Samhain, an Ancient Sabbat

October 31st is Halloween for most Americans, but there are those of us in the Northern Hemisphere who believe in magick more ancient on this day. As the sun sinks and darkness awakes, pagans and Wiccans celebrate Samhain, a Gaelic word, pronounced "sow-(as in "cow")-EEN" or in some dialects, "sow-IN." For those of us who watch the Wheel of the Year spin through the cycles of Nature, 'tis the end of the vitally important harvest season. 

Symbolically, the fair maiden of Spring has aged into a Crone, who holds the experience of the entire year -- a lifetime for some beings -- within her head and heart. She offers wisdom and guidance. The lengthening nights usher in a quiet time of reflection on the past year.

(❤️ this image, Angie!)

In addition, the veil between the Living and the Dead grows gauzy thin, signifying the time when we can most easily communicate with ancestors and beloved pets long gone. We welcome them with candles accompanied by plates of food at our front door step, so these spirits will accept our invitation to come hither and celebrate.

People in the Philippines celebrate Samhain
(From the Pagan Murmur blog)

Latinx peoples celebrate their ancestors similarly at the same time on Día de Los Muertos, Day of the Dead.

Participants wait for the start of the Day of the Dead parade in Mexico City
(Photo by Susannah Rigg of Mexico News Daily)

They, too, look forward to communing with their deceased relatives during a festival of food, light and beautifully decorated graves. The delightful, Academy Award-winning movie, Coco, illustrates this fiesta well. In fact, it's playing on streaming services tonight, so do yourself and your fam a favor by watching.

Coco pays respects to his deceased relative
(Copyright Disney-Pixar)

Ready for a witch's brew or autumn potion? Try this delicious mulled wine recipe from White Magick Alchemy:

Here's a little poem I wrote for Samhain.

Samhain Blessing

In the wheel of the year,
Maiden matures to Crone,
Wisdom and Compassion
offered, if you call her near.

Forbears and beloved pets,
see! My fire draws you here.
We'll eat a meal to celebrate
your grace, your lives, my dears!

Feast a-finished, plates removed,
the Old Ones well appeased, you hear?
Move the tables and the seats,
'tis time to cast out fear!

Let slip no tears, pour us some beer
as the light sinks within.
Kick off your shoes, array your skirts.
Let Samhain dance begin!

To all my pagan and Wiccan family and friends, Bright Blessings to you on this Samhain night! ❤️