Samhain 2020 certainly has all the ingredients to be truly ‘magickal’: not only will it fall on a Saturday, but on a full moon and a blue moon at that! Blue moons are extremely rare, and occur when two full moons take place in the same month. We’re also living through a very rare event globally, and you might well be wondering how you can celebrate this October 31st holiday at a safe distance from others. I’ve offered a few ideas you might want to try, without dimming that magical spark!
ENJOY A SOCIALLY-DISTANCED BONFIRE
Samhain is considered by many witches as the most important festival, and for some, their New Year. Originating from Celtic festivals marking the end of the harvest season, Samhain was a time when huge bonfires and feasts were held to honour ‘Summers End’: the translation of the Gaelic word ‘Samhain’.
During the festivals, Celtic priests and priestesses worked their magic around enormous fires. You may wish to hold a safe, socially distanced bonfire to honour the tradition of Samhain, reflect upon your past, and consider new beginnings. Along with your guests, write on a piece of paper all that you wish to change or banish from your life, whilst on another piece of paper, list what you want to bring into your life. If you can, safely burn your lists in the bonfire to release your intentions into the Universe.
A MAGICKAL SAMHAIN FEAST
Historically, at Samhain, food would be harvested in abundance, so why not hold a socially distanced feast, and cook traditional Samhain foods? You could incorporate apples, turnips, root vegetables, squashes, potatoes, sweetcorn, popcorn, cornbread, spiced wine and cider. You might also wish to recreate old family recipes in honour of your ancestors. Samhain is considered a liminal time, when the veil between alive and passed realms is thin, so you may wish to lay a place for a relative who has passed. This is known as a ‘Dumb Supper’, and is said to enable your relative to celebrate with you one last time.
PICK YOUR PUMPKINS
Samhain is a great time to connect with the magick of nature. You could visit a pumpkin patch, farmers’ market or farm shop to connect you with the land. Plus, you can pick up a cute locally grown pumpkin to carve. Why not video call one another and creatively carve your pumpkins whilst telling the scariest of ghost stories? Throughout October, I will be telling many listeners ghost stories on my podcast The White Witch Podcast,
along with some old classics.
Samhain is a time to carry out your biggest spell work; it’s ideal for focusing on banishing spells, releasing bad habits and divination. Combined with the full moon, this year is an especially powerful time to work on any magick. If Samhain is the Witches’ New Year, why not take a look at your oracle or tarot cards for the next 12 months? Ancient Celtic priests and priestesses would use this festival to hold sacred rituals for divination, prophecy and fortune-telling. Pull 12 cards for each month, taking you up to Samhain 2021, and record the messages in your Book of Shadows or a journal, reflecting on them across the year.
DECORATE WITH CRYSTALS
Decorating for Halloween is a huge tradition, and a great opportunity to start an altar or sacred space within your home. You could spruce it up with pumpkins, squashes, seeds, nuts, apples and grains to represent the harvest. Get creative and add black cat and skull decorations. Black, gold and orange candles can symbolise autumnal colours, while crystals tie in with spell work and divination: add smoky quartz, black tourmaline, obsidian and
onyx to your space.
Now try something new this Samhain
Perform an ancestral spell
Discover more about Samhain and try a spell from Sherrylyn of freyascauldron.co.uk
Samhain, pronounced ‘sow-in’ or ‘sah- win’, is a time when ancient Celts held prayers and feasts to honour the dead, and is the final of three harvests of the year. It was seen as the most significant of the four quarterly fire festivals. The hearth of the home was left to burn out while the harvest was gathered. After the work was completed, the community would gather around to light the communal fire. This was done with a wheel to create a spark; it is thought that the wheel was a symbol for the sun.
Prayers were said to give thanks for the harvest, and cattle were sacrificed
to provide food for the village over the coming winter. At the end of the
festivities, the villagers would take home a piece of the fire to relight their own hearth fire. Later, carved turnips called Jack-o-lanterns began to appear, and over time, pumpkins replaced turnips, helping to morph Samhain into Halloween.
The growing popularity of Wicca in the 1980s saw a revival of Samhain
traditions, and it’s now celebrated using the traditional ways, combined with the modern aspects of Halloween. Samhain is one of the four greater Sabbats in the Wiccan calendar: the third and final harvest in the wheel of the year. It is seen as a time when the veil thins between the spirit and mortal worlds, and as a time when ancestors should be honoured. Some people create ancestor altars using photos and possessions of loved ones, along with seasonal decorations such as autumnal leaves.
For a simple spell to honour your ancestors, try the following:
1 Take an orange or white candle and place it on your altar in a suitable holder.
2 Light the candle, focus on the flame and recite the following words: ‘As the wheel turns and the candle burns, I honour those who have passed.’ Then add in words of your choice about the ancestors you wish to honour.
3 Close the spell with these words: ‘Bless our souls, so mote it be’.
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