Rituals for Samhain

An eclectic selection of activities for the holiday, from a variety of pagan traditions.

BY: Beliefnet members


Continued from page 2

a little tradition that my family always held (aside from the actual ritual that is) was after all the trick-or-treaters seemed to be done for the night, we would move our jack o' lanterns into the backyard, leave an offering of milk and cookies for the spirits of faeries or whoever else happened to pass by, and each family member would talk a little bit about anyone they wanted to remember and honor that has passed through the veil out of this realm.

admittedly, you might not be able to do exactly this, but maybe lighting a candle and remembering those who have left this earthly incarnation could be a course of action for you. :)

I had been speaking to one young pagan when he mentioned he was considering going to a cemetary & doing a pumkin walk (lighting a small pumkin/ gourd/or turnip carved in a jack-o-lantern~In honor of all the people who were killed during the burning times/& even more recently who were accused of being witches & put to death or tortured because of it...doesn't that sound like something that would really take off?

Here is a typical Samhain ritual as practiced in my Wiccan tradition (also generalized and simplified):

First we create sacred space (cast a circle-which is always considered to be beyond the bounds of time and space) and invoke or Draw Down gods who are appropriate for the holiday (these will vary from coven to coven).

It is said that Samhain (which is considered New Years) is the time when "the veils between the worlds are very thin." Thus, there are two main goals of a Samhain celebration: to commune with and honor our ancestors and departed loved ones and to scry or practice divination in order to see the year ahead... (continued)


One of the traditions in my Religion is to set a place for anyone who has passed over in the last year at the table where everyone is feasting. Something that they wore (preferably) like a watch or ring is placed on or beside the plate and one can also put a picture of them on the chair. They are included in the conversation which often involves telling wonderful stories about them to those who didn't know them. One can either fill their plate as everyone else's is with their favorite foods(which is later sent home with someone who can leave it outside in a garden) or a symbolic meal of pomegranate seeds, nuts like walnuts or almonds and mooncakes can be used which are then placed on the altar afterwards.

At the end of the feast, an outside door is opened and farewells are said to the departed with good wishes and memories to take along on their journey.

Continued on page 4: More rituals! »

comments powered by Disqus