Samhain (pronounced "SAH-win" or "sow-in") is the time of year when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead is at its thinnest. It is a time to remember our loved ones who have passed on and to give thanks for their lives.
The origins of Samhain can be traced back to Ireland, where it was believed that during this time of year, the boundary between this world and the world of spirits became blurred. It was also believed that during this time, souls would come back from their visit in the afterlife to visit their families.
The name Samhain comes from Old Irish for "summer's end." The holiday was celebrated on October 31st and November 1st. The celebration consisted of people dressing in costumes, lighting bonfires, gathering food for winter, and honoring their dead with rituals such as setting food out on the table or leaving out glasses of whiskey on doorsteps so they could toast those who had passed away.
Create a Samhain altar to honor the Dead
Samhain is the time to honor your ancestors. Decorate your altar with candles, crystals, incense, flowers, or herbs, and add photos or keepsakes of those you want to honor. Then, light a candle and meditate on their memory. This is their time to be celebrated!
Have a Bonfire or releasing ritual.
In the past, large bonfires were lit as a way to welcome the spirits to the earth so that we could communicate with our ancestors. Some believed bonfires would ward off evil spirits or bad luck for the coming year. Have a bonfire outside if possible; if not, you can light a candle indoors and celebrate the flame. Get a piece of paper, write down what no longer serves and what you want to release, and throw it into the flames.
Prepare a Samhain feast.
You can make anything from your loved ones' favorite food to having a "dumb supper" ( a silent meal that includes a place setting for the dead). You can also invite your ancestors to join by having your feast near your altar and adding a small piece of your food. Some traditional recipes you could make are soul cakes or Colcannon, but you could also make recipes including in-season foods such as pumpkin, apples, and potatoes.
Carve some pumpkins to ward off restless souls.
Make your own witches' bells.
Make these powerful protective witch balls by gathering sting, bells, and any charms you would like to add (crystals, pendants, feathers, or beads), Cleanse your supplies, and begin tying your bells together. While connecting your bells, charge with positive energy by completing your own mantras or prayer. Thank your ancestors/deities/god spirits and hang them on your front door to ward off negative energy!
Set intentions for the new year.
The power of intention is immense. Setting an intention and focusing on it can help create the life path you want, while also releasing negative energy that may be standing in your way. Intentions can lead to aligned action and success, but before anything else starts to take shape, focus on setting a clear intention. This will not only motivate you, but put the pieces in motion that will help manifest what you’re looking for.
Start by setting the mood, light some candles, turn on a relaxing witchy playlist, Sit comfortably in your space and focus on setting your intentions for the season. Breathe slowly and visualize yourself achieving these goals. Remember, Visualize it, embody it, feel it, radiate it. Intentions are not about control. Keep your intentions at the forefront of your mind, and let the universe do its thing.
Share a drink with a Deity.
Respectfully, pour a little of your drink onto the earth as a gift of appreciation to your deity. Then, complete a prayer and show your gratefulness that they are on this journey with you.
Practice Scrying or other types of Divination.
Samhain marks an extraordinary period for divine revelation. It is said that the veil between our world and the unseen realms is the thinnest, creating a perfect atmosphere for gaining insight into the future! If you want to tap into this heightened energy, you can use one of many divination methods: Tarot cards, Oracle cards, Rune casting, Pendulum, Dream Interpretation, Scrying, Palmistry, Numerology, Tasseomancy, and Pyromancy.