Known as The Witch’s New Year, Halloween, Hallowmas and All Souls Day, Samhain (pronounced “Sowen”) is a holiday that starts in the northern hemisphere from sundown on October 31 and ends on November 1.
It’s when the fields are empty after harvest, leaves have fallen from trees and the skies are grey and cold. It’s the time of year when we have the opportunity to celebrate the cycle of death and rebirth, as well as honor our ancestors. The veil between our world and the spiritual world is thin and so it’s the perfect time to communicate with someone on the other side.
People often light fires in their communities, and then light their own candles from that fire which they take home and keep burning to guide spirits home.
A feast is also held on this day celebrating the final harvest, and the death of the fields. Foods such as apples, and root vegetables such as pumpkin and squash, are used in recipes. Bread is also a core element of a Samhain feast along with mulled cider or mead.
Crystals associated with Samhain:
Black onyx, amethyst, obsidian, bloodstone and opal
Colors associated with Samhain:
White and black candles represent the light and dark and our movement between them in the seasons and within ourselves. The black candle represents reflecting on all that was. The white candle represents the present moment and year to come.
Invite in the Crone Goddess (as this is the season). She is the Old One, the earth mother, the wise one we turn to when we need advice. She teaches us that sometimes we must let go in order to move on.
Goddesses associated with Samhain:
Cailleach & Morrigan: Goddesses of Death and rebirth
Danu: Ancient of the Celtic gods. She was referred to as the mother of the Irish gods
Tuatha de Danaan: mystical race of God-like beings who invaded and ruled Ireland over four thousand years ago. ‘tribe of Danu’.
The raven: Represents Pause death and the underworld.
Baba Yaga (Russian): Crone forest witch famous for living in her hut on chicken legs as support. Known as a gatekeeper to the underworld and guide through the forest.
Inanna (Sumer): An ancient mesopotamian goddess of war and love. One of Inanna’s heroic stories is that of her travels to the underworld to meet her sister Ereshkigal. The poem of Inanna traveling to the underworld is one of the oldest poems in the world dating back to 3500 B.C. and 1900 B.C.
Hecate (Greek): Goddess of Magic, witchcraft, the moon and guardian of the crossroads. She is also a gatekeeper to the spirit world.
Herbs associated with Samhain:
Bay leaf, lavender, allspice berries, broom, catnip, mountain ash berries, mugwort, mullein, oak leaves, acorns, rosemary, sage, pine cones, and straw.
Create an Ancestor Altar
Visit a Cemetery
Tell Ghost Stories
Take a Nature Walk
Create a Feast for the Dead
Learn Your Family History
Make Art of Decorate with Seasonal Imagery
Guide the Spirits with a White Candle
Hold a Séance
Looking for an outline to use in your Samhain women’s circle? We’ve created this one for you to use.
Need more inspiration for rituals? Get the Women’s Circle Ritual Handbook, Fall Edition here.
We also have 8 outlines for the Wheel of the Year here.