The fields are bare, the leaves have fallen from the trees, and the skies are going gray and cold. It is the time of year when the earth has died and gone dormant. Every year on October 31 (or May 1, if you're in the Southern Hemisphere) the Sabbat we call Samhain presents us with the opportunity to once more celebrate the cycle of death and rebirth. For many Pagan and Wiccan traditions, Samhain is a time to reconnect with our ancestors, and honor those who have died. This is the time when the veil between our world and the spirit realm is thin, so it's the perfect time of year to make contact with the dead. You may want to take a moment to read up on:
Rituals and Ceremonies
Depending on your individual spiritual path, there are many different ways you can celebrate Samhain, but typically the focus is on either honoring our ancestors, or the cycle of death and rebirth. This is the time of year when the gardens and fields are brown and dead. The nights are getting longer, there's a chill in the air, and winter is looming. We may choose to honor our ancestors, celebrating those who have died, and even try to communicate with them. Here are a few rituals you may want to think about trying for Samhain -- and remember, any of them can be adapted for either a solitary practitioner or a small group, with just a little planning ahead.
- Samhain Prayers
- A Ritual to Celebrate the Harvest's End
- Samhain Rite to Honor the Animals
- Samhain Ceremony to Honor the Ancestors
- God and Goddess Ritual for Samhain
- Celebrate the Cycle of Life and Death
- Samhain Ancestor Meditation
- Reader FAQ: Pagans and Halloween
For many Wiccans and Pagans, Samhain is a time to do magic that focuses on the spirit world. Learn how to properly conduct a seance, how to do some Samhain divination workings, and the way to figure out what a spirit guide is really up to!
- Samhain Divination
- How to Hold a Seance
- What is a Spirit Guide?
- Should I Use a Ouija Board?
- Hold a Dumb Supper: Feasting with the Dead
- Make a Scrying Mirror
- How to Make a Witch Bottle
- The Magic of the Samhain Needfire
Traditions and Trends
Interested in learning about some of the traditions behind the celebrations of the late harvest? Find out why Samhain is important, learn why black cats are considered unlucky, how trick-or-treating became so popular and more!
- Deities of Death
- Caring for Our Dead
- Where Are All the Vampires?
- Magical, Mysterious Spiders
- Decorating Your Altar for Samhain
- Samhain Altar Photo Gallery
- Share Your Altar Photo
- Samhain Superstitions
- Black Cats
- Jack o'Lanterns
- Tricks or Treats?
- Mexico's Day of the Dead
- Nut Crack Night
- Cailleach Bheur, the Hag
- Thirteen Spooky Poems for Samhain
- The 12 Days of Samhain Song
- Guest author Ray Buckland on Death and Dying
- Twas the Night Before Samhain
Crafts and Creations
As Samhain approaches, decorate your home (and keep your kids entertained) with a number of easy craft projects. Start celebrating a bit early with these fun and simple ideas that honor the final harvest, and the cycle of life and death.
- Samhain Spirit Incense
- Set up an Ancestor Shrine
- Make Your Own Headstones
- Make a Grave Rubbing
- The Samhain Straw Man
- Make an Apple Garland
- Make a Kitchen Witch Craft Project
- Pumpkin Candles
- Samhain Skull Garland
- Silver Bell Branch
- Painted Pentacle Pumpkins
- Make a Samhain Terrarium Jar
Feasting and Food
No Pagan celebration is really complete without a meal to go along with it. At Samhain, celebrate with foods that celebrate the final harvest, and the death of the fields.