This year I’ve decided against a formal ritual and opt for a social gathering instead. In Maryland, specifically our town, we have trick or treaters around the time we’d have ritual anyway, so I felt we’d simply enjoy the night as a party with a mix of friends and family as well.
Hurricane Sandy also might impact the holiday, potentially ruining the door to door begging for candy as well. I want a party, regardless, even if the power goes out. We’ll manage with candles to share stories, play games, and just enjoy the special day.
Some common activities;
Divination- Due to the Veil between the world of mortals and that of spirits, using Tarot, Runes, Ouija, and other form of fortune-telling are traditionally practiced.
Gathering rain (if raining)- We’re expecting rain due to Hurricane Sandy, so this should offer interesting properties for ritual water.
The Dumb Supper- Traditionally, this is a meal set out for those who passed on before us. You eat in complete silence, honoring their presence to the meal.
Celebrate the coming year. Consider lighting a candle and sharing stories of the deceased, and talk of things passing from the old year to the new year. (October 31st is the Celtic New Year).
What are your favorite Samhain traditions? Post in comments.
Halloween/Samhain is the New Year, according to the Celtic calendar.
I remember teaching my son in homeschool about months and weeks when he was little, and how fascinating it was to discover the number of calendars we’ve had throughout history.
We measure a year by the earth rotating around the sun once. This is approximately 265 days, but its not exact. Even months, which stem from the moon phases, are 28 days but the months are 30-31 days (or 29 if it’s a Leap Year).
There were other calanders as well;
You can also find differing numbers of a ‘week’ was, such as the 10-day of France in 1793. Or the Russian five day week, then a six day week, in 1929.
The Celtic Year started and ended on October 31st. I found after a number of years that whatever goals you set in the Celtic Year tends to work better. You basically accomplish all your goals by October 31st, giving you breathing room to enjoy the holiday celebrations, and the winter months, instead of pushing yourself to complete goals as you would in our usual January 31st New Year.
Having said that; consider what goals you hope to accomplish for the coming year. What seeds/goals do you hope to see will come to harvest? What steps will you take to accomplish them?
Plan now so on Samhain night, light a candle for each goal you want to come to pass. Visualize how to reach your goal, make it solid in your mind, and when you feel ready, blow out the candle to release the energy to the Universe.
Samhain is also a traditional time to start a Book of Shadows. I will be posting challenging and assignments, if you wish to use them.
I as surprised to find a Christian friend of mine admitted to thinking Halloween as ‘the devil’s holiday’. I had to push aside offense, being I’m sure her church teaches her this, so I simply added a quick comment to her blog post with a concise history of Halloween.
Halloween, known as Samhain to us, originally a Celtic holiday, celebrates a ‘day of the dead’ to honor those who passed from this world to the next. It is also the ‘New Year’, to the old Celtic calendar, to which the day belongs neither to the old year or to the new year. The Veil between the worlds of mortals and the those who are mortal is also thinnest, therefore allowing for communing with spirits.
Its not necessarily a somber occasion, being we see Death as part of the great cycle of Life, Death, and Rebirth, and we don’t fear the dead.
We do not pray over candy to curse it.
We don’t summon devils.
We don’t cast nasty spells on others.
We don’t kidnap children or animals to perform nasty rituals.
We don’t cackle…ok, well maybe some cackle.
But please, learn about what you’re talking about before complaining about ‘the devil’s holiday’.