DISCUSSION: How I'm Celebrating Samhain

October 31, 2018

I feel like this should go without saying, but just to be clear: THIS IS A NEGATIVITY-FREE ZONE. This is not the space to criticize anyone’s beliefs, argue over what you consider real or not real, convert anyone, etc. If you have anything unkind to say, your comment will simply be deleted in order to keep this a safe and positive space—so please do not spread negativity here! ♥

Hello, everyone! Happy Halloween—or, if you’re a pagan/witch who celebrates, blessed Samhain!

Samhain — pronounced “sow-in” or “sow-een” (“sow” as in “cow”)

I don’t talk about my craft much on here, but ever since I came out of the broom closet on Twitter recently, I’ve been amazed by how many of you have messaged me about it! I decided I might like to talk about my practice a little bit here. Let me know if this is something you’d be interested in learning more about in the future!

z_ig (1).jpg

Now, some of you might be wondering what Samhain is! Originally, it was a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season. It was often celebrated from sundown on October 31st to sundown on November 1st. (Side note: most southern hemisphere pagans celebrate it on May 1st, instead!)

FUN SAMHAIN FACT: Samhain predates Halloween!

We’re going to focus on the pagan aspects today: Samhain is a time to celebrate the cycle of death and rebirth, reconnect with our ancestors, honor those who have passed, and commune with the spirit world (as it is believed that this is the time when the veil between worlds is thinnest).

Not every witch celebrates Samhain, and it does not make you less of a witch if you choose not to!


How I’m Celebrating:

There are tons of things you can do for Samhain, such as creating feasts, spirit work, rituals, meditating, divination, spellwork, and more.

Spirit Work:

As for me, I don’t do much spirit work inside my home because I have a very sensitive nature to spirits. Many of my friends and family members actually refuse to go to places with a lot of spiritual activity with me because they have had so many strange things happen to them in my presence! Since I have a toddler, I’ve decided not to intentionally invite spirits in until he’s older and less sensitive.
If you DO want to do spirit work, I recommend lighting candles in your windows (traditionally speaking, west-facing) and stating very clearly and firmly that the candles are to guide in only positive spirits and lost loved ones—be sure to express that negative spirits and energy are NOT welcome in your home.


Many of the things we associate with Halloween, such as setting out treats, wearing costumes and masks, and carving jack-o-lanterns, actually began with Samhain! If you want to do any of these things, go ahead, and the best part is that because they’re associated nowadays with Halloween, if you’re a closeted witch, this can be an easy way to practice on Samhain without drawing unwanted attention to yourself!
Some other rituals you can do are decorating your altar, burning incense, reflecting on lost loved ones and happy memories you shared with them, meditating with power stones (stones often associated with Samhain are black onyx, amethyst, obsidian, bloodstone, and opal), summoning your spirit guide (you can do this through meditation as well), herb smudging (herbs associated with Samhain are sage, mugwort, bay leaf, and lavender), or candle work.
One candle ritual is the black candle/white candle ritual, in which you light your black candle, reflect on the past year and what you’ve learned and how you have grown, then bid farewell to the past year and blow out the black candle. Next, light the white candle and visualize your goals for the next year, as well as reflecting on what you would like to learn and grow in. When you’re done, blow out the white candle with thoughts of hope and optimism.

The Feast!

Finally, one thing most pagans like to do during Samhain is to host a feast. Some pagans like to practice a silent supper, in which everyone takes the time while they eat to sit in silence and reflect on lost loved ones and ancestors long gone. I personally prefer to celebrate the happy memories and life that was shared, so I don’t like silent suppers, but if that works for you, give it a try!
Samhain feasts can be a small supper for one or a huge party for many, but what is generally expected is indulging in warm, cozy, hearty foods! If you can fit in some traditional recipes or recipes inspired by traditional Samhain foods, even better.
For my family’s feast, we’ll be having mulled wine, spiced cocoa, beef stew, traditional colcannon, and soul cakes! For breakfast and snacks throughout the day, I’ve made cranberry pecan scones and baked apples. Other good options you could make are Irish barmbrack, spiced cider, or anything with pumpkins or other gourd foods (like butternut squash soup!). You can find loads of recipes online, and many witches and pagans have created entire pages of recipes such as this one here, but I’ll also add links to the recipes I’m using below:

That’s it! Besides the feast, I’m just going to take some extra time out of my day to meditate, practice a little divination, and reflect on my lost loved ones (specifically my grandmother, the woman responsible for introducing me to craft).

What about you—are you celebrating Samhain? If so, what are you going to do to celebrate? If you’re not practicing, was this an interesting post for you, and should I do more like it?

By the way, if you ever want more witchy resources and recipes, feel free to follow my tumblr here! It’s entirely devoted to my practice and has loads of tips, recipes, rituals, spells, tarot spreads, and more. ♥


More about Destiny @ Howling Libraries

Just a horror aficionado/geek girl trying to juggle motherhood, reading, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

    1. I don’t celebrate Samhain, but thanks for sharing all of this information! I didn’t even know I was pronouncing it incorrectly, LOL! I love that you have a feast with your family–do other members of your family also celebrate Samhain?

      1. Thank you for reading! I feel really special that you took the time to check it out even though you don’t celebrate it! (And don’t worry, almost everyone pronounces it incorrectly until they’re told—I said it wrong for years, haha!) My extended family does not, and my parents don’t (though my mom did carve jack-o-lanterns with me and allowed me to spice hers for protection and prosperity before she lit it), but my spouse celebrated some with me though he’s unsure how much of it he personally believes in. He’s very sweet and supportive and enjoyed the feast so much he’s already asking when the next “feasting” holiday is, LOL! Besides Thanksgiving, of course, he’s looking forward to Yule now!

    1. This is so cool! I recently bought my first tarot deck and a few crystals because the whole concept is intriguing to me, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say I practice anything to this extent. I’ll have to check out your tumblr to look at your tarot spreads! Blessed Samhain to you!

      1. That’s awesome! Welcome to it all. ♥ Haha a lot of my friends have told me that tarot and crystals were like a gateway for them, because it’s such a low-risk approachable entrance to practicing! I hope you find lots of fulfillment in your readings and, if you don’t already, I strongly recommend cleaning and charging your crystals from time to time! If you don’t know how, one of the easiest ways (if it feels right to you) is to lay them outside or in a windowsill every full moon and let them soak up the moonlight all night, then when you pick them up in the morning, you can meditate with them and imagine spreading your (positive) energy into these fresh, clean crystals. It’s something that I find really helpful, especially because I’m a big believer in the power of crystals and I believe they can absorb negative energy over time as we meditate with them! Another tip I love to recommend while meditating with them is to close your eyes and hold your crystal in both hands, and imagine any negativity or stress leaving your body (literally—I personally envision a dark shadow lifting from my whole body from head to toe and disappearing), with a warm light entering your body from the crystal through your fingertips and spreading to the top of your head and bottoms of your feet. It felt a little odd the first few times, but now, it has become such a soothing and comforting ritual for me that I do it a few times a week when things feel “too much” and it always lifts my spirits! I hope these little tips help. ♥♥

    1. This is so cool!
      Love those cards, they are gorgeous. I used to do tarot (and other cards) reading for my friends until it got out of hand and i had randos walk up to me in the pub to do it for them…
      The candle thing is interesting. My grandma does it as well on this day + 1st November. She said it’s a catholic thing, and i couldn’t convince her that others do it as well and the intention is similar. Grannies, eh?
      I do love mulled wine, beef stew, spiced bread and colcannon and would defo try the cranberry stuff as well <3
      I'm not going to do anything specific – gonna have my sad pea soup for dinner cuz i over ate a bit during lunch 😀

      1. Thank you, Norrie!! ♥
        Aren’t they stunning? I’m so happy I found them. Tarot decks are one of those things that I find a little bit addicting, lol. There’s another deck I’m wanting to purchase soon called the Marigold deck, but it’s a little more pricey than these were. I can only imagine how weird it must have been to have random people asking you to read for them! WTF. People have no tact, lol!
        That is too funny about your grandma! I always think it’s kind of amusing how a lot of religious people under Catholicism or Christianity refuse to even consider that their rituals are borrowed from other religions. 😛 But that’s a can of worms I won’t open hehehe.
        The scones were amazing, but seriously, the stew was THE best stew I have ever had! I tweaked the recipe a little and used 1/4 cup of wine instead of a whole cup, because I really do not like to taste wine in my soups/stews, but otherwise, it was incredible! I highly recommend the recipe if you want a cozy dinner idea to make. 😀

        1. Ah, that sounds familiar! I always wanted different versions of different cards cuz they were just so pretty 😀
          I also prefer my food with less wine than the recipes are recommending 😀 It’s getting colder, so defo stew time!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing how you celebrate! It was very interesting to learn a little more (and learning how to pronounce Samhain correctly, oops) and hear about how you celebrate it 🙂 I got excited when you mentioned colcannon, my family makes it every year because of our Irish roots and we typically make it with cabbage – I’ve never heard of it done with spinach or kale but can imagine it would be just as good!

      1. Thank you for reading! <3 It feels really good that the post was so well received, I was honestly worried I might get some hurtful comments and lose a bunch of followers but so far, nothing but positivity! 🙂 And no worries on mispronouncing, everyone does—I did for years lol! That's so cool that you guys make colcannon every year! I'm not big on cabbage but I love spinach so I was excited when I saw the recipe say you could sub that out, and we loved it! I made a big bowl and it got wiped out haha. 😀

    1. OH MY LIFE it’s pronounced sow-in??? I’ve always said sam-hain, exactly how you spell it! Well, I look like a fool 😀
      I find it really interesting how similar samhain is to All Saints Day and All Souls Day (November 1st and 2nd) because that’s about remembering all the Christians, living and dead. I think this is why one of the previous comments mentioned how their Grandma used to do the candle thing as a Catholic tradition. It’s interesting how you said a lot of the samhain things have been incorporated into Halloween celebrations. It makes you think about all the origins of these holiday doesn’t it?

      1. Nooo, no worries haha! EVERYONE says it wrong at first, I know I did for years! I honestly get really irritated at witches and pagans who are rude to people for mispronouncing it because I honestly think nobody would guess to pronounce it that way without being told first unless maybe their family had Gaelish roots or something?
        Yes, it definitely is interesting! I was doing some research into the history of Samhain recently and found out that the first recorded celebration of it was from something like 100+ years BCE, and it’s one of the oldest holidays still observed in the world! Several years ago, I took a Humanities class in college with a professor who was a pantheist, and he talked at length about the history of all of these religious holidays and such, and it was just so fascinating to learn how many of our current holidays are an amalgamation of things borrowed from ancient pagan ones!

    1. This was such an interesting and educational post. Thank you so much for sharing. Those cards are absolutely gorgeous.

    1. It’s pronounced sow-in? Omg I’ve been calling it SamHein all my life! Thank you, you learn something new everyday!

    1. This is such an interesting post. I’ve recently bought my first tarot deck and I’ll be sure to check out your tumblr. And for the record, I would definitely be interested in reading more about your practices! ?

    1. Thank you for reminding me once again that I pronounce Samhain incorrectly. You’d think with Wiccans in my family I’d remember, but apparently no.
      Happy Samhain! Happy Celtic New Year!

    1. First of all I can’t believe I wasn’t already following your blog. I don’t know how that happened. But secondly I just wanted to say that I love this post and I hope you do more witchy ones (if you’re comfortable). I would love to see more. Actually do you follow any witchy blogs? I would love to follow some.

      1. It’s okay, I constantly visit friends’ blogs and realize I’m not following them!! I think WP unfollows people without our permission sometimes, tbh. 😛 And thank you! I think I would really like to post more about my practice, I’m just not sure where to start! I don’t follow any witchy blogs on here, but I follow tons of tumblr—that’s honestly the resource I most heartily recommend to anyone looking to follow witchy blogs! There are so many great resources there and the community is, for the most part, extremely warm and welcoming!

        1. I have tried tumblr so many times. I don’t know why but it’s a struggle to make myself use it. I’ll go on for maybe a few days and then not touch it for 5 years ?

          1. Hahaha I know what you mean!! I’ve been an on-again/off-again tumblr user for what feels like forever but I always manage to forget about it. I think this is the most I’ve used it in a decade 😛

    1. Aw, I’m so happy you posted this! This was such a lovely read, and makes me want to prioritize getting back into practicing more. <3 I have a little altar set up, but it's pretty neglected atm. I was actually just thinking about moving it the other day (I want to switch my altar and my makeup station lol) so this seems like a sign that I should!

      1. Thank you for reading! ♥ I need to set up a new altar myself, actually. It’s hard to find a good place for one with a wild two-year-old and a new puppy, but I’ve been thinking about buying a floating shelf to go on the wall and putting it there, high enough up that nobody can mess with it. *side eyes Isaac* lmao.

        1. Haha, that would be a good idea! Luckily I only have a couple cats to deal with, and they don’t really climb on my furniture.

    1. Aw this is awesome, I feel like I learned so much, thank you for sharing this! Your feast sounds incredible, and I love that it offers you a special way to connect with your grandmother, too. I hope that you had a wonderful Samhain, and thank you again for sharing this part of your life with us!

    1. Wow, now I finally know how to pronounce Samhain… ^^; The black candle/white candle ritual appeals to me; I like the visual element. Thanks for sharing this post. It’s very informative!

Say hello! ♥

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.