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Samhain, a celebration of life and death

Samhain, a celebration of life and death

Samhain marks the end of the autumn harvest and the onset of the dark half of the year. Nowadays, it is traditionally celebrated from sunset on the 31st of October until sunset on the 1st of November. And it is when the veil between the living world and the realm of the dead is believed to be at its thinnest. Allowing for easier communication and interaction between worlds.

Although Samhain appears to revolve around death and darkness. It is also a time of renewal and new beginnings. After all, it is a celebration that is tied to the rhythm of nature.

It signals the end of the growing season when vegetables are harvested and vegetation dies. And the cold air pushes life back underground.

This is a time to celebrate the end of the old year. As well as prepare for the beginning of the new one. The dark half of the year signals rest and relaxation. A time to reflect on the past and to plan for the future.

samhain harvest

Just like a plant that lies dormant and cocooned in the ground. Resting and preparing so that it may blossom when the time is right. We also need to rest and prepare. Light is born from darkness and nature’s rhythm shows us we need both to survive. Samhain is a meeting point of opposites, light and dark, life and death, fear and hope. Below we have listed some of our favorite ways to celebrate that anyone can join in with:

Celebrate Your Ancestors

Celebrate the lives of your ancestors and loved ones by making an ancestor’s altar. You can choose to make this as large or as small as you like. Start by deciding where to put your altar. Then cleanse that area with a sage smudge stick. Next, add an altar cloth, to help welcome your ancestors.

Gather together photographs, heirlooms, and any other mementos of your loved ones. Before finally arranging them all on your altar. Along with some candles and any other decorations that you want to include.

Once your altar is built you can light the candles and sit quietly looking at the photographs of your ancestors. Reminisce on times spent together. Or if you didn’t know them, think about what their lives could have been like. Thank them for being part of your life and heritage. And acknowledge any feelings that you may have. Samhain is a time to honor our ancestors and an ancestor’s altar can be included in many different rituals.

Feast of the dead

When feasting with the dead prepare an extra place setting at your table for your ancestor to join you. Eat by candlelight and remove all other distractions. Also if it is possible, use the color black in your table setting, such as a tablecloth, napkins or plates.

Traditionally a Samhain supper consists of harvest vegetables and game meat. Served with dark bread and accompanied or followed by an apple dish. But you can choose any menu you and your family like. You should make enough to include some on your ancestor’s plate.

Once you are all sat at the table you can invite your ancestors to come and dine with you. However, if you decide to experience a Samhain dumb supper then you will need to invite them in silence and eat in silence. Once the meal is over you have the option of taking the contents of the deceased plate outside and leaving it as an offering for the dead. It makes a lovely feast for wild animals that visit your garden, but please make sure there is nothing that may cause them harm in the food.

Bonfire stories, endings, and new beginnings.

Bonfires were traditionally lit at Samhain to keep evil spirits away. Nowadays they are often seen as a place to gather. Why not get your family or a group of friends together around a bonfire? To share stories of loved ones and learn about your family history.

As we said earlier Samhain is not only a time of ending but also of new beginnings. Another tradition is to write down on a piece of paper a habit you want to leave behind. Then throw the paper into the fire before thinking about your future without the unwanted habit.

Crystals for Samhain

Howlite is a great stone for Samhain as it is related to communication. It also allows insight into past lives and can open up forgotten memories. As well as being a strong protective stone.

Labradorite helps to balance and protect your aura. It will ground your spiritual energy and prevent any energy leaks. While also boosting your psychic abilities and honing your intuition.

Smoky Quartz grounds your spiritual energy and protects you when engaging in metaphysical work. It is also believed to aid communication with other worlds.

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For more information, hints, and tips. Why not take a look at the lifestyle and spiritual sections of our blog. And please remember to tag us @surrender_to_happiness on Instagram with all your Samhain adventures. Finally, for more ideas on how to enjoy 31st October check out our Halloween blog here.

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