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Blessings on “true” Samhain!

Many of us in the Northern Hemisphere celebrated Samhain (SOW-en), the Celtic New Year and one of the most significant dates in the Celtic Wheel of the Year, starting at sunset on October 31st and ending at sunset November 1st.

However, Samhain was not always celebrated on that specific day, now recognized by many as “traditional” Samhain. This Fire Festival is a cross-quarter day, marking that precise point between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice, and this year it falls on November 6th at 18:15. Some know this as “true” Samhain.

But if we look at the origins of Samhain, which means “Summers End” in Irish Gaelic, it was about celebrating the end of the harvest and the beginning of a new cycle in the year. The festival was not necessarily observed on a rigid or fixed date. As the last stalks of corn (or other crops) were brought in,  the celebrations began: bonfires, great food, apple bobbing and other festivities.

I celebrated on November 1st and I’m celebrating again today! And by the way, did you know the Irish Gaelic word for November is Samhain? Let’s celebrate all month!


Our theme for this lunar month in our Wise Woman Bean Gealach Circle is Relationship… with Self, with the Ancestors (ancestors of our blood, our place, our spiritual heritage), with our loved ones.

At Samhain, we honour the past year and those we’ve lost and we (re)connect to our Ancestors for their support in the coming period of deep reflection and renewal, of letting go, of starting again.

We examine our personal energies and also our personal attachments (e.g. the energetic ghosts of one’s past, regrets, resistance, pain, no-longer-useful behaviours) that can be released in the Waning Samhain energy and that of the Waning Moon energies. I also love creating an Ancestral Altar at this time, to focus our intentions and connections with our ancestral allies.

Let us invite our Ancestral (family, place, spiritual) allies — and An Cailleach, the Dark Mother goddess of the winter months — to support us and connect with us in this Tarot/ Oracle spread. This layout that can be used in this time of Samhain energy, but could also be used at any Full/Waning Moon.

IMG_2007Select seven cards, and place them face down: one in the centre, one row of three above and one row of three below.

  • The centre card represents The Self
  • The top row of three cards represents The Wisdom of the Falling Leaves
  • The lower row of three cards represents The Wisdom of The Ancestors

Use the following prompts/questions for the spread or craft them to more fully resonate with you.

Click Samhain Ancestral Spread_NOV2017  to download a US Letter-size PDF of this layout.

The Self
1 What will support me in my time of reflection and the Winter darkness?

The Wisdom of the Falling Leaves
2 Transforming: What is transforming and changing in my life in the past year?
3 Complete: What is now complete or no longer needed in my life?
4 Release: What have I been hanging onto and can now let go from a place of growth and strength?

The Wisdom of The Ancestors
5 An Cailleach: What Wisdom from An Cailleach will guide me in the next year?
6 My Roots: What wisdom from my ancestors will guide me into the next cycle in the Wheel?
7 New Seeds: What is seeded deep within that I can now birth in the New Year?