This weekend the Wheel of the Year will turn again marking a new Sabbat of time with Halloween or Samhain (pronounced Sow-en) as it’s known in the Celtic calendar. From sundown on Sunday 31 October to 1 November, it’s a festival of fire to remember our roots and honour and respect the Dead. 

With harvests gathered and growing grinding to a halt, we see leaves falling, hear them crunch beneath our feet, whilst the sun’s shortness descends closer to us. From Samhain our journey into Winter starts, frosts appear and darkness lasts longer. 

What we see in happening in nature around us also exists within us. We too need to slow down, go within, consolidate our energy and allow aspects of us to die  with reverence and respect for what’s gone before and what will emerge. 

Suggestions to celebrate Samhain:

Samhain is an invitation to acknowledge any hidden parts of your life/self, the things you haven’t admitted to yourself. Awareness is enough. Big action isn’t always necessary. This is a time for reflection and introspection. 

For pagans and witches this time is when the veil between the worlds of living and the dead is at its thinnest, an ideal time to contact our ancient ancestors.

For those who’ve lost loved ones in the past year, this festival can be a time for ritual to grieve or move into the next phase of the process. A ritual to accept their other worldliness and connect by communicating with them.

  • Simply sit, with their image in your mind’s eye or via a photograph in front of you. See what emotions arise, allow the memories to reappear and any guidance they may have for you to come through. 

Notice this weekend for signs of their presence. Maybe you see reminders of them, hear music or notice items they gave you with more awareness. Be open to the possibilities and the mystery of life. 

If you’re feeling dark or lost come back to this present moment

How does the idea of befriending the dark feel to you right now?

Our senses are portals to presence, offering us a way to experience the world. We must develop other senses and knowing to learn to see in the dark and be comfortable with it. 

Our bodies, ancestors, the land where we live and the people who used to inhabit it, the goddesses and gods of ancient times provide opportunities to connect with our essential nature, what’s important, what we need and what needs to go right now. This is the process of transformation that is always available to us. 

  • Ritual at specific times of the year, performed by and for yourself can be a powerful tool to move from darkness to light. It doesn’t have to be serious, if you have fun in the process it’s a good sign. Simply lighting a candle for yourself or a loved one is an act of ritual. 
  • Can you smell your food with more awareness this weekend? 
  • Or give yourself permission to eat with your fingers? Wild I know!
  • With eyes closed can you simply listen to silence or the surrounding noises? 
  • Or use your sense of touch to consider texture and the world around you? 
  • Creating a Samhain ancestral altar

I love bringing some of nature’s abundance and colour into my home at this time. 

My 2021 Samhain Ancestral Altar

Starting with a walk to consciously connect to the land where I live (the French Alpes) and those who lived there before, I find the nature of this corner – walnuts, chestnuts, mushrooms and various leaves of evergreen and deciduous trees. Movement through nature is a time to go within whilst observing my surroundings consciously, followed by returning to make my special altar. 

This year I’ve dedicated a space to my mother line with a photo of my Mum & jewellery of my Grandma and dark chocolate to feed my altar and my Mum as she was a chocoholic! 

The top corner is to invoke the great Goddesses of the Divine Feminine whose wisdom we can always count on and learn from. Across cultures and countries, these archetypal figures offer us connection and guidance on how to be and navigate life. Take the Great Goddess Quiz here to find out what you need to hear today. 

The curled container like leaves offer me protection, as does the sage from my garden, which is a perfect herb to cleanse and manifest the wisdom I need to know. Why not choose some crystals for healing. 

Time for shuffling tarot cards and choosing several intuitively is always a comforting experience for me as I get the messages of my heart in front of me – indisputable timely reminders. 

And don’t forget the elements – add some water, earth, flowers or fire to your altar for remembering the power of transformation from dark to light and cold to warm. 

Construct your altar in a playful way, speaking out loud the names of people to be remembered or any words you want to embody from now. Write your intentions, thoughts or what needs to be left now – add your prayers or poems to your altar or alternatively take a few ceremonial moments to burn what you want to let go of, returning it to ash for mother earth to be nourished by and transform. 

Follow your intuition with attention to life’s cyclical pattern of living with light and dark, knowing that it will circle back again. Life continues whilst constantly being in motion – awareness allows this process to unfold in us that is unique and supportive. Blessings dear souls this weekend. 

“On Samhain we seek to understand ourselves and our spiritual journey as we enter the dreamtime. We let go of our old, outworn forms of living and in the midst of realms of spirit where form no longer exists, we seek a dream, for all new life begins first with a dream.” Phyllis Curott – Witch Crafting – a spiritual guide to making magic