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Embrace the darkness - Happy Samhain!

Updated: Oct 26, 2023

Samhain falls on October 31st - November 1st. Here’s how we’ll be celebrating at Suzie K.

An orange autumn leaf

 

What is Samhain?


Samhain (pronounced ‘sow-win’) is an ancient Celtic festival celebrated from October 31st to November 1st, to mark the end of harvest and start of winter – the dark half of the year. During this time, like at Beltane, the veil between the physical and spirit worlds is thinner, and it is easier to contact the spirit realm.

 

Samhain symbolism


Samhain is a time of change. Summer is over, the final harvests have been gathered, and it is time to look inward, acknowledge the turning of the wheel and the coming of the dark half of the year. We appreciate what we’ve achieved in the light half of the year, give thanks for the plenty of harvest that will see us through the winter, and enjoy the fruits of our labour. It’s time to rest and recharge, ready to make plans for the next year.


Some symbols associated with Samhain include:

  • Turnips and pumpkins, carved into Jack-O-Lanterns

  • Nuts, apples and pomegranates

  • Marigolds, chrysanthemums, rowan berries and branches

  • Brigid’s cross / God’s eye straw weaving, to ward off bad luck

  • Candles and bonfires, to ward off evil and remember the sun

  • Crystals for protection from negative influence such as black tourmaline, smoky quartz to release negative energy and amethyst for connection and intuition

  • Herbs including mugwort, rosemary, pine needles, bay leaf.


Colours associated with the season are black – symbolising death with all of its endings and beginnings, purple for insight and intuition and orange for the fires that we light to symbolise life and vitality surviving through the darkness and death of winter.


Lunar Kisses witchy wire wrap jewellery - cauldron, broomstick and pumpkin

 

How you can celebrate Samhain


The Celtic traditions of Samhain were gradually integrated into the church in the form of the Christian festivals of All Saints Day (November 1st) and All Souls Day (November 2nd). Following this, October 31st became known as All Hallow’s Eve, or Halloween, and has borrowed a lot from the original pagan traditions of Samhain. It’s a time to celebrate those who have gone before us, to remember our dead loved ones and invite them to join in our festivities.


Some ways you can celebrate Samhain include:


  • Leave offerings for the fairies, as the veil between our world and theirs is thinner at this time.

  • Dress up in costume as a disguise so that the fairies are less tempted to kidnap you!

  • Light a bonfire (or candles) to protect your home from evil spirits, or carve a turnip or pumpkin lantern to scare them away.

  • Make an altar to your ancestors, or set out a ‘Dumb Supper’ – an extra meal prepared on Samhain night, as an offering for your ancestors to come and interact with the living once more.

  • Open a western-facing door or window and a leave a candle burning there, to guide the dead home.

  • Take your kids trick-or-treating (or go visit your friends if you’re an adult!) which derives from the tradition of ‘mumming’ and ‘guising’ where people would go door-to-door in costume, singing songs for the dead and receiving food in return.

  • Samhain is a perfect time for divination, with the veil between worlds being so thin. A traditional Samhain divination method is peeling an apple in one long strip and throwing the peel over your shoulder – it will land in the shape of your future love’s first initial. Another is to put two hazelnuts near a fire to roast, naming one for yourself and the other for the person you love. If the nuts pop away from the fire, you’re not a good match, but if they sit still and roast, then you are!

  • Play some seasonal games such as apple bobbing (trying to catch an apple floating in a bowl of water in your teeth) or snap-apple (trying to be the first to eat an apple suspended on a string).

 

How we’ll be celebrating Samhain at Suzie K


Sunday October 29th is our next Turn of the Wheel event, 2 - 3.30pm at Ye Olde Custom House, Watergate Street. This event is now fully booked, but you can put your name down on the list in case of cancellations if you'd like to. Please email Emily at sabatgroup.chester@gmail.com to do this, or to book ahead for the next event.


We’re also excited to be holding a special opening evening for Suzie K wellbeing treatments on Wednesday November 1st. It’s going to be held at the shop from 6.30-9pm and is an opportunity to see what wellbeing treatments we have to offer and to talk with Suzie, meet our resident nutritionist Ray Deacon and Nina Stanley from Nina’s Holistics.

Admission is free, and you’ll get a free glass of fizz or non-alcoholic drink.


Red autumn berries

 


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