Well, magical souls, we’ve arrived. It’s Samhain/All Hallow’s Eve and the air is filled with mystery and magic. And I’d like to bring some of that energy to this post as I round up my October posts. I’ve talked about witches and ghosts throughout the month, and now it’s time to talk about death. That subject that we try to avoid as long as possible. But, as we see in the leaves that are now falling more + more every day, the time has come to accept that this is the end. The last harvest is here. The earth has turned towards death once again. And, we are invited to follow down into the dark as well. Not, to be frightening or depressing… but to release + let go of all of the old things. To be emptied so that we can rest and receive the messages, wisdom, and magic of the dark before we are reborn.
Samhain is a festival that has been celebrated for thousands of years, but this one is going to be different. So very different. Not only are we recognizing the season of death right in the middle of a global pandemic, but it also is a perfect time to begin to release this shitshow of a year. 2020 is slowly coming to a close and it is time for us to begin to release all of the energy of this year and slowly, but surely move into these last two months.
But, this Samhain, this Halloween, is also special because of the full moon that just happens to line up with Halloween. I mean, as if having a full moon on Halloween isn’t spooky + amazing enough, this is no regular full moon. No, my friends, a full blue moon approaches. Happening only once in a blue moon (see what I did there?), a blue moon is just what the phrase suggests… something that is a uniquely rare occurrence. If I remember correctly, the last blue moon was 19 years ago.
Just in case you don’t know, a blue moon is when there are two full moons in one month. Generally, each month has one new moon and one full moon. But, this October opened up with a full moon and, magically, is also ending with one. And I could not think of anything more powerful than to end this year with all of this magic. And of course 2020 is going to be the year where a blue moon + Halloween line up, am I right?
So, Samhain is upon us. Ancient peoples celebrated this day as the third + final harvest before closing up + headed indoors for the long, dark winter. But, it is also a highly spiritual day. With the growing season over + the earth slowing down, seemingly dying, it was also a time to ponder life + death. It has been believed that this is the time that we are closest to death. It’s easy to understand, actually, as we see + feel the energy of the dark winter creeping in. So, right now veil is thin, the spirit world is closer than usual, and Halloween is the celebration of honoring the dead. It is the perfect time to tap into mysticism and spiritual things as we cross over the threshold from one year + the beginning of another.
To celebrate and mark this most sacred weekend, I have a few suggestions of some very simple rituals to help make this Samhain even more special than it already is.
A word about rituals: I am a firm believer in marking special moments + celebrating all year long. Not only the big things, the common holidays, and the like. But, also the everyday little things. And, while I love a deeply magical service filled with ancient rituals and traditions, I equally love the little, everyday things where we can discover + create magic on our own.
I do not believe that we have to have any special calling to celebrate rituals. In reality, we already celebrate rituals everyday anyway. Of course, there are a few people called to lead rituals + groups of people as spiritual guides, yogis, teachers, and preachers. But, everyone can create, practice, and observe whatever rituals they deem relevant, inspiring, and meaningful for their own lives.
With that said, here are 5 simple Samhain rituals to help us celebrate a super special Halloween this year. Enjoy!
1. Breathe the air
Lately, I’ve come across articles + information from health workers I know about the need to get at least 30 minutes of fresh air + daylight before noon. That is something that I am not at all good at. So, not only today, but all through the winter, I am going to try my best to honor the rhythms of my body and connect even more with the earth in this way. Beside, right now, it is just gorgeous outside with the leaves, mist, fog, and ever so seldom peek of the sun.
Nature is preparing herself for winter’s rest. So, it is the perfect time to get out, breathe the air, and soak up whatever daylight we have.
2. Celebrate the last harvest
I think that autumn food is my favorite. Of course, as an American, Thanksgiving dishes are just around the corner and I am already coming up with my simple Thanksgiving meal. I. Cannot. Wait. But, in general, the food this season is delicious I think. Hearty, warm, flavorful, savory. Soups, casseroles, and earthy vegetables. And don’t forget the warm drinks – spiked or not! To celebrate Samhain, prepare something warm and leave an empty plate to celebrate + honor your ancestors who are joined the spirit world. I made soup last night, so I’ll be enjoying more of that on this Halloween. Oh, and most definitely I’ll prepare some apple cider spiked with some Irish whiskey in honor a dear friend who passed away this time of year 4 years ago.
3. Honor ancestors
Speaking of ancestors, this is the day of the dead as celebrated in Mexican culture + All Hallow’s Eve in pagan cultures. But, it is also a celebration + remembrance in Christian + Celtic religions (there could be way more that celebrate in one way of another – this is just my frame of reference). As I said before, the veil is thin right now. The spirit world + our world are closer this time of year than any other. Whether you believe in spirits or not, whatever you think about them, wherever you are on your own religious/spiritual journey, this is a night that is meant for remembering. For calling in + feeling the presence of those who have gone before. For giving thanks for the memories + lessons we have received from them. For listening to their quiet messages sent to our hearts. Light a candle, build an altar, take out photos, leave a plate on the table for them. For me, I usually spend a few moments just remembering. That’s it. Going through the memories + moments that rise up from my soul. I let tears of missing them fall down my cheek, but I also allow the love to swell inside my heart.
4. Light candles
With Halloween + Samhain, we move into November. Dare I say that, in the northern hemisphere, it is the darkest month of the year. The days grow shorter + shorter. The nights longer. Daylight is often filled with gray skies, fog, and mist up here in the Nordic countries. It really does get very dark. Most Swedish people I know do not really like November (plus they don’t have Thanksgiving to look forward to!). It is the most difficult month to get through, before the cozy lights of the holiday season start to appear around the city. However, the darkness is also a call to quiet coziness. And Swedes definitely know how to create coziness with the use of candles.
After Samhain, I begin my annual tradition of using only candles in the mornings. I do my best to embrace + align my life with the natural rhythms of the earth. I keep things are soft + warm + dark all around me, truly allowing my soul to sink into the deep darkness of rest + inspiration + restoration of this season. So, go on… light a few extra candles this weekend + welcome the darkness back into our lives.
5. Release the old year
This is the sacred time of year where we move easily between life + death. But. it’s not only a remembrance of our ancestors or the ending of the season of growth + life, it is also the closing of one year in preparation for deep rest as the wheel of the year turns + we begin another year around the seasons. This weekend is the perfect time to say farewell to all that has grown and to release everything that is old. I will be turning to my journal + my oracle cards in order to celebrate the death of the past year by reflecting on all that has come to pass. I feel like I have a lot to process, honestly. Many lessons to sift through and a whole bunch of shit to let go of.
There you go, loves. Five simple Samhain rituals to help honor the turning of the wheel + this most magical of holidays.
Dare to head down into the darkness. Mark this sacred Samhain in whatever way you wish. Simple or elaborate. Alone or with others (Covid-19 safe, of course). But, whatever you do, take a long, deep breath, close your eyes, listen to the silence, and welcome in the mystery + magic of the darkness.
With the turning of the wheel of the year, it’s time for a new playlist. Samhain is situated halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice. It is literally the darkest time of the year now + winter’s rest is on its way. So, now that we’re home, here’s a cozy, introspective playlist to help us tap into the deep, dark, mysterious energies of this season. Enjoy!