Besides Beltane, this is my favorite Sabbat. These two Sabbats are at exact opposites for the year – Beltane being the third and final Spring Sabbat and Samhain being the third and final Autumn Sabat.
Samhain to most, conjours up images of wicked witches, ghosts, gouls, zombies, vampires and many other spooky characters. But this is actually a Witches New Year! We banish the old and make way for the new. We look to Spring to be the time to clean our homes, but Samhain is also a perfect time to do this. In fact, perhaps, even better! We are preparing ourselves for the long, dark winter months ahead.
On a physical level, the last of the fruits of the harvest have now been brought in. It is the time of the root vegetable – potatoes, carrots, turnips, parsnips; and of course, the gourds – pumpkins, butternuts and other kinds of squash.
The days are getting shorter and the nights longer. Frosts are forming in the night and we begin to hibernate, along with the other creatures. How difficult is it to drag yourself out of bed in the morning? All you want to do is curl up in front of the tv, with soup and hot chocolate!
I like to use this time of year to look back at my spiritual as well as my physical year. I take time to list all of the things that I have accomplished, as well as those that I did not. I look at areas I would like to work on in the New Year as well as letting those things go, that no longer serve me. I also have a look at last years goals and see how far along I travelled.
Samhain, is also a time to honour the dead.
This year, I lost my Granddad and while I was eating my Samhain Feast last night (in-between answering the door to the trick-or-treaters), I took a while to remember him.
It is also an excellent time to let things go in your life – burning rituals are excellent and can be performed at this time. Write those things you wish to remove from your life onto some paper (perhaps with a red pen). They could be things such as bad eating habbits, people or “friends” who drain you or even negative thought patterns. Then, when you feel the time is right, burn the paper and release the ashes. Then, simply, forget about them.
Samhain – The End of Summer, the Dead are Honoured
Practices Scrying, calling departed one’s (remembering them or speaking with them), leave some food outside for the little people! Just as they are active at Beltane they are also active now!
Colours Black, red and orange
Fruits of the Harvest/Herbs etc Pomegranates, pumpkins, apples, nuts, thistles, chrysanthemum, broom, oak leaves and sage.
Incense Apple, nutmeg, sage and mint.
Decorations Traditional: Jack-o-lanterns, photographs of deceased loved ones, apples, autumn leaves and flowers, squashes and gourds. Non-Traditional: check out your local supermarkets
Altar Items Black candles, brooms, cauldrons etc. In fact, if you wish to make yourself a new broom, this is the best time to do so!
Other items or Practices Mirrors; dream journals (at this time, dreams tend to be more vivid); story telling, ballads and poetry; stews; hot chocolate; roasts; baking; burning knotted cords from Beltane OR burning any negative intents as mentioned above; making a pentacle wreath.
Symbolism The Third Harvest, The Dark Mysteries, Rebirth through Death.
Stones or Crystals All black stones, such as Obsidian, Black Tourmaline, Jet, Onyx and Smokey Quartz.
Deities Goddess’: Morrigan, Hecate, Holda, Scathac, Calleach, Kali, Inanna, Persephone – the Goddess in her Crone form. Gods: Demuzi, Dagda, Hades – all Gods of the Underworld. Typically, the God now dies, so that he may be reborn at Yule.
And lastly, something to bare in mind at this time of year – do not pick blackberries after this date, as it is considered unlucky – they should be left for the little ones! Remember, food is becomming scarce for the wild animals, so consider leaving some of your fruits, nuts and vegetables for them to eat at this time!