Halloween, or Samhain (pronounced “sow-when”), is a magical time of year. From the Druids, Celtics, Pagans, all the way to the Aztecs, this holiday was one of “bonfires, abundance, and community feasting” (Dugan 99) because it was one of the last days to bring in the last of the harvest and prepare for the cold winter months. This is a fantastic holiday for “petition magick” in which you write down what you wish to release from the year, burn it, and allow for positive energy for the new year (Dugan 100). You can do this with a fire place, candle, chiminea, or the like. Just make sure to do it safely.
This holiday is really about celebrating the dead; even consider El Dia de los Mertos (the Day of the Dead) on November 2nd, in which Mexicans and Mexican-Americans use skulls, marigolds, and treats to honor their dead. The Druids left prayers, food, and burning candles to the dead, and the people leaving the offerings would wear masks and disguise themselves from roaming, trouble-making spirits (Dugan 102-103). The Celtics would carve turnips or cabbages and leave embers in them to frighten away mischievous spirits, which turned to the pumpkin when Irish and Scottish people immigrated to Canada and the United States. According to Ellen Dugan the colors of black and orange have meaning–orange being energetic, abundant, and symbolize the magic of the fires and setting sun; while black symbolizes the crone and is protective.
This is not an “evil” holiday. This particular holiday is really about death and rebirth–cycles of the earth (born, live, die, rebirth). I look at it as a holiday of letting go and allowing any negativity of the year to be taken with the dark so that it can be transmuted to light. So often we are afraid of darkness, but you cannot have light without the dark. It’s a yin and yang, so to speak. Most of us are reborn in the dark when we sleep, and we awaken in the light feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. The same can be said with Samhain. Use the darkness to let go, honor our loved ones who have gone before us, and allow rebirth (positivity and manifestations) to enter into our lives. And, have fun with it–decorate your homes with Fall colors, carve Jack-O-Lanterns, and take those kiddos trick-or-treating. Blessings to you and your family on this Halloween.
Dugan, Ellen. Seasons of Witchery: Celebrating the Sabbats with the Garden Witch. Woodbury, Llewellyn Publications, 2015.