Whether you worship one god or many, or none at all, you can still catch the “spirit” of Samhain. The blurring of the boundary between the spirit and physical worlds is an apt metaphor for fluidity between the conscious and subconscious mind, where creative inspiration sparks. This is a great time to face your fear of starting or returning to a creative project, as well as to open your mind to creative possibilities.
For context, Samhain (pronounced SAH-when) is one of the year’s most important holidays for pagans such as myself, marking the end of the bounty of fall and the beginning of winter, when the year is darkest and barren. Its occurrence is about halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice. While Halloween has roots in this celebration, they are different occasions: one a folk holiday, the other a two-day celebration honoring the dead and reflecting the cycle of Nature. Samhain is a time for resolving grief and communing with spirits.
To get inspired, here are five low-key ways to celebrate:
Take a Nature Walk
Consider taking a Samhain nature walk as a meditative exercise and time to reflect upon Nature and your place in it. This is a time to regain perspective by fully being in the present moment. If you have loved ones buried at a nearby cemetery, consider visiting their graves, or stroll through and say hello to all the spirits, familiar or not. Cemeteries can be beautiful, peaceful places for reflection.
Build an Altar
If you’ve lost loved ones and are processing old or new grief, you consider building an altar on a table, dresser, bookshelf, or any other surface with photos and mementos belonging to the deceased. Light candles for those you’ve lost and then sit quietly with your memories. Inspiration may just visit you.
Commune with the Relatives
If an altar is too much, call an older family member with a good memory and ask to hear stories about your family’s heritage. You could take notes or just listen. Try having this conversation right before bed, then see which ancestors or images appear in your dreams.
Host a Samhain Dinner
If you’re really getting into the spirit of things, consider hosting a Samhain dinner, either just for you or with guests. Set a place for the dead at your table, or make offerings of the meal at the altar you built. Share a bite or a sip of everything with your intangible guests, then leave their share in a spot outside as an offering. If a whole dinner seems like too much work, find a Samhain potluck to join!
Remember that breaking out of your routine and pushing yourself beyond your immediate comfort zone can be inspiring and help you feel a sense of renewed possibility. This Samhain, I call upon you to do something unexpected, something out of character, and to push your creative work in the same direction.