I love nature, I love the seasons we have in the UK, and while I do not consider myself to be a follower of any one spiritual path, I do love the Pagan and Wiccan ways of living. To me, giving thanks, releasing and blessing different parts of the year in time with the seasons, makes the most sense to me. And one of my favourite celebrations is Halloween (or Samhain pronounced Sow-en).
I investigated this particular celebration (otherwise know as a Sabbat) some time ago as I wanted to know what was behind our western Halloween traditions, and so here I am revisiting this because it’s great to gain knowledge and awareness behind why we do what we do.
Samhain takes place on the 31st of October and in Pagan traditions is New Year’s Eve. The Celts believed that the 31st of October was the end of summer and the 1st of November was New Year’s Day, so Pagan traditions carry on into the 1st of November and merriment continues.
Samhain according to the book ‘The Wiccan Way – A Path To Spirituality; Self- Development’ by Sally Morningstar states:
“Samhain is the festival of remembering the ancestors, marking the end of the Celtic year and the dawning of the new year, and honours the last of the harvest festivals for the year just passing. The crops are in and the days become ever shorter and darker. Since this night ( October 31) rests on the threshold between the old and new year, it is considered to reside between the worlds. Thus, the veils that separate spirit from matter are thinner and more easily crossed than at other times of year. This is an ideal night for divination as well as for remembrance.”
This explanation makes sense in that we have crossed the tradition over into it being a spooky night of the year full of ghosts and ghouls and goblins. To me, it’s a great time to light some candles, to remember my family who have passed before me, to raise a glass of thanks to them and to celebrate a new beginning.
The ancient traditions involved lighting giant bonfires on the 31st of October and the people would gather around the fire to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. This was symbolic of giving the Gods and Goddesses a share of the previous year’s harvest, and the fire was also a part of cleansing the old year and getting ready for the new.
Many of these celebrations involved wearing costumes (hence why we adapted this into our Halloween) and dancing took place around the bonfire. The dances represented stories of the cycle of life and death and the cycle of the wheel of life.
At the end of the celebrations on the morning of the New Year, each family would take a burning ember from the remaining sacred bonfire and take it home. As their own home fires had been extinguished during the day, they were relit with the sacred flame of this fire, which acted as a protection for the home and family, and as a way of unifying the small communities. The fires would be kept burning for several months to protect them during the harsh winter.
So where do our Halloween traditions come from?
Some of the things you can do on Samhain can include:
- Welcome and thank the spirits of the ancestors, your guardian angels, and spirit guides. Share your thoughts for those friends and family who have died, but do not attempt to call them back in any way.
- Light a fire and place in it an object, something written on paper, or something symbolic like a twig or leaf that you wish to transform or purify. Speak it out. Honour the cycles of endings and rebirth.
- Eat an apple and use the seeds to share with each other whatever you wish to incubate during the winter months – and eat them.
- A good night for doing tarot readings, consulting the ancestors, asking for guidance. Ask your spirit guides to protect you and work with you, to help you on your spiritual path.
SAMHAIN – HALLOWEEN – COMPETITION & REVIEW
|My quirky, mixed-belief altar. I am not religious, or Wiccan. I am just me and I take what feels great from all…|
What is lovely about ‘Otherwise Trading’ is Ghislaine puts heart into her business. She likes to do business in a way that sells things to make a positive contribution to people’s environments, and she loves to create lovely things (like the candles) and put her own special energy into each item. Her favourite time of year is Samhain, the new year, one I will be celebrating more this year.
I can guarantee a lovely feel to the candles if you win them or decide to purchase a pair from HERE. She delivers worldwide.
|For Other Beeswax Candles For The Different Sabbats Click HERE|
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**These will be sent from the UK so no guarantee they will arrive on time for Halloween if you live outside the UK.