Mentioned from the 10th century onward in Old Irish literature, the 4th fire festival marking the beginning of Winter.
Ways to celebrate Samhain
- Decorate with natural elements like branches, leaves, pumpkins, cornstalks, gourds, acorns, and apples.
- Working with the element of air- web weaving
- Build a bonfire
- Make a magickal pie with sacred symbols or words inscribed on the bottom crust
- Create an altar to your ancestors
- Dumb supper
- Visit a cemetery
- Study your family’s geneaology
- Have a seance
- Do a ritual releasing things from the old year (with fire), and bringing things in for the new year (to carry around or keep on your altar)
- Find some small way to ‘reinvent’ yourself
- Make sugar skulls, candy apples, popcorn balls, bubbling punch or cider
- Eat candy
- Do a tarot reading for the coming year
- Last harvest. Hang or dry your herbs for the coming winter.
- Watch witch movies
- Make Autumn leaf mandalas or press leaves in your BOS
- Mugwort and wormwood for divination
- Hyssop for purification (for cleansing divination tools)
- Bay leaves for making wishes for the new year
- Sage for the Crone aspect of the Goddess
- Tobacco for ancestor work
- Acorns to save for the Spring to plant
- Apples for magick
- Fossils for getting in touch with the ancestors/the past
- Obsidian for cleansing
- Smoky quartz for protection while performing metaphysical work
- Unakite for scrying and psychic vision, also dealing with things that come up from the past
- Pictures of your ancestors, things that belonged to them, or pictures of the lands they hailed from. You can also create an image or statue that represents your collective ancestors if you don’t have images of them.
- Foods, drinks, and other things that your ancestors loved. You can do a full dumb supper where you make some of your ancestors’ favorite dishes and make them plates to feast from beyond. Or you can go easier, and just add those things to your altar.
- Pumpkins, pumpkins, PUMPKINS! They’re just so ubiquitous for this time of year, and they’re really festive and fun. Miniature pumpkins are great to add to your altar for that Autumnal, Halloweeny feel. Other gourds can be added as well!
- Acorns as symbols of protection throughout the Winter, as well as a sign of planting seeds in the Autumn for new plants to start growing during the Spring thaw.
- Scrying mirror or other scrying/divination tools. The veil between this world and the next is thin at this time of year, and you can use that to your advantage. Messages about your future, about hidden truths, and messages from the dead are easier to access right now.
- Candy and other sweets. Candy has been so deeply associated with this time of year for so many reasons. Whether you see candy as offerings to the departed, or offerings to the neighborhood kids dressed as demons and ghouls, it’s a great thing to keep on your altar.
- A representation of fire, as Samhain is one of the Celtic fire festivals and bonfires are traditionally held now
- A cauldron, as a representation of the transformation that you want to undergo this Winter. Samhain is a great time to burn away the old things from the past year that you want to get rid of, and to invoke the things that you want to bring in. So burn a slip of paper with the old, and write the new on a different slip of paper that you’ll keep on your altar until next Samhain. You can annoint the new paper with oil to seal it and make it sacred, then tuck it somewhere out of the way.
- Representations of any animals we’re seeing a lot of this time of year. Bats, owls, and other nighttime critters are especially appropriate as the nights are getting much longer as we slide towards Yule.
**Information shared from my personal Book of Shadows