How To Honor Samhain Or Halloween At Home This Year
This time of year has long been considered sacred if you look to ancient Celtic, Scottish, Irish, and Druidic traditions. It's a time to celebrate the harvest, honor our ancestors, and scare away demons when the veil between worlds is said to be the thinnest. It also happens to fall during Scorpio season, a time that relates to death and rebirth.
Many of the Halloween traditions we see today actually have historical origins, and while they've been largely commercialized, the essence is still the same. Here are five ways to embrace the underlying spirit of Samhain or Halloween in your home this year:
Create a sacred fire.
You may not have a bonfire outside your home, but you can light a fireplace or burn some candles to usher in the sacred fire. The Celts used to burn crops in their bonfires to appease the spirits, but you can use sacred herbs with your candles as you let the candle burn all the way down. This can give us a sense of purification.
Ward off spirits with your jack-o'-lantern.
Fun fact: People used to carve pumpkins to scare away any bad spirits who may come through the veil, and they would offer food once again to appease them. Today we show up as superheroes and ask for sweets, but the ancient ritual was to dress up as a monster so the spirits wouldn't kidnap you!
So, when you carve your pumpkin this year, you can think, "Will this carved face keep any lower entities away from my home?" and when you put out your candy, you can think of it as an offering on a higher level.
Gather a harvest.
This is a beautiful time of year to bring nature's harvest inside to decorate your home. Squash, corn, cattails or reeds, chrysanthemums, and dried flowers are all wonderful decorations around Samhain. You can also display your seed pods in a decorative container to replant next year.
Set up an altar.
Creating an altar space is all about showing gratitude for the season, for your ancestors, and for the awareness of the sacred cycle of life and death. Here are some suggestions—but you can make it personal to you:
- Use the seasonal colors—black, orange, burgundy, red, and any fall foliage—on your altar.
- Harvest foods such as apples (for friendship), corn, squash (for seasonal abundance) or pumpkins (for protection), herbs, flowers, and seeds.
- Symbolize the cycle of life and death with bones or a skull or ashes.
- Incorporate divination tools such as tarot cards, pendulums, mirrors, or a crystal ball for scrying. (In Scotland, they told fortunes as part of the holiday!)
- Display photographs of lost loved ones to honor and pray for. Include one candle for every person you want to honor, or one main white candle to symbolize purity of spirit.
- Use clear quartz to amplify the energy of the entire altar.
- Add a special cloth to act as the altar's tablecloth.
- Finish up your altar with incense and/or flowers of your choice.
If you wish, you can recite the following Samhain prayer next to your altar this weekend.
May the turning of the year
bring you strength and joy.
Call upon the past
and celebrate as the
veil thins between the worlds.
Mother Earth and
All Your Relations
Connect with your ancestors.
Besides placing photos or objects of loved ones somewhere special, you can also try what's called a "Dum supper." The Celts used to set a place for someone they missed in the spirit world at the table, meal and all. If you are eating dinner at home this weekend, you may want to try it out and feel the person is there with you.
If these rituals seem a bit macabre, remember this holiday reminds us of the circle of life and helps us remain grateful. It's a beautiful thing to embrace it and not take anything for granted. Blessed Samhain!
Catharine Allan is a Clairvoyant, Medium, Astrologer and author of A Little Bit of Intuition. She teaches people to develop their intuitive skills and beyond, offering online tarot classes, astrology, and has an active YouTube presence. Catharine also has a podcast every Monday at 8pm called The River Rain Show. She loves to sing and perform, and has trained in haute couture and interior design. She lives in Montreal, Canada.