“At Samhain, witches cast spells to keep anything negative from the past — evil, harm, corruption, greed — out of the future. Cast spells to psychically contact our deceased forebears and retrieve ancient knowledge, thus preserving the great Web that stretches through many generations of human families.”
— Laurie Cabot, Celebrate the Earth
Samhain is the third and final harvest, the harvest of meat. The Old King is dead, and the Crone Goddess mourns him greatly during the next six weeks. The sun is at its lowest point on the horizon as measured by the ancient standing stones of Britain and Ireland, the reason the Celts chose this sabbat rather than Yule as their new year. To the ancient Celts, this holiday divided the year into two seasons, Winter and Summer. Samhain is the day on which the Celtic New Year and winter begin together, so it is a time for both beginnings and endings.
It is also the day we honor our dead. Now, while the veil between the worlds is thinnest, those who have died in the past year and those who are to be reincarnated pass through. The doors of the sidhe-mounds are open, and neither human nor faery need any magickal passwords to come and go. Our ancestors, the blessed dead, are more accessible, more approachable during the time of the dying of the land. Samhain is a day to commune with the dead and a celebration of the eternal cycle of reincarnation.
Candles: orange (represents magick of fire and remainder of fire in autumn leaves), black (collects and absorbs light and keeps you warm), white (sends out energy), silver, and gold (represents Moon and Sun).
Incense: myrrh or patchouli
Decor: autumn flowers, small pumpkins, Indian corn, and gourds. Cauldron with black votive candle for petition magick (for writing resolutions on a strip of paper and burning in the candle flame)
Divination or scrying devises — tarot, obsidian ball, pendulum, runes, oghams, Ouija boards, black cauldron or bowl filled with black ink or water, or magick mirror, to name a few
An animal horn, feather or talon as a power symbol (Samhain is tradtionally the meat harvest)
Rosemary (for remembrance of our ancestors)
Mullein seeds (a projection for abundance)
Mugwort (to aid in divination)
Rue, calendula, sunflower petals and seeds, pumpkin seeds, turnip seeds, apple leaf, sage, mushrooms, wild ginseng, wormwood, tarragon, bay leaf, almond, hazelnut, passionflower, pine needles, nettle, garlic, hemlock cones, mandrake root
Black obsidian, smoky quartz, jet, amber, pyrite, garnet, granite, clear quartz, marble, sandstone, gold, diamond, iron, steel, ruby, hematite, brass
Make resolutions, write them on a small piece of parchment, and burn in a candle flame, preferably a black votive candle within a cauldron on the altar.
Wear costumes that reflect what we hope or wish for in the upcoming year.
Carve a jack-o-lantern. Place a spirit candle in it.
Drink apple cider spiced with cinnamon to honor the dead. Bury an apple or pomegranate in the garden as food for spirits passing by on their way to being reborn.
Set out a mute supper.
Make a mask of your shadow self.
Make a besom, or witches broom.
Make a witches ladder for protection or as an expression of what you hope to manifest in the year ahead.
Find a magick wand of oak, holly, ash, rowan, birch, hazel, elm, hawthorne or willow.
Let this be the traditional time that you make candles for the coming year, infusing them with color, power, herbs, and scent depending on the magickal purpose.
Meat dishes (especially pork), rosemary (for meat seasoning), pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, roasted pumpkin seeds, mulled cider with spices, candy apples or other apple dishes, potatoes, roasted pumpkin seeds, nuts (representing resurrection and rebirth), especially hazel nuts and acorns.