Celebrating Samhain: The Significance of HalloweenOct 01, 2020 08:43AM ● By Julie Peterson
Dressing in spooky or fun costumes and enjoying fall treats and some scares is what Halloween is all about. Pumpkins become jack-o-lanterns, apples are covered with caramel and the sounds of little ghosts and goblins blend with sounds of doorbells ringing and choruses of “trick or treat!” Halloween is a relatively new holiday, thought to have evolved from Samhain, a seasonal festival of the Celtic peoples held about 2,000 years ago, but still observed by some.
Traditionally, Samhain was held from sundown on October 31 until sundown November 1 and marked the halfway point between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice. In the northern hemisphere, it marks the end of summer. Leaves are falling from the trees, crops are harvested and days are getting shorter. This season in nature is a reminder of the cycle of death and rebirth. Samhain was to celebrate that cycle in all its forms.
Today, people celebrate the holiday in a variety of ways. One of the most common is to take time to acknowledge endings or deaths that have been experienced through the year. Whether it was the death of a loved one, a relationship, ideas or dreams, Samhain is time to observe the shift from the old energy to the new energy, space and possibilities.
“Some people will focus on honoring the end of a cycle and/or a rebirth of new ideas, which can coincide with the climate in most places while reflecting the last outings or crops before winter,” says Pamela Faiello, owner of Creative Energy in Melbourne. “Others like to honor passed loved ones or family ancestry by placing family portraits in prominent places around the home and making and offering family recipes.”
Tapping into the energy of the holiday can involve food, decorations from nature or crafts, altars, meditations or creating sacred spaces. Culture typically has an influence as the holiday takes shape based on the region.
Jasen Torres, owner of Scented Dragon in Ft. Pierce and Port St. Lucie, explains that flame gathering is a Samhain ritual that can assist with letting go of departed loved ones and visualizing them entering a new phase of being. A backyard fire pit, bonfire or a fireplace will work for this. “To further benefit from this experience, write down a habit you’d like to free yourself from, visualize releasing it and cast it into the Samhain flames with a piece of sage as you move around the fire clockwise,” says Torres. “A background beat of drums helps to connect all those participating, creating a collective energy of letting go.”
To clear old energy, Chris Johansen, owner of Psychic and The Genie in Stuart, says that Reiki sessions are helpful. “Before each Reiki session we call in the energies of the angels and ascending masters to provide a safe and protected space for our sessions,” says Johansen.
“Crystals and Gemstones are an easy way to alter the vibrations of energy around you. Adding them to your environment, wearing them as jewelry, placing them with intention around the home or dedicating specific stones to your family and ancestry can help pull your intentions into reality,” says Faiello. She recommends stones to use at this time of reflection while ending and beginning a new energy. Ruby and zoisite are used for grief and letting go. Obsidian cleanses the aura of attachments, such as old patterns. Carnelian is a source of creativity and new beginnings.
Johansen also recommends gemstones for renewal and new beginnings. Howlite offers stress relief, aventurine protects the heart, crystal quartz provides healing and amazonite dispels negative energy.
No matter what one has had to let go of over the year, there is new energy to fill that space. Samhain can include rituals that help manifest desires, honor the true self and send blessings to loved ones departed.
“I like to enlighten people who are looking for renewal or new beginnings and encourage them to spread love, light and kindness on their journey,” says Jeanne Mehltretter, owner of Genie's Gems New Age & Metaphysical Crystal Shop in Stuart.
Treats abound as the harvest is put up and the smell of carved pumpkins and bonfires waft through the air. The journey continues as peace is made with what has gone and the cycle of life is rejoiced.