As Summer turns into Fall, there is one Sabbat that makes me excited. This could be because it is related to its counterpart of Halloween and I have so many good memories of dressing up in costumes and getting candy with my dad and sister as my mom stayed home to hand out candy. However, I also get excited because Samhain is the Witch’s New Year and it is, in part, the Sabbat of change.
I never knew Samhain growing up. I only knew it as being Halloween. My parents were, and still are, Catholic, and I was always excited to pick out a costume and go with my sister and dad (at least when we were younger) to houses and get treats. It was a special time. I knew there was something more, but never ventured beyond the costumes and pumpkins and what not. When I started on my path of becoming a Wiccan, I started learning more about Samhain and it just clicked. This was my Sabbat. Some people are drawn more to some Sabbats than others and Samhain is the one that fits with me. Which is weird because I am a Gemini and was born in June. However, I am drawn to the dark and oddly enough I favor the Death tarot card. Figure that.
Samhain, for most, is a Sabbat to celebrate the lives of ancestors that have passed (including pets), make changes in their lives, perform divinations, connect with their dark side, etc… It is the darkest time of the year. It is a Sabbat of death. During this time, the veil between worlds is at its thinnest and we can speak with our loved ones easier. We can also connect with fairies or elementals as well. This is also a time to consider changes you may want to make. Death is considered as physical most of the time. This is the time, for example, if you want to get rid of a bad habit to end it. Samhain is also known for divination and psychic methods.
There are many activities that you can participate in on Samhain day or before. Here are some ideas:
• Carve or paint pumpkins. This is as old as time. If you don’t like carving pumpkins anymore, just paint them. It looks just as good. However, I like the look of glowing candles and making faces in my pumpkins. Each to his own.
• Create an ancestor altar. Set up an altar with photos of the loved ones who have died (including pets if you want). You can put candles and incense or whatever might have been important to them. Make sure to keep it clean.
• Clean up the graves. Show some respect and clean up the graves of your loved ones. Place flowers on them and maybe light a candle. Let them know that you still think of them.
• Perform a dumb supper on Samhain. This is basically you inviting your ancestors to have dinner with you. You can find information for performing one online.
• Dress up. Even I still dress up and I’m 35. It’s the only time of the year to dress up and be something different. Have fun! If you don’t want to dress up, make a mask or buy a witch’s hat or something that will still make you feel dressed up.
• Decorate the house. You can always buy wall art to hang around the house or go to craft stores to find things that are more to your taste to make for Samhain. It’s amazing what you can do with paint, wood, glue, and accessories. You can also choose a theme for your house. Something like Victorian or go classic with witches, pumpkins, cats, etc…
• Divine your future (or have someone else do it). Since it is the Witch’s New Year, it is always fun to have your future told. I always like to do a drawing on my tarot deck of the future year. If you’re not good at divining, have a friend or professional do it for you. However, be cautious of those who are so-called professionals. I’m not putting them down, just saying to watch out if they charge you a lot of money.
• Talk to your loved ones. It is now when the veil is thinnest. Create a circle and invite those who have passed in it to talk with you. Also invite your pets who have passed. Let them know you love them and miss them. Keep your mind open to them and you’ll get a response from them.
• Celebrate the dark deities. This is a time when the dark deities are celebrated. Especially The Crone. Decorate your altar with pictures or statues of them. Burn their favorite incense. Take time to worship them and let them know of your appreciation. Ask them for any help you may need in the new year.
• Change. This is a time to consider what you may need to change in life and do away with. So, if you are overweight, create a ritual or spell for Samhain night to change this aspect of your life.
• New resolutions. I always make a new resolutions list for myself like the January 1st list. I do this because it seems right to me. Make a list of what you want to resolve to do for the new year. It doesn’t have to be big. Keep it somewhere safe and bring it out every month to make sure you are achieving your goals. You can create a ritual or spell around this as well.
As you celebrate Samhain and the wheel turns each year, you will probably find different ways to celebrate this sacred Sabbat. Samhain is a very popular Sabbat and I have found it to be a wonderful experience each year. The activities listed above are just suggestions. You can create or find other suggestions on websites or books. I feel that once you start incorporating more of these in your experience of Samhain, you will grow to loving it more. I hope you enjoy this coming Samhain and may the blessings of a new year be bestowed on all.