Another Witch year is coming to an end…
I still can’t believe everything that happened lately but feel blessed that my family and I have been able to walk through all kind of drama stress-free.
As you may already know, I’m a Witch.
I have studied and practice Modern Witchcraft my whole life –thanks again, Grandma, for accompanying me on such a beautiful path– and aim to share everything I’ve learnt so far.
Samhain, a Gaelic word pronounced “SOH-win” or [‘sɔwin] and that translates as “summer’s end”, is a Celtic pagan festival that marks the midpoint between fall equinox and winter solstice.
Originally, the Celtic year is divided in two halves: the light one (from 1 May to 31 October) and the dark one (from 1 November to 30 April).
While Beltane celebrates spring, a time of rebirth and renewal, and the beginning of harvest, Samhain shines a light on the end of harvest and the beginning of a less abundant season.
In Modern Witchcraft, however, it’s a tad different…
The Sabbats represent the seasonal year as it turns continuously through birth, growth, death, and rebirth.
Witches follow the four Greater Sabbats or cross-quarter days.
They include: Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane, and Lughnasadh.
More and more Witches, under the influence of Wicca and the integration of German pagan traditions, include the four Minor (or Lesser) Sabbats or quarter holidays which are the two solstices and two equinoxes.
They include: Yule (winter solstice), Ostara (spring equinox), Litha (summer solstice), and Mabon (fall equinox).
The Greater Sabbats and the Minor Sabbats constitute the pagan Wheel of the Year that will be the main subject of another post in the near future.
For my part, even though I’m not a Wiccan, I tend to follow the Wheel of the Year, simply because it seems a bit more closer to the course of nature… and I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t celebrate Yule (aka pagan Christmas) properly!
Thus, with Samhain approaching, I take time to enjoy the fall season and adapt my rituals to the celebration.
As I wrote earlier, Samhain (held on 1 November, but with celebrations beginning on the evening of 31 October) represents the passage between the past year, with all its highs and lows, and the flourishing one ahead; it is said it’s also the exact moment the veil between our world and the Otherworld is at its thinnest, making conversation with spirits and our ancestors easier.
Therefore, it seems to be the best time to rest, reflect on the past year, rebalance, and honor one’s ancestors.
One of my absolute favorite activities is to go for a walk in a forest with my husband and our fur baby Nox; we usually take some kind of picnic and just enjoy the moment.
We are currently residing is Southern West France, in Toulouse. Although Toulouse is a big city, the countryside is very nearby; it just takes minutes to be in a complete rural environment.
It took me in fact a while to realize how much I need to be surrounded by nature, the best reset button ever!
I always take something from the forest (a branch, some leaves, sometimes a few mushrooms!) to bring home and thank nature for its gifts. The latter help me constitute my Altar dedicated to Samhain.
I like to really consider everything that happened lately.
I think of some fleeting events that made me feel loved and blessed; the laugh of a child nearby; the happy I-am-playing-fetch bark of my dog; the warm embrace of my husband after a long day at work.
Unfortunately, not every single day is a happy one…
And those dark moments are beneficial too.
It might be some major event that altered my way of looking at things, or even some apparently insignificant incident that, in fact, had some negative impact on my mental well-being.
Whether light and dark, those past moments are now part of me, and Samhain is the ideal festival to celebrate them.
After I took my time and really reflected on everything that happened, I like to make sure I rebalance my life to look forward to the coming year with confidence and great serenity.
Usually, I get back to my books; they can be the greatest friends and convey wisdom and hope, after all. Before embarking on my full-time writing career, I was a Literature teacher and a school librarian; I’ve always loved passing on my passion for reading.
After all, what is more beautiful, more intoxicating, more delectable than being immersed in a novel to such an extent that one loses track of time?
Therefore, I chose to study bibliotherapy, which uses an individual’s relationship to the content of books and poetry and other written words as therapy, and became a certified bibliotherapist!
I then helped children, adolescents and adults deal with trauma, stress, and even depression.
And that’s the whole reason I created a free bibliotherapeutic online reset: I want to help you feel better and welcome this year ahead thanks to these amazing friends that are books!
- by holding a pagan Dumb Supper…
I like to hold a Dumb Supper in honor of the dead. In this case, the word “dumb” refers to being silent.
I’ve known my fair share of loss the last few years… And I must confess holding Dumb Suppers each Samhain since then helped a lot with the grieving process.
Maybe they’ll help you as well…
I’ll make sure to take beautiful pictures and explain how to hold a pagan Dumb Supper right before Samhain!
- … and setting up an Altar to honor the Ancestors
Likewise, I set up a specific altar each year in my Occultum.
As I wrote earlier, I like to take some leaves and dead branches from a nearby forest to celebrate nature and the fall season.
Similarly, I’ll make sure to share this year’s altar with you very soon!
Now, tell me: what about you and your own traditions around Samhain?
And if you want to discuss Witchcraft with other Witches, know that the Manoir, our magnificent discussion forum, will always be there to welcome you home! 🖤
See you on the other side,
Cover picture by Paige Cody via Unsplash