In The Wheel of the Year, Samhain (pronounced as "sow-in" or "sah-win") is one of the four major Celtic festivals that marks the end of harvest season and the beginning of winter. Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh, and Samhain align with the solstices and equinoxes, and mark the agricultural cycle, with each festival representing a different aspect of nature. It is a time when the veil between the physical and spirit realms is at its thinnest, allowing for communication with ancestors who have crossed over. From October 31st to November 2nd, the fires are burning, and our loved ones can cross over into our world, bringing messages of support and guidance. This is why divination tools are so popular on Samhain, as they can help us to communicate with our ancestors and receive their messages. (Be sure to light a candle or two in your windows so they can see their way home).
This is the night of power and magick, also known as All Souls Night, Halloween, Feast of the Dead, Festival of Remembrance, Feast of Mongfind, and Witches' New Year. This sacred season is a time for honoring the dark, the crone, our elders, ancestors and the other world-a time for introspection and renewal, as we mourn our losses and let go of all that we are ready to release. Samhain is the womb stirring a world of possibility as we stand at the threshold of a new year. As our Dark Goddesses teach, it is only through death that we find rebirth. Samhain gives us that sense of promise and as the Wheel of the Year turns once again, we are reminded as women that this cycle of seasons is like the endless spiral we walk as women of the Wise Woman Tradition.
Have a Moon Altar?
Celebrate Samhain by adding seasonal symbols of the season like dried leaves, mementos, crystals and heirlooms from transitioned loved ones. Some ideas are:
Food: apples, pumpkins, spiced cake, gourds, squash, mulled wine
Herbs: mugwort, rosemary, calendula, thistle
Crystals: moonstone, amethyst (stone of the witch), carnelian, lapis, spirit quartz
Scents: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, patchouli, amber
Goddesses: Hecate, Persephone, Demeter Cerridwen, Eir
Symbols: skulls, jack o’ lanterns, cats, pictures of ancestors, cauldrons, candles
Two Samhain traditions that have been passed down through generations are my personal favorites.
This is a silent meal held on the night of Samhain. You set a place at the table for those who have passed. This is simply a way to honor and communicate with the spirits of loved ones. The meal is eaten in silence.
Soul Cakes are biscuit-like cakes that brings back the custom of leaving food offerings outside the home for wandering spirits
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 stick 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1/2 cups of raisins
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine the flour, spice and salt in a small bowl. Mix well with a fork.
Warm the milk and remove from heat.
Cream the butter and sugar together; add the egg yolks and blend in thoroughly. Add the spiced flour and combine as thoroughly as possible; the mixture will be dry and crumbly.
One tablespoon at a time, begin adding in the warm milk, blending vigorously with a spoon. When you have a soft dough, stop adding milk; you probably won't need it all.
Turn the dough out onto a floured counter and knead gently then roll out to a thickness of 1/2 inch. Using a floured 2-inch round cookie or biscuit cutter, cut out as many rounds as you can and set on an ungreased baking sheet.
Decorate the soul cakes with raisins and then brush liberally with the beaten egg yolk. Bake for 15 minutes, until just golden and shiny. Serve warm.
The Witches Sabbat