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Samhain: The Witches New Year

Samhain (pronounced so-wen)

October 31st- November 1st

Samhain is the Gaelic festival of the dead and this word means "the end of summer". This was traditionally a celebration of harvest and a turn toward the coldest and darkest part of the year. This is the time of the year when the veil between the worlds is the thinnest. This is a time to honor ancestors, commune with the dead and honor the cycle of life and death both for yourself and every living thing on the Earth.

To celebrate Samhain, build an altar to your ancestors. Traditionally ancestral altars are kept separate from any other altar. This is a place where you put pictures of the dead, items they enjoyed, and offer food and drink to the altar that your ancestors would have enjoyed. We wouldn't be here without the ground laid before us by our family. Sit around together and tell stories of your ancestry or lineage. This is a great time to reach out to family for new stories you haven't heard before.

Samhain is an inward time of reflection and an invitation to dive into the shadow or unseen worlds. Slow down and make space to be with yourself during this fire festival. This is considered the witches new year making this time a wonderful opportunity to reflect on how far you have come since last October. To take stock on what worked and what did not and make plans for the year ahead. Use your favorite method of divination to forecast the new year ahead.

A Samhain Altar

Here is a list to build an altar for this turn of the wheel. This is in no way a comprehensive list. Be creative and use what feels like a match for the energy of this season. You cannot go wrong. Preferably do not rush out and buy a lot of things for your altar. Let them come as gifts from the Earth or repurpose what you already have.

  • spell Jars for new year intentions

  • written intentions to manifest

  • pumpkins/gourds to represent abundance and harvest

  • fall leaves to represent what is ready to be let go.

  • acorns to represent plating seeds

  • stones/crystals to encode certain frequencies

  • a candle to evoke fire and the divine

  • feathers to evoke air and larger perspective

  • a vessel of water to evoke emotional depth

  • skulls to represent death

  • bones to represent death and foundations

  • colors of black, red, orange.

A personal ritual for Samhain.

As we move into the energy of Autumn, we begin to consider what is it time to release. Moving toward inward reflective energy. Sitting in front of your altar, light a candle and tune into the Divine energies with gratitude. Feel the Earth beneath you, take deep breaths. When you feel the grasp of your logical mind soften begin to ask your guides, ancestors, or the Earth what you will be releasing this season. Once you feel you have your answer, journal what came through. Don't overthink it, just let the words flow. When you are complete, ask these to be release and light them on fire. Drop the paper in a bowl of water. Take this bowl of water outside and begin to dig a hole in the Earth (preferably with your hands). Be very present with the sensations of digging in the Earth, the smells, sounds all of your senses activated. Once you have the hole to a nice depth, pour the water and burned paper into the hole. Slowly recover the hole with dirt. Place your hands over the buried paper and ask the Earth to transmute what you have offered. Be completely present with the Earth. Fill your body with gratitude from your heart for the Earth and all the help you have received to release what is ready to go. You have completed this ritual. This is a releasing ritual not just for samhain but anytime you feel ready to let go and transmute energies, patterns or anything really.

Questions for Samhain Reflection

What I am willing to release and allow to die so I can create space for the new?

What is my relationship with death and the void?

Can I be comfortable in the space between death and rebirth? What would support this?

In the space of letting go, what am I creating space for?

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