~Samhain – The End of Summer, The Third and Final Harvest~

Generally it is celebrated on October 31st but some traditions prefer celebrating it on November 1st. Regardless of the path/tradition it is a time to pause and thank for all that we have harvested this year, be it the fruits of our physical labour or our spiritual labour, and give thanks. Because, like during Beltane, the Veil between the Worlds is at its thinnest, it is a favoured time to do divination and spirit work.

Picture courtesy of:  http://wilhelmine.deviantart.com/art/Samhain-Altar-2009-143250744

Traditionally for Samhain we carve pumpkins (turnips in Scotland)), we leave an extra chair at the table and a plate of food for the spirits of our ancestors, we light candles and leave them on the windows to help guide lost spirits. There are many activities to do during Samhain and usually they are path specific like for example burrying apples along roadsides and paths to guide lost spirits or provide for the ones that have no one else to provide for them. Samhain is Re-Birth through Death. Leave the past behind, let it go and celebrate a fresh beginning. Make a list of what you wish to shed and let go of and burn in your bonfire or in your cauldron. Make a list of what you wish to manifest during the next year and keep it safe in a secrets box. Samhain allows you to come to terms with your past and leave all regret and mistakes behind, planning the best for the future. The bonfire was actually called ‘bone fire’ and the leftover animal bones from the Samhain feast were thrown into a fire and the next day retrieved to check for signs of what the future might bring. Foods traditional for this Sabbat are pumpkins, gourds, turnips, corn, beans, wholemeal breads, seasonal fruit, poultry, beef and pork dishes, nicely seasoned with thyme, rosemary and black peppers. It’s a good time to bake bread, cakes and cookies – especially treats for the little ones like these cranberry-pumpkin cookies, marzipan fingers or yummy truffles. Absolutely mouthwatering! YUM!! Colours that correspond with Samhain are the ones you usually see in Nature at this time: black, brown, marroon, deep red and orange, purple and the herbs connected with this Sabbat are usually mugwort, mullein, allspice, wormwood, catnip, nightshade, oak (bark and leaves), sage and straw. (Please remember that these can vary slightly according to each path/tradition).


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. edmooneyphotography
    Oct 12, 2013 @ 16:50:08

    Great post, I love reading about other peoples beliefs and ways of celebrating Samhain. I have just been invited to a Samhain ceremony starting at Tlachtga by some old Druid friends of mine and have been reliably informed that the true date for Samhain this year starts on the night of the 4th November. Apparently Samhain does not fall on the exact day each year as the current calender did not exist back when our ancestors celebrated it!



  2. Wilhelmine Lachmanová
    Mar 23, 2015 @ 11:44:38

    Hello, the photo of the altar is mine – can you please write some credits somewhere? Thank you – here is the link to the original photo: http://www.deviantart.com/art/Samhain-Altar-2009-143250744



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