How to celebrate Samhain at home in your own sacred way

Samhain is the witch's New Year - it marks the end of the old year cycle & the start of a new one. Here's how to celebrate Samhain in your own way at home...

By: The College of Psychic Studies.   Posted

Samhain, pronounced 'sow-in', marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. It is traditionally celebrated on the night of 31st October and into 1st November, and is otherwise known as the witch's New Year. Samhain holds as much significance for us as the Gregorian calendar's 1st January. So how do we celebrate Samhain in a special sacred way, as our ancestors did, without buying into the candy hauls?

Our Celtic predecessors traditionally celebrated Samhain by lighting bonfires, giving thanks for the harvest, and making offerings to appease and honour the spirits of the dead. These well-attended community gatherings have long been overshadowed by modern Halloween rituals of trick-or-treating and candy eating! Therefore, unless you are fortunate to have discovered The College of Psychic Studies (where there are Samhain celebrations a-plenty!), or have a coven of like-hearted friends, we must create our own rituals to honour Samhain. Here, we explore how to celebrate Samhain at home, in your own special way. 

Is the veil thinner at Samhain?

Samhain is traditionally the time of year when the veil between the world of the physical and that of Spirit is at its thinnest. This allows for effective communication with our ancestors. For this reason, Samhain is our favourite time of year at The College of Psychic Studies, as it's when our mediumship and psychic abilities are at their strongest. Samhain bridges the end of the old year cycle and start of the new. It's the liminal space between death and life, that which has gone before and that which is yet to come. It is the perfect time of year to not only commune with loved ones who have passed on, but also to take stock, give gratitude, and recalibrate the direction in which you are heading in life.

Is Samhain the same as Halloween?

While Samhain and Halloween share some similarities, they are distinct celebrations with different cultural and historical backgrounds. Many of the traditions associated with Samhain have influenced modern Halloween customs. Dressing up in costumes, carving pumpkins, and the idea of spirits or ghosts wandering the earth can all be traced back to traditional Samhain celebrations. What these contemporary rituals miss, however, is celebrating Samhain with spiritual reflection and the honouring of our ancestors and nature.

How do I celebrate Samhain?

While our neighbours might head out with their candy buckets and ghoul costumes, let's also observe Samhain in a traditional way that perhaps holds more meaning for us. This is a time to go within, to reflect on all that the abundant summer has brought us, and prepare for the quiet still cocoon of winter. It's a preparation for our hibernation, our going within, during the cold months ahead. Here are some ways to celebrate Samhain and mark this special time of year:

Create an ancestor altar

To celebrate Samhain, set up a special altar in your home, garden or balcony that's dedicated to your ancestors. If you don't know your ancestors, dedicate it to your community lineage. Place photographs, mementos, and candles on the altar to honour and remember those who have passed on and continue to guide us Spirit-side. Light a candle in their memory and offer seasonal foods such as mini gourds, pumpkins and apples. If there was something that your ancestors had a fondness for, add it to the altar, alongside other sacred items that bring joy and remembrance.

Create your own ceremonial Samhain ritual

Many like to perform ceremonial rituals and spells to mark Samhain. After all, this is the start of a new cycle, a new turning of the wheel of the year. Create your own Samhain ritual to mark this ancient festival. Cast a circle, invoke your ancestors, and perform your spellwork related to the season. Good themes for this time of year is to release something that no longer serves you, or to open yourself up to new opportunities! 

Celebrate Samhain at The College of Psychic Studies

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Get your divining tools out

Samhain is considered a time when the veil between the physical world and the world of Spirit is at its thinnest. This makes it a good time for divination and connecting with the spirit realm for guidance. Mediumship is a particularly rewarding practice at this time of year. For those who are still working on developing their mediumship, pull out your divination tools, whether that's tarot cards, runes, obsidian scrying mirror, or other divination tools. Meditate with the intention for clarity on any pressing issues and use your divining skills to gain insights or receive guidance from the spirit world.

Light a bonfire (or a candle!)

Traditionally, our ancestors celebrated Samhain by lighting bonfires. They warded off evil spirits and symbolised warmth and protection during the coming winter. If you have the space and it's safe to do so, light a bonfire. If a bonfire is too much of a stretch, lighting candles in your home can also symbolise light and warmth in the face of darkness. Here is another opportunity to scry for guidance  - meditate on the flame and open your mind to receive inspiration and wisdom from beyond.

Cook up a Samhain feast 

It's the end of harvest, and we have plenty of wonderful fare to nourish us through the winter months. Pumpkins, beetroots, apples, root vegetables and grains are all ideal ingredients for your celebratory Samhain feast. Prepare yourself a nourishing, warming Samhain stew. As you tuck in, offer your gratitude for the harvest, for the nourishment and sustenance that nature offers, and for the guidance, warmth and protection that is with you.

Enjoy a Samhain nature stroll

Autumn is such a beautiful time of year, as the leaves turn rust and fall from the trees. One of the loveliest ways to celebrate Samhain and pay homage to the crisp beauty of the season is to take a walk in nature. As you wander through your local park or woodland, observe the signs of the dying summer and encroaching winter. Reflect on the cycle of life and death in the natural world.

Reflect and be grateful

As Samhain marks the end of the year cycle and the start of the new, reflect on all the blessings that the previous year has brought you. Express gratitude for all that you have. In this space of gratitude and thanksgiving, now turn your attention to writing your wishes for the coming year.

How we choose to celebrate Samhain is a personal journey. Create your own beautiful, heartwarming way of celebrating Samhain in your own, unique way. Incorporate any or all of these elements into your observance in a way that feels meaningful and spiritually significant to you.

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