Samhain, or Halloween, What Is It & How To Celebrate It
What is Samhain and how can we celebrate it?
Some call this night Halloween, I call it Samhain, other options are All Souls Night, Feast of the Dead, Feast of Apples, Festival of Remembrance and New Year
Samhain is an important festival for many as it marks the end of one year and moving into the next. It is the third and final harvest before the harsh winter sets in, a time to store the nuts, berries, create warmth by the fire as we hunker down for the colder and darker season to grace us with its presence as the Wheel of the Year shifts forwards.
The season around us depicts the end of the cycle, that of birth to its final completion, a full cycle from birth, to growth and finally death, it is when the Crone is in her full glory until Spring turns her back into the Maiden.
It is the time when the seeds of the harvest lay upon the bare fields to sink into the dark earth, waiting, dormant until it is ready to spring back into life.
Much can ‘seem’ lifeless at this point.
The Sun King at this time has been sacrificed back to the land with the seed until the Winter Solstice as the Goddess, now Crone mourns his death.
Have no fear he is reborn at Yule.
This is a time of year when we go inwards, turning into our own wisdom, our psychic self, descending into the space of pre-conceptions out of which new life and ideas will eventually emerge.
We use this energy as does the Sun King travels for now to the Underworld
At this time the veils thin between our world and the Spirit, the boundaries dissolve and it is time to honour and give hospitality to our ancestors.
We are here to remember that life is a cycle, from birth comes growth, then death, and so do we follow this cycle to eventually become Ancestors. It is a time now to give thanks for the gift of life from our Ancestors, no matter their history, we honour them and give gratitude for this gift. It is also important to remember those that are family irrelevant of blood ties and our teachers, mentors and those that have impacted our lives up until this point.
In Celtic history the day for this began at sunset, rather than sunrise, for light is born out of darkness, but it starts with darkness and as such our New Year begins at such a time.
Now is the time to rest and reflect on the past and to dream of new beginnings. What is not seen is not lifeless, far from it, as so the seeds lie hidden under the earth, so do they become the fabric of our sustenance in the year to come and so we can play with this energy in many forms within our lives.
Look for the seeds within yourself!
Lets not forget our faithful friends, our pets. They can often leave a huge dent in our lives when passed having been such loyal and loving creatures.
You and your children can make an offering at Samhain for departed pets by leaving some dog food outside, which I am sure will also be appreciated by the night time creatures that come out after the sun has set. Be mindful of what you put down however, to ensure it is safe for other animals to eat.
laying an extra place at the table
A lovely way to honour someone close that has passed is to cook their favourite foods, lay an extra place at the table for them, talk about them when celebrating this feast which all helps to bring them closer and to let them know they are often thought of..
Easy Samhain Activities
Recognising the turning of the wheel, or synching up with the seasons and all that that holds for us as we live on this planet Earth is a wonderful thing to do no matter what your belief system is, we are here and the wheel turns regardless. Let us celebrate in simple ways the beauty of this.
Even though it’s starting to get dark early, that doesn’t mean you can’t play outside. This time of year, when the nights are cool, is a great time to celebrate the season with a bonfire or a moonlight walk.
In many cultures, ancestor veneration is an important part of the season. Depending on how old your children are, you may want to use this time of year as an opportunity to introduce your kids to the people whose blood runs through their veins.
Study Genealogy: All of us came from somewhere, so why not figure out what that place might have been? Get your kids involved in learning about their forbears, even if it’s just something as simple as asking Grandma what it was like to live when she was a child. Take the information you learn, and fill out a family tree chart — if you’re feeling really crafty, use that info to make an ancestor altar cloth!
Got photos and family heirlooms? Set up an ancestor altar in a place of honour in your home. Is your child — or are you — adopted? That’s okay, you can still honour your kinfolk, you just have to go about it a slightly different way. Consider celebrating archetypes that represent your ethnic or cultural background.
Ideas for your altar
Here we have a very simple Samhain altar.
As always using fruits and vegetables that are harvested at this time are a great addition and falls in line with appeasing the spirits with offerings of food and drink, which was to ensure that the people and livestock at that time survived the winter.
In this modern day age we still give offerings for continued wealth in all forms, be it wellness and food stock.
At the back is a skull, a representation no doubt of our Ancestors, the candle lit in honour of their lineage and gift to us of life.
Symbols of Samhain are the cauldron, the pumpkin, apples, nuts and berries. As we are now in the darker months, black candles can be used and also to honour the passage to the Spirit world, or Summerland and our Ancestors.
Having imagers of deceased family members and friends is also lovely to have on your altar at this time.
You are invited to my first in person event this year – Ancestral Connections, blessings & healing through Shamanic tea & journeying – Aurora Facets ©
An opportunity to enjoy Samhain in the older traditional way!
Come and join us on the 31st of October at the lovely wellness centre of Bhuti, 50 Hill Rise, Richmond TW10 6UB from 7.30 pm – 9pm in an intimate event, facilitated by Justine Nagaur, founder of Aurora Facets Transformational Healing and Christian, Shamanic Practitioner and writer.
In this event, we will be offering you an alternative to the modern commercialised Halloween and instead embrace some of the old ways and traditions of using this time for honouring our Ancestors, fostering gratitude and receiving wisdom and through this often healing.
We will be doing this through circle time, enjoying an Ecuadorian tea ceremony which has been specifically chosen to create clarity, focus and alertness so that when we move into the journeying part of the event, guided by both of us with the drum and rattle you will be better able to traverse down the different layers of consciousness to move through the veil to have your own personal journey with your Ancestors, should this be what you wish.
We will also be holding blessings, inviting in the energy that we wish for the New Year ahead which for many is acknowledged as being at this actual time and releasing what we no longer wish. There will be circle sharing, divination and a few surprises.
There are limited tickets, we would love to have you join us, if you would like to grab this opportunity please purchase your ticket here by calling 0330 400 3108
or using the link below, or using the button below the event image:
Blessings Justine & Christian