Samhain (October 31st)
Samhain marks the descent of Winter and is the third and final harvest, the harvest of meat.The leaves are falling from the trees in drifts, and life is drawn away from the surface of the earth and descends deep into the earth. Life is now in the roots and bulbs of plants which rest over the Winter. The earth prepares for sleep and draws energy inwards. This is a time for introspection, as we too draw our energy inwards and settle in for the Winter. Samhain is a time of transformation and inner work. It is the end of one cycle and the beginning of another, so now is the time to banish and sort out unfinished business, take stock of the past year and what you have learned. It is also a time to face our shadow and see the dark side of ourselves. This season is one of mystery.
The Old King is dead, and the Crone Goddess mourns him greatly during the next six weeks. The sun is at its lowest point on the horizon as measured by the ancient standing stones of Britain and Ireland, the reason the Celts chose this sabbat rather than Yule as their new year. To the ancient Celts, this holiday divided the year into two seasons, Winter and Summer. Samhain is the day on which the Celtic New Year and winter begin together, so it is a time for both beginnings and endings. It is also the day weremember and honour those who have died.
Now, while the veil between the worlds is thinnest, those who have died in the past year and those who are to be reincarnated pass through. The doors of the sidhe-mounds are open, and neither human nor faery need any magickal passwords to come and go. Our ancestors, the blessed dead, are more accessible, more approachable during the time of the dying of the land. Samhain is a day to commune with the dead and a celebration of the eternal cycle of reincarnation. This is a good time for divination.
Altar candles should be orange(represents magick of fire and remainder of fire in autumn leaves), black (collects and absorbs light and keeps you warm), white (sends out energy), silver, and gold (represents Moon and Sun).
Incense may be myrrh or patchouli.
Decorate with autumn flowers, small pumpkins, Indian corn, and gourds.
Use your Cauldron with a black votive candle for petition magick (for writing resolutions on a strip of paper and burning in the candle flame)
Divination or scrying devises -- tarot, obsidian ball, pendulum, runes, oghams, black cauldron or bowl filled with black ink or water, or magick mirror, to name a few
An animal horn, feather or talon as a power symbol (Samhain is tradtionally the meat harvest)
Rosemary (for remembrance of our ancestors), Mullein seeds (a projection for abundance), mugwort (to aid in divination), rue, calendula, sunflower petals and seeds, pumpkin seeds, turnip seeds, apple leaf, sage, mushrooms, wild ginseng, wormwood, tarragon, bay leaf, almond, hazelnut, passionflower, pine needles, nettle, garlic, hemlock cones, mandrake root.
At Samhain, witches once gave one another acorns as gifts. During the Burning Times, giving someone an acorn was a secret means of telling that person you were a witch. Acorns are fruits of the oak, one of the most sacred trees to the ancient Celts. They are symbols of protection, fertility, growth, values, and friendship.
Black Obsidian, Smoky Quartz, Jet, Amber, Pyrite, Garnet, Granite, Clear Quartz, Marble, Sandstone, Gold, Diamond, Iron, Steel, Ruby, Hematite, Brass.
Meat dishes (especially pork), rosemary, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, mulled cider with spices, candy apples or apple dishes, potatoes.
Things You can Do On Samhain
Make resolutions, write them down on a piece of paper and burn in a candle flame, preferably a black voitive candle within a cauldron on your altar.
Carve a pumpkin (great thing to do if you have children!) and place a candle dedicated to a lost loved one in rememberance.
Spend time contemplating the past year, use a journal, or cast a spell to keep anything negative from the past, our of the future.
Do a divination for the coming year using tarot, runes.
Make a besom (witches broom)