A time for making winter preparations, Samhain (pronounced "SOW-in" or "SAH-win") was the time of harvesting crops and rounding up animals from the fields to either sacrifice or lodge for the winder, or prepare for breeding. Feasts, abundant in both food and alcohol, were held to celebrate the harvest. Samhain was also a sacred time for assembling and for settling important business matters, such as the inauguration of new kings. Debts were repaid and trials for the more egregious crimes were held, with justice meted out accordingly.
This fire festival is a particularly magical time for many, as it is beginning of the new year for the Celtic communities. This turning in of nature is the closing of the year, which was often celebrated with bonfire and dancing. The Celtic communities of Europe, including Ireland, Wales, and Scotland celebrated this time for about three days, believing this time offered a limited opportunity in which the veil between the human and spirit realms were lifted; hence, the underlying theme of #Halloween.
Marking the beginning of the dark half of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, #Samhain is a time for leaning into your intuition, the divination, and allowing introspection and for many, it's a time to connect with their ancestors and honor those who have already passed. It's also a perfect time to meditate on endings and beginnings. I always think of the trees and their focus turning inward during these darker months, after they've finished their show for the world and dropped their leaves. They take time each year to rest, and to rejuvenate, trusting that once again spring or the Imbolc will return and they can once again share their beauty with the community. With the commencement of the dark phase comes the invitation to rest and reflect on the past year, and to envision new beginnings.
Of all the festival celebrations on the Celtic Wheel, Samhain is perhaps the most significant as it is thought to have represented the Celtic New Year. For the ancient #Celts, time began in darkness, with each 24-hour day commencing at dusk. Ushering in the darker half of the year, Samhain represented the end of one year and the beginning of the next.
There are a plethora of ways this holiday can be celebrated which may change from year to year and certainly from person to person. Because the Celtic Wheel in itself is very nature-based, often these celebrations include exploring favorite herbs and crystals, two of my most favorite things!
Let me share a bit about how you may enjoy these beauties of nature during this season as well, and know that Eden offers a course on Healing Crystals and another on Earth Medicine if interested in diving deeper. Moonstone is a reflective crystal and black moonstone is thought to be wonderful for encouraging intuition and insight. Sangre calcite is another crystal that many feel embodies a strong connection to the fire element, and thought to be perfect for developing vitality and motivation as the weather cools. Howlite is yet another crystal strongly associated to the world of dreams and a perfect complement for connection with ancestors. Other crystals you may enjoy during this time are red garnet, smoky quartz, carnelian, howlite, jet, snowflake obsidian, black onyx, bloodstone, black obsidian, or even a hag stone.
Apples and cider are common components of this season's celebration, as is ale or mead. Pumpkin, beans, squash, nuts, and pomegranate are also complementary. Herbs commonly used during Samhain are angelica, catnip, cinnamon, mandrake, mugwort, rose hips, rosemary, vervain, and wormwood. Many enjoy these treats while also sitting around a bonfire.