(Calendar date – Oct 31st. Solar Calendar date 2023 – Nov 7)
Pronounced SOW-in. In gaelic means – “summer’s end”. Samhain is the celebration of new year’s eve for Celts and the beginning of the darkest phase of the year. Traditionally, it is the third and final harvest of the year where everything is prepared for winter. Produce is stored to provide nourishment during the coming season, and, in older times, any remaining cattle were sacrificed if they would not be able to survive the winter, or if there would not be enough to feed them.
In the Celtic tradition, each day begins at sundown. Each sabbat festival begins on the eve of the celebrated day, so too, does the year begin with the advent of winter. Samhain is Autumn and the beginning of Winter.
Samhain marks the death of the year and is a time to honor the dead and communicate with ancestors. It is a time in which the veil between this world and the next is thinnest. On Samhain night, it is believed that the dead walk and faeries cavort, causing both magic and mayhem. In faerie lore, it is the night of the Wild Hunt, a notorious and exuberant ride when scores of faeries come racing from within their hollow hills to wreak havoc throughout the towns. The ancient Celts believed that if anyone had to wander out, they needed to be protected by charms such as salt or iron or a faerie stone (a stone with a natural hole in it carved out by flowing water from a river or the sea.) Benevolent spirits and ancestors can be beckoned and welcomed with favorite foods they enjoyed during life. At an Ancestor Feast empty places are set at the table for the benefit and use of visiting ancestors.
Traditionally, malevolent spirits were banished and kept away by means of a Jack o ‘lantern, a tradition that has survived in popular culture today. Pumpkins would be hollowed out and carved with faces and candles set inside. The lanterns glow was meant as a beacon for spirits of the dearly departed while the scary faces carved on the pumpkin’s outer skin were meant to frighten away any spirits with ill intentions.
Death. Release. Rest. Ancestor veneration. Stillness. Letting go.
Reflection – what have we reaped during the previous year’s great work.
Orange, black, purple
Smoky Quartz, obsidian, onyx, black tourmaline, bloodstone, clear quartz
Sage, cedarwood, frankincense, cinnamon, myrrh
Tarot Card Association
Death card = Transformation & change
Tree & Moon Association
The Reed – Ngetal
Representing protection and connection to the spirit world
Protection: Woven together, reeds provided thatch for roofs and strewn underfoot they were an insulation against the mud and cold of winter.
Connection to the Spirit World: Reeds were used to make flute-like wind instruments with haunting sounds that can connect us both to the breath and life and to the strains of the otherworld. Reed flutes are symbols of crossing the veil
The last full moon in November before the Winter Solstice.
Representing going within and nurturing
Animals prepare for this moment in September and October by growing thicker fur and denser feathers to protect them from the cold and harsh elements..
By this time of the year, beavers are active in their preparation for winter. They settle into their lodges that they built in the spring and summer preparing for the colder season. Beavers do not hibernate, but they spend more time inside their lodges during the winter season. They often mate and spend the coldest part of the year gestating and caring for their young in warmth and safety.
Food and Drink: meat, potatoes, parsnips, pumpkin, apples, spiced wine, cider
Black cats, broomsticks, pumpkins, dead leaves, nuts, bones, apples, costumes, tricks, ghosts, bonfires, mulled wine, cider, witches
How to work with the November Full Moon
Reflect upon what is dying in your life. Honor the lessons both for their gifts and for their pain.
Consider how you have learned and grown throughout the year. What have you harvested?
Honor those who have gone before you. You are the product of your ancestors. Give thanks for your gifts and inheritances. Consider which habits and patterns it is time to keep and nurture and which to let go as they no longer serve you.
Pay attention to your intuition. What messages and knowledge are surfacing for you?
Keep a dream journal.