When you think back to your Halloween celebrations when you were a child, you likely thought about how it was fun to dress up in whatever costume you wanted to dress up in, as well as eating so much candy to the point of having an upset stomach. You did not know or care about how Halloween originated. You only wanted to have fun; even as an adult, you likely have fond memories of attending or hosting Halloween parties. Like all fun, celebratory days, there is a reason behind it. So, let’s discuss Halloween or Samhain.
What Is Samhain and What Is Its Significance?
Samhain is the Witch’s New Year, and it takes place on October 31st, as it is the midpoint between Mabon, the Autumn Equinox, and Yule, the Winter Solstice. It is known as Halloween or Hallowmas, a holiday in North America for respecting the ancestors and welcoming winter’s darkness. It is also when the veil between the spiritual and physical is the thinnest, allowing you to mingle with your ancestors and spirits. Samhain is a Sabbat that pagans and Wiccans celebrate, but you will notice that others from different cultures and religions celebrate this time of year.
For example, Christians celebrate this time, and their holiday is known as All Souls Day. Those in the Jewish faith celebrate this time as it is the harvest, known as Sukkoth, and it is the Russian time to celebrate the harvest, known as the Goddess Festival Baba Yaga.
However, Samhain originated from an ancient Celtic spiritual tradition, as the name of this celebration is a Gaelic word as the ancient Celts marked Samhain as the most essential fire festival. After completing the harvest, Druid priests would take the wheel, representing the sun, to create friction and spark flames to light a community fire.
When it was the Middle Ages, the celebrations of Samhain continued, and those who celebrated it began to carve turnips and attach them to sticks and strings, embedding them with coal, as they were the Jack-o-lanterns, as it stems from the Irish legend of Stingy Jack who tricked the Devil and was condemned to stay earthbound forever. Therefore, Jack had to keep a carved-out turnip with a candle inside so he could see his way. In Ireland, eventually, pumpkins replaced turnips for the Jack-o-lanterns.
Therefore, the purpose of the carved pumpkin is to celebrate the memory of the lost souls and keep Stingy Jack’s memory alive—now you know a little bit about Samhain’s history and significance. Now, let’s review the Samhain rituals.
Common Pagan Samhain Rituals
There are plenty of Samhain rituals that pagans and Wiccans involve themselves with during this essential Sabbat, and they often build altars and add pumpkins, squash, turnips, apples, and other fall crops to mark the end of the harvest. They also place nuts, acorns, dried leaves, and berries. They will also place skeletons and skulls on the altar; yes, they can be fake to represent the spirits of the dead. They will also put pictures of deceased family members and their ancestors to honor them on the altar.
Sometimes, pagans will bake a special dark bread to add to the altar to feed the visiting spirits. Some will cast a circle to honor and share stories about their deceased loved ones. Others will see the cemetery of their loved ones to keep them if they are physically able to do so.
Many pagan families will hold Samhain ceremonies, which include a feast involving dark rye or pumpernickel bread, wild game meat, root vegetables, and fall fruits. The dinner table will have candles as they set the food on the table and apple cider drinks. After the ceremonial dinner, everyone places the leftovers in the garden to offer a part of their celebration to the dead.
Some will hold seances on the evening of Halloween to connect with the deceased. However, many will reflect on that evening over their lives during the year and review photos, blogs, journals, and meditate. It is also a time to do a Samhain tarot reading to gain extra insight, and I will do a collective one now.
2023 Samhain Tarot Reading
When you plan to do a tarot reading for Samhain, you must find a sacred place and meditate before you do. However, I want to share a collective tarot reading with you, and this five-card Samhain tarot spread is from Moody Moons, known as Veil Between the Worlds. You are communicating with the Other Side with this spread.
The first card, which you will place on the left, represents the spirit attempting to connect with you from the Other Side. The card you pull will depict the characteristics of the spirit trying to communicate with you. It does not matter if it is a card from the Major Arcana, a Minor Arcana card, or a court card.
The second card, which you will place on the top center, represents your understanding of the Other Side. It allows you to reflect on your fears and feelings about what is beyond the physical life. If you feel it will be a better place than the physical and where you will reap the rewards, does it motivate you to live a meaningful life where you are doing your best? That is something to reflect on.
The third card, which you place in the middle, represents your connection to the Other Side, whether you have a spiritual gift or if your line of work connects you to the astral or a common ancestor. This card is your “spiritual thread”.
The fourth card, which you place on the bottom center, represents the message from the other side of the Veil. It can indicate suppressed dreams or subconscious thoughts that can help you evolve. This card challenges you to search for what is there instead of what you wish to see. If you are open, you will get the message you need to help you.
Finally, the last card, which you place on the right, represents how you relate to those who passed. What is your relationship with those who passed on during the year? In some cases, it will be positive, negative, or neutral.
Let’s give this a try. Here is what I have:
Card one: The Magician
Card two: Ace of Swords
Card three: Four of Cups
Card four: Six of Cups
Card five: Three of Pentacles
Let’s delve into this further.
Card One: The Magician
The first card represents the spirit attempting to connect with you from the Other Side, and the Magician comes up for that. The Magician describes someone who stepped into their personal power and manifestation and could create their reality. This card suggests that the one who is attempting to connect with you is telling you that you have the potential to harness your inner magic and manifest your desires. It encourages you to tap into your skills and resources for positive change. Now, let’s take a look at the second card.
Card Two: Ace of Swords
The second card represents your understanding and feelings of the Other Side. The Ace of Swords signifies new beginnings, mental clarity, and potential breakthroughs, which means how you feel about the Other Side is that there is another life there to create new beginnings. If you want to make the best of it when it is your time, you will want to gain a fresh perspective and work to overcome any mental obstacles or challenges.
It encourages you to embrace the power of your thoughts and make decisions that align with your highest truth. In other words, you know there is something beyond what you see here, and you feel there are rewards to reap, but that means to make the best of your life you have now. Let’s look at the third card.
Card Three: Four of Cups
The third card represents your literal connection to the Other Side. You get the Four of Cups, and The Four of Cups means introspection, contemplation, and a sense of dissatisfaction. This card suggests that when you feel emotionally withdrawn or dissatisfied with certain aspects of your life, you can meditate and communicate with your Higher Self and your guides to provide the guidance you need.
It is also a reminder to self-reflect and explore your inner world to better understand your emotions and desires when you feel that way. Your guides are there to help you, and if you can quiet your mind, you will hear what your Higher Self and your guides say. Let’s go to the fourth card.
Card Four: Six of Cups
The fourth card represents the messages from the Other Side, which you may have suppressed in your subconscious, and it is the Six of Cups. The Six of Cups symbolizes nostalgia, childhood memories, and emotional connections. This card suggests that you receive messages from spirit and your Higher Self to find comfort and healing during Samhain by reconnecting with your past, embracing nostalgia, and fostering meaningful relationships. It encourages you to honor your roots and seek solace in the familiar.
You may want to go back to trying out a childhood hobby or an older hobby you enjoyed to find comfort, as an example. Let’s look at the last card.
Card Five: Three of Pentacles
This card indicates your relationship with someone who passed over the past year, and the Three of Pentacles comes up. The Three of Pentacles represents collaboration, teamwork, and mastery of skills. This card suggests that someone with whom you had a relationship that passed, you had worked harmoniously with.
It did not matter whether it was someone you worked with or if it was a cooperative family member or friend. That is the one who is showing up. They are sending a message to encourage you to seek support from like-minded individuals and engage in collaborative projects that can lead to long-term success, even if that is not professional.
With this reading, there was communication with the Other Side, which is why this is ideal for Samhain. The one attempting to come through for you was someone who stepped in their power and knew how to create their reality, as they are giving you that message. You also gained insights on your thoughts on the Other Side, as you feel it is a time to create fresh starts and to be rewarded; you want to make the most of the life you are living now by changing perspectives.
That also means when you feel dissatisfied with an area of life, it reminds you that you can connect with your Higher Self and spirit guides through meditation to gain insight on making necessary changes. There are also messages in your subconscious suggesting that you go back to comfort through old hobbies and anything that can bring you back to your roots. Finally, there is another message from someone who recently passed that you worked well with to go and find others to have a good working relationship as well, as it is crucial for your growth and social connections.
Samhain, or the Witch’s New Year, is celebrated on October 31st, as it is the midpoint between Mabon, the Autumn Equinox, and Yule, the Winter Solstice. The holiday, known as Halloween or Hallowmas, is celebrated in North America to honor ancestors and welcome winter. The veil between the spiritual and physical is at its thinnest during this time, allowing your ancestors and spirits to mingle with you. That is when you want to connect with those who passed on, your ancestors, and your spirit guides for guidance for the upcoming year, which makes this a crucial pagan sabbat.
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