Wishing you a Blessed Samhain

The modern seasonal celebration of Halloween is steeped in a deep history.  It stems from the ancestral festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-ain) .  Samhain marks the end of the Harvests and the descent of the Goddess into the Underworld.

In my Family we do not celebrate Samhain on a fixed date each year.  We watch for a specific seasonal occurrence.  When that sign is seen we honour the transition of the season from Harvest to the Darkening of the Year.

As a Priestess of Brigid I change my altar at this time to honour Her aspects of Dark Mother, Crone, Witch, Hag.  I deck it with bones, candles, stones.  Items that honour the transition between life and death. I bring photographs of my family who have passed to the altar to honour them.  I perform oracle readings for the year ahead (Samhain is seen by some as the Celtic new year.)

As I have a child in my family I like to blend the older, somber aspects of Samhain with the modern gentler face of Halloween for her.  Samhain is a moveable festival depending on the season that year.  Halloween is a constant we celebrate on October 31st.  We have skulls and ancestor plates for Samhain, but we also have pumpkins and witches hats for Halloween.

There was a time when I frowned on Halloween and its lightening of such a profound and respectful festival.  I have come to believe that I can meld the old and the new.  I do this in a way that is personal to my family and still deeply respectful and honouring of my ancestors and Goddess.

Samhain remains my favourite festival.  It feels me with a grounded sense of self.  It inspires me to honour the past and plan the future.

What are your favourite things to do at this time of year? Do you honour Samhain and Halloween separately or together - or even not at all?

As the Veil thins on this Darkening night I send Blessings to you, your family and your Ancestors.

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