Tomorrow, the 31st of October, is Samhain (pronounced sowin) - a fire festival to welcome the winter and darker half of the year. Samhain is seen by some as the most important festival on the Wheel of Year as it marks both the beginning and the end of the cycle, and the Celtic new year.
"The God, as Sun King is sacrificed back to the land with the seed until the Winter Solstice, and the Goddess, now as Crone, mourns Him until His rebirth at Yule. He travels the Underworld learning its wisdom. This is the time of the descent into darkness, of pre-conception, out of which new life, new ideas, will eventually emerge."
I love this idea of returning to the earth, or retreating into the quiet, in order to gather wisdom ready to bring our ideas and plans to life in the spring. It's something I preach heavily for the inner winter of our own cycles!
As well as being Samhain and Halloween tomorrow, it will also be a full moon, and not just any full moon. Tomorrow's is the Blood or Hunter's moon, as its light would traditionally have been used for hunting, and as the second full moon of the month, its also a blue moon.
Overall it's shaping up to be a seriously witchy weekend, if you're so inclined!
Ways to Celebrate Samhain
Samhain is a fire festival so build a fire to celebrate around, light candles, or even toast some treats over flames outside.
Plan for spring. Sort through seeds and plants for your home and garden, create a vision board for 2021, organise a trip for when the days grow longer again. This the end and beginning of a new cycle - plan ahead so you can take advantage of a period of rest now.
Prepare a warming, autumnal meal like this spiced lentil and butternut squash soup. Perfect for a cosy, dark evening and perfect for breaking bread over and sharing. Don't forget to set a place at the table for your ancestors and those you wish to remember.
Bid farewell to autumn by collecting fallen leaves and acorns. "An acorn is your pocket is an amulet of good fortune", and represents "longevity, wisdom and rebirth". The perfect pocket treasure for this time of year. Use bare twigs and vines to create wreaths, masks, crowns, and later burn them in your fire to symbolise letting go of the old year.
Pull a card (or several) to seek guidance for the beginning of the new cycle.
If you've kids, but can't go trick or treating this Halloween, make the most of the dark evening by star gazing, or simply taking a walk with torches or lanterns before bedtime. We've been taking a walk around the garden each evening after dinner with torches to spot insects and admire the night sky together.
What is the Wheel of The Year?
Most people are familiar with the spring and autumn equinoxes, and summer and winter solstices which mark the four quarter points of the wheel of the year. These are the solar festivals, marking the high points of the seasons, but there are four lesser known fire festivals (or cross quarters) which mark each season's beginning - Imbolc, Beltane, Lammas, and Samhain. So instead of dividing the year into 12 months, it is divided into eight sections - quarters and cross quarters.
People of different nature-based faiths celebrate the Wheel of the Year, including Pagans and Wiccans, and the festivals are influenced by folklore and ancient beliefs. I am not a religious person but have found following these celebrations a wonderful way to ground myself and a healthy reminder to change the way I work throughout the year.
I'd love to hear how you're celebrating this season? Do come and let me know on Instagram!