We have finally reached one of my favorite times of year!
~ Samhain pronounced saah-win or saa-ween~
Don’t worry! It took me many years to remember that this word is in no way spelled the same as the pronunciation.
Originating in Europe as a Celtic fire festival, Samhain was held October 31 through November 1, in the Northern Hemisphere and April 30 through May 1 in the Southern Hemisphere, to celebrate the third and final harvest and beginning of the dark months of rest.
By this time of the year, most gardens and fields have been harvested, died, or gone dormant; therefore, nothing further to harvest this cycle.
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11 Samhain Celebrations, Rituals, and Facts
1 ~ Traditionally celebrated by Pagans and Wiccans, Samhain celebrations evolve around mourning, communicating with the dead, as well as celebrating life. Balance is extremely important to practitioners which is why you will see honoring life and death in Samhain rituals and celebrations.
Rituals and ceremonies are held around bonfires, and include dancing, gratitude and thanksgiving, healing rituals, and honoring of the dead during Samhain rituals.
2 ~ This is a time when the veil between the two worlds of the living and dead is the thinnest. Food and offerings are set aside for our ancestors and great spirits. Rituals take place to honor and remember those on the other side of the veil.
3 ~ Halloween as we currently know October 31, originated with Samhain. Christianity uses the term All Hollows Eve rather than Halloween or Samhain.
4 ~ The ancient Celt’s believed that demons, witches, and fairies came out to play during this time. People would place food and treats out for these creatures to satisfy them.
Over time, people began to dress up as these “mystical creatures” and claim the food and treats for themselves. This has evolved into what we now know as trick-or-treating.
5 ~ A traditional Samhain ritual included placing a light candle in a western facing window or door to help guide the dead home. Today, many place this candle in a pumpkin facing the road.
6 ~ Halloween or Samhain marks the of the spiritual New Year and is observed by many Pagan and Wiccan practitioners.
7 ~ Samhain rituals many times include prayers. These prayers may be to give thanks for the final harvest, to remember our ancestors, or to speak to the Gods and Goddesses. Find some prayer ideas here.
8 ~ Halloween is a more family focused approach to this time of year verses Samhain being a more spiritual approach by Pagan and Wiccan practitioners.
9 ~ Make a ritual of walking in nature to ground your energy during this time.
10 ~ Set up a Samhain alter or ancestor alter.
The Samhain alter will include symbols of Samhain such as nuts, pumpkins, dried leaves, acorns, skulls, and skeletons .
The ancestor alter will include mementos, pictures, and other heirlooms of your deceased family members.
11 ~ Make time to tend your relatives graves. Clear out overgrown brush and place offerings such as fresh flowers on the tended grave.
Symbols of Samhain
Animal ~ Raven
Tree ~ Fir
Crystals ~ Lapis lazuli, sodalite, dark amethyst, smoky quartz, and obsidian
Essential Oils & Herbs ~ Cypress, nutmeg, sage, rose, thyme and pine
Candle Color ~ Orange and purple
Foods ~ Apples, pumpkins, nuts, roast beef, pumpkin pie, soups, caramel apples, baked potatoes, spiced wine, individual sweet treats
However you may choose to celebrate this season, remember to set aside some time to reflect and give thanks. Possibly gather with friends and loved ones to enjoy a meal and some reflection time together. Honor those on both sides of the veil.
Enjoy the celebration.