Samhain is considered by some to be the Celtic New Year, and the start of the Witches’ Wheel of the Year. It marks the start of winter and comes from the Irish meaning ‘Summer’s End’. It is usually celebrated from sunset on October 31st til sunset on 1st November.
Traditionally it is thought to be a time when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead is at its thinnest, and so we celebrate those that have passed and honour our ancestors. Adding photographs of family and friends who are no longer with us, or items belonging to them, to your altar is a way to remember them at this time. Food or wine is often left as an offering.
Many of the traditions we take part in at Hallowe’en have come from Samhain lore. For example, candles were left outside homes or in windows to guide any wandering spirits back home, and scary faces were carved into pumpkins to keep away evil spirits. People would also dress up in spooky costumes as disguises in an attempt to ward off harmful spirits.
If you choose to see this as a new start – personally, I love any excuse to set some new intentions – this is an ideal opportunity to consider what you want to leave behind in the previous year. Write whatever you want to change or leave on a piece of paper, or bay leaf, and burn it as part of a ritual.
Samhain is a great time to have a declutter and clean. Use your broom to sweep throughout your home, clearing out the old energy to make way for new.
Some ideas for a Samhain kitchen altar are:
- black or orange candles
- small pumpkins or squash
- nuts, acorns or conkers
- photographs or trinkets from people who have passed on
- wine or food offerings
- besom (broom)
Colours: Black, Orange, Purple, Red.
Crystals: fluorite, smoky quartz, obsidian.
Essential Oils: Cinnamon, Rosemary, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Sage.
Foods: Pumpkin & Squash, Apples, Bay Leaves, Rosemary, Hazelnuts, Mulled Wine or Cider.