Samhain was one of the most important celebrations in ancient times. It began at dusk on October 31st and lasted for three days and was the halfway point between the fall equinox (Mabon) and the winter solstice (Yule). Celebrations, in the form of Fire Festivals, were held across the Celtic world as the world transitioned between the lighter half and the darker half. It was also the Celtic New Year; another cause for great celebration. Samhain was also considered a very spiritual occasion in several ways. The druids, who were powerful leaders of the Celtic people, saw Samhain as a key time in the year to practice divination as the veil between the human world and the spirit world was thought to be thinner than any other time of the year.
Ancient traditions tell the story that on Samhain, the boundary between the human world and the spirit world was so thin that the ghosts of their ancestors could cross over for but a single night to commune with the living. They also believed that bad spirits could also cross to cause mischief and mayhem. The druids believed that they could communicate with wise and ancient spirits who could give them secrets about the future year.
What You’ll Need to Prepare
This Samhain ritual is designed for a medium-sized group and is best performed outside around a generous bonfire if conditions in your area are permissible for open fires (check your state burning restrictions websites and always use caution)
What items you’ll need to collect for this ritual (as written)
Four quarter candles – yellow (east), red (south), green (north), blue (west)
A black Candle
Goddess Candle (White)
All participants should be given advanced notice to bring any magickal tools with them to cleanse under the light of the Full Blue Moon.
Any portion of the ritual that is bracketed by <> symbols should be understood as instructional notes and not to be spoken aloud.
Our Samhain Ritual Begins
From the sky, to the ground, from the flames in the round, this circle now a holding space, outside of time, a sacred place!
<Calling the Quarters>
Grandfathers and Grandmothers from the East; the direction of the mighty AIR spirits, take heed and ride the great wind gusts as you take the journey from behind the great veil to the land of the living. We honor you and bid you welcome to this circle. <light yellow candle>
Ancient ancestors from the highlands and valleys across the Southern lands; the direction of FIRE and the great forges, where the tools and weapons of civilization were crafted. Cross over tonight and share the lost knowledge of your tasks. <light red candle>
And we call out to the spirits of the youth and the children; those precious souls waiting in the west, the direction of WATER who were departed too soon. Listen to our words as a beacon to cross over and join us tonight in a wash of love, nurturing and peace. <light blue candle>
Finally, to the North we invite the Fae and all their healing powers. Tonight the EARTH becomes a different land where all things both true and mythical walk, talk, and interact with the living. We welcome any who wish us no harm and have our best interests in mind to fellowship in our circle. <light green candle>
Great Goddess; On this Samhain night, we seek protection from that which may intend mischief, we seek guidance to take our first steps in this New Year in the right direction, and we seek your council so that all gathered may offer you their highest words of praise and wisdom and set forth their concerns and challenges. Join us in the circle tonight as all come together in recharge under the light of this Samhain Blue Moon. <light Goddess candle>
Tonight we gather under the light of a full blue moon to celebrate Samhain with our brethren and the spirits of our ancestors. We seek the guidance of those who have walked the same paths as we walk today and the wisdom and learning’s they gathered along the way. As we move into the New Year, we ask the Goddess for her blessings and we ask our fellow human beings for patience, forgiveness, and understanding.
Our musical feature for Samhain this year is called “Souling Song” by Kristen Lawrence. It’s absolutely mesmerizing and absolutely perfect for this night.
Inviting The Ancestors
We begin our celebration by inviting the ancestors to join us tonight. We call out to the spirits of the dead to cross over and celebrate the New Year as we recharge under the Full Blue Moon. The veil is thin; thinner than any other time during the year, so we must take advantage of the window and seek that which fulfills our inner self and gives us the keys to open the chests, cabinets and doorways of knowledge. We seek to take ourselves to a higher plain each yeart and expand that which feeds out soul. They will come, and with an open mind and clear vision, we shall greet them and share space tonight.
So we again turn to the west, the traditional direction of the ancestors. We raise our arms, and light a candle to guide them home. <light black candle>
<have everyone say this together>
“Ancestors….Grandfathers, Grandmothers, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, and Kin; We summon you in perfect love and perfect trust to take the step and cross the veil and gather here among your descendants. Wandering spirits that have no lineage to seek; tonight we call you family and open our arms and our circle for you to fellowship within. Lost souls and wandering spirits, if you hear our call and feel the urge to pause your singular ways and once again interact with the world of the living, we welcome you!”
<pause for an extended period of silence to allow for the wandering spirits of our ancestors to enter the sacred space>
Our Samhain Celebration
As our ancestors did for dozens and dozens of generations, we come together to celebrate Samhain in their time-honored tradition of gathering collectively with our ancestors in a festival of fire. We welcome the New Year, as the shadow of summer has gracefully retreated into the recesses of time and the dark half of the year settles in. On this night when the veil is at it’s thinnest, we celebrate our dead; not because they’ve passed, but because they have returned!
In the days of old, each village would spend the rapidly cooling days leading up to Samhain in last-minute work. They would often be finishing up the harvesting, gathering any remaining herbs from the forest and shoring up their storages and tending to their flocks. All things were prepared great feasts ahead of them, over the next three days. In ancient times, on the eve of the celebration, all fires were left to burn out until no smoke nor flame was present in the village. When the toil of the day had finished, and everyone had cleaned themselves and put on their dress for the long night ahead, they would gather in the center of the town. The common folk would wait reverently as the Druids would enter the village from their compound far away from the civilized areas. A great tower of wood was waiting for the moment of renewal. The head Druid priest would then light the great bonfire using an ancient friction wheel that would spin rapidly and cause new sparks to light the fire. To all that gathered, this wheel represented the sun, and the sun was central to life itself. Animals were sacrificed to the Gods and Goddesses and their bones be thrown upon the great fire; the bone-fire eventually became called a term we are quite familiar with; bonfire. And as in other Celtic Fire Festivals, each family would take a burning log or basket of coals home from the celebration, to relight their own hearth fires.
Feasting and drinking went long into the night as the people shared this sacred time with those who walked the lands before them. The Druids and other magickal folk would drift off to practice divination, learn lost spells, and open up those secrets which they desired. As we’ve had our fair share of drink and food in past celebrations, tonight we shall work on our magick and our connection to the world beyond our realm. We shall also recharge our tools and our very beings under this extremely rare Full Blue Moon on Samhain night. It may likely be the most powerful magickal day known this century.
I impart one and all to spread their magickal tools upon the earth, so that they may be recharged by the light of the Full Blue Moon and the flames of this New Year’s Bonfire. The Full Moon has always been a time to recharge and cleanse stones, crystal, magickal tool, and anything else you use in your practice. Join me in this incantation.
High above with a powerful glow, Charge my tools, Make it so!
Energy higher than ever before, Feed my knowledge, open doors!
Fill my soul and make things clear, Whisper secrets of the far and near!
Magick sought is magick gained, Grant the gift that shall be retained!
Knowledge good and high and pure, Feed my soul, tools restored!
Stones and crystals, herbs beneficial, silvery night on a full moon night!
Each shall gain and each shall grow, and higher Magick, I shall know!
My soul and body, now clean and fresh, the energy joined within my flesh!
Now I yield the floor, I move to the earth and rest my flesh upon it, to ponder and commune with the ancestors. I invite each of you to do the same. Feel the powerful energy wash over you, courtesy of the Full Blue Samhain Moon. Meditate, mediate, and investigate the many directions of the universe. Open yourselves completely to the energies of healing, helping, and direction.
<allow as much time as the group agrees on for this phase – it may be hours, or it may be minutes, depending on how advanced the participants are in their spiritual practice>
Closing the 2020 Samhain Circle – A Renewal Has Begun
We say our farewell to the Fae and the blessed spirits of the North. Give us the sight to see more of the world beyond our and continue to seek the knowledge from worlds far beyond ours. <extinguish Green candle>
With a joyful heart and positive disposition, we look West and say farewell to the ancestors as they depart for the land beyond the veil. We are so grateful for the bounty of knowledge, past memories, and connections both created and continued on this night. We shall return to this place when the great wheel has turned another circle and continue the fellowship as if but a day had passed. <extinguish Blue candle>
As the flames burn down we look to the South and with great reverence and remember the magick and energy of this Samhian Full Blue Moon. Our tools are charged and our bodies too. <extinguish Red candle>
Finally we once again turn to the East, and while our thoughts my lie in the soon-to-be rising sun, we also remember that summer has once again passed and the days beyond will grow colder and the winds will become crisp and lively. On this night we choose to never forget those who whisper messages along the invisible currents. <extinguish Yellow candle>
And before we depart, we once again give thanks to our ancestors for all that they do and will do in the future. <extinguish Black candle>
Great Goddess, we humbly offer our thanks and prayers for joining us tonight in this circle. We can only aspire to live our lives at the highest levels and step boldly into this New Year with love in our hearts and joy in our smiles. <extinguish the White candle>
This Samhain Circle is Now Open !
If you are interested in more rituals, please go to the Rites & Rituals Archive