A time of endings,
A time of thinning the veil,
A time to honor and welcome the old ones,
A time to clear out fears,
A time for inner peace.
It is pumpkins and apples,
Hazelnuts and cider,
Love, remembrance, and friendship,
May the Goddess as wise one and the God as the lord of the shadows, make us blessed this Samhain night,
And guide us through the dark days until we come once again to the light.
Samhain is the start of the Celtic and Wiccan New Year. Samhain is Irish-Gaelic for ‘the Summer’s end’, and is pronounced ‘sow-in‘. Samhain represented the death of the summer sun god, Lugh.
This festival celebrates Nature’s cycle of death and renewal, a time when the Celts acknowledged the beginning and ending of all things in life and nature. Samhain marked the end of harvest and the beginning of the New Celtic Year.
The first month of the Celtic year was Samonios – ‘Seed Fall’.
Two Roman festivals became incorporated with Samhain – ‘Feralia’, when the Romans commemorated the passing of the dead, and ‘Pomona’, when the Roman goddess of fruit and trees was honored.
The Halloween tradition of bobbing for apples is thought to derive from the ancient links with the Roman fruit goddess, Pomona, and a Druidical rite associated with water.
Samhain heralds the beginning of Winter when the world starts to darken and the days are getting shorter – the ‘dark half’ of the year and the demise of the power of the sun.
Samhain is one of the four Celtic fire festivals marking the quarter points in the year – feasts were held and bonfires were lit throughout the countryside.
The bonfires were to warm friendly spirits and ward off evil spirits and also represented the sun which they wished would return, bringing heat and growth.
It was custom to give an ember from the fires to attending families, who would then take it home to start a new cooking fire. These fires were believed to keep the homes happy and free from any lost evil spirits.
Samhain is one of the turning points of the year – the final harvest – the last of the crops for the years harvested and laid down for the winter ahead. It is a time of checks and balances of drawing a line and of looking forward to the next year.
Tonight I will be lighting a fire, celebrating and giving thanks for all the blessings in my life. I will invite my ancestors to join me, to remind me of my purpose and direction. I will put away all that is no longer needed, I will let go of what needs to leave and leave space for all that is to come.
Whatever you believe, and however you celebrate tonight, spare a moment to give thanks for what you have now and what you will have in the future. Celebrate – be safe – and many blessings to you all.