When I was new to witchcraft I would get overwhelmed because there's so many things I thought 'I should be doing' at this time of year. Being a solitary witch, I had no one guiding me, other than a handful of books (this was before the internet was a good resource. lol- yep, I'm that old.)
And, this is, like, the most important witchy holiday, right? The information I did have was so overwhelming. There were just so many correspondences and rituals and differing views and ways to celebrate. So, for many years I would get stuck and end up not doing anything because I had no idea where to start, or doing some things but feeling like I didn't do enough and wasn't a 'real' witch.
Thankfully, I've learned a lot since then, mostly to let go of the pressure to do things 'right'. Now, I just do what intuitively feels right to me and what I have the energy and ability to do. I know that I am a witch and no one is going to 'grade me' or 'fail' me, this is my spiritual path, and staying true to my beliefs are really all that matters.
So, here are some of my favorite ways to celebrate, in case you are struggling too and need some inspiration.
First, lets briefly cover what is Samhain, because maybe you don't know? Samhain, pronounced SAW-inn, sometimes also called All Hallows Eve, is a Pagan religious festival with Celtic roots. Technically, its the mid-point between the Fall Equinox and the Winter Solstice, so this is when we welcome the 'dark half of the year'. We also have the ability to communicate with our ancestors because the veil between worlds in thinnest. This is a wonderful time to honor our ancestors and appreciate nature's changing seasons. There is a lot of information regarding its history and how other cultures celebrated this time of year available online.
Altars are a really important part of most witches practice, but you don't have to have one to be a witch. Again, boundless information on creating an altar is available out in the ether. Personally, I just like to create a small seasonal altar, a place where I can go to to reflect and connect with my spirituality.
For Samhain, I add pictures of my loved ones who have passed-on that I want to communicate with or remember. I have little trinkets that remind me of them and jewelry that were theirs. I add those along with Autumn décor, like dried leaves and flowers, and candles. My favorite are black candles, for this dark time of the year. I also add crystals and skulls and other things that are aesthetically seasonal and also remind me of them. Usually I have a tarot deck and a singing bowl too.
I leave my altar up for a couple weeks spending time meditating as often as I can, even if its just 5 minutes every few days. When I walk past my altar its also a visual reminder to reconnect and realign, even if I don't have the time to sit in meditation. On Samhain, I do a ritual and talk to my ancestors and sometimes I write letters to them. I also do a tarot spread and spend a little time journaling.
Because this is considered the witches new year I like to rededicate myself to my spiritual path and spend time reflecting on how I have grown and changed this past year. This is a good time to set goals for next year too and also to cleanse and bless the house. Although not all of this happens on Samhain, I like to start the process. I make a fall cleaning list and start journaling about what I want to accomplish next year.
During this time of year I also love taking nature walks and observing the seasonal changes, although I wont be doing that this year because of my broken ankle. ;) But, I will still reflect on this because connecting with nature and the changing seasons is an important part of my path.
When my son was younger we would carve pumpkins and roast the seeds, that was always fun so I may try to do that this year but only if I have the time and energy to.
And, I will probably watch some horror movies, eat lots of fall foods, candy, and just generally pumpkin-spice-myself-out!
That's about it. Nothing complex or costly. Nothing that takes up a ton of time. Just a few things that help me to feel spiritually connected to the earth, my spirituality, and my ancestors.
This is what I've always wanted my witchcraft to be- Simple. The rest of my life is so busy and complex I want my spirituality to be easy and be a respite. A place where I can ground and center and just feel supported.
Maybe this was helpful for you? Maybe you have differing views? I'd love to hear from you and how you celebrate.