Samhain (pronounced as ‘sow-in’), is originally a Gaelic pagan festival marking the end of the harvest season (summer) and beginning of the ‘darker half’ of the year (winter). It is traditionally celebrated from sunset on October 31, and is also known as the start of the new year for pagans. The veil between this physical reality and other realities are thinnest during Samhain. For this reason, witches, shamans, seers, prophets, medicine people, and the like conventionally seek to connect with ancestors, plant spirits, power animals, angels, and otherworldly beings. Though much of what is understood and practiced of this immensely spiritual and powerful season is lost to the masses (the reasons for this can be discussed in another blog post), I’d like to share a few points about Samhain that is still relevant for those who seek spiritual (and practical) meaning today.
1. The weeks leading up to October 31 is a prime time to discern what it is that you would like to have clarity on, resolve, or experience significant change. On the Samhain Sabbat, via shamanic or Wiccan ritual, prayer or even quiet visualization, set your intention. Invite your ancestors, angels, animal or plant totems to assist in manifesting the intention. Remember, magic is all about intention.
2. As a general Samhain practise, use this time to connect with your spirit allies. Say hello to them. Thank them for being with you. Use this opportunity to also say goodbye to energies and themes that no longer serve you. Commit to making choices that support your highest and best.
3. Samhain involves two key themes – to acknowledge and appreciate the year’s work and abundance, and to allow what is necessary in the Earth and one’s life to pass onto another form, traditionally symbolized as death (as the Death card in the Tarot tradition). To give oneself the permission to acknowledge death in one way or another is immensely empowering, nourishing, and liberating. Death is indispensable in the cycle of life. Rebirth is the natural outcome. As the saying goes, the Tomb becomes the Womb.
4. The Samhain Sabbat is when God is within the Goddess (the two are united) in the Underworld. Both archetypically romantic and neutralizing (as in the balancing of Yin and Yang), consider what you would like to give tenderness to or balancing in your life. To further the symbols of Crone and Hunter reigning together, what have you mastered or would like to master?
5. Use this time to physically and spiritually clean your home and possessions. Declutter, smudge, chant, and anoint. Physical manifesting is optimized when thoughtful actions are consistently taken and physical space welcomes it.
6. Honour your holy of holies – your gloriously beautiful body – your personal, sacred temple. Eat and drink gently, bathe in salts and herbs, apply healing facial and body oils, and speak tenderly to yourself no matter what, cast spells, and embark on shamanic journeys (or seek a shamanic practitioner who can do so for you). Start and end the pagan new year with the commitment of self-compassion. Let your highest vibration attract both the purest of deaths and most divine of rebirths.
So mote it be.
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