Halloween, All Saint’s Day, and All Soul’s Day.

Halloween, All Saint’s Day, and All Soul’s Day

Samhain or as it is also known – All Hallows Eve, Winter Nights, Hallows, Hallowtide, Shadowfest, Third Harvest, Spirit Night, Candle Night, Ancestor Night, November Eve, Apple Fest, or even Santos, or Devil Night. Most know this night, the 31st of October as Samhain, or Halloween. In many traditions This night is one of eight Sabbats.

The Sabbats are comprised of the two Solstices, and two Equinoxes as solar holidays, and four cross-quarter days between these solar points. An equinox occurs when the angle formed at the Earth’s center between its axis of rotation and the line joining the Earth to the Sun is a right angle. At such a point in Earth’s orbit the length of day and night is equal. A solstice happens when this angle reaches a maximum or a minimum. Then the duration of the day and the night is either longest or shortest. The cross-quarter days occur midway between the Equinoxes and solstices. Each of the cross-quarter days celebrations are inspired by older Earth festivals that folk in Western Europe traditionally observed. It is thought that Samhain was originally celebrated as the Pleiades star cluster culminated in the sky at midnight. This culmination now takes place closer to November 21st

Samhain, or All Hallow’s Eve if you please.

Samhain is a cross-quarter day between the Autumn Equinox(Mabon), and the Winter Solstice(Yule) in the Northern Hemisphere. Samhain is celebrated May 1st in the Southern Hemisphere(when the Northern Hemisphere is celebrating Beltane), as we celebrate these holidays at opposite times of the year from one another.

Samhain is viewed by many as New Year’s Eve for witches. It is also seen as the third and final harvest festival, this is the close of harvest, the last chance to dry herbs, and the start to the season of winter. This is an ideal time for all manner of divination, and personal reflection.

Samhain is a time to celebrate the cycle of death and rebirth. A time to mourn and remember the dead, as well as honor the ancestors. It is often said that the veil is thin between the worlds at this time of year. This really is more about our ability to perceive what is actually already there, it seems easier for many at this time of year to perceive or even communicate with those who have passed on ahead of us.

In this vein of honoring and communicating with the dead we create ancestor altars, hold mummer’s suppers, and leave a plate of food and glass of wine outdoors for wandering spirits. This is not so different than how many will celebrate the Dias De Los Muertos.

All Saint’s and All Soul’s Days

While All Saint’s Day on November 1st is a solemn holy day of obligation in the Catholic Church, dedicated to the Saints and all who have reached heaven, All Soul’s Day is dedicated to those who have died and not yet attained heaven. The obligation to attend Mass on Saint’s Day falls on all Catholics. Started formally by Pope Boniface IV, who also established All Soul’s Day on November 2nd. The choice behind the timing may have been intended to absorb those who participated in the pagan holiday “feast of the Lamures”. A day filled with rites to placate, or exercise restless spirits, propitiating them with beans.

Dia De Los Muertos, Day Of the Dead

Day of the Dead now begins on October 31 and ends on November 2nd. It is a Mexican tradition that was likely started by the Aztecs 3,000 years ago. Originally it took place in summer. It has moved to coincide with All Saint’s and All Souls Days. Much like Samhain, altars to ancestors and recently passed loved ones are created. Food, drinking, music and stories are also important to the celebrations.

Families come together and prepare an altar, then they go to the cemetery and bring their picnic baskets to the graveside. Often mariachi bands are included in the party to celebrate life and those who have passed on.

The altar filled with oferendas (offerings), decorated with photographs of the deceased loved ones, bright flowers like marigolds and cockscomb, favorite foods, candy, and drinks are usually included. For some adults cigarettes and alcohol are also included. The popular sugar skulls were likely a result of exposure to 17th Century Italian sugar crafting skills. The skull would represent the departed and their name would be written on the forehead and then it would be placed in the home altar, or on a gravestone.

It is not only fascinating but also somehow comforting to think how similarly we remember and celebrate our dead. As easy as it might be to get stuck in a place of grief at this time of year it is helpful to remember that it is also time to celebrate life. Life that has been lived, as well as life that is being lived now, and maybe even that which is yet to be lived too.


Full Moon

The full moon on the 24th will be in the sign of Taurus. The moon in classical astrology is said to be the “Crescent of the Soul, the soul receives and holds the spirit”. It represents femininity, women, motherhood, the past, source, heredity, the subconscious, as well as intuition. It is where we feel and experience emotions. Memory, the past, habits and conditioning. It is responsible for actions that do not need conscious thought, like lighting yet another cigarette, or your nightly facial care regime.

Psychologically it is our unconscious nature, feminine archetypes, the anima. It urges us to seek emotional tranquility and a sense of belonging. There is a need to feel inner support and nurturing, to be comforted. There can also be a drive to comfort, support, nurture, or mother others. Physically the moon is said to rule the stomach, breasts, body fluids and their balance in the body, digestion, lymph nodes and glandular secretions. It rules all containers, including our bodies as containers of the soul.

The moon might also be seen as symbolic of women, the public, and change due to it cycling through its phases every month. The moon sign in your natal chart reveals your feminine side, for both females and males.

Moon, magic and manifesting

The full moon is often about realizing and manifesting the intentions you set at the new moon. Personal growth and spiritual development are common themes to work with when the moon is full. Spells to increase intuition, or magical skills, healing magic, and rituals to connect to deity.

If you are wanting to magically represent or work with the moon and it’s energies using crystals, then moonstone, clear quartz, Selenite, Labradorite, opal, and metals like silver are appropriate. Pearl, abalone, and white coral with their origin in the oceans have a lunar energy. You need to decide for yourself though if working with these once living substances is for you or not.

White, silver, and pale blue are among the best colors to use for any candles or cloths or other items you might decide to use. Almond, Clary sage, and Orris root are a few choices for fragrances, either fumigating by burning the plant material, as incense, or essential oils used in an oil diffuser.  

Some other lunar plants include flowers like moonflowers, night jasmine, lotus, iris, passionflower, poppy, evening primrose, mallow, mugwort, milkweed, also plants like aloe, wild yam, cucumber, and melons.

Moon in Taurus

This particular full moon will be in the sign Taurus. Taurus is a fixed earth sign, and as such is concerned with sustaining and maintaining. It is also concerned with issues of self-worth. As an earth sign Taurus likes to ground things in the physical, creating tangible representations of lasting beauty and value. It likes slow, steady, progressive growth. Planets in this sign become slower, more deliberate, grounded in the physical and desiring a more tangible means of expression than in many other signs.

This sign is ruled by the planet Venus, and the Moon is exalted here. Its symbol is the bull. It rules the neck, throat, and voice. Crafting and chanting could easily be used in magic work at this time to good effect. Sage and mint are two good herbs for Taurus. Oils, and incense like ylang ylang, cardamom, and cinnamon would be good choices.

Intentional healing

I will be focusing on healing work myself this full moon. I am planning to charge some crystal jewelry for myself and others with the intention of healing, as well as making a poppet or two. Writing the intention and placing the crystals on this list, stuffing the list into the poppet, along with appropriate herbs and chanting over them in the moonlight should be very powerful.

I think something similar for an intention like increasing creativity, or artistic productivity, or even drawing more money from such projects would be successful at this full moon.

Whatever intentions you set, spells or rituals you do make sure to have fun with it, and in the spirit of Taurus, enjoy it.