|Meaning in the year circle||Beginning of the annual cycle, beginning of the winter half-year|
|Colours||orange, black, white|
|Stones||onyx, rock crystal|
|Keywords||Death, dying, ancestors, hope for a new beginning|
Why do we celebrate Samhain?
With Samhain the old year ends and the new one begins. At the same time, the winter half year begins. It is the celebration of the dead and the unborn life. Now the border to the Otherworld is open and we can communicate with our ancestors. Death and dying are in focus, so it's also the ideal time to let go of unwanted aspects of your life and sow seeds for new things. In the cold season we can draw new strength in silence and reflect our life.
The Celts believed that the souls of the people who died this year would finally cross over in this very night. To help them with this transformation, the Celts literally danced on the graves. Lights were set up to guide their way. Even today, many people put lanterns or carved pumpkins outside.
How did Samhain become Halloween?
During the missionary of the catholic church in the 6th - 8th century many Celtic and Germanic traditions couldn’t be erased, as the peoples persistently clung to it. Therefore, the church began to christianize pagan festivals and to include them in the church calendar. For example, Ostara became Easter, Vali became Valentine's Day and Samhain became All Saints’ day. In 837 Pope Gregory IV moved All Saints' Day from the first Sunday after Pentecost to the 1st of November. The eve before was celebrated as All-Hallows Eve, today Halloween, as a substitute to Samhain.
How can we celebrate Samhain today?
We can use this day and night to say goodbye to old and to review the year. Furthermore, we can celebrate the new beginning. Now begins the dark season, which gives us opportunity for reflection and spiritual development.
Samhain fire ceremony
Candle / campfire
Three sheets of paper
A glass of water or fresh juice
Find a suitable ritual place either in nature or in your house. If you choose a place in the wild, make sure you can light a small fire. A creek or lake nearby would be ideal. It is not recommended to light an open fire in a dry forest. If you want to keep your ritual indoors, prepare a beautiful candle and a refractory bowl. If you want, you can build a small altar. Black and white crystals and stones fit perfectly for this occasion. In general, you can decorate your altar with everything that feels right for you. Make sure that you are undisturbed and that nobody interrupts you during your ritual.
Light your campfire or candle. Pick up the first sheet and mark it with a symbol for dying (you can also use a black sheet of paper). Write down everything for which you are grateful. Recall your memories of the year and feel the gratitude. Every little thing counts. Then you burn the paper in the fire. Watch it as burns down and let yourself sink deeply into the feeling of gratitude. Thank the nature, a higher being or yourself for the wonderful events of the past year.
Now pick up the next sheet and mark it with a symbol of death (or use a white sheet). Write down everything you want to leave behind: habits; feelings, which are harmful to you; People with whom you cannot grow... Get rid of ‘excess luggage’ to start fresh and light into a new year. Now burn this sheet as well and feel what the fire is burning all those things and transforming it. Fire is the strongest transformational power, be aware of that.
Now take the third sheet. Mark it with a symbol of rebirth (or take a red sheet of paper). Write down everything you want to accomplish and experience in the new year. The effect is strongest when you write in the present. Therefore, write for example: I am healthy, I am happy, I live in a beautiful house by the sea. As you write down your wishes, feel what it would feel, when they are fulfilled. Burn the last sheet and pass on your wishes to the universe. As you watch the sheet burn, feel that you have already reached your goal. Emotions are more powerful than words. When you radiate the quality of your desire by entering the feeling, you magically attract reality.
Take the glass of water or juice and hold it in your hands. Imagine that the qualities (health, happiness) that you wish for pass into the fluid. Load the glass full of your wishes and drink it. Like that your longings are materialized on a physical level.
Now you can watch your fire as it burns down. Never extinguish a ceremonial fire with water - that would be very disrespectful to the Spirit of Fire. In an emergency, you can erase it with mud. Ideally, you let it burn down under observation. To thank the Spirit of Fire, you can also give some incense to the fire.
I wish you a magical Samhain.
Share your experience with us and leave a comment.
Yule: winter solstice
21st of December
usually celebrated on 2nd of February
21st of March
usually celebrated on 30th of April
21st of June
usually celebrated on 2nd of August
23rd of September
usually celebrated on 31st of October