Understanding Samhain (All Hallows Eve)

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Samhain is an old Pagan festival that is celebrated on the third and final harvest of the year - falling on the spirit night of October 31st. It was believed to be the time when the old God would return to the Land of the Dead and the Crone would mourn her loss, marking the darkest time of year (Winter), until his return in Spring. Samhain marks the end of birth and growth (Summer) and welcomes with it the time of death.

October 31st is a time where the thin veil between the living and the dead is lifted, marking Samhain as a time to celebrate those who have passed on and connect with them once more. It is one of two spirit nights throughout the year - the other being Beltane on May 1st.

During Samhain, people would leave food offerings on their doorsteps, altars and tables to welcome the dead and to allow them to feast as they wandered the Earth once more. All lights in the home would be turned off and single candles or lanterns were placed in windows in order to guide the dead back to their homes. Some people would wear scary masks in order to scare away evil spirits that might want to take advantage of their kindness. These traditions are very similar to our traditions today. We dress up in scary costumes, leave Jack o'Lanterns in our windows as an invite and we hand out sweets to children that knock on our door. 

Here are a list of Samhain correspondences and activities to try out during this magical time of year!

Altar Items

  • Jack-o-lanterns  
  • Pumpkins
  • Candles
  • Apples
 

Stones

  • Amethyst
  • Onyx
  • Smokey quartz
  • Bloodstone
 
 

Divination

  • Tarot reading
  • Scrying
 

Spells

  • Blessing
  • Renewal
  • Guidance
 

Activities To Try On Samhain  

  • Carve a pumpkin into a Jack-o-lantern
  • Create your own masks
  • Bake food and lay them out as offerings
  • Create an ancestor altar
  • Reminisce with stories of past long bed ones
  • Practice your divination skills
  • Embrace the magic of Halloween
 

Take a look at my Halloween inspired painting, Halloween Tree in store now

Let me know your favourite Samhain and Halloween traditions and what your plans are for this years celebration by sharing in the comments below.