What is Samhain
Samhain is the beginning of the new Wheel Year for Wicca and Pagans. The old year has passed, all the leaves have fallen from the trees and the Earth slowly begins to die around us. The harvest has been gathered and all the animals have been brought in from the fields. At sunset on Samhain (October 31st), the Celtic New Year begins.
The rituals of Samhain take place over three consecutive nights and are designed to honor the ancestors that came before us. It is a good time to contact the spirits of those ancestors because the veil between this world and the other is at its thinnest. For that reason, at least one night of celebration should be used for divination of some kind.
Always remember that a ritual is a personal thing, I will put a ritual here for you to use or as a guideline for you to write your own. I like to extend my rituals…performing the same core ritual each of the three nights and then using a different sub-activity for each night. The night before, I use the time between ritual and feast for meditation. The night of the Sabbath, I spend that time in divination exercises and the last night I once again spend time in meditation of what I learned. The way that you arrange your ritual is entirely up to you.
Decorations for this celebration should be any sort of fall decorations that you wish to use. I prefer to use pictures of family members…those still with us and those that have passed. I decorate the table with a cornucopia and fall leaves/limbs from outside as well as some fun harvest theme items that I purchase at the store. I always include the house guardian in any rituals and like to have decorative candlesticks to mark the perimeters of the circle so those can be used as decorations too.
My Samhain Ritual
Before you open your circle, arrange white, red and black candles on the left side of alter; green, black and yellow candles on the right side. Set up your alter with other alter tools and place your circle candles around the designated area. Open your circle and begin your ritual as follows…
Turn to candles on the left and say “I light three candles for the Triple Goddess…The Great Lady of three aspects. (Light white candle) Glorious Maiden, Goddess of youth and new beginnings, dawn and the planted seed. (Light red candle) Great Mother, Goddess of magic and plenty, love and knowledge. (Light black candle) Dark Crone, wise Goddess of the night, death and rebirth. I welcome the Goddess in all Her forms.”
Turn to candles on the right and say “I light three candles for the Triple God…Great Lord of many faces. (Light yellow candle) Bright Sun King, God of success and plenty. (Light green candle) Horned God of the Woodlands, God of fertility and growth. (Light black candle) Dark Lord of the Underworld, God of protection and rest. I welcome the God in all of His forms.”
“This is the Feast of the Dead, the night of the Wheel-turning year that brings us to the thin veil. The gate between the worlds stands open this night. I honor my ancestors; whose voices come to me on the whispering wind. All of those who wish me well are welcome within this circle.”
Place bread and salt on pentacle and say “This is Ancestor Night, the night strongest for communication with those gone to Emania, those who now dwell in the presence of the Old Gods. The veil has been lifted that I may know I am not forgotten. All those who wish me well are welcome within this circle.”
Raise chalice of wine in toast “I ask all who have gathered here to join me in this feast. May we always have good health, prosperity and happiness.”
Put wine chalice on pentacle and say “May I always be strong in body, mind and spirit. To the Old Gods! Merry meet, merry part, merry meet again. Blessed Be!
Facing the Goddess candles on the left side of alter, say “The year-wheel has turned, the harvest has come again. I have sown many thought-seeds since last Samhain. Let the good be harvested; let those that would hinder or harm me be cast aside. The Triple Goddess has covered me with Her gentle hands, guided my steps, heard my desires; for this I give her honor and love.”
Tap pentacle with your wand three times, “Give me clear knowledge of the path I must follow, hear my desires O Great Ones! Guide and protect me, lead me to greater knowledge and fulfillment.” Observe a moment of silence for spirit guidence then say “All love and honor the Great Lady and Her Lord! Blessed Be!”
Now is the time to break from the ritual area to join in the feast of all of your food choices as well as your meditations and divinations. Don’t forget to give thanks to the Goddess for the bounty of food you are eating and toast to the Old Gods. When the party is over, don’t forget to close the circle (to keep out evil) and I always put some of the left over food outside around the perimiter of my home dwelling…legend has it that if the fairies eat the food by morning, you will be under their protection.