This is the most desired holiday of the year for practitioners of Wicca. Samhain -pronounced Sahm-hayne or Sow-in or sometimes Sah-vin, is the time when all the good, the glorious, the bad and the ugly within the Wicca tradition comes out to commune with, and celebrate the dead, and the cycle of rebirth.
Samhain acknowledges the last of the three harvests, and the welcoming of the darkness as the days get shorter. Witches believe it is a time for hope when old, unwanted situations are hauled away into to the past much like a local towing service would tow an old or illegally parked vehicle away to make room for new ones. It is a time for endings and new beginnings.
This is Witches New Year. We let go of the old and make room for the new. Any unresolved business is best completed so the energetic space is created for other desired people, places and things to come in. Following the death and rebirth cycle in the northern hemisphere, (in the southern hemisphere the day is celebrated on May1st) the earth is literally dying off in front of our eyes. Trees lose their leaves, fields go dormant, animals hibernate, the sun gives us fewer of its rays as it travels lower in our sky. It’s a period to put the old to rest and prepare for the new. It’s a time to recognize the endless cycles of life.
Yet we honor those who have gone before us. The veil is thinnest at Samhain between this earthly dimension and the others. It is a time when the separation between the living and the dead is less. This is the night to reach out to departed souls and make a connection. Even those who are not already gifted with the ability to communicate with the dead, find the portals wide open and easier for souls to cross over – and back.
Samhain has also been used to conjure undesirable spirits out of their sleep and into our worldly realms to bring fear and harm to enemies. Thus we have traditions of scary, horrific nightmares that plague these days of the year. There’s no doubt that witches and warlocks who work with black magic use this time to their advantage.
Reincarnation is central to the honoring of the dead, believing that all souls are on the wheel of life and death. A somber holiday where dark clothes are worn to symbolize thoughts for the dead and marking a dark space in the year. Here is a video from last year that will give you a few insights.
All Saints Day was introduced by the Catholic Church to celebrate all the saints who didn’t have a designated day of their own. Wisely the Church chose November 1st since so many pagan followers already set this day aside to honor their dead. It was a natural fit to combine the two occasions. The Mass said on All Saints Day was called Allhallowmas, to include all those held dear. The night before was known as All Hallows Eve, which has morphed into Halloween.
There are eight sabats – holy days, throughout the year that witches celebrate. Samhain is considered the most important. Halloween in known as the highest day in Wicca witchcraft. For many centuries magic was at the forefront of this night along with wild parties where games were played, like bobbing for apples (apples are held as sacred), and personal diaries, known as a “book of shadows” were read to entertain the crowd with stories of spells that were cast during the past year. “A witches’ tale and a cup of ale for the host of our guest unseen.”
I choose to have friends over for dinner commemorating the harvest. Candles are lit, and the smells and colors of Autumn fill the house. Throughout the evening we tell stories about the magic in our lives, and of those who have passed over. If someone wants to call forth a departed soul, we support that person’s wishes and link up to aid that energy in joining us. It’s a wonderful holiday and I look forward to it every year.
Best wishes to you and those who have gone before you. So mote it be.