Samhain is one of the most potent nights of the year for magick.
As a cross-quarter day it is a supernatural time, a time outside of time, the night that is not a night, a powerful time of flux and change. This is a good night for: candle magick – astral projection – past life work – dark moon mysteries – mirror spells (reflection) – casting protection – inner work – propitiation – clearing obstacles – uncrossing – inspiration – workings of transition or culmination – manifesting transformation – creative visualization.
Bonfires to protect the family, coven or land through the winter darkness – bale fire, to erase mistakes and negativity – torches to honor the dead – extinguish all fires then kindle new fire for a fresh start with the new year – burn incense to get the site – set the torc tenned ablaze, a pyramid of timber called the Fire Boar; save the ashes to use as a base for next Samhain’s torc tenned – put a candle in the window to help the spirit of a loved one find its way home – light a candle on the ancestral altar – lanterns, jack o’lanterns or candles outdoors to guide the way for spirits and fairies who are abroad this night – light a fire in the cauldron for protection or transformation.
Samhain is a power night for divination: read the tarot cards; use the Wheel of the Year spread to forecast the year ahead – cast runes or the I Ching – scry in crystal balls, dark mirrors, bowls of black ink or pools of water – swing a pendulum, asking yes or no questions – eat an apple in front of a mirror at midnight, by candlelight, to scry your future mate.
This is a good night for deep reflection and inner work. Meditation themes include: changes, transition, endings and beginnings, passage, return, mortality and reincarnation, chaos leading to reorder.
(by invitation, not summons) This is the night when the veil is thinnest, the gates between the worlds are open. Souls of the dead are said to visit their homes at midnight. Possible workings include: a dumb supper for the beloved dead – Ouija – séances – trance possession – automatic writing – bury apples as food for hungry spirits – leave spirit plates of food outside your home – set a place for a missed love one at the banquet or dinner table.
New Year workings
Release the old: bad habits and toxic relationships, illness, failure and poverty; everything you do not want to carry into the new year – sweep negativity and out of your home – end quarrels – settle debts, make amends or restitution if needed – spells for prosperity and security for your family.
This is a great night for visiting the faery realm but you must return by dawn or remain forever enchanted, unable to return.
Like Beltane opposite it on the wheel of the year, Samhain is a night when the Goddess descends into women. This is an excellent night for sex magick of all kinds, and the Great Rite.
SYMBOL: Black cat, jack o ‘lantern, bat, ghost, scarecrow, waning moon.
GODDESSES: Crone, all crone goddesses, Cerridwen, Hecate, Hel, Oya, the Morrigan, Lilith, Kali, Ishtar, Arianrhod, Rhiannon, Tlazoteotl, Nephthys, Persephone, Beansidhe (Banshee), Inanna, Baba Yaga, Isis, Pomona and Cailleach Beara (Brigid’s crone aspect), who is reborn this night.
GODS: Osiris, the Horned God, Herne the Hunter, Cernunnos, Anubis, Odin, Bran, death gods, dying and rising gods.
INCENSE: Copal, sandalwood, mastic resin, benzoin, sweetgrass, wormwood: to get the sight, to see the spirits of the returning dead.
CANDLES: New candles for the New Year: black, orange, autumn colors, or black candles for the Lord and the old year, white candles for the Lady and the New Year.
TOOLS: Besom to sweep out the old year and any negativity it had. Cauldron, for transformation.
Divination tools: Tarot cards, scrying bowl, rune stones, pendulum, mirror, etc.
PLANT: Pumpkin, apple, grain, pomegranate, mugwort, wormwood, Dittany of Crete, acorn, oak leaf, gourds, root vegetables, rosemary (for remembrance).
STONE: Obsidian, carnelian, onyx, smoky quartz, jet, bloodstone.
ANIMAL: Bat, black cat, owl.
ALTAR DECORATIONS: Autumn leaves, fall flowers, pomegranates, apples, pumpkins, ears of corn, sprays of grain, corn dollies, gourds, nuts, seeds, acorns, chestnuts and images of ancestors are all appropriate. Use whatever is in season where you live, whatever feels right and looks good to you.
FOOD: Gingerbread, freshly roasted nuts, nut breads, anything made with apples or pumpkin, meat (especially bacon), doughnuts, popcorn, cakes with lucky tokens in them, and red foods because the ancients held them sacred to the dead. DRINK: Mead, apple cider, mulled cider, mulled wine.
CELEBRATE: Masks, costumes – trick-or-treating – feasting and partying to defy the coming darkness (bob for apples, roast nuts, pop popcorn) – harvest feasts – rituals to honour the dead – Witches’ Ball.