To all of us in the Southern Hemisphere a Blessed Samhain as the season changes and we head towards winter. Here in Australia, particularly where I live it almost seems like we have bypassed Autumn, we are having rain and storms. Take care, keep warm and stay safe. Blessed Be!
Samhain brings the darker half of the year
Many people will ask “what is Samhain?”, “is it Halloween?”, “Is Samhain celebrated down in the Southern Hemisphere?”. Let’s dive in to what it’s all about and how it works down in the southern hemisphere.
Samhain is directly opposite to Beltaine on the Celtic and Neo Pagan/Wicca Wheel of the Year. Think of it as Beltaine’s dark twin. Pronounced “sah-win” (depending on dialect), Samhain marks the beginning of the darker half of the year and the last of the Fire Festivals of the Traditional Celtic New Year.
So what is Samhain?
A three day celebration of death and rebirth, Samhain is a time of endings, reflection of mortality, and releasing that which no longer serves in the mundane world.
During the season of Samhain, the veil between the world of the dead and the living is at its thinnest. Meaning, communication between worlds comes a lot easier. However, remember to always use protection magic before, and banishing magic after as you don’t want any entities hanging around.
Now, you maybe still wondering is Samhain is Halloween and the answer is… yes, and no (I’ll talk about Halloween later on). Unfortunately those of us here in the Southern Hemisphere tend to get a little confused, even more so when we have children. Australian pagan festivals like Samhain use the traditional date of Halloween (Christian Festival) and those dates do not coincide with the seasons down here. Going Trick or Treating isn’t as spooky during October for the kids due to the sun not setting till 9.30pm. Yet, getting them to dress up and go door knocking for candy in April is just unheard of and confusing for the kids.
Because of the traditional dates and the difference in seasons, some witches will celebrate both. Samhain being for what it is, spiritual and apart of their craft and Halloween (Christian) as a commercial holiday for kids and trick or treating. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, never let another tell you otherwise.
So when is it?
Traditionally, Samhain lands on the 31st of October, in the Northern Hemisphere. Samhain in the Southern Hemisphere, however, the veil is at its thinnest between April 30th and May 1st. During this time, divination, scrying and communicating with our ancestors is at its highest point.
With the veil now at it’s thinnest, we divine answers, making contact with our ancestral spirits, embracing our heritage in celebration with those who have crossed over into the spirit world. Here, in Australia, Samhain lands very close to Australia’s and New Zealand’s Day of Remembrance for our fallen in war, ANZAC Day on April 25.
What to do on Samhain
An old ancient rite tells of writing a message to our departed loved ones on a piece of paper and casting it into the cauldron’s fire. As the paper burns, your message is released and will be acknowledged by the recipient. You can also write your intentions for change, renewal and release in this same fashion.
One of the most simplest ways to communicate with those who have crossed over to the otherworld, our family and friends, is by using a pendulum or a Ouija Board. To learn more about pendulums and how to use them, head over to the Pendulum Magic page.
Other magical and enchanting things to do during this time include, craving faces into Pumpions (see what is Mabon) “pumpkins” to create lanterns or decorating your altar with apples, pomegranates and other things to call in spirits of those that have passed.
Crystals and Gemstones
Herbs, Fruits and Spices:
- Calendula or Marigold
Best time of the year!
So when it comes to Samhain, whether it be from the North or the South Hemisphere, open your minds eye to the otherworld and journey beyond the veil’s edge. Burn some candles, write what you want released from your life, honour your ancestors and seek answers. Have people around for a feast, create a bon fire, there are so many things you can do by yourself or with others to make this festival magical for all!
Beltane in Northern Hemisphere
To All in the Northern Hemisphere, a Blessed Beltane as you head into the warmer weather, although from what I observe you are still experiencing some winter weather, I hope it begins to warm up for you, be well and Blessed Be!
Northern Hemisphere Beltane
The date for the Northern Hemispheric Beltane is April 30 and is followed by ‘May Day’ on May 1st. The climax of Spring!
Beltane is the peak of Spring, a celebration of fertility. In ancient times it was the Beltane Rites that reconnected each year the King to the Goddess, the masculine to the feminine. It is a time for us to give thanks for our fertile lives, our creativity and our gender specific gifts and roles. It’s a time to notice and honour the difference in the masculine and feminine. It is a time of increasing growth, building to almost full potential, of beauty and heightened passion. A time again when the veils are thin, and this time we can see the faeries!
Beltane Spiritual Practice
Your being, as part of the Earth, part of the cycle of the seasons, will be influenced by this energy whether you’re paying attention to it or not. If you pay some attention, you will feel it, and you can be in flow with it.
Think like the gardener, and align with the Earth energy of now, contemplate the growth that is peaking in your life, that is getting all the attention…if conditions support its final growth phase, this is what will eventually fruit.
So, how can you best nurture what is blossoming in your life now so that it will bear fruit? What do you know you must do?
And if you are not doing it, why aren’t you? Where is your desire leading you?
Suggested Ceremony for Beltane
Our community gathers at Beltane to honour and celebrate the rites of passage of our young folk as they grow from children to fertile young adults and to express ceremonially the specific and very different roles of the masculine and the feminine.
It’s a joyous time, much looked forward to. We camp for the weekend, sitting on the Earth. We live as a community together, all helping each other. We have separate women’s and men’s circles to conduct the rites of passage for the teenagers and then reunite as the sun sets dancing around a big fire, welcoming the new young adults back to the group in their new roles and status.
The next day, ‘May Day’, we have a May Pole ceremony. The May Pole is a beautiful ceremony for young and old and has deeper levels of significance the more you lend yourself to the symbology of all that it represents.
For the children it is a fun and playful game with their parents, dancing and singing, for the adults it is a re-enactment of the union of the masculine and the feminine and a chance to weave magic and love into that aspect of yourself within and without.
Here’s a suggestion for a simple ceremony to honour the Beltane energy with your family or by your- self:
Do what you do to make sacred space, call for protection, guidance and support and focus.
Go around the circle and each person can give thanks for all that is growing in their life, if you are alone, take your time and really feel this giving thanks process.
Choose one or two or three, you’ll know how many, specific things that are growing that you would like to focus on.
You could put something on your altar that represents this/these and light a candle for it/them.
Ask those there with you if they would be willing to support you in seeing this particular thing come to its fullness, and you could ask them for specific help if appropriate.
If you are doing this with your children it would probably be a good time to offer suggestions to them for what could help them.
And it is said that at Beltane, the veils between the worlds are thin and so you can see the fairies, so be sure to look out for them!