“Sam” and “hain” meant “end of” and “summer” to the Celts. They observed only two seasons of the year: summer and winter. So, Samhain was celebrated at the transition of these seasons.
Samhain, (pronounced SOW-in, SAH-vin, or SAM-hayne)is the third and final Harvest. The dark winter half of the year commences on this Sabbat. 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. Originally the “Feast of the Dead” was celebrated in Celtic countries by leaving food offerings on altars and doorsteps for the “wandering dead”.
To Witches, Samhain is one of the four High Holidays, or Greater Sabbats. Because it is the most important holiday of the year, it is sometimes called ‘THE’ Great Sabbat. Pagans consider Samhain the most magical night of the year. It occurs exactly opposite of Beltane on the Wheel of the Year. It is a night of glowing jack-o-lanterns, tricks or treats, and dressing in costume. A night for telling chilling ghost stories by the fire. And a time for seances, tarot card readings and scrying with mirrors. It is upon this night, that the veil which seperates our world from the Otherworld is at its thinnest, making it a Night of Power.
As Witches,we observe this day as a religious festival. We consider it a memorial day for dead friends and family. It is still a night to practice various forms of divinitory arts such as scrying and rune casting. One could never hope for a better Tarot reading than on this night! Samhain is considered a time to wrap up old projects, take a good look at one’s stock in life, and consider new projects and endeavors for the coming year.
Bonfire, hearth fire, candle – gaze into the flame and revisit our ancient heritage. Draw friends close and leave an offering for the whispering ghosts. Samhain is here.
‘Listen! The wind is rising,
And the air is wild with leaves,
We have had our summer evenings,
Now for October eves!’
~ Humbert Wolfe (1885-1940)
‘Witches are alive & magic is upon us,
blessed be the season of the witch’… ~ MooN
= Altar Decorations =
Altar should be decorated with Pumpkins, Wheat, colorful Native American Corn, Gourds. Fall leaves you have gatherd while walking in the woods or parks. Pine cones & Acorns. Pictures of dead ancestors (relatives or pets), Rosemary herb plants or dried bundles, Black and Orange candles. Scrying mirrors and or divination tools such as Tarot cards & Rune Stones.
= Herbs of Samhain =
Allspice Berries, Broom, Catnip, Mountain Ash Berries, Mugwort, Mullein, Oak leaves, Acorns, Rosemary, Sage, Pine cones, Straw.
“Bonfires dot the rolling hillsides
Figures dance around and around
To drums that pulse out echoes of darkness
Moving to the Pagan sound.”
~~ Loreena McKennitt, “All Souls Night”, “The Visit”