Blessed Samhain, Tragics!
It's getting darker and colder, the nights are getting longer, it's our favourite time of year! Samhain is also known as Halloween, All Hallows' Eve, and the Day of the Dead, and is also regarded as the Witches' New Year. The veil between life & death is at its thinnest, and we begin our descent into the darkest part of the year.
Samhain is a time of celebration and remembrance, and provides the perfect opportunity to farewell the old and welcome in the new. Scroll down to learn more about this important Sabbat!
What is Samhain?
The Wheel of the Year comes full circle on the arrival of Samhain! Marking the end of the harvest season and beginning of winter, Samhain traditions are associated with death and rebirth, and is a time where the veil between the spiritual and physical realm is at its thinnest, making this the perfect time to honour and communicate with our ancestors, give remembrance to those who have passed, and reflect on the cycles of life and death.
When is Samhain in 2023?
Here in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons are reversed, and the Sabbats on the Wheel of the Year occur at different dates than in the Northern Hemisphere. Samhain occurs on the 6th of May, 2023 and in the Northern Hemisphere it occurs on the 31st of October, 2023. We have a blog outlining all of the Sabbat dates in the Southern Hemisphere you can explore here.
Okay, but how do I pronounce Samhain?
If you're anything like us, you'll have discovered the wrong way to pronounce Samhain by someone laughing at you attempting to say it out loud. If not, lucky you - there's still time to learn up before saying the S word!
Samhain is pronounced SAH-WIN. You can visit this quick YouTube tutorial to hear the pronunciation of Samhain.
How to Celebrate Samhain
Now that you know what it is and how to pronounce it - here are some ideas on how you can celebrate the Witches' New Year, harnessing the changing forces of nature to aid you in saying goodbye to the past, and making a commitment of renewal and growth in the coming year!
Remember & guide spirits with candles
Fire is an important part of Samhain celebrations, aiding with remembrance & reflection. Although we no longer have the communal fires like the Celts were blessed with, we can use other forms of lighting such as candles. The soft flicker of a candle is perfect for allowing your mind to unwind, bringing a sense of calm to you and your abode.
Traditionally, those who celebrated Samhain would take a burning branch from the communal fire to light their own home to help guide loved ones' spirits home. This act has evolved to suit our modern times by burning candles (or electric candles for those risk averse witches) at each window. Coloured candles have specific meanings - make sure to team with the seasonal Samhain theme by selecting candles in white, black, orange & yellow.
These spirits can be honoured through something as elaborate as a silent dinner (also known as a dumb supper) or as simple as displaying photos of family or loved ones who have passed for the night. You could also set up a Samhain altar like we have and honour the important people in your life on it.
Celebrate with incense & aromatics
Scent is a powerful way to remember and reflect, evoking powerful memories. Use herbs that are meaningful to your focus for the year and include seasonal herbs such as calendula, wormwood, rosemary and mogwort. Blend them in a way that feels suitable for you. and blend them in a personal way. You can also make smoke cleansing sticks of dried herbs, or create a wreath for your door. While creating the wreaths or smoke cleansing sticks, think about the meanings behind each chosen herb and meditate on that while you create. Tree barks can also be useful in these purposes. But as always, respect nature when gathering ingredients and don't damage living trees or bushes when harvesting.
Herbs and aromatics can also be burned in your cauldron, with resins and other aromatics to help you meditate on the year's desires. We have created pouches of our own personal favourite blends for this to help inspire you so check them out here.
Make the most of the darkness
As the days shorten and the nights begin to draw on, it's tempting to curl up inside and wait it out - but we encouraging embracing these gloriously long evenings! Use the earlier nightfall to practice rituals under starlight where you feel more in tune with nature, and charge your crystals under the moon.
It's also a great time for reflective bonfires, but check that they are allowed where you live!
However you celebrate the coming darkness, we bid you bright blessings Tragics!
Safe witches are clever witches, never leave a flame unattended and always be prepared to safely put out a fire if needed.
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