Samhain: the Witch’s New Year
Samhain is a very important time of year for witches. We celebrate our new year this day and many of us see it to be a good time to do various works. Samhain is the day that the veil is the thinnest, and it is easiest to talk or communicate with spirits and things. I’m not saying it’s good to talk to demons or anything, but it is possible. I just don’t really condone it in my own practice. I do not work with demons. But that is another story entirely.
Spirits are always around (I’ve heard some joke that we constantly have ghost butts on us). There are many types of spirits. Spirits of the place (genius loci), and spirits of people and animals and things that have been there. There are also residual spirits. I’m not a spirit expert, but I have a friend who can talk with them more freely. We’ve had very interesting discussions and she has always said that once the gate is open, it can be overwhelming (and annoying, since some spirits just want to screw around. Spirits have senses of humor, too, you know?).
To appease the spirits is a very good thing to do. The best way to find what a spirit wants is to do a meditation with the spirit in mind. Usually we leave gifts or offerings for the spirits. If you are able to, leave some alcohol or the drink of the spirits choice, and some cakes or the food of the spirits choice. This is very important, as spirits are like people, and we should “always do right” (unless of course you are a chaote, which means “always do whatever is more interesting and will keep you entertained.”).
I use honey as an offering when I do not have anything else to offer. I put some of my energy into the offering and say a small prayer or chant to the spirit and spill a little or ingest in their honor for them. Usually spilling a little is best. I spill outside so that the insects and living nature can absorb or ingest for the spirit.
It is also fun to do a feast of the dead for your spirits. This means setting the table for you and whoever is with you and leaving a place for the spirits that you wish to call to you. This is partially a ritual and should be taken as a ritual, possibly with quarter calls and the like.
It is possible to introduce Halloween practices into your Samhain practices. For example, you could leave candy for the spirits. You could even have a pumpkin that you carved onto your altar for this lovely holiday. Jack-o-lanterns/carved pumpkins used to be carved out of turnips back in the earlier years of things. This was to deter spirits from taking the souls of the people in the home and keep them safe while giving them something to be distracted by. Costumes could also come into play because this is a way we become one or invoke some of the spirits that we would like to have come to us or if they like that sort of thing. Personally, I have an Aphrodite/Goddess costume that I like to wear when I am working with Grecian deities. It leads to a little bit of drama in the ritual that you are performing.
Skulls of any sort are welcomed freely during this time, as sometimes there are spirits riding along with these things. One never knows. (This does not include plastic skulls usually, since those are manufactured and not bred.) The skull is a very prominent item in this time of year, since it represents the dead/deceased.
In Celtic lore and most common pagan societies, Samhain is considered the pagan New Year. This is the time of the year that the God takes the spirits on “The Wild Hunt” and the Goddess is slowly turning into the Crone from the Mother aspect of her triple goddess aspects. They both rule in the underworld in this time.
If you have any questions about Samhain or something please let me know and I will try to explain in some manner. I love to answer questions and share my learning. Knowledge is power after all.
Happy Samhain Everyone,