If there is one major American holiday that corresponds directly with a Neo-Pagan holiday, it’s Halloween or Samhain. Christmas or Yule is a close second, with the Easter or Ostara feast coming in third.
While many non-Pagans dress up as witches as this time, here we are, actual witches who assign more meaning to it than just the mere dressing up it scary stuff, provocative stuff (this is hard to miss!), and the knocking on people’s doors and asking if they want a trick or a treat.
Samhain To Pagans
To us pagans or witches, Samhain is fun, yes, but if you’re an adult pagan, it becomes more about rituals and spell casting. Halloween is actually derived from “All Hallow’s Eve” where Hallows means “holy”. So All Hallows means “All Holy”. So this day is for all things holy.
Originally, Halloween marks the time on the Wheel of the Year when the Dark God is crowned as the Holly King and leads the Wild Hunt as they emerge from Underworld to roam the winter countryside, with the Dark Queen riding beside him in her devouring aspect as the Huntress.
There are rituals that are best performed on Samhain and we are lucky enough to be aware of these and use them to our spiritual advantage. Having a bonfire on a hill or in your backyard at this time won’t draw stares, coz everyone is out celebrating their very own version of Samhain.
Communicating With The Dead
Samhain is also the time when the veil between our world and the spirit world are at its thinnest. It is that one night of the year when the spirits of our ancestors and those that have passed on will hear whatever it is that we want to tell them, and they might even communicate in ways they wouldn’t do on any other day. When I say ancestors, I mean not only those who are related to you by blood. Our ancestors are also those who built our cities on our land and those who lived in the places where we now live and the spirits of those people we look up to and admire. Wiccans who wanna communicate with the ancestors usually hold a ritual called a dumb supper. It’s dumb because nobody is allowed to talk throughout the duration of the ritual. If you wanna read more about it, click HERE: Hosting A Dumb Supper On Samhain
We will give you some ideas on what to do this coming Samhain and we do wish you a blessed one!
An Apple For The Dead Ritual
Many Witches and Pagans traditionally bury apples or other fruit near to the front door on this day as offerings for the dead as they travel between the worlds. The tradition is an old one and city Pagans may lament their lack of earth next to a front door to carry it on.
This is easily remedied and makes a beautiful ritual. Simply bury the apple in a potted plant and place it by your front door on a stoop. If you’re worried about someone stealing your plant, you could place it on a windowsill or balcony instead. If it does get stolen and your pot and plant are easily replaced, you can choose to see it as a blessing to whomever it has gone to. Who knows, perhaps mischievous Samhain spirits are the culprits!
Visit The Graves Of The Dead
And this is not to cause mischief in the cemetery. Like I said, do not forget about our ancestors this time, so lay a wreath of flowers on the graves of your ancestors. If you don’t have any relatives buried in a cemetery near you, just drop by a cemetery and lay a wreath of flowers at any of the graves that somehow call to you.
Light A Bonfire
Bonfires are often the cornerstone of a huge Hallow’s Eve celebration. It doesn’t have to be a huge bonfire on a hill (although that is good too), a small cauldron filled with wood and herbs by your fireplace or in your garden or front porch will do. The spirits will not bless you or your rituals on the basis of the size of the flames of your fire! The flames, no matter what size they are, will awaken the spirits and draw them near.
If lighting a bonfire is just too impossible for you to do, you also light a pillar candle. In keeping with the theme of Samhain, let them be tall pillar candles or skull candles.
Carve The Original Turnips
it is actually the carving of turnips that dominated early Hallow’s Eve festivities and not today’s popular pumpkin. But unlike the pumpkin which you can carve faces into, turnips don’t carve as well except for when you hollow them out and place tea light candles inside. Returning to the original turnip carving is a lovely way to honour your ancestors. You can set them out in your house, in your garden, or on your windowsill. Hollowed out turnips with tea light candles inside look very very pretty.
Host A Dumb Supper
As mentioned earlier, a dumb supper is a seance or a dinner for the dead done on Samhain. Dumb is the word for no one being allowed to speak all throughout the supper. It is tradition that is done to communicate with those who have crossed over to the other side. The spirits will manifest themselves in their own way. It is an ancient tradition where the dead dine with the living for just one night.
You should experience hosting a dumb supper at least once in your life. It is a very wonderful experience that brings you closer to your ancestors.
As with all magickal things, what’s important during Samhain your intent. You can have the biggest and most elaborate celebration of Samhain, but if your intent is just shallow or confused, it is going to be such a waste. Remember, you are a Wiccan. Samhain is the one time dedicated to honor the dead and pay your respects to your ancestors.