Samhain (pronounced Saah-win or Saah-ween) is a pagan holiday, also celebrated by Wiccans and Witches which is commonly known as the Witches’ New Year.
This holiday is marked on October 31 (northern hemisphere) / May 1 (southern hemisphere) to honour and connected with ancestors and those who have died. Samhain corresponds with the same day as Halloween and All Hollow’s Eve.
This is when the Wheel of the Year, which represents the solstices, equinoxes and cross-quarters, now comes to an end and will start over again the following day after Samhain.
Here are 13 ways to celebrate Samhain that you can use and adapt to your practice during this season:
13 Ways to Celebrate Samhain
1. Create a Samhain altar.
Add candles that correspond to the season (orange, black, white, red), crystals such as tourmaline, obsidian and amber, autumn decorations such as pumpkin, garlic, harvest corn, gourds and squashes, skulls/sugar skull decorations.
Create an altar that has meaning to you and the season. This altar can be for decoration or it can be added to your working altar that you can use for the holiday.
2. Create an ancestor altar.
This altar can be for decoration or you can use it with your working altar. Add photos of loved ones who have passed away, keepsakes, anything that has special importance to you and your loved ones in spirit.
3. Hold a dumb supper.
This is a dinner that is held in silence from start to finish to honour those in spirit.
Photos of loved ones can be placed on the table or around the table. Add candles to the table and room.
By having a dinner in silence, you can open up your psychic senses to feel, sense and hear if any loved ones have joined you.
4. Have a get-together or family dinner (but you can still talk).
If you have a regular dinner at home or with family, leave an extra plate for those in spirit who can’t physically be with you. This can be done during a dumb supper as well.
During the dinner, you can have a special candle lit for the duration of the night in memory of those who have passed away.
Say a tribute or prayer for those in spirit, tell funny jokes or memories, recall stories during the dinner to relive and keep their memory alive.
*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic (2020/2021), this plan may need to be altered with more precautions and considerations. Please keep up-to-date with your local city, county/province and/or country guidelines about gatherings and social events.
5. Make an offering to loved ones in spirit.
This can be done at your altar or at your table.
Place food and/or alcohol (or their favourite drink) and place on your altar or in a special place in your home. Leave it out for your loved ones in spirit on Samhain. After Samhain, take the food outside to leave for the animals.
If you used alcohol, place outside and pour on the ground in a safe area that animals won’t get to.
If the food is harmful to animals, cover and bury it far enough and cover the earth so animals can’t get it. Do the same with the alcohol libation if there’s a possibility animals may get it.
6. Make an offering to the Dark Goddess.
This can be done on the night before Samhain to help guard against wandering spirits on Samhain.
Dark goddess such as Hekate can be honoured.
Homes that have a picture of Hekate are protected from wandering spirits as it shows to wandering spirits that a follower of Hekate lives there and warns the spirits to not pester or bother the occupants of the home.
Leave food for Hekate on a plate outside your front door (or back door if it leads directly to your home) or at a three-way crossroad.
If you leave food for Hekate, walk away and don’t look back.
As a side note, if you leave an offering at a crossroad, don’t use good plates or china for the offering as you won’t be able to get it back if you leave it for Hekate.
If you leave an offering outside your home, you can take the offering the next day away from your home and leave the food for the animals, but take your plate back and only use that plate for offerings to Hekate.
Learn more dark goddesses and dark moon magick in Working with the Dark Moon & Dark Goddess e-book.
7. Do a tarot or oracle reading.
See what the next 12 months may bring or what the past 12 months have brought, what you can look forward to and what to let go.
Samhain is commonly known as the Witches’ New Year, so a reading can help to reflect on what will need to end and what will come.
8. Get a tarot or oracle reading.
Samhain can be a good time to get a tarot or oracle reading from another reader to see what the new year may have in store, to get insight on what has happened over the past 12 months, or just to get guidance from loved ones in spirit or your ancestors.
9. Honour the Dark Goddess.
Samhain is the time of year when the Dark Goddess is at her reign as the Crone goddess in the Triple Goddess aspect. Goddesses such as The Morrighan and Hekate are honoured at this time.
Caution should be made about working with and contacting these Dark Goddess aspects as they can be strong deities and demand respect.
Be careful when laying your problems at the feet of these goddesses, they will hold you accountable for your part in the problem!
An offering can be made to the dark goddess and honouring Her at this time for Her part in the Wheel of the Year.
If you have a connection with the Dark Goddess, this is the time to pay special respects to Her.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Dark Goddess, research more about the Dark Goddess aspect and dark goddesses such as Hekate and The Morrighan and study them before beginning to work with the in your rituals or workings.
10. Work with your ancestors.
Get wisdom and messages from your ancestors during this season at Samhain. Meditation and offerings can be made to them to ask for their assistance.
11. Communicate with Spirits.
The veil is thinnest in the month of October as we approach Samhain that many people begin to sense a shift in the energy in the air, especially at night.
Séances are popular around this time of year, however caution should be made about attempting them if you’re inexperienced.
Consulting a medium can be rewarding to receive healing and welcoming messages from your loved ones in spirit.
Even if you don’t think you’re psychic, you can still communicate with spirits and learn How to Communicate with Spirits using Tarot.
Read and find out how to work with spirits in witchcraft.
12. Hold a Samhain ritual.
This can be a simple or elaborate ritual that you can do every year or change it up each year.
Based on your beliefs and traditions you can use whatever you feel is best for you and how you wish to honour your loved ones in spirit, your ancestors or deities.
Your Samhain ritual can be a solemn occasion or it can full of laughter and fun; solitary, a group working or a family event.
13. Create or buy a protection amulet, talisman or charm.
If you’re trick-or-treating with the kids on Samhain or going out for the night, create or buy a protection amulet, talisman or charm to have a safe day/night.
This can be a crystal, necklace, bracelet or something else that you and/or the kids wear for the day and night to offer protection from whatever may happen during the mischievous night and to keep kids safe while out at night.
In addition, you can perform a spell the night before to help make sure everyone has a safe and fun night.
Samhain is one of the most popular holidays in the pagan, wiccan and witch community and there’s no doubt as to why.
How ever you choose to celebrate and mark the occasion may you have a safe and happy holiday season!