Samhain is the original Celtic fire festival falling between autumn equinox and winter solstice
It’s also the witches’ New Year.
Well for the ancients of these lands, it was THE new year. It’s only in modern times we have the privilege of claiming the word witch wihout fear. Most of the women given this title, centuries ago, were herbalists, midwives, healers, and simply wise women with a connection to the Earth and her mysteries.
So, Samhain the day (October 31st) opens up the darkest season, the closing chapter of the year as light ebbs towards the shortest day on Winter Solstice.
The veils between the worlds are said to be thin on Samhain especially, and for the whole season too.
The veils are always pretty thin in my world!
But I think there’s something about aligning with the Earth and her rhythm that amplifies intention. So if you set a personal intention for more or greater or deeper communion with the Spirits during this season, you may just get it.
Despite feeling like an ending, this dark period of time is actually a fertile, liminal space. It’s a space of dreaming, imagining, and possibility. Like the mythic void, that place of everything and nothing, Samhain season is where the seeds of new life can be sown as thought-forms.
And it’s where the Spirits can be invited to draw close.
Where you can ask them to show you what they know, and to nourish and feed your own personal realms of potential for what is to come.
One of my favourite practices for this deep, dark time is to draw a Samhain Wheel of the Year Card Spread
You’ll need a card deck.
Goddesses and Sirens by Stacey Demarco and Jimmy Manton is one I tend to go for here. My kids often join in with this, and they love to use the Animal Spirits Knowledge Cards™ with paintings by Susan Seddon Boulet.
The method for this is pretty easy.
1. Shuffle the cards
This serves to mix them up, yes. But more importantly, by making sure you touch every card, you’re transmitting your energy and intent into the deck, and this ensures that the cards you draw are more closely attuned to you.
2. Draw out 8 cards (face down) and place them in a circle
Use the diagram below. Starting at top left (not the top!) count out 8 cards, placing them around as though on the face of a clock.
Each card represents the “energy stream”, growth edge, or prevailing theme that will run through a season.
You begin top left because that card represents the season of Samhain, which is where we are right now.
3. Turn over each card in turn
- Moving clockwise, turn over each card.
- Feel into it.
- Look closely at any imagery.
- Try to get a sense of its message (and note your first reaction to seeing it, as this may also be vital info for how you’ll approach that season when it comes).
- THEN, grab the guidebook if you have one, and read the authors interpretation
4. Record your Spread
Take a photo, or make a drawing (my favourite way to record a spread).
This simple diagram can serve as a kind of energetic map, for the coming year. Keep it somewhere safe – you’ll be surprised by how accurate it tends to be, and the support and even comfort you’ll get by referring back to it.
If you reach a sticky spot during the coming year (or two or three or fifteen…!) you may be able to delve deeper into the message a card contains, journey with it, or even create a ritual around it, to find a way forward.
I find it especially affirming to look at my wheel and realise that yes, it does keep turning! And the hard times will give way to something new and fresh.
Let me know if you do this too!
I’d love to hear what your Wheel holds for Samhain season….
P.S. I drew Roman Goddess Vesta, she oversees the sacred flame of Hearth and Home, and feels juuust about perfect for what I’m working on right now.