What Is Samhain? A Deep Dive Into The Spiritual Origin of Halloween & It’s Ancient Rituals

What Is Samhain? A Deep Dive Into The Spiritual Origin of Halloween & It’s Ancient Rituals
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Blessed be! As the eve of October 31st draws near, so does the pagan holiday, Samhain (pronounced as “sah-win”). As Samhain approaches, you might notice how the veil between our world and the spirit realm continues to thin. Spooky signs or omens may pop up in the coming days as the spirits make themselves known, which is why you might be looking into the spiritual meaning of Halloween and Samhain 2022. Use this time to pay attention to anything considered to be hauntingly spectacular as it may be part of your Samhain celebrations.

Originally known as an ancient celebration and pagan festivity, Samhain is making a modern comeback as the present-day witches recognize the traditional jubilee. Think of Samhain as the original Halloween, but one of the significant differences between them is that Samhain has a much deeper meaning than costumes and trick-or-treating. Samhain recognizes the spiritual influences in our everyday lives, encouraging us to reap our rewards from this past year.

Similar to Halloween, Samhain focuses on celebrating our ancestors and spiritual connections through dancing, imbibing and eating. However, Samhain is more occult-focused since this pagan holiday celebrates how spiritual influence has impacted our successes by honoring ancestors and deities. By October 31st, you might be more than ready to bid adieu to this past year while embracing the winter as well as the new year. 

Spiritual Meaning Halloween Samhain

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What Is Samhain? The History Behind Halloween

Celebrated from October 31 to November 1st, Samhain was considered to be one of the most important ancient holidays in the Celtic and pagan traditions. According to History.com, “Ancient Celts marked Samhain as the most significant of the four quarterly fire festivals, taking place at the midpoint between the fall equinox and the winter solstice. During this time of year, hearth fires in family homes were left to burn out while the harvest was gathered.” 

Hereditary witch, Sunshine Estardavis, claims that Samhain was the holiday that “marked the turning of the wheel of the year”. During these celebrations, the final harvest was collected while clearing away dead brush in gardens and orchards. “Because this was one of the last chores to do before winter, there would be a collective sharing of the fruits of their labor from the last year. What better way to celebrate the end of a happy harvest than with a feast with drinks and dancing!” exclaims Estardavis. 

Wheel of the Year Pagan Calendar

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History.com also reports that celebrations would last a few days, since Samhain is often considered a “gluttonous” holiday. Everybody was expected to partake in one way or another to give thanks, or else they may be susceptible to the wrath of the spirit realm. Like Beltane, Samhain is believed to be a time when the veil is the thinnest between our world and the spirit world, so the spirits were able to partake in the jubilee. Offerings were given to other creatures, such as fairies, to avoid potential issues during the celebrations.  

No matter if it is ancient times or the present day, Samhain is a joyful holiday! As the festivities begin, you may feel increasingly light and free-spirited. Spend Samhain thanking your spirit guides for their assistance while keeping an eye on what you will want to accomplish or work on in the year to come. 

Samhain Altar Ritual For Halloween

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Ritual to Celebrate Samhain

If you would like to observe and celebrate Samhain on October 31st, you have a few options depending on your location and practice. “A Samhain ritual can be done [if] you live in a rural area or a city apartment,” says Estardavis about beginner-friendly rituals for Samhain. Regardless of where your ritual takes place, Estardavis recommends gathering these tools or ingredients:


Parchment paper

Pen with black ink

Bread or cake

A nice bottle of wine or non-alcoholic grape juice

A candle (or another form of contained fire)

Build a bonfire or fire-pit out in your yard. It would be especially powerful if you use the fire to burn up any sticks in your yard [since] the ancient pagans used this holiday to clear out their dead dry vines and brush after the last harvest for the year,” explains Estardavis. If you cannot hold a bonfire outside, then Estardavis recommends finding a candle that represents your Samhain light to represent the bonfire. Depending on what your intention is for your Samhain candle, you can use color magick to add depth to your Samhain ritual! Consider using black for protection, white for purity, or brown for grounding if you choose to use a candle for your ritual. If you use a candle, then you may also need a fire-proof bowl for burning small tokens during your ritual. 

Once the fire has commenced, Estardavis encourages taking a moment to reflect on the last year. “As you sit and stare into the fire, invite the deities and ancestors to join you during this magickal time. Begin to reflect on the past year by going through each month and giving thanks for all the blessings that you are harvesting at this time.” While honoring the reflection of the fire, Estardavis encourages writing down anything that you could have handled better or anything that is no longer serving you down on the parchment with your black ink pen. Noting who and what is no longer serving you is a way to honor the severing of ties during your Samhain ritual. 

Burning Paper Samhain Ritual

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“Take the papers and burn them in the fire. Stand up and raise your hands to the sky [to release] all stress and negativity from yourself. As you bring your hands back down, invite the blessings of your deities [and ancestors] into your life for the new year coming in,” guides Estardavis. If you do not feel safe burning the parchment in a fire-proof bowl inside, then you can also tear up the parchment and throw it out of an open window for the wind to carry these parchment pieces away from you. Now that the reflection and release have commenced, you can begin celebrating! The second part of the ritual will begin by opening your beverage of choice and asking your deities or ancestors to bless your beverage and food. 

Modern Witchcraft Guide to the Wheel of the Year

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The Modern Witchcraft Guide to the Wheel of the Year  by Judy Ann Nock

If you are celebrating outside, then Estardavis suggests sharing your food and beverage with the earth.“Share your wine and cake with the earth by having a glass for yourself and pouring a glass out onto the earth, thereby giving the Goddess a drink. Take the cakes and eat one for yourself [while] offering the next one to the earth. Crumble [the cake] on the ground near the wine.” If you are celebrating Samhain inside, then Estardavis recommends pouring a glass and setting aside some food to share with the Goddess. You can keep the food and drink out for the night, then scatter the remains the following day outside. Afterward, turn on some music and dance! Dancing is an excellent way to recognize your accomplishments during the harvest while releasing all that does not serve you from the last year. 

“The best news is that by thanking and blessing your ancestors and deities, you’ll have a lot of help accomplishing the [new] goals that you’ve set,” exclaimed Estardavis. Relish in the euphoria of Samhain while beckoning in the renewed energy of wintertime!

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