The Samhain Altar

Samhain is a time for purification and renewal and is also the time to carry out divination's for the New Year ahead, and a time to honor those that have gone before us. The Goddess is in her Crone phase and the God sleeps in her belly waiting to be reborn. Samhain is also one of the 3 harvest festivals celebrated during the Wheel of the year and for many it is considered the most important Sabbat.

On your altar you can have seasonal fruits and vegetables, pumpkins and squash, mushrooms and fungi spring to mind as well as apples and pears. They don't have to be fruits that you can eat; they can be sculptures, in pictures or little representations. Autumnal leaves are a superb addition, as are twigs and branches. Items that help you connect to the spirit world are also good. Photos of loved ones that have gone ahead to the Summerlands are excellent additions, and help you share your ritual and bring them closer. Colours to choose traditionally are oranges, reds, black, silver, gold and yellow.

Stews and casseroles with different meats, colcannon (basically bubble and squeak made with cabbage)
Turnips, Apples, Nuts, Beef, Pork, Poultry. Dry dark breads Ears of corn, Pomegranates, pumpkin pies, gingerbread, Apple cakes, Shepherds pie, Irish Barmbrack bread

Mulled wine, cider, Beer, herbal teas, pomegranate juice

Symbols of Samhain
Apples, Black Cats, Jack-O-Lanterns, Besoms, cauldron, carved pumpkins, nuts, apple peel

Herbs of Samhain
Mugwort, Allspice, Broom, Catnip, Deadly Nightshade, Mandrake, Oak leaves, Sage and Straw

Incense of Samhain
Heliotrope, Mint, Nutmeg, patchouli

Flowers of Samhain
Autumn flowers such, as chrysanthemums are popular. Marigolds are associated with death, cemeteries. Black roses may be made of feathers or other materials. White flowers are also popular. Some people like to use bouquets of dried, wilted, or obviously dead flowers.

Leaves for Samhain
Autumn leaves may be strewn around or strung into garlands. Orange leaves or dead brown ones are found in nature; black ones can be made of silk, paper, or other materials.

Colours of Samhain
Black (the shade of night and death), White (represents bone and ghosts) Purple (spiritual colour also associated with magic), orange (the sun’s colour as it dies into night, and the colour of pumpkins and autumn leaves), red

Stones of Samhain
All Black Stones, preferably jet or obsidian, onyx, and carnelian

Altar candles for Samhain
Traditionally black, orange, white, silver and gold also place a candle in a window

The traditional instruments of Samhain include drums, hunting horns, lyres, rattles, and bells. But this holiday really benefits from modern effects such as echoes and fades, so seriously consider synthesizer music.

Honouring the dead and ancestors, releasing the old, foreseeing the future, understanding death and rebirth, transformation, regeneration, divination, honoring the harvest, preparing for the winter, Dumb Supper, last harvest, scrying, banishing.

Spell work 
protection and neutralizing harm are particularly warranted at this time of year, because Samhain is considered to be a good time to boost your confidence and security.

Frankincense, myrrh, wormwood, Mugwort, and patchouli. Spicy ones include sandalwood and pine.


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