For those that don’t know, Samhain is a holiday most commonly celebrated by the Celts to honor the people who have died and the coming of winter. If you want to celebrate Samhain this year, let’s look at some of the perfect ways to do so. The exact date sometimes varies between different Pagans, but it’s usually celebrated on either October 31st or November 1st.
During this time, the nights grow darker, a chill fills the air, and the veil thins between our world and the spirit realm. For lots of pagans, this is a time for spiritual growth and reflection. The following ceremonies and rituals can be done as a group or by yourself.
1. Decorate Your Altar
Since Samhain falls around Halloween and in the fall, decorate your altar to represent the time of year. Use some fallen leaves, colors rich in harvest shades, black, burgundies, and purples. You can also use grave rubbings, skeletons, and skulls.
2. Take a Nature Walk
Go for a walk through the woods or park close to your home. Notice the sounds, aromas, colors, and other feelings of the time of year. Reflect on rebirth and death.
3. Create a Ceremony
Start by fixing a meal for your family. You should use wild game, if you can, vegetables and fruits. Add some apple cider or wine, as well as dark bread such as rye or pumpernickel. Set your table with an autumn centerpiece and candles and add everything to the table at one time. This should be consider a sacred space.
Get everybody and say: “Tonight is the first of three nights, on which we celebrate Samhain. It is the end of the harvest, the last days of summer, and the cold nights wait on the other side for us. The bounty of our labor, the abundance of the harvest, the success of the hunt, all lies before us. We thank the earth for all it has given us this season, and yet we look forward to winter, a time of sacred darkness.”
Take a glass of wine or cider and lead everybody outside. Head to the garden or a grassy area. Have everybody take the cup one after the other and sprinkle some of the drink on the earth and say “Summer is gone, winter is coming. We have planted and we have watched the garden grow, we have weeded, and we gathered the harvest. Now it is at its end.”
Start your meal, now, by breaking the bread. Make sure that you throw some crumbs to the birds.
4. Make an Altar for Your Ancestors
Honor family members that have passed away. Gather up some mementos, heirlooms, and photographs of deceased pets, family, and friends. Place them on a surface with some votive candles. These candles should be lit in their memory. While doing this, say their names and express thanks and well wishes. Sit quietly for a moment and notice how you feel.
5. The Spirits Need a Guide
Put a white seven day candle in one of your windows so that the spirits have a guiding light. When you light the candle, say, “O little flame that burns so bright, be a beacon on this night. Light the path for all the dead, that they may see now what’s ahead. And lead them to the Summerland and shine until Pan takes their hands. And with Your light, please bring them peace, that they may rest and sleep with ease.”
6. Go to the Cemetery
Another great way to honor you deceased loved ones is to visit and take care of their grave sites. Think about how your loved ones continue to live with you. Give them an offer like fresh water, dried herbs, or fresh flowers.
Samhain is also able celebrating life. Take a moment to stop and reflect on your life over the year. Consider the ways you have grown, what you have learned, your travels, adventures, challenges, and accomplishments.
8. Have a Séance
The space between living and dead is smaller at this time of year. If there is anybody that you would like to contact who has passed on, now is a great time to do so.
9. Have a Bonfire
Build a bonfire outside. Write down some bad habits that you want to get rid of and cast them into the flames as you imagine them releasing. Imagine yourself creating new and healthier ways as you move clockwise around the fire.
10. Use Divine Guidance
Try using scrying, runes, tarot, or any other divination method. Try to find and reflect on the new guidance for the following year. Write out what you need and what you received. Choose something that you wish yo act upon.