Samhain (pronounce sow-ween) most commonly known as Halloween is celebrated in the southern hemisphere on the 30th of April, not on the 31st of October when many in Southern Hemisphere celebrate it (we are copying the northern hemisphere whose seasons are the opposite of ours). It signals the beginning of Winter.
Samhain is the celebration of the last of three seasonal harvests. It is also the Celtic New Year, when information and guidance could be received by the spirit world regarding the coming year.
Samhain’s mystery reminds us that our roots that reach deep into the dark earth, bringing up memory and power into this witchiest night of the year.
At Samahin the Goddess changes form from Mother to Crone (the aged, wise aspect of the triple goddess who is the goddess of Winter, of death, the dark womb from which new life will spring), and the God rides out on the Wild Hunt to gather up the souls of those who have moved on from this life. It signals the commencement of the resting season for the land and a more contemplative period for people.
“Metaphorically it is time to ponder what final ‘fruits’ we are harvesting and if they will sustain us through the Winter. Look at your health, your relationships, your work, your life situation, what looks like the ‘fruits’, the harvest? Remember, the ‘fruits’ also hold the ‘seeds’ of what will grow in the next growth cycle, they hold the lessons available to be learned from all you’ve done this growth cycle so far, since the beginning back in Spring earlier in the year. These seeds will gestate over the Winter and be what will be reborn in the Spring”. Words from Jane Hardwicke-Collings.
This is a time that family’s ancestors were honoured and invited home whilst harmful spirits were warded off. People wore costumes and masks to disguise themselves as harmful spirits and thus avoid harm. Bonfires and food played a large part in the festivities.
It is believed that the veils are the thinest at this time between the two worlds- living and dead. This is a time of year that we can connect with the mystery and magic of the world and connect with our intuitive power.
This is a time that is meant to be shared with those who have passed on as well as those still with us. Samhain is normally celebrated by preparing a dinner to celebrate the harvest.
Set a place at the table for those in the spiritual plane, providing an offering for them upon every serving throughout the meal. Drinks include mulled wine, cider, and mead. It is also a night to cook foods reflective our your ancestral heritage. Pumpkin desserts are a great way to celebrate Samhain. This is one of my family’s favourites
Pumpkin Pie Custards with Pumpkin Brulee
These custards are magical—creamy, luscious, and like having a mini pumpkin pie (without the crust!) all to yourself! These are on our annual Thanksgiving and Christmas menus, definitely make them for your holiday celebrations — and with the brûlée topping!
- 2/3 cup pumpkin puree pure pumpkin
- ½ cup raw cashews
- 1 ¼ cups plain unsweetened non-dairy milk almond or soy preferred, but choices is yours
- ½ cup unrefined sugar ex: coconut sugar
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 ¼ tsp agar powder
- 1 tsp arrowroot powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Few pinches freshly ground nutmeg
- Pinch or two allspice
- Pinch or two ground cloves
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- Few teaspoons unrefined sugar for caramelised topping optional, see note
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius
- Place 5 or 6 ramekins in an 8 by 11-inch glass baking dish.
- Bring roughly 3 cups of water to a boil in a kettle.
- Meanwhile, in a blender combine all the ingredients (except the sugar for topping) and puree until very, very smooth.
- Pour the boiled water into the baking dish to surround the ramekins (but don’t get any water in the ramekins).
- Then pour the pureed pumpkin mixture evenly into each ramekin. If using six ramekins they will be about two-thirds full; if using five, they will be just about completely full. Carefully place the baking dish into the oven.
- Bake for 32 to 34 minutes, until the custards are set around the edges but a touch looser in the centre.
- Carefully remove the baking dish from the oven and let cool slightly until you can safely remove and transfer each custard to a cooling rack.
- Let cool a little more.
- The custards are best still a little warm, but can also be served chilled.
Set Up A Samhain Altar
Decorate the altar with black fabric to honour the Crone. Add
- Photos, heirlooms and other mementos of deceased family members
- Harvest food such as pumpkins, root vegetables (carrots, beetroots, sweet potato)
- Nuts and berries, dark breads
- Dried leaves and acorns
Light the candles in memory of your deceased loved ones, while you do so, speak their names out loud and express well wishes and thank them for being part of your life or lineage. Sit quietly and pay attention to what you experience.
Activities To Do
- Trick or Treating with other friends and family who celebrate during this time
- Visit a local cemetery
- Carve jack o lanterns
- Light a fire outside (if you are able) and toast marshmallows and share memories of your deceased loved ones.
- Doing a guided mediation to connect with your higher self/receive information from the spirit world.
- Make your own set of Runes – using Lima beans and a sharpie work well as an alternative to craving them into wood. You will need a pouch to put them on once you make them. Simply ask a question and choose a rune from the pouch
For the list and meaning of the symbols, read more here.
By punctuating our lives with ritual and ceremony we allow ourselves moments to pause and connect with nature/ourselves. By doing so we can traverse the inner realms of our souls and reconnect with our sovereign selves, with our true, authentic selves.
Written by: Katherine Knott