The Origins and Wisdom of Samhain (Halloween)
As we approach the 31st of October, the magic of Samhain is in the air.
Did you know that Halloween's roots run deep, back to an ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain?
Samhain, a part of the eight Sabbaths of the Celtic Wheel of the Year, holds a special place in the Wiccan tradition. It marks the transition between the lighter half of the year (summer) and the darker half (winter), symbolizing the division between the spiritual and the material world.
During Samhain, the veil between both worlds grows thin, allowing for communication with the unseen, particularly with our ancestors.
Ancient Celts would set up a table with a sumptuous meal to invite their ancestors to join them. To ward off other spirits that could be harmful to them, they dressed in scary outfits, wore masks and costumes to ensure recognition by only their loved ones. They even carried treats to appease or trick any wandering spirits.
Isn't it interesting to see how this tradition has evolved into what we see now?
But Samhain is not just about dressing up.
The Celtic perspective on Samhain was that it marked the end of one cycle and the beginning of another. They understood the cyclical nature of life, symbolized by the moon's phases – new moon, waxing moon, full moon, and waning moon. The new moon, starting with 3 nights of darkness (the dark moon), signals a new beginning.
Thus, astrologically and energetically, Samhain and her transition to the new cycle happens on the New Moon (dark moon) of November. This year, it is November 12th, 2023. The same day that the Indians celebrate Diwali, their own New Year.
Could it be that the Indians and the Celts have a common root? Nonetheless, both ancient, earth-based cultures understood that darkness is a powerful catalyst for transformation and new beginnings.
To honor the energies of Samhain, consider decorating an altar with elements that resonate with the Earth, such as crystals like red jasper and amber, pictures of your ancestors, or objects that remind you of your loved ones.
You can even engage in rituals like preparing and sharing a meal or a beverage your ancestors enjoyed. I like to prepare Lapsang Souchong tea, my paternal grandmothers' favourite tea and place a cup for her on my altar.
If you don't have an altar, or this doesn't resonate with you, I've prepared some journaling prompts to help you connect with the new beginning energy:
What do I still need to release and let die now, to let the real me be expressed?
What do my ancestors want me to know?
What do I desire to create in this new cycle?
What am I calling in for the coming year?
These questions can guide you in this season of transition.
Remember, everything is cyclical, and Samhain is the perfect time to celebrate the end of one chapter and welcome the beginning of the next.
I'm excited to hear how these rituals and prompts resonate with you. May this Samhain be a time of transformation and rebirth for all of us.
Blessings to you all,
PS: If you want to dive deeper into the origins and wisdom of Samhain, I recorded a podcast episode on it! I am excited to be back with the podcast and you can tune in here, on Apple Podcast, Spotify and Youtube.