The witch's new year is approaching. I've got 3 easy Samhain rituals to help you honor your ancestors and embrace the dark half of the year.
Samhain is quite possibly the witchiest day of the year. This ancient Celtic tradition has since been usurped by Halloween, but it's easy to see the pagan roots of this day that has become known for horror and mischief.
Modern witches and pagans take this day a little more seriously. In fact, it's known as the witch's new year. If you're looking for some ideas on how to celebrate, I'm here to help.
What is Samhain?
Samhain is generally celebrated on October 31st of November 1st, though some people prefer to mark this day when the sun reaches 15 degrees in Scorpio. There are no rules in witchcraft, so do whatever feels right to you.
Samhain is a Celtic word meaning summer's end, and this is the last of three harvest festivals. Our agrarian ancestors would have been clearing the final crops from the field, slaughtering any livestock they couldn't keep over winter, and bringing much of their farming activities to a close. I always picture all the tools being put away and the barn door closed for the winter, marking a season of sheltering indoors from the cold and the dark.
It is also said that the veil between the material and spiritual realms is thinnest at Samhain. Our deceased ancestors are close at hand, and this is an ideal time to honor their memories. With so many spirits around, it's also a good time for protection spells. In fact, the Jack-O-Lantern is actually a spell to keep unwanted spirits from entering your home.
There are so many Samhain rituals you could perform, and you can make them as simple or complex as you like. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Honor Your Ancestors
Samhain is the ideal time to create or tend to an ancestor altar. Even if you had difficult relationships with some of your immediate ancestors, there were thousands of people who had to exist in order for you to be here. So you can use this time to give thanks for their resilience and the strength they passed on to you.
I love to light some candles, burn some sandalwood incense or oil, and write a thank you letter to my deceased loved ones. I update them on how I've grown in the past year and thank them for their support. Then I place the letter on my altar along with an offering.
If you're planning a Samhain feast, you could set a place to represent your ancestors at the table. You could even talk to them as if they were honored guests. Conversely, some people will hold what's called a dumb supper where they eat the entire meal in silence.
Do whatever feels right to you, but find a way to connect with all the countless generations of humans who existed across the centuries so that you could be here on this Earth at this moment. It really is amazing when you think about it.
With the thinning veil, this is an ideal time to deeply connect with spirits, ancestors, Source energy, or your higher self. Whatever you believe lies beyond the mundane, materials world will be a bit closer to the surface, so there's no better time to seek guidance.
You may want to experiment with new forms of divination or deepen your practice with your tried and true methods. Brew some mugwort tea or create a special incense blend to help heighten the vibration. If you're curious about the best herbs to use, check out this post on herbs for divination.
My favorite divination method is tarot, but this is just a short list of divination methods you could experiment with at Samhain.
- Cartomancy - divination with cards such as tarot, oracle, or even regular playing cards
- Scrying - you can use fire, a crystal ball, a bowl of water, or any other reflective surface
- Tea leaves
- Automatic writing
- Spirit boards
Pumpkins are abundant at this time of year, and if you're in the broom closet, decorating a pumpkin at the end of October will not be suspicious except to those who are suspicious of everything.
You could bring a bit of extra intention to your traditional Jack-O-Lantern carving and craft that scary face into a home protection spell. Infuse your pumpkin with the intention of warding off any harmful spirits that may try to enter your home. Sprinkle some protective herbs inside the pumpkin and use a black candle to banish any negative energies.
These fat orange gourds full of seeds are also symbols of abundance. Their long life can bring the energy of attracting prosperity that lasts or keeps coming over time rather than a quick hit of money. So if you prefer, you could decorate your pumpkin with symbols of abundance and use it as an attraction spell. Sprinkle some cinnamon inside (which will smell great when you light the candle) to attract abundance and heighten the spiritual connection.
May your Samhain rituals be filled with magick
I hope you've found some Samhain rituals that feel awesome to you. This sabbat is so much fun. It's a time of celebration and remembrance. And if you also want to make it a time when you eat a lot of candy, I won't stop you. One fun-size Snickers for the ancestor altar, the rest for you. Remember, there are no rules.
If you're planning a feast to celebrate Samhain, I've got some awesome Samhain recipes to insprire you. And if you want to learn more about this sabbat, be sure to check out the Samhain episode of The Coven of Awesomeness Podcast.
I'd love to see how you're celebrating, so tag me in your Samhain photos on Instagram. May you have a blessed day and a beautiful year ahead.