cinnamon apples, squash soup, turkey, pomegranate salsa and root vegetable bakes. We naturally already eat a lot of this food in the Autumn but making a celebration out of it makes it even better. Samhain is a great time to join together with the women in your tribe for a women's circle or sacred celebration.
3. Enjoy Halloween
Halloween, while a bit different than traditional Samhain, is a fun holiday and in some ways does honor those who have passed. So dress up, enjoy the festivities and enjoy the town coming to life with all of the tricker treaters.
4. This is the New Beginning
This is the Celtic New Year and the Witch's New Year. Looking over the past year and deciding what worked and what didn't work is so much of this holiday. We can also plant seeds for the spring figuratively as we have looked at what did not work in the past season and now create new ideas for the next season. Creating manifestations or ideas and then "planting" them is a lovely way to honor this time. The winter is our to renew and not always the best time for large new projects or dreams, and so holding that intention for Spring honors the nature cycle of things.
Blessed Be sweet sisters! May you honor this sacred holiday and feel refilled by the magnificent energy. I'd love to hear how you celebrated. Comment below!