The Sacred Roots of Halloween and How to Celebrate Samhain
While many of us think of Halloween and imagine trick-or-treating, costumes, pumpkin carvings, corn mazes and candy, the holiday is rooted in a massive amount of wisdom, tradition and healing.
The word Halloween comes from the term "Hallow's Eve", another sacred description of the traditional holiday Samhain. The eve of Hallow was October 31st, the day before the start of November. Samhain (pronounced Sow-in) has been celebrated for thousands of years as a time with the veil is thinnest.
It's by no accident that Halloween seems to embody a large amount of death (think skeletons, graveyards and mummies) because traditionally this was a time to honor those who have passed.
If we want to remember the roots of this sacred holiday, we must remember the Wheel of the Year. This sacred wheel demonstrated the 8 traditional holidays throughout the year. This included two solstices, two equinoxes and 4 sacred sabbats.
Each of these sacred holidays prepared us for the coming changes and opportunities for celebration. Samhain of course comes to us after the Fall Equinox as we prepare to move into the colder winter months in the Northern Hemisphere.
Because the veil is thinnest during this time of the year, there are many powerful opportunities for healing, both for yourself and your lineage. This is also a time to honor the death cycle that all beings and things on this earth will move through. This sacred day honors the CYCLE of creation and death.
If you're feeling called to celebrate Samhain and to come back to its roots, here's some ideas below!
- 4 ways to celebrate Samhain -
-Create a sacred altar for those who have passed and your ancestors
This sacred space will serve as a way for you to recognize those who have passed and those who have gone across the veil. Set photographs or sacred items from these people on your altar. Light some candles. Burn some incense. Decorate with pumpkins, black and orange clothes, skulls or anything that symbolizes the great mystery of death.
If emotion arises or if you need the space to process old wounds, allow it. You can also choose to take this time to write letters to those who have passed, sing to them or perhaps communicate. If you choose to reach out in any fashion though, make sure you're protected and not stirring up something else.
-Reflect on the things you must let go of in order to be free
Just as the trees release their leaves, we too must let go in order to move into the next season. Journal about the past season, what brought you joy and what things need to be released now. You may need to release small habits and patterns or massive things like people or ingrained beliefs. Be gentle with yourself as you remember the process of life, death and rebirth.
-Honor the season change by creating art
Gather brightly colored leaves and create beautiful door hangings, carve pumpkins for your porch or make a mandala in your backyard of leaves, rocks and twigs. This is a deeply powerful time to honor Mother Earth, her changes and to recognize the beauty of death and decay.
-Celebrate with those you love
All sacred holidays are meant to be celebrated! Gather with your community and make a pumpkin pie, enjoy fresh apples or put together a potluck. This is a great way to celebrate this sometimes heavy holy day with people you love and enjoy the bounty of food that is present during this time of the season.
Take space to enjoy this sacred time of year! And of course, you can also enjoy Halloween and the fun traditions you have surrounding this day.