The thinning veil of Samhain

The thinning veil of Samhain

Halloween, All hallow’s eve or Samhain, they all celebrate the same things; death, the end of summer, the last harvest and the most witchy holiday of the year. Happening on the night of October 31st, the veil between our world and the world of the dead is at it’s thinnest. Psychic powers are amplified and senses are more developed. Tis’ the night to communicate with the ones from the other side.

Samhain is a perfect time to honour the dead & our ancestors. It is also a time of fear, the fear of the upcoming winter. It is a great time to let go fears from the past and banish fears for the future. (see the Samhain reading) Scary movies are watched, spooky decorations are displayed everywhere and the mood switches to a darker vibe.


It’s pumpkin everything season! In witchcraft pumpkin represents prosperity, fertility and love. They are a symbol of protection when carved. They are said to grant wishes as well, remember Cinderella’s carriage? As for the famous pumpkin spices, they sure all have powers, and a firey energy. Cinnamon is used mostly for it’s abundance and prosperity enhancing abilities, but it also can be used for protection! Ginger brings abundance too but mostly passion and vigor, even romance. Nutmeg is a lucky spice, protective and a symbol of fidelity. Allspice brings renewal and healing energies. Cloves are boosters, increasing self-confidence and augmenting the strength of spells and rituals.


The origins of the jack-o-lanterns:

Using a round fruit or vegetable to depict a human face trace back to thousands of years in some northern European Celtic cultures. Some sources link it to head veneration and others to war trophies representing the head of your enemies. During Samhain night, the spirits of the dead were said to mingle with the living. To ward off restless souls, people wore costumes and carved frightening faces into root vegetables such as beets, potatoes and turnips. These vegetables were plentiful at this time of year being the end of harvest season. Metal lanterns were expensive so the vegetables lanterns were more accessible. The sculpted faces allowed the light of embers to shine through the vegetables without extinguishing it.

Jack-o-lanterns also are associated with ignis fatuus AKA Will-o-the-wisps, and the story of Stingy Jack, an unsavory fellow who tricked the devil and ended up wandering between heaven and hell for eternity being banned from both. The devil took some pity on Jack and gave him some embers to light his turnip lantern. This make a connection with the association of death with the Jack-o-lanterns.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Irish immigrants helped shape the story of the jack-o-lanterns in America. Pumpkins were common in America but not in Ireland and they were much better suited to be carved than the small vegetables traditionally used during the Samhain celebration. Nowadays the Jack-o-lanterns on someone’s porch are more representative of an invitation for trick-or-treaters than a protective object against evil.


How to celebrate:

Drink apple cider, warmed and spiced with cinnamon.

Make new year resolutions, after all Samhain is basically witches New Year.

Bury an apple or pomegranate in the garden as food for the spirits passing by.

Practice divination, reflecting on the last year and foreshadowing the upcoming one.

Carve jack-o-lanterns.

Bake pumpkin delicacies such as pies, cookies, muffins, breads…

 A fun way to honour our ancestors is to recreate family recipes.

Visit cemeteries.


Host a dumb supper:

It is said that on Samhain night, the dead can walk our streets.

To honour and celebrate whom we have lost, we can host what’s called a dumb or mute supper. Set your table with candles, flowers and decorations. Leave a seat at the end of the table empty for your ghostly guest(s). You can place memorabilias or a pictures of your guests near their designated seat to help you visualize their presence. When it’s time to eat, fix them a plate and pour them a glass of whatever your drinking that night. The supper should take place in silence. No electronic devices and if possible no lights other than candles should be used. Some people will bring notes or little thoughts written on a piece of paper that are directed to the dead, at the end of the meal, notes will be burned by the candles. A silent prayer can be offered too if that fits in your practice.


A variation of offerings ritual:

What I personally like to do for Samhain is to cook a meal, preferably with seasonal ingredients such as squash, fix myself a plate and fix one for my ancestors too. Set the plate on my altar, light candles and add pictures of loved ones I lost. Once I’m done eating, I’ll take a shot of gin with my Grand-pa and leave one for him on the altar, serve him dessert, leave a few snacks. I’ll speak to my ghosts and invite them to bring friends to indulge in the food I made for them. Before I go to bed that night, I’ll blow out the candles so my house doesn’t catch on fire but I leave the food there all night so spirits who wants to visit can have a bite. On November 1st morning, I’ll wish them good bye and dispose of the energetically drained food.


Pumpkin seed pouch:

Carry around 7 dried pumpkin seeds for 7 days to attract prosperity and abundance. You can add cinnamon too for an extra kick. Place them in a green mojo bag or in your wallet.


How to decorate your altar:

Here’s some recommandations for you altar decorations, orange candles, myrrh or patchouli incense, autumn flowers such as dried sunflowers, pumpkins,branches, corn and gourds. Skulls, bones or anything death related is more than welcome. Apples and pomegranates are associated with the underworld. Chrysanthemums, poppies and marigolds are associated with death celebrations in different cultures. Bloodstone, onyx, smokey quartz, moonstone and obsidian are good crystals to have around in your magical spaces. Brooms, scythes/sicles, ancestors pictures or memorabilias. Pumpkin seeds attract prosperity.



As the veil is thin, divination practices are very clear, precise and powerful. Tarot, oracles, tasseomancy, pendulum, runes and fire gazing are only a few ways you can practice divination. There’s a strong connection with the other world during the weeks surrounding Samhain, it’s a perfect time to ask for guidance or to contact the dead.




Ann Mouriel, Green witchcraft, St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 1996.

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1 comment

Wow!!! Très intéressant 🤔

Dany Champagne

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