One of 8 wheel of the year Sabbats, Samhain is an ancient Celtic pagan festival traditionally celebrated on October 31st in the Northern Hemisphere. Its modern counterpart, Halloween, is associated with costumes, trick-or-treating and spooky decorations but its roots are directly linked back to Samhain, which marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the dark winter months. It was believed at this time the veil between the physical and spirit worlds was thinnest, allowing for easier communication with ancestors and spirits.
However, in the Southern Hemisphere, where the seasons are reversed, Samhain is celebrated on April 30th or May 1st.
Samhain was a time when community came together to light bonfires, make offerings to the ancestors and spirits, and engage in divination. The festival was a way of honouring the cycles of life, death, and rebirth, and acknowledging the interconnectedness of all things.
Today, Samhain is still celebrated by many pagans and spiritual practitioners around the world. Here are some activities to add a little magic to your Samhain!
- Fire: Bonfires are traditionally used to provide warmth and light during the long, dark night, and to ward off evil spirits. You can light a fire in your backyard (check for fire bans and always safety first!) or create a smaller fire in a cauldron, fireplace or light some candles.
- Making offerings: Offerings can include food and drink, flowers, or other items that are meaningful to you. You can place the offerings on an altar or at the threshold of your home to honour the ancestors and spirits.
- Engaging in divination: Divination is a way of gaining insight into the future or communicating with the dead. You can use tools like tarot cards, runes, or scrying mirrors, or simply meditate and listen for messages from the spirit realm.
- Reflection: Samhain is a time of remembrance. Take some time to think about the people and experiences that have impacted your life over the past year, and set intentions for the coming year.
- Connecting with loved ones: Samhain is also a time to connect with loved ones who have passed away. You can light a candle or say a prayer in their honour, or simply spend time reflecting on their memory.
There are several crystals associated with Samhain, including:
Black Tourmaline: A protective stone that is often used to create a barrier against negative energy and to ground oneself during spiritual practices.
Obsidian: A grounding and protective stone that is often used for scrying, divination, and connecting with ancestors.
Smoky Quartz: A powerful grounding stone that is often used to transmute negative energy and to connect with the spiritual realm.
Citrine: A stone of manifestation and abundance, often used to bring in positive energy and to help manifest one's desires during ritual practices.
Carnelian: A stone of courage and strength, often used to connect with one's personal power and to bring in vitality and energy during ritual practices.
These stones can be used in a variety of ways during Samhain rituals or incorporating them into altar displays, carrying them in a pocket or pouch, or using them in meditation or energy work.