Samhain (pronounced saah-ween) is a festival that marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the coldest part of the year. In it's original days, cattle was brought back from the pastures and some were slaughtered for the winter, since the cold would keep the meat fresher. People used to light bonfire that were supposed to have protective and cleansing powers.
Samhain is known as a liminal time, the night in which the boundaries between this and the other world are the thinnest and can most easily be crosse. That is why the souls of dead relatives were invited to celebrate. Part of the rituals also included divination and games, often involving nuts (associated with divine wisdom) an apples (associated with the other world).
Despite what it may seem, this has never been a creepy holiday that’s obsessed with death and spirits. It is much deeper than that. It is a holiday that honors nature and its rhythm. Nowadays we lose touch with nature, especially now htat we need it the most. This feast is also about showing loving kindness by appreciating those who were once with us and we miss, but also being thankful for being alive.
Samhain celebration and rituals
Samhain is usually celebrated with a dinner to celebrate the harvest. Families and friends are invited, as well as those who have parted, to honor them.
This is not something you do for religious reasons, but more to celebrate natura and be in tone with it. Nature is part of us.
If you are battling with fertility issues, this is a great time to work towards a re-start. To plan being more natural, feeding yourself love and healthy nourishment and work towards a fruitful conception when spring arrives.
Samhain nature walk
The ritual usually begins with a walk through nature. Turn off your phone (or at least in plane mode) and walk through a park, forest…. Anywhere near you were nature can be seen, felt and enjoyed.
Remember that this is about being one with nature and feeling the change of the season.
If possible, use this walk to gather some items that will later decorate your dinner table. For example colorful leaves from the ground, nuts or twigs.
Prepare the Samhain meal
Since this is the end of the harvest and the beginning of the winter, you can prepare a meal that includes both: plenty of organic vegetables as well as some organic meat, preferably wild, if you eat meat. Also some dark bread, nuts and red wine.
Light some candles and place them at the centre of the table, together with the decorations you picked during your walk.
Use bread left-overs to place outside for the birds. It is a nice way to give back to nature.
Honour those who have departed
After dinner, you can all take a few minutes each person to talk about those who have parted and are missed and what made them special. It can be ancestors or even pets.
This is about sharing with love and kindness, never with regret or sadness!
Enjoy life and be thankful
As we mentioned, we are honoring the fact that we are alive. Use some time to reflect on this past year. Take note of your accomplishments, your growth and everything you have done so far. Don’t forget to give thanks for everything you have and what makes your life special. Gratitude is essential for happiness.
Be grateful for the big things AND the small things.
Light a fire
If you are lucky enough to light a fire outside, now is the time to do it. If not, you can either use a chimney or just light a fire in a small cauldron. If nothing possible, just use your candles and put a bowl of water beside them.
Write down an habit you have that you would wish to stop and burn the paper in the fire. While it burns, visualize how you have a better habit or how the situation looks like for the better.
Finally, this is the best (or only) time of the year to try out some divination. It's also the most fun part of the night!
If any one of you already knows how to read tarot cards, runes or similar, the end of the night would be the time to do it. If not, just choose the divination item that appeals most to you and try it out. If it works, you have learned something. If not, at least it will be a fun activity for all people involved!
We would love to see how you are celebrating! Join others from the Miss Withania community and share your Samhain celebration pictures with the hashtag #icelebratesamhain or #iamonewithnature. Or both!
Of course, Samhain is a day you can also enjoy a lone, if you prefer. You can celebrate it with your significant other, with friends or just family. You choose how to celebrate it and how to be one with nature!