Blessed Samhain - What Is It?
Samhain, pronounced 'saah-win' or 'saa-ween,' is a blessed tradition for all kinds of druids, wiccans, witches, and pagans around the world. Samhain takes place on October 31st every year and is known as a day of celebrating the dead since the times of yore. It signals that this is the last harvest and harvesting ends after this time. It's when the dark and cold part of the year is beginning. Samhain is also the start of a blessed new year for Pagans everywhere and is one of the most popular Pagan holidays. Samhain is a religious holiday with blessed rituals that are often private. It is often linked to the Day of the Dead and reminds us of the natural order of Nature. Harvests and vegetation is starting to die and there is death all around us. Blessed Samhain is said to be the best time of year to communicate with the dead as the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is at the thinnest it is for the whole year.
When Samhain Is Celebrated?
Blessed Samhain may be celebrated at different times for people in different areas of the world, which is quite unique. Northern Pagans usually celebrate Samhain around Halloween when it starts to get colder outside. People may be celebrating Samhain over several days and nights, connecting with the blessed energy of this time. Some Pagans will wait to celebrate the blessed Samhain holiday until the closest weekend, or will decide to do their celebrating on the night of the nearest Full Moon. Others will wait and celebrate around November 6th, which lines up astronomically with being exactly between the Fall Equinox going into the Winter Solstice. Many Southern Pagans celebrate the blessed Samhain holiday when their Autumn changes to Winter at the end of April, signaling the time when it gets colder outside for them.
History Of Blessed Samhain
Samhain has a long history and a very interesting one at that. Samhain originated in Europe as a Celtic Fire festival and has been known by a variety of names. One medieval book called this blessed holiday the "Feast of Mongfind," and in another ancient manuscript, Samhain is called the "Three Nights of the End of Summer." As Christianity spread throughout Europe in medieval times, Samhain started going by Christian names, such as All Saints' Day and All Hallows Eve. All Hallows Eve is the proper name for Halloween and occurs on October 31st but now does not relate to Samhain at all except for falling around the same time of year.
All Hallows Eve is the proper name for Halloween and occurs on October 31st, but it does not relate to blessed Samhain at all except for falling around the same time of year. Halloween is the time of year when witches are very popular and there are costumes for the supernatural everywhere. People are fascinated by the dead and the unknown especially at this time of year when Halloween comes around. Haunted houses pop up, and more seances are performed than at any other time. Halloween is not Samhain but does have similarities, such as everyone thinking more of the dead and the supernatural. Black and orange are the popular colors for both holidays. Costumes are also popular for both, especially masks. Ancient peoples believed that costumes could help confuse evil spirits that may try to hurt them, keeping them safe from harm. There is no harm in participating in regular Halloween activities with the rest of the world even when you are a Pagan. You can still celebrate Samhain, but feel free to also partake in regular Halloween fun.The more you take part the more you will enjoy over the years.
Celebrating Blessed Samhain
Pagans can celebrate blessed Samhain in a variety of ways, from nature walks to telling stories to participating in bonfire magic. Whatever way you choose to observe this holiday, it should have meaning to you and will connect you to your roots, reminding you of the order of nature and that death comes to all. Celebrating Samhain has added benefits for our children in that it helps them accept death and not be so afraid of it. Pagans do not ignore death like most other people do, but celebrate it and embrace it, knowing that everyone dies but that there is more in death. Here are some of the ways you take part in celebrating Samhain for the spiritual New Year.
Visit A Cemetery
Since the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is very thin at this time of year, this is a great time to visit the cemetery and see the grave of a lost loved one. At this time you may be able to connect with your loved one and communicate a message, or receive a message. Remember your loved one and cherish the memories that you had with them. Bring them an offering such as flowers or herbs.
Have A Blessed Dinner Feast Of The Dead
Cook a feast and set your table. Include a place at the head of your table for the dead and put a little bit of each food on their plate, and a little bit of each drink in their cup. Call for your dead loved ones and any ancestors to come join you for the feast. Eat this feast in silence, and when you are finished put the contents of the food and drink that was put out for the dead outside somewhere as a further offering to them. Wherever you set up your dinner, make sure it is cleansed and has pure energy by smudging the area and removing all electronics. In ancient times, the Celtics would also have feasts and leave food out for their ancestors and other dead spirits. They would light candles and leave them in the window so their ancestors and other loved ones could find their way home. Seats were put out for the spirits to use while visiting on blessed Samhain. There are traditional foods that are associated with Samhain, including apples, hazelnuts, pomegranates, cranberry breads and muffins, cider, pumpkin, pears, ale, corn, grains, and meat. Apples symbolize death and pomegranates symbolize life, so these fruits could be a great offering to the spirits by showing the balance that Samhain has. Herbal teas such as mugwort are also associated with this holiday, so this would be a great drink to have during your dinner feast.
Take A Blessed Samhain Nature Walk
Take a long walk outside somewhere where there is a lot of natural beauty and away from the normal activities of the city. Pay attention to the nature around you, taking note of all five of your senses, what you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. Touch the nature around you, feel the trees and plants, feel the dead leaves falling on the ground. Take some items from nature, such as some pretty leaves, and decorate your home with them as a reminder. Think about how death happens to everyone but out of death everything is reborn again, brand new and full of life.
Bonfire Magic On Blessed Samhain Holiday
Build a bonfire or a small fire inside if that is all you can do at the time. Get some paper and write down any bad habits that you want to stop. Throw that paper that you wrote these bad habits down into the fire and visualize letting those habits burn up and die along with the burning paper. Visualize having healthier habits and having a healthier life. At the same time circle the bonfire or small fire clockwise, if you are able to. Samhain is the time of celebrating life and death so by doing this you are letting bad habits die, and new, healthier habits be born.
Decorate For Samhain
Decorating for Samhain is a sure way to get you in the mindset of this blessed spiritual holiday and in the mood for celebrating. Often part of popular Samhain traditions already, decorating is something that many often enjoy doing. Put Samhain symbols all around your house, along with the colors of orange and black. Buy some orange and black candles to be festive, as these are not only the colors of Halloween but also of Samhain. Carve some pumpkins, put out some apples and acorns and candles. There is no limit to how you can decorate for this spiritual New Year, as long as it gets you festive and celebrating this blessed holiday.
Reflect On Your Life
One of the great traditions of Samhain is to reflect on the past year of your life. Go through old pictures, Facebook and other social media posts, planners, blogs, etc. Think about how much you have learned and accomplished in the past year, what challenges you have overcome and troubles you have had. Remember the adventures that you took and places that you went. Think about what blessings you have had in the past year of your life. Write everything down in a journal and reflect. Think about how you have grown spiritually and what you need to work on. Start planning for the New Year and how you can further advance spiritually and in other areas of your life. Think about what blessings you want to ask for the new year.
Create An Ancestor Altar
Get together any trinkets that belonged to your ancestors or that remind you of them, such as pictures, clothes, or jewelry. Put everything on a flat surface and add some votive candles. Use a color of candle that is associated with Samhain, such as orange, black, silver, gold, or white. As you light these candles think about your memories of them, say their names, give them blessings, and thank them for everything they have done and for being in your life. Quietly focus and be open to any experience that may happen or message that you may receive. This ancestor altar can be used just on Samhain or you can keep it for use all the time.
Tell Stories Of Your Ancestors
A popular tradition for celebrating Samhain is telling ancestor stories. Everyone should know about their family history, so this is a great time to learn more about yours. Talk to your older relatives that are still alive and ask them about family members who has passed on. Get them to share their favorite memories of them. Write these stories and memories down to record it. Make sure you give your blessings to the family and those who tell you their memories. After you have gathered some new stories, tell the rest of your close family so they can also learn more about their ancestors who have passed on. This is a great tradition to practice while around a bonfire, and will help you feel closer to your ancestors while honoring their lives.
Invoke The Divine
Samhain is the perfect time of year to honor the Divine. Give your blessings to the Crone Goddess or the Horned God of Nature. Ask them for help while you review your memories of those who have passed away and in thinking about the cycle of life. Ask them to help you be strong and push on if you lost any loved ones recently, and ask for their comfort. This time of year is when you are able to connect with these Divine beings easier and they are better able to help you since the veil is thinner and you are more receptive to receiving any messages. On this sacred, blessed day you are paying attention to the dead and the supernatural so you will be more likely to learn from what they send you.
Since it is easier to communicate with the Divine and other spirits on this holiday, this is the perfect time to practice your spiritual divination skills for some guidance. Tarot cards, scrying, and runes are all great tools to help you ask what you need to ask and to receive any messages. Crystal balls and water are popular tools for scrying and can be very powerful on Samhain. To scry, all you have to do is think of a question you want answered and look into the water or crystal while relaxing. Let your mind clear of all thoughts, let your eyes relax and not focus, just gaze into the ball or water. Let anything come into your mind or into your vision and see what it is, what message it gives you. Take note of any messages, thoughts, or inspirations that you may have while you are doing this. Another form of divination that is practiced is throwing some nuts into a fire and then waiting for any messages or signs that may come to you. Some say that cutting an apple at exactly midnight while you are standing by a mirror will show you who your future lover will be.
Connect With Your Community
This is a great time of year for traditions of gathering with your community and celebrating Samhain together. Find and join a Pagan group that is near. If the group is not doing anything, take the initiative and organize a Samhain dinner where everyone brings a dish. Learn about Samhain traditions with your community and plan a celebration. Communicate with each other what you know about Samhain and how your ancestors traditionally celebrated it. As a group, everyone can reflect on the meaning of death and the cycle of life. Everyone can also share their reflection of the past year and can give each other feedback on how to make the New Year even better. A group bonfire can be a lot of fun, with hand-holding, singing, and dancing involved to help invite the dead to your Samhain community celebration. Larger cities will often have big celebrations for Samhain, such as galas and balls, that can last all night.
Samhain: Celebrate The Cycle Of Life
Blessed Samhain is considered the Pagan New Year and has great spiritual significance. This is the time for Pagans everywhere to reflect on the past year of their life and to think about their deceased loved ones. Samhain is when their ancestors who have passed on are honored and remembered. There are many ways you can celebrate this holiday, whether it's by yourself, with family, or with your community. Samhain has many deep-rooted traditions, including orange and black being the main colors and giving offerings to the dead. The veil is said to be the thinnest at this time of year, so this is the best time to communicate with the dead and the Divine. Practice your divination skills to get strong messages from the other side. Ask for help and comfort from the Divine or your ancestors, and be open to receiving it. This is the time to give blessings to those who matter to you the most and for the balance of life and death.