WHAT IS SAMHAIN ?
Samhain, meaning ‘end of summer’ goes by many names. All Hallows Eve, Halloween, and the Witches New Year to name a few.
This Sabbat is one of the biggest and most anticipated of the Pagan celebrations. It is also the end of the Celtic year, hence being known as the Witches New Year.
So, a few facts: Samhain falls on October 31st, is the third of the harvest festivals, and pays homage to the oncoming darker part of the year.
It is also the second night of the year where the veil between worlds is thinned, along with Beltane. Therefore, making this a prime time to communicate with the other side and honour your ancestors who have passed on.
SAMHAIN A LITTLE HISTORY
Samhain has a rich and wonderful history (our modern Halloween traditions had to come from somewhere right?).
In Celtic countries it was known as ‘The Feast of the Dead’. Food was left on altars and doorsteps for the spirits. This was the night when the dead roamed freely about the earth.
Sometimes single candles were lit and left in windows to help guide the dead on their journey. While some set out extra dinner plates around the table for departed loved ones to once again take their place among them. The fae folk were said to be particularly active playing tricks and it was ill advised to walk the streets after dark.
At this point in the season any crops that were left in the fields were not to be eaten but were offered to the nature spirits at Samhain.
There were huge bonfires built, known as ‘bone fires’. The bones from the evenings feasts were thrown into the fire, hence the name, bone fire.
People then lit their hearths from the fires to symbolize unity. Then the ashes were used to bless and protect the fields throughout the darker months.
CLEANSING YOUR HOME FOR SAMHAIN
Samhain is the most magical and powerful time to bless and cleanse your house. So, if you haven’t performed a house cleansing and blessing ceremony, now is the time to do it!
WHY CLEANSE & BLESS FOR SAMHAIN?
With winter slowly creeping in, it’s the perfect time to move out any stagnant, stale, or negative vibes before the cold sets in.
During Samhain, the veil between the spirit world and the physical world is at its thinnest, so it is believed that spirits and ancestors come back to visit during this time. Performing a house cleansing and blessings gives a welcome space for all of your ancestors. You want to come back and protective energy for any spirits you want to keep out.
HOW TO PERFORM A HOUSE BLESSING & CLEANSING
This is a thorough house blessing and cleansing. Give yourself adequate time and space to fully devote yourself to this exercise. If you have a large house, you may want to chunk your house into floors or rooms to perform this spread out over a couple of days.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
- Cleaning supplies
- Cleansing herb of choice (frankincense, mugwort, lavender, or sage, make good options)
- Besom (optional)
- White candle for cleansing and a black candle for protection
- Saltwater in a spray bottle or a bowl
- Altar offerings
Optional: protection symbols, crystals, cauldron, broom, herbs, etc.
1. Clean physically: First, you’ll want to clean your space physically. Remove things that are no longer serving you. Objects that don’t bring you joy anymore are most likely carrying old and stagnant energy that you don’t need cluttering up your energetic space. Try gifting, recycling, or finding a purposeful way to reuse these items.
2. Cleanse with smoke or incense: Use your preferred smoke cleansing tool for this step. I suggest using an herb or plant that’s in alignment with your cultural heritage. If you’re using something outside of your cultural heritage, like palo santo, I encourage you to ensure that it’s sourced from an ethical supplier. (Mystiques Enchantments carries Palo Santo from ethical suppliers).
With your cleansing smoke of choice, walk from room to room to let the smoke float through your space. As the smoke touches, each area of your house asks it to cleanse any energy that isn’t aligned with your highest good or something similar.
3. Cleanse with a besom: A besom is a tool used by witches to cleanse a space’s energy. For the practice of energy cleansing, you’re not intended to use the broom as a physical tool, although you can if you’d like. Open a door and begin sweeping, holding your besom slightly above the floor. Visualise any negative energy not serving you being whisked out the door.
4. Cleanse and call in with candles: Using a white candle in a fireproof vessel, walk around your house, shining the light in each room. Imagine each room filling up with white. Ask the light to clear the space and bring in energy that serves your highest good. This is also a good time to call in any ancestors or loved ones who have crossed over into your space. Once you’re finished, place your candle on your stove to burn all the way through. The hearth (our modern-day stove area) is an important area of the home, which aids in transformation, so this is a great place to let your candle(s) burn as you complete your house cleansing blessing. If you’d like to call in a specific kind of energy, you can also light a candle for that as well. Black candles are ideal for this season and offer protection.
5. Protect with salt water: Just like salt can protect your aura, it can also protect your space. Doors and windows are important areas to focus on with your saltwater because it’s where energy comes and goes in and out of your house. Spritz a bit of your saltwater in each room, focusing on windows and doors. As you do this, ask the salt to protect you and your space from unwanted energies. I like to visualize an energetic forcefield being enveloping my space during this step.
7. Cleanse and consecrate tools: If you have tools you often use for rituals, this is an ideal time to cleanse them as well. You can take a few extra moments with your cleansing smoke, white candle, and saltwater to cleanse your tools.
WAYS TO CELEBRATE SAMHAIN
Samhain Nature Walk
Take a meditative walk in a natural area near your home. Observe and contemplate the colors, aromas, sounds, and other sensations of the season. Experience yourself as part of the Circle of Life and reflect on death and rebirth as being an important part of Nature. Gather some natural objects and upon your return use them to adorn your home.
Decorate your home with Samhain seasonal symbols and the colors of orange and black. Place an Autumnal wreath on your front door. Create displays with pumpkins, cornstalks, gourds, acorns, and apples. Set candles in cauldrons.
By setting up an Ancestor altar, you can honor the people of your bloodline who have helped to shape the person you are. Your ancestors deserve your respect and remembrance. Samhain is the ideal time to create an ancestor altar for seasonal use, or as a permanent place in your home and in your life.
Ancestors may include those connected to you by blood, but also those who, while a blood relationship might be lacking, were nevertheless close enough to be kin. These are our teachers, mentors, and friends—our spiritual kin. And don’t forget our pets who are on the other side as well.
Set up the altar in a place where it can be left undisturbed, so that the spirits of your ancestors may gather there, and you can take time to meditate and honor them without having to move things around every time someone needs to use the table. A bookcase shelf can be the perfect location.
While an altar should be set up to your liking, and you can get as creative as you like, there are two rules that you need to follow. Never place salt or a picture of a living person on your ancestor altar. The spirits will not come around where there is salt and you should never place the living among the dead. This is considered the equivalent of tempting or thumbing one’s nose at Death, neither of which are wise courses of action.
Start by selecting photos of your ancestors. Choose pictures that have meaning for you. Try and arrange the photos on your altar so that you can see all of them at once. If you don't have a photo to represent an ancestor, you can use an item that belonged to him or her. Any objects belonging to one’s deceased ancestors are completely appropriate with or without the photos.
To honor the four elements, your should include the following on your altar: Incense and a holder, which represents Air (North). A white candle which represents Fire (East). A small glass of water which represents Water (South) and Crystals, gemstones, rocks and/or coins. (North).
The simple way to cleanse and consecrate the altar and make it a sacred space is to use a sage smudge stick, frankincense or sandalwood incense. Some people prefer Myrrh because myrrh smoke brings the astral realms closer to earth opening up a spiritual doorway. As the sage or incense burns, offer up a prayer to the ancestors:
Spirits of my fathers and mothers, I call to you
and welcome you.
You watch over me always,
protecting and guiding me,
and I thank you.
Your blood runs in my veins,
your spirit is in my heart,
your memories are in my soul.
With these acts of remembrance, I remember all of you.
You are on the other side but never forgotten,
and you live on within me,
and within those who are yet to come.
Spend a little bit of time each day at the altar. Sit, meditate and reflect. See who might come through or what messages they send to you.
Burning Samhain Ritual Candle
Samhain Ritual Candle Crafted By our Hedgewitch straight from her families Grimoire. This enchanting candle is bursting with the Energy of herbs & oils to light on the month of October & the night of Samhain. A very simple symbol of this night is to light a candle in the window to show spirit the way and honour those who have passed over. It is a time to think of the past, of bonds with loved ones and times of joy spent with them. while the wax seals your intentions to make it so. Watch the Energy rise from the fire to the universe.
Prepare a Samhain dinner. Include a place setting at your table or at a nearby altar for the deceased. Add an offering of a bit of each beverage being consumed to the cup at that place setting, and to the plate, add a bit of each food served. Invite your ancestors and other deceased loved ones to come and dine with you. To have this as a Samhain Dumb Supper experience, dine in silence. After the feast, place the contents of the plate and cup for the deceased outdoors in a natural location as an offering for the deceased.
Visit and tend the gravesite of a loved one at a cemetery. Call to mind memories and consider ways the loved one continues to live on within you. Place an offering there such as fresh flowers, dried herbs.
Kindle a bonfire outdoors when possible or kindle flames in a fireplace or a small cauldron. Write down an outmoded habit that you wish to end and cast it into the Samhain flames as you imagine release. Imagine yourself adopting a new, healthier way of being as you move around the fire clockwise.
Reflect on you and your life over the past year. Review journals, planners, photographs, and other notations you have created during the past year. Consider how you have grown, accomplishments, challenges, adventures, travels, and learnings.
Meditate Journal about your year in review, your meditation, and your reflections.
Mugwort, Allspice, Cinnamon, Rosemary, Mullein, Rue, Calendula, Sunflower, Apple Leaves, Sage, Wild Ginseng, Wormwood.
Black Onyx, Obsidian, Jet & all black stones, Smokey Quartz, Amber, Pyrite, Bloodstone.
Orange, Black, Gold, White, Silver.
Apples, Pumpkins, Gourds, Pomegranates, Acorns, Ancestor Photos, Cauldrons, Besoms, Candles, Skulls, Ravens, Cats.
Apple, Pumpkin, Pears, Grains, Hazelnuts, Corn, Herbal Teas.
Orange, Black, White.
Cypress, Myrrh, Patchouli, Eucalyptus, Coriander, Peppermint.
Frankincense, Myrrh, Sandalwood, Sage, Dragonsblood.
Cerridwen, Morrigan, Hecate, Lilith, Kali, all Crone Goddesses.
Osiris, Cernunnos, Anubis, Odin.
A day of remembrance of our ancestors & loved ones. The division of our worlds are just thin shadows on the blessed Samhain. The marking of the end of one cycle, and the beginning of the next. The promise of the natural world, that the cycles of life remain unbroken.
Blessed Be !