The Best Practices, Crystals, and Incense for Samhain

samhain blog

History of Samhain

Pronounced “SOW-in” or “sah-win,” Samhain marks the Wiccan New Year and one of the eight holy sabbats celebrated by Celtic Pagans.  This day represents the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the “darker half” of the year in Celtic Pagan tradition. Also known as “Summer’s End,” this sabbat sits between the Autumn Equinox and Winter Solstice on the Wheel of the Year. Across the world, the day of all souls is referred to as Halloween, All Hallows Eve, Santos, Devil’s Night, and Martinmas.

Astrologically, it is a cross-quarter day that occurs when the sun reaches its strongest point over Scorpio.  

Samhain is said to be the time of year when the veil is thinnest, allowing for spirits, faeries, ghosts, and those who have passed, to come back through and potentially visit loved ones. Spirits and souls have more power and ability to return at this time, and the world of gods was believed to be made visible to humankind. In order to protect themselves from nefarious faeries or ghosts, people would disguise themselves as evil spirits and walk house to house asking for sacrifices to be made.

According to Eliade’s Encyclopedia of Religion: “The Eve and day of Samhain are characterized as a time when the barriers and supernatural worlds are broken… Samhain acknowledges the entire spectrum of nonhuman forces that roam the earth during this period.”

As the separation between worlds allows for passing through at this time, the festival of the dead is celebrated worldwide with various customs, chants, and rituals.

samhain altar stock


Samhain Practices and Tools

This is a time for great gatherings, bonfires, feasts, and rituals. Making altars to honor and remember your ancestors as well as gods/goddesses you may like to work with. Spirit work, faery work, new year workings, and ritual fires. Some gods associated with this time of year are Osiris, the Horned God, Herne the Hunter, Hecate, Persephone, Dionysus, Aradia, Anubis, Odin, Bran, death gods, and any dying and rising Gods. Please respect the dead and acknowledge them without directly calling them to you.

Allow yourself to go inward and use Samhain as a day to reflect, cleanse yourself and your home, and write down things you wish to express gratitude for. A custom many people enjoy taking part in is setting a plate of food and a glass of wine outside for any wandering spirits, also known as the Feast of Hecate.

Decorate your altars with pictures of those you love, pumpkins/gourds, oak leaves, apples, nuts, sage, squashes, and late summer fruits. Light candles and take some time to relax, meditate and utilize the thin veil to work with your favorite divination tools.

Some tools you could use would be tarot and oracle cards, pendulums, crystal balls for scrying, rune stones, candles charged with intentions, a besom for sweeping out the old year and negativity, and a cauldron for transformation.

Essential Essences Incense Sticks

Scents corresponding with Samhain are copal, sandalwood, sweetgrass, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Including late summer or fall flowers can also greatly enhance your feng shui for this time, particularly marigold and chrysanthemum.

Stones you may feel inclined to use on your altars or anywhere around your home could be obsidian, carnelian, onyx, smokey quartz, jet, bloodstone, and any other protection stones or those that enhance psychic abilities.

Samhain is the perfect time of year to either look back into the past or into the future. Honor your ancestors with memories, while leaving the dead in peace. This is an opportunity to purify your body and soul, show gratitude for the abundance surrounding you, and celebrate the passing of time and season with friends and family. Happy Halloween!