Other names:  Halloween, Day of the Dead, Old Hallowmas, All Hallow's Eve 

Samhain is usually celebrated on October 31, but some celebrate on November 1.  Samhain is generally considered the Pagan New Year.  The new year brings new beginnings.  It's a good time to think about changes.  During Samhain, the veil is thinner between the world of the living and the world of the dead.  This is when our ancestors can visit us.  And we can visit with them.

Colors: black, orange, gold, brown
The Goddess: She is the Crone.  The old one with much wisdom to share.  Hecate, Crobh Dearg, Ceridwen, Demeter, The Morrigan
The God: He is the Horned God.  ArawnKronos, Woden, Hades, Nefertum

Some great activities for Samhain:
  • Talking about your ancestors.  Both recent and from long ago.
  • Setting out a place for your ancestors at the table when you eat.
  • Making foods that a special to your ancestors.  Something they really liked.  Or something special from time/place of an ancestor from long ago.
  • Making plans for "New Year" changes.

Our Samhain Ritual
We don't do anything to fancy.  Either after school (if it's a school day) or in the afternoon, we head out to the beach.  (I grew up on the coast, so the beach is a special place for me and my family.)  While we walk down the beach, we talk about things we like over the past year and things we'd like to change.  When we find a spot that feels right we write our draw in the sand.  For things we'd like to change, we write near the water so the waves can wash it away to help change happen.  For things that we liked, we write far away from the water so we can look at them and remember.
After our beach walk we head home to dress up for some Trick or Treating fun.

At bed time we all put an apple on our window sill for Grandfather Deer.  He takes us to the Shining Isle to visit our ancestors and beloved dead.

A Journey to the Shining Isle
by Starhawk

Circle round, close your eyes, and imagine. . . .
It is late at night on Halloween, and you are very excited.  All evening long you've been out, dressed up in costumes, collecting candy and apples and other treats from the houses in your neighborhood.  Now you are quiet.  It is time to go to sleep, but you can  feel magic in the air.
"Do we have to go to sleep?" you say.
"Tonight is a nigh for magic dreams," say the old ones.  "Set out an apple for Grandfather Deer, and maybe he will take you someplace."  You choose your best apple and set it out on the windowsill for Grandfather Deer.  Then you lie down and close your eyes.  Now the room is filled with an earthy, animal smell.  Open your eyes, and before you stands the glowing spirit of Grandfather Deer, the oldest and wisest stag in the forest, with many-branching antlers he wears proudly on his head.
"Hop on my back, and I will take you someplace," he says.

Continue reading this story in the book Circle Round