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Oct 28

The Wheel of the Year: Samhain

According to Janet and Stewart Farrar, the Sabbats are “seasonal festivals which mark key points in the natural year”.  Since Wiccans believe in being one with nature, these seasonal festivals allow us to celebrate nature in all its glory.  The eight Sabbats are Samhain, Winter Solstice, Imbolgc, Spring Equinox, Beltane, Summer Solstice, Lammas and Fall Equinox.

Samhain (pronounced Sow-in) is the first of the Sabbats being discussed as it is the Wiccan’s New Year.  This Sabbat is considered to be the ending and the beginning of the Wheel of the Year. It is also one of the four Greater Sabbats.

This festival celebrates the completion of the harvest and the beginning of winter.  The is the Sabbat that represents the death of the Gods and preparing for his rebirth at Yule.  It is said that this night is when the veil is thinnest between the worlds and the spirits of the ancestors walk the night.

The ritual or spell that works best during Samhain is one of divination or resolutions.  Decorate the altar with fall leaves or a pumpkin, black or grey candles, cakes and drinks for the visiting spirits.  Begin your ritual with prayers to the ancestors requesting their presence.  Request guidance for the year to come from the visiting spirits.  Then thank them for their visit before they leave.

Once the ritual or spell is complete, visit with the others at the ritual.  Eat and drink merrily for the winter comes, but know that Spring is just ahead.

Correspondences

  • Date: 31st October
  • Other Names: Halloween, All Hallows Eve, Feast of the Dead
  • Meanings: death, rebirth, new year, spirits interacting with humans, divination, magic, reflection
  • Colors: black, grey, red, orange, purple
  • Elements: water and earth
  • Symbols: carved pumpkin or turnip, witch animals, broomsticks, ghosts, hay, corn, gourds
  • Aromas: candy
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