Samhain (the accepted pronunciation is sow-een) is a Death Festival marking the beginning
of winter, when all else has died, and the Crone finally takes over. It is the 4th
and final of the Greater Fire Festivals. Celebrated on the 1st of May Samhain is
the time when the veil between our world and that of the spirit world is is at its
thinnest. Samhain marks the end and beginning of the Witch’s Year.
This is a time when it is said that the dead can walk, so is the ideal time to contact
and communicate with those who we are close to who have passed over. Traditionally,
candles are lit and placed in the window to help the spirits find their way. A plate
of food may be left outside under the window as an offering to the spirits when they
This is a good time to set up your altar with pictures of your lost ancestors, or
even have an object that they once owned. It is a time to communicate with them,
or simply think of them and what they meant to you whilst you still knew them when
they were alive. It is a time to honour them, for without them, you would not be
This is also the third and final harvest, when we see the very last crops we sowed
at Imbolc and Ostara are harvested and stored for the coming winter months. We are
now rapidly saying goodbye to the Sun God, as he moves slowly once again North. The
Earth now prepares itself for sleep, until Spring.
This is a time to look inwards at ourselves at our motives. It’s a time to let go
of the old and look forward to new beginnings. It is a spiritual cleansing of those
aspects of our life which we have grown out of or no longer need. It is a time for
divination and looking into the future.
The Earth is becoming cold and barren, and Pagans see Her as the Hecate, the Crone,
the Wise One. She is the Dark Mother who devours the God so that she may give birth
to him again. Here he stays until Yule, where once again he is reborn.