Halloween Magic... We all need a little feel-good and "magic" in our lives! Be good to yourself...
Date: October 31st
Other Names: November Eve, Feast of the Dead, Feast of Apples, Hallow's Eve, All Hallow's Eve
Pronunciations: SOW-in, SAH-vin, SAM-hayne
Possibly the biggest festival of the Witches’ year, Samhain is a time to remember those who have passed on, celebrate the Summers end and prepare for Winter months ahead. The Sun God and earth fall into slumber, as the nights lengthen and winter begins.
Samhain means "End of Summer", and is the third and final Harvest. The dark, winter half of the year commences on this Sabbat.
Various other names for this Greater Sabbat are Third Harvest, Samana, Day of the Dead, Old Hallowmas (Scottish/Celtic), Vigil of Saman, Shadowfest (Strega), and Samhuinn. Also known as All Hallow's Eve, (that day actually falls on November 7th), and Martinmas (that is celebrated November 11th), Samhain is now generally considered the Witch's New Year.
It is generally celebrated on October 31st, but some traditions prefer November 1st.It is one of the two "spirit-nights" each year, the other being Beltane. It is a magical interval when the mundane laws of time and space are temporarily suspended, and the Thin Veil between the worlds is lifted. Communicating with ancestors and departed loved ones is easy at this time, for they journey through this world on their way to the Summerlands.
It is a time to study the Dark Mysteries and honor the Dark Mother and the Dark Father, symbolized by the Crone and her aged Consort. Tradition also teaches that the aid of spirits and guides from the other world was easily enlisted at this time, so in the increasing moonlight of longer nights, many used this time to hone their psychic and divinatory skills, especially with regard to love and marriage.
Originally known as the "Feast of the Dead" this sabbat was celebrated in Celtic countries by leaving food offerings on altars and doorsteps for the "wandering dead".Today a lot of practitioners still carry out that tradition. Single candles were lit and left in a window to help guide the spirits of ancestors and loved ones home. Extra chairs were set to the table and around the hearth for the unseen guest. Apples were buried along roadsides and paths for spirits who were lost or had no descendants to provide for them. Turnips were hollowed out and carved to look like protective spirits, for this was a night of magic and chaos.
The Wee Folke became very active, pulling pranks on unsuspecting humans. Traveling after dark was was not advised. People dressed in white (like ghosts), wore disguises made of straw, or dressed as the opposite gender in order to fool the Nature spirits.
The Christian religion has adopted this day as All Saints Day, or All Hallows Day, celebrating the eve as All Hallows Eve, or Halloween. The superstition and misconception linked to this celebration by the early church, led people to take some unusual precautions to protect themselves. They adopted the tradition of dressing in frightening costumes or disguises, and displaying scary looking Jack-O-Lanterns to help protect them from spirits they considered to be evil. In the British Isles, the young people would disguise themselves with hideous masks and walk through the village, lighting their way with lanterns made from carved turnips.
This was also the time that the cattle and other livestock were slaughtered for eating in the ensuing winter months. Any crops still in the field on Samhain were considered taboo, and left as offerings to the Nature spirits. Bonfires were built, (originally called bone-fires, for after feasting, the bones were thrown in the fire as offerings for healthy and plentiful livestock in the New Year) and stones were marked with peoples names. Then they were thrown into the fire, to be retrieved in the morning. The condition of the retrieved stone foretold of that person's fortune in the coming year. Hearth fires were also lit from the village bonfire to ensure unity, and the ashes were spread over the harvested fields to protect and bless the land.
Symbolism: Third Harvest, the Dark Mysteries, Rebirth through Death
Symbols: Gourds, Apples, Black Cats, Jack-O-Lanterns, Besoms
Colors: Black, Orange, White, Silver, Gold
Herbs: Allspice, Calendula, Catnip, Chrysanthemum, Deadly Nightshade, Hazel, Heliotrope, Mandrake, Mint, Mugwort, Nutmeg, Oak Leaves, Sage, Straw, Thistle, Wormwood
Traditional Foods: Ale, Apples, Beef, Breads, Cakes for the Dead, Cider, Cranberry Muffins, Gourds, Grains, Mulled Wines, Nuts, Pork, Poultry, Pumpkin-Pie, Turnips
Incense: Heliotrope, Mint, Nutmeg, Sage
Stones: Aquamarine, Jet, Obsidian
Tools & Instruments
- Orange/Black Altar Cloth
- A Wand
- 1 Black Taper Goddess Candle
- 1 Black Taper God Candle
- 2 Carved Turnip Candle Holders
- 1 Black Candle
- 1 White Candle
- An Apple
- A Boline
- A Plate of Fruit
- Vegetables and Breads
- Pictures or Mementos of Departed Loved Ones