Without darkness, there would be no light – and without death, there would be no life. On October 31, we’re reminded of this truth more than any other time of the year. Known to the ancient Celts as Samhain, October 31 is commonly referred to in the modern world as Halloween. Though its name has changed over the centuries, Samhain remains an evening of darkness and mystery – a time for us to experience a deeper connection with our shadow selves and the spirits on the other side.
Samhain is when we welcome the thinning of the veil and harness our intuitive power by embracing the darker aspects of life. It’s also when we call upon Hecate: Greek goddess of the night, the Moon, crossing over, witchcraft, magic, and the unseen. During this time, we see beyond the veil and channel the support of our spirit guides as we traverse through a period of release, change, and deep soul shifting. The veil isn’t just the doorway to our ancestors and the spirit world, but a proverbial divider between our former and present selves – the mirror of our shadow. And the closer we get to Samhain, the thinner that veil gets.
Though Samhain is an allusion to death – a reminder that all things eventually wither and fall away – it’s also a promise that new life will eventually emerge. Even before I “‘knew” or learned that Samhain was the Celtic New Year, I always had this feeling right around November 1 that the planet was rebirthing itself. Something seems new, fresh, and available on the morning after Samhain. And it is. As the trees shed their leaves and let the old, decaying parts of them return to the earth, they create space for new things to grow. On Samhain, we are reminded that as we, too, release the old parts of ourselves, we make room for new parts of our soul to emerge – ones more deeply aligned with our most authentic selves. With every death, there is new life, and in this way, we are infinite – manifestations of an unending cycle of decay and growth.
To harness the magic of rebirth this Samhain, here are four easy rituals you can perform:
1. Burn away what no longer serves you
Samhain is the perfect time to reflect on and let go of all the things that are no longer serving you. What are you holding onto that’s asking to be released? Take some time to meditate on this question. Then, write down what you’re letting go of on a piece of paper. It can be something tangible, such as a job or relationship that’s no longer aligned with your highest good, or something more energetic – like fear or uncertainty. Burn the piece of paper and bury the ashes, sending the old energy back into the earth to be transmuted and repurposed.
2. Connect with your ancestors
On Samhain, the veil between our world and the spiritual realm is at its thinnest, making it a powerful time to connect with your ancestors and guides on the other side. Connect with your ancestors by leaving offerings out for them, such as their favorite foods, photos of them, or any old trinkets of theirs that you may have. Ask them to guide you in the coming months and provide you with their wisdom and support as you traverse through the darker half of the year.
3. Make a Samhain altar
I love building altars for any and every occasion – and Samhain is no exception. As October 31 approaches, channel the energy by creating a Samhain altar. When creating an altar, it’s important to have all four elements present: Fire (candles), Air (incense or smudge bundles), Earth (gemstones and herbs), and Water (perfume/oils or moon water). For your Samhain altar, you’ll want to focus on working with tools for protection, spiritual connection, and shadow work. The colors black, orange, and red are also great to incorporate into your altar.
4. Take a ritual bath
Nothing says “rebirth” like a ritual bath. Bathing is a powerful way to call on the cleansing, healing energy of the water element. Before or on Samhain, take a bath incorporating your favorite herbs, bath salts, oils, and other magical tools. As you bathe, envision all negative and stagnant energies being washed away, making space for a new you to emerge. Click here to read more about bath magic and how to incorporate it into your spiritual practice.
These are just a few ways that you can channel the energy of rebirth on Samhain. However you choose to celebrate, may this sacred holiday be a time of transformation, self-exploration, and strength for each and every one of you. And so it is.
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