Samhain is an invitation to Retreat Within
Samhain is traditionally celebrated on the 31st October. The ‘true’ time of Samhain coincides more closely with the astronomical midpoint between Fall Equinox and Winter Solstice. So we have a beautiful opening from 30th Oct to 7th Nov (astrological midpoint changes each year) to mark this turning point on the wheel of the year.
Samhain marks the end of Autumn and the beginning of Winter. It is the descent into the yin part of the cycle of the seasons. We move away from the Yang of the summer & autumn months. It’s a perfect opportunity to check in with how you feel about turning within, rest and renewal, darkness and endings. You can see how your feelings & beliefs around this aspects can impact how you navigate this season.
The space is open for you to learn that the descent is inevitable in the seasons as well as life and in this dark space you can find wisdom.
We can’t avoid the turning of the seasons or make it Summer again. The same is in our lives, we can’t avoid the spiral inwards. We are invited to be present with what is – a space to slow down, go within, rest, inner reflection and contemplation, a time to let go of all that no longer serves until we meet that still point within.
The end of a cycle and the start of the celtic new year
It’s often seen as the Celtic New Year so as well as being a time of reflection, clarity, transformation and letting go it also embodies starting anew: a new year, a new journey, and a new cycle of growth and renewal.
Winter is a time to rest and reflect. It’s a time when we can allow our thoughts, emotions, and physical bodies to experience some downtime. We may find that what we needed on all levels during the Winter is quiet different to the Summer. Pause and listen.
It is a time for inner work, a time to take stock, a time to root deep within and weed out the beliefs and behaviours that no longer sustain and support us.
We are often told by society that being busy is best and something to be proud of, – a badge of honor to be worn (and told to everyone who listen “I’m too busy”). It can be viewed that taking time out is lazy, that there is something wrong with you if you want to go within, that the darkness, stillness & silence is something to fear.
Which is not true… in the darkness is our power, in the stillness is our inner guidance, in the silence we can hear our soul. Rest, recovery and reflection are important parts of creating an aligned life.
Winter is not meant to pull you down but to take you higher – to move you beyond the comfort zone of yourself. Winter is the contraction and then we can experience the expansion!
Can you feel the energy of Samhain?
The weather is getting colder. We are reaching for the scarves and coats. As we turn to nature we see the harvest is over as the crops have been cut down, the trees are shedding their leaves. We turn towards death and darkness. In this darkness, we get the opportunity to dream, tap into our intuition and vision new beginnings, projects, ideas etc. This time of year provides helps us to shed, release so we can create space for our new seeds.
Like all the points on the wheel of the year, Samhain is a transition, an initiation, a gateway and a celebration. It is the 1st sign of Winter and where we feel the call to turn within.
The Cailleach Stirring
Honoring our ancestors at Samhain
Often people see their ancestors as something outside of them.. something in the past. Yet, our ancestors are within us. We carry them in our DNA. I do understand that depending on the lineage we come from, this can be difficult to think about.
We have the power to heal ourselves, our lineage, and generations to come. There is that lovely phrase that when we do our healing, we heal the 7 generations behind us and the 7 generations after us. We don’t heal just for ourselves, we heal for our lineage, for the collective.
When we do our ancestral healing it can change your family, your relationships, your health, your destiny, and even our beautiful Earth.
Yet, it not just ancestral wounding that is passed down generations we also inherit ancestral wisdom. We can be so focused on healing our wounding that we forget about the gifts that our ancestors leave in us… My little niece (6 years old) asked her mum, “was Auntie Trisha creative when she was little” Her mum answered ‘Yes’ and my niece piped up ‘I’m creative like Auntie Trisha’. I see that strand of creativity run in both my Mum and Dad’s lineage in very different ways.
Our ancestors gave us alot – our bodies (my mother often jokes, she’s glad we didn’t get the Lynch ears!), our backgrounds, our traditions and skill sets that are naturally within us. They also gave us our intergenerational trauma, stories and limited belief systems.
Ways to heal our ancestral line is to:
Consider how your decision s in everyday life will affect your descendents seven generations into the future (this is a Native American tradition). Personal, Cultural, Corporate and all decisions.
Be grateful for our ancestors’ resilience and gifts, and to show our thanks, through ritual / ways that feel nourishing for you.
Start new traditions if the old traditions don’t work for you anymore. You are allowed to create new traditions for generations to come to explore.
Explore the family stories becoming aware of how they move through you and your life. Do the work to release the stories that do not fit you, the person and life you wish to embody.
Samhain is a time to:
- Reflect on what ‘seeds’ will gestate in Winter and blossom in Spring.
- Remember our ancestors and honoring our dead.
- Connect with our magic for manifesting
- Honor the darkness
- Remember our lineages
- Bring the unconscious shadow into light
- Create a bridge from the old to new beginning
- Dream in your vision, your self, your life
- Rest, hibernate and go within
- Learn how to surrender to the cycle of life – life, death, rebirth
- Dive into stillness, silence and nourish yourself in the period of darkness
- Explore what you resist about this time of year – the letting go, surrendering, slowing down, rest, death, cold etc
- Work with the thinning of the veils
Journal Prompts for Samhain
- What can I do to honor my ancestors?
- What gifts have I received from my ancestors?
- What lessons have I learned from my ancestors?
- What needs to die within me in order to be reborn & welcome new growth into my life?
- What would I like to manifest for myself in the Celtic New Year as we start a new Wheel of the Year?
- How do I usually meet the turning of the wheel to the yin energy, of going within and stillness. Can I meet it differently this year? What do I need in order to allow that.
- What are my beliefs or what have I been taught about growing older, embracing the crone, the darkness?
- Think of someone close to you who has passed – what part of them or qualities do you carry within you?
- What are the skeletons in my closet i.e. life, mind, emotions that I would like to release?
- What are the shadows aspects of myself or the masks I wear that it is time to let go of?
- How can I honor the witch, wise woman within?
- What legacy do I wish to leave behind?
Ways to honor Samhain
There are lots of ways to honor Samhain. Choose one (or more) of the below or come up with your own way. Your intention and the energy you bring to it is more important than what you are doing.
- Put photos of your ancestors on your altar
- Watch ‘The Book of Life’ or ‘Coco’. Two beautiful animated films that represent the day of the day and why we honor our ancestors.
- Clear out old clutter just the leaves dropping from the trees
- Carve some pumpkins / turnips
- Share stories of your loved one. If you don’t know any ask those in your family to share some so you can get to know them
- Cook a family recipe that reminds you of a deceased loved one or create your own recipe for your family to now start that tradition
- Light a candle for your ancestors and have a conversation with your departed ones – say what you wish you could have said
- Light 3 candles – one for your ancestors (the past, who have walked before you), one for the present (you, your family) and one for the generations that are yet to come and listen…
- Honor the emotions at this time of year – grief, sadness, anger. Hold them with compassion and integrate the wisdom of these emotions into you and your life.
- Cleanse your altar space for the new season and add images, statues, crystals, food, oils or herbs to it that represent Samhain, Ancestors, Cailleach e.g. pumkins, apples,squash, root vegetable, candles, leaves, colors – oranges, browns and black
- Light a small fire (bonfire)
- Learn about your family lineage
- As the veils are thin it is a potent time for divination e.g. tarot reading, runes etc
- Do an ancestor tarot / oracle spread to see what message do they have for you? How can you best honor them?