The ancient Celtic celebration of Samhain (pronounced sow-in), celebrated on October 31st and November 1st, marks the end of our seasonal cycle on the Wheel of the Year. This is why it’s often referred to as the witch’s New Year. Seasonally speaking, Samhain is the third and final harvest of the season or the last rally to store and prepare for the coming Winter season.
This sacred celebration reaches much farther than harvests and is also a time when the veil between the physical and spirit world is at its thinnest. The Celtic people believed that spirits walked among them during this time, so Samhain is accepted as an ideal time to communicate and connect with the spirit realm. Here’s a fun drawing I created with ritual suggestions for Samhain. Keep scrolling to learn more about each one.
Time to pull out all of your favorite intuitive and protective tools! Let’s dig into four different ways to connect with this season through ritual. I’ll also share correspondences for Samhain and a card spread to use with your favorite tarot or oracle card deck.
1. Create a Samhain Altar + Samhain Correspondences
Switching up your altar or sacred space for the seasons is an easy way to bring in each celebration’s energy on the Wheel of The Year. Get a quick look at how I do this in this video I shared on Instagram for Mabon.
When it comes to changing out your altar, understanding the correspondences (items that carry the similar energy) of Samhain will be helpful. Here’s a list of tools and symbols that correspond with Samhain.
- Themes: Releasing, cleansing, divination, protection, the underworld, offerings for ancestors
- Moon Phase: Waning crescent moon
- Crystals: Labradorite, obsidian, onyx, garnet, hematite, amethyst
- Candle Colors: Purple, black, orange, silver
- Tools: Besom (broom), cauldron, any kind of divination tool
- Plants and Scents: Mugwort, cinnamon, clove, patchouli
- Foods: Apples, pomegranate, pumpkins, nuts, meat
- Runes: Algiz, Daggaz, Ansuz, Perthro, Othalo
- Gods and Goddesses: Persephone, all crone Goddesses, Callieach, Cerridwen, and Hecate
To create your altar, select items and symbols from the list above and anything else that personally connects you to this season. Clear and cleanse (both physically and energetically) your altar space, then place your altar items with care and intention. I like to end my altar creation by lighting a candle and saying a prayer for the altar’s intention. It could be something like this, but feel free to tailor it to your liking.
With this altar, I welcome the final harvest season and the thinning of the veil. I remember my loved ones crossed over and all ancestors before them and share this offering as a sign of my gratitude. Myself and my space are protected from any beings that do not have my highest good in mind. So it is.
2. Sweep away negative energy with a besom
With the thinning of the veil between spirit and physical, it’s essential to clear out and protect your space from unwanted energies. I shared a thorough post a few years ago with steps to perform a Samhain house cleansing and blessing; check it out here. Because I already wrote all about performing a house cleansing, I’d like to dive a little deeper into using a besom for Samhain.
A besom, or broom, is a tool used by witches to cleanse a space energetically. Though your besom can clean physically, it doesn’t touch the ground when used as an energy cleansing tool. Simply open a door in your house, sweep right above the floor, and visualize negative energy leaving your space.
You can make your besom or find them for purchase at certain stores. I usually get mine from Trader Joe’s and like to add my own decorations to it.
3. Connect with your ancestors and give offerings to loved ones in spirit.
There are cultures worldwide who believe that our loved ones come back at certain times to walk among us. We see this in the Dia de Los Muertos in Mexico, Hungry Ghosts day in China, and in Samhain (to name a few.)
Samhain offers us a special time to connect with, honor, and remember all those who have come before us. You can do this in various ways, including by connecting with your ancestors for guidance through your intuition, remembering loved ones and ancestors passed on, or giving loved ones in spirit an offering.
Your altar is a great place to give an offering to any loved ones who’ve crossed over. An offering to your ancestors could be pictures of them or favorite foods and drinks. You can also connect with ancestors in spirit through meditation and breathwork. Check out this past blog post for steps to work with your ancestors through meditation and breathwork.
Find a guided journey to your ancestors here.
4. Protect yourself!
The thinning veil is a double-edged sword for Samhain. Yes, it is lovely to connect with spirit so easily, but it also leaves you more susceptible to all energies, which may not have your highest good in mind. Because the veil is so thin during this time, take care to protect yourself and your space from any unwelcome energy.
A protection tool that works exceptionally well during Samhain is burning dried mugwort. I shared all about this plant here. Some other favorites are salt for banishing, black candles, and the Rune Algiz. Find even more protection tools and rituals in a previous post here.
5. Pull out your intuitive tools + Samhain Card Spread
If you want to connect with spirit, set the wheels in motion for a new desire, or want to learn more about yourself from a higher perspective, now’s the time to pull out all the stops and dive deep into your intuitive practice. With the thinning veil between spirit and physical, the doors are wide open for profound intuitive growth, shadow work, and spiritual connections.
Here’s a suggested card spread to try out with your favorite tarot or oracle card deck.
Samhain tarot or oracle card spread.
- In what areas of my life do I need more protection?
- What bonds do I need to break free of in my life?
- What areas of my life are seeking renewal?
- In what areas of my life do I need to allow grieving?
- What messages do my ancestors have for me?
Samhain is a truly magical time, and I hope you can feel how special it is with everything I’ve shared here. Remember, there’s nothing to fear. At our core, we are spiritual beings too. This unique time offers us the opportunity to connect with a realm we already know so well, even if we’ve temporarily forgotten. Samhain blessings, dear one!
Cassie Uhl is the author of five books and two card decks, an artist, intuitive energy healer, and death doula. Her lineage and practices are rooted in pagan earth-based spiritual practices of Northern Europe. She approaches her work and clients with trauma-informed support through all phases of life. She currently resides on the land of the Myaamia people in so-called Indiana of the US.