And a Happy New Year!
For many who follow Pagan type faiths, this time of year is their New Year! So if that is you, happy new year my friends! Personally my new year comes at Yule 21st Dec.
Many call the time around Halloween the Witches New year but it has another name- Samhain (pronounced Sow-een) Which is the Sabbat that is observed 31st Oct-1st Nov.
It's such a beautiful time and so I wanted to share a little about it with you and how you can easily join in regardless of your faith or beliefs!
For me, Samhain is for EVERYONE!
This time of year is a truly magical one! Not only are the colours stunning, with their reds and oranges and yellows, but its Halloween and Samhain too!
As I said, This Sabbat falls between 31st Oct - 1st November and is traditionally the time when we would have brought in the final harvest from the fields, cooked up feasts, salted and preserved foods, and gathered together to celebrate the bounty of the harvest and all that had happened in the seasons before.
It was also a time of reflection, as many would not make it through the cold winter and the ancestors that came before, were honoured.
It is considered the time of year that the veil between the living world and the afterlife is thinnest and a time of feeling loved ones around us and communicating to gain insights and guidance for the long winter ahead.
Fires burned, candles were lit and families and friends joined each other in love, company and joy.
**Here comes some history stuff- Feel free to scroll down to the top tips for celebrating, if history makes you zone out!**
Let me take you back 2000 years ago in Britain. At that time the some peoples New Year was celebrated on 1st November, as a part of the turning of the wheel (changing seasons and observance of mother earths changes) that was enjoyed by our ancestors. It was the end of the summer and the beginning of the cold dark winter, a time of death and rebirth, Often physical death too with those freezing winters!
That night was a night of ghosts, goblins and naughty spirits, so huge fires were lit, using crops and sacrificing animals that would not survive the long winter- in the hope that the deities would be kind. On this night many wore costumes to celebrate, as well as to confuse and scare off the naughty spirits- with the home fires being lit from the giant bonfires to bring protection for the winter ahead.
Are you seeing anything you recognise yet?
Lighting fires, costumes, celebrating, feasts...No? Okay read on......
Samhain was later blended with the Romans holiday of Feralia ( a day to commemorate the dead) then, blended further to become All Martyrs day and again......to become All Saints day! (honouring all Saints and Martyrs)
Later, via the church, The 2nd Nov became All Souls Day- A day to honour the dead and the day and night before, All Saints day was the 1st, and the night before, became known as All Hallows Eve (Halloween)
Aaaaand breathe! Okay, we are back to the juicy stuff friends!
Samhain is a simply beautiful time of year and I would love you to join in the awesome celebrations Whether alone or with family and friends!
How you can celebrate.....
Grab a piece of paper and a pen. Write down everything awesome that you have experienced and learnt in the past year. Some of these may have been challenging times, but the point of this exercise is to do your own form of harvest- an inner one.
Recognise and celebrate the amazing things you have learnt and within that, see ant old hurts or discomfort that you can choose to let go of. Separate the wheat from the chaff so to speak! Reflect on this and see what you will be choosing to take forward into the winter months and what can literally be chucked in the fire!
2. Cook up a storm
Cook up some amazing breads and soups, maybe make some harvest jam or chutneys, pickle some veg....Try to use seasonal veg and fruits that would have been harvested at this time of year! Think potatoes, squash, pumpkin, wheat and barley, berries and fruit.
As you cook, smile and be thankful for the abundant food you have in front of you, provided by our wonderful Mother Earth. If you want an extra nice element, ensure you stir clockwise while blessing the earth, the food, the home and the family, for a bountiful and safe winter ahead.
3. Set an extra seat.
One of my favourite things to do at Samhain is honouring and remembering loved one who have passed on. This is such a simple but beautiful way to do it. When setting the table for dinner, set an extra place to represent all those no longer able to sit and enjoy the meal in the physical. You could put pictures of loved ones at the place setting, leave a glass of their favourite tipple. As you sit to eat, Light a candle of remembrance and talk about happy memories you shared with them, laughter and joy. Bring them back to life in your words and love, for your children, partners or loved ones to enjoy knowing your ancestors too.
4. Light the bonfires!
Get everyone out into the fresh, cool, dark, autumn evening and get a fire lit! Enjoy hot chocolate and marshmallows, share stories of what has happened over the past year, write wishes for the winter and throw them into the fire. Snuggle up with loved ones and embrace the warmth of love that each of you is blessed to have.
5. Spend time with loved ones.
No matter whether you celebrate Samhain or not, this is a magical time for spending time with those you love. We dont need an excuse to do that, but if you do? Make this that excuse!
Remember what has been, remember loved ones, reflect and clear the way for the winter ahead and see the seeds of what you will choose to create moving into the spring!
May the ancestors deliver blessings on you and yours… May the new year bear great fruits for you… May your granted wishes be as many as the seeds in a pomegranate… May the slide into darkness bring you light… May the memories of what has been keep you strong for what is to be… May this Samhain cleanse your heart, your soul, and your mind!
— Samhain blessing
Some great Samhain question to tap into for yourself are:
What do I need to let go of going into the winter?
what seeds of intention do i need to set to grow toward spring?
Until next time, Happy Halloween and massive love!