Can you feel it?
The veil between worlds is virtually nonexistent now. The days and nights have cooled, filled with haze and clouds. My dreams have been becoming increasingly more vivid, filled with past loved ones, and the energy of this moon is so intense!
This Saturday, we welcome in the Witch's New Year.
Samhain, Halloween, is the witch’s new year.
A holiday to celebrate the end of the harvest season and to welcome in the dark months of the year. It is a time believed to not belong to the old or the new, and this lack of definition blurs the boundaries between time and space.
It is more specifically, a time when the veil between worlds is thinnest, and where the souls of the living, unborn and the dead are united or reunited, and the fae return to the other world. Our ancestors and future unborn generations are able to visit us, and carry with them wisdom and advice.
Variations of this are celebrated this time of year, though not necessarily on October 31st, in cultures around the globe: Samhain, Dia de los Muertos, Dia de los difuntos, Noche de brujas, Dzien Zaduszny, Pchum Ben, Awuru Odo, All Souls Day, Day of Dracula, among others.
It feels ever more important for us to make these connections to our past and to our ancestors to heal cycles and patterns of trauma and injustice.
At samhain we call to the crone goddess, the one that teaches us wisdom, helps us to let go, and to change and grow. When we let go, we make room for growth and for new. As the old year dies, we make room for a new one to be reborn. The wisdom of the crone goddess and the earth is celebrated, once again.
May we collectively ask for guidance, strength and peace, through these turbulent times.
Creating an Altar or Ofrenda
Creating an altar, or ofrenda, is common practice at Samhain, and in many of these traditions.
Photos or belongings of ancestors are gathered and displayed, along with some of their favorite foods (or foods of their heritage), apples, pumpkins and pomegranates, calendula or marigolds. It is said that marigolds with their sweet scent and bright light will guide the ancestors home on this night.
Herbs for Samhain
Mugwort - lucid dreaming, divination, first eye opening, astral travel
Rosemary - remembrance
Elder - ancestral connection
Calendula - (also known as pot marigold) traditional flor de los muertos for guiding ancestors home.
Anything from your own ancestry. Some of these above mentioned may have resonance but maybe think about what plants may have been used in your lineage for sweetness, love, memory, crown chakras. The internet is a fantastic resource for this!
You can cook with, make a tea or incense from these herbs to enjoy on Samhain, leaving some for your ancestors, of course, on the altar.
Celebrating with Children
Samhain can be SO FUN to celebrate with kids, and for little ones, provides additional art, cultural education and social studies lessons!
- set up the altar together, or let them build their own!, and talk about the ancestors on the altar, and memories of them.
- cook their favorite foods together for a meal and set out a "spirit plate" at the table. A spirit plate is when we make a place setting for our deceased loved ones for them to join us at the table
- leave apples and apple slices outside for the fairies on their return home and for the spirits after their long journey.
- jack o lantern carving
- make an ancestor tree
- carve jack o' lanterns, and talk about the history of pumpkin carving!
- make sugar skulls or pan de muerto
These are just a few ideas, but there are so many ways to celebrate! Starhawk's book Circle Round has many beautiful ideas for traditions with children around the Wheel of the Year.
However you celebrate, I wish you a blessed Samhain!