Samhain reminds us of the beauty in death. As we let go of the past, say goodbye to the light and celebrate the final harvest of the year we are reminded of the new life that is birthed after the end of a chapter.
I like to take extra time to ground myself near Samhain. Not only is it a busy time of the year in our social lives, it’s a sensitive time of the year for those of us who can sense the thinning veil between the worlds. It feels so nurturing and freeing to plant my feet in the wet grass and envision the roots of the earth wrapping around my feet, supporting me and harnessing me to its power + energy.
Samhain marks the point between the bright half of the year and the darker half. At this median the veil between our world and the spirit world is at its thinnest. As the veil thins, the sensitive boundary between our worlds allows us opportunities to see, feel, and connect with spirits and ancestors.
At Samhain we can honour and show gratitude to our ancestors, sister witches, and the pagan practitioners who created our traditions and foraged a path for us. Commonly we can honour ancestors and goddesses through an offering. Offerings can be representational things such as herbs, food, thought forms, habits, and objects. This Samhain, I’ll be connecting with my ancestors and sister witches and offering them the guts of my pumpkin!
Date: October 31, November 1
Common Names: Celtic fire festival, the Witches New Year, End of the Celtic Year, Feast of the Dead
Gods/Goddesses: Death, Lilith, Kali (underworld Goddesses)
Herbs: Frankincense, sag, mugwort, cinnamon, rosemary
Crystals: Carnelian (psychic vision + meditation), black obsidian (fire, wards off negativity), Tiger’s Eye (New beginnings), Sunstone (bring light in the dark), Fire Opal (Transformations), Red Jasper (Earth connection)
Colours: Black (darkness + death), orange (sunset, changing earth)
Significance: Beginning of Winter + descent into darkness; Celebrate death and rebirth; Honour our ancestors and loved ones; crown + heart chakra opening; Marks the end of the summer as we head into the darkest days of the year; Honour the 3rd and final harvest of the year as we head into winter.
Symbolism: Ancestry, rebirth, transformation, new beginnings, letting go, honouring the balance of light and dark, preparing for turning inward, divination
Trick or Treat: October 31 was declared “All Hallows” Eve by the Church of England. Now known as Halloween
Ancestral Healing Ritual with Pumpkin Offering
In this two-part ritual we will write a letter to our ancestors and offer them a pumpkin to help us welcome rebirth and transformation. Your letter will address your ancestors, loved ones and/or witches. You can talk to them as a whole, or speak to an individual. There is no right or wrong way to write your letter. Our intention with this letter is to heal our ancestral lineage and establish a deeper connection to our ancestry and loved ones.The pumpkin is an offering to our ancestors. We will be asking them to help us create space for transformation and rebirth during Samhain. As we offer the pumpkin, we will state what we want to let go of so that we can create sacred space within.
Ingredients + Tools
- Black or orange candle
- Rosemary oil
- Rosemary sprig
- ShovelPaper + pen
- Pumpkin (bowl + tools)
- Keep hydrated
- Clean and keep your sacred space/home tidy. You don’t want to come out of bliss only to see your stack of dishes and laundry!
- Prepare to turn off your devices, email and social media.
- Prepare to write a loving letter, in whatever atmosphere inspires and calms you.
- Dab rosemary oil onto the candle. Rosemary represents ancestral healing.Write a letter to your ancestors. Open your heart and say what you need to say to your family and witches before you. This is a healing exercise! Do you have a pattern that runs in your family that needs to be healed? Talk about that.
- Bury the letter outside with a sprig of rosemary. Holding tight your intention to heal and connect with your ancestry.
- Carve a pumpkin (or simply use pumpkin guts) and place the guts on top of your buried letter outside. Offer the guts to your ancestors in exchange for them helping you create sacred space within as we head into the New Year. State what you want to let go of. For example: Self doubt and negative self talk that holds me back from living my truth.Let the candle burn out entirely.
- Safely burn the letter over your candle light.
- Lay the pumpkin guts in your garden.
- Create a circle for yourself by calling in the elemental spirits and directions. Call the spirits of the East (air), South (fire), West (water), North (earth) and Center (ether).
Close the circle by thanking the spirits for supporting you. Speak a closing rite:
By the earth that is our body
By the sea that is our blood
By the fire that is our bright spirit and
By the air that is our breath
This circle is open, but unbroken