thecraft a4894

How Mystics Celebrate Samhain

by Lisa Stardust


Samhain is the midpoint between the autumnal equinox and winter solstice and marks the last harvest of the year. During this day, we are able to bridge the gap between the psychical world and the spiritual plane—allowing all to celebrate our ancestors and spirits. Modern culture makes us all see Samhain (Halloween) as a money machine (mostly from the candy, movie, and costume industries). However, Samhain is much more than dressing up in costumes, trick-or-treating, or scary movies. It’s a time to celebrate the living and the dead. Known as “The Witch’s New Year,” Samhain is the “Festival of the Dead,” a time to reflect and connect with both the psychical and spiritual world. Samhain serves as a momentary reflection, to honor the past, present, and future.

Modern lore (thanks to the film industry) portrays mystics as flying around on broom sticks on Hallow’s Eve, reeking havoc on others. However, in reality, mystics celebrate life and death on Samhain—cooking large meals for family and friends and spending time with those they care about. And, yes, even dressing up. But the intent is to bond with those you cherish and to connect to the work you love.

We’ve asked mystics (witches, tarot readers, and astrologers) what their plans are for Samhain. Spoiler alert—it’s not just about the candy!

lovewitch 7bee7Photo by Amber Gray for BUST, modeled by Andi Matichak; Jay Godfrey Dress; Beatrice B Cape; Erickson Beamon Earrings; Bounkit, Communion by Joy, and Lexyrose Studio Rings.

“This is the time of the season where we are celebrating the cyclic nature of death, and rebirth. Reflecting on our own mortality, and those we loved who have transitioned. This time can be incredibly healing. I am going to be cleansing my home, body, and work spaces. I will tend to my altars, providing even more flowers and offerings for my loved ones. I enjoy cooking large comforting meals, and listening to music. This is a wonderful time to open up all the windows and burn some of your favorite purifying herbs, releasing stagnation and embracing the unknown.” —Bri Luna, Owner and Creative Director of The Hoodwitch (@thehoodwitch)

“This has been a crazy Jupiter in Scorpio year: many gifts, many lessons. So this Halloween, I’m going to thank the spirits that helped me grow and stretch into a better person, and I like to find three things, people places or things to immediately let go of in honor of Scorpio season… this is my Lent, in a fashion. Then perhaps a costumed crawl through West Hollywood where the energy is kinetic and the old ghosts of tinseltown might make an appearance.” —Rachel True, Actress, Tarot Reader, and Author (@trueracheltrue)

“Spending time with my four-year-old nephew will be the highlight of Halloween— there’s just nothing better than creating costumes and having fun trick or treating. In my spiritual practice, I’m going to carve out some time during the Halloween season to deepen my meditation practice.” —Annabel Gat, the astrologer behind Broadly’s daily and monthly horoscopes (@annabelgat)

“I don’t celebrate Halloween and I never have, but am happy for other people to enjoy it! I’m not a fan of the general misuse of the thinned veil; when energy gets really intense, as it does on that day, people often avoid going deep in favor of numbing out—and getting lit is a common way to do that. The morphic energy field from all that partying (and don’t get me started on the sexism and racial stereotyping) ends up creating really muddy vibes, which I like to avoid.” —Jessica Lanyadoo, Astrologer, Psychic Medium, and Intuitive Counselor (@jessica_lanyadoo)

“I am pretty low-key on Halloween. I enjoy watching horror movies and crafting with friends. This year, I will be crafting for my ancestral altar for November 2nd and November 3rd. The 2nd is the Day of the Dead and the 3rd is All Souls’ Day. I normally collect flowers, dessert, candy, and create a small altar that stays up for the week.” –Sonia Ortiz, Bruja, Tarot Reader, and Astrologer 

“Halloween or Samhain is the witches’ New Year. I typically spend it symbolically dressed as something I would like to become, setting out offerings for my ancestors, and casting spells to draw in prosperity and protection from harm.” – Michael Cardenas, Head Witch and Owner of Olde Ways Apothecary (@oldeways)

“I love Halloween so much!! The night before, I will be doing Tarot readings as a cosmic space alien high priestess diviner from another planet at an ‘out of this world’-themed corporate party. On the night of actual Halloween, I’m going to go downtown and people watch with my best friend because I love seeing the creativity of everyone’s costumes and then we will go to a party at our friend’s club. I love the energy of Halloween so much! I love how people transform through costumes and makeup and wigs and truly become their version of their own fantasy. It’s so empowering and fun. I think people should do more of that in their everyday lives.” – Sarah Potter, Color Magic Witch, Tarot Reader, and Curator (@iamsarahpotter)

“I am going to be walking on sunshine. (I’m taking my #popupbotanicas tour to LA for a few weeks so it felt appropriate.)
#suchanochún” – Chiquita Brujita, Artist, Social Entrepreneur, and Founder of Brooklyn Brujeria (@chiquitabrujita)

“This year, I’m spending my Halloween doing an event with Laser Kitten to celebrate my book—it includes a ritual to the dark goddess for release and renewal. I always perform some kind of ritual for reflection, and will be taking tabs on all the blessings and lessons this past year held as well.” – Gabriela Herstik, author of Inner Witch: A Modern Guide to the Ancient Craft (@gabyherstik)

“I am teaching a sex magick ritual on the night of Halloween in which a room full of people will collectively masturbate with an intended goal of self-love and healing after a year that inflicted intense trauma on marginalized genders.” —Sophie Saint Thomas, Sex Writer (@thebowiecat)

“I’m honored to spend this Halloween heading down to the University of Alabama in Birmingham to take part in the ‘Telling Difficult Stories’ lecture series, where I’ll give a talk about the history of the witch archetype in feminist activism. Then I’ll finish up by judging a student costume contest!” —Kristen J. Sollee, author of Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive (@kristenkorvette)

“This Halloween, I will be volunteering at my daughter’s school as class parent, taking her trick-or-treating, making candy apples with her, and lighting candles together for our loved one who have passed on. Halloween is pretty much a month-long event in our household.” —Chelsea Selby, Founder and CEO of Witch Baby Soap (@witchbabysoap)

“For me, Halloween is a time for honoring the ancestors and those who have passed on in the past year. This year, I’ll be honoring a dear friend of mine who passed away recently. He was a powerful spirit in life, and I see no reason he won’t continue to be now that he’s passed over. I’ll be laying photos on my ancestral altar, along with bread and water, and thanking the mighty dead for their teachings.” Sarah Lyons, Professional Traditional Witch, Activist, and Host of PopCvlt Podcast (@citymystic)

“As I’m new to Los Angeles, I will probably spend Halloween with my best friend, doing witchcraft in her backyard, drinking wine and communing with nature and our ancestors.” —Chris O’Day, Esoteric Life Coach of The Fitness Witch (@fitnesswitch)

“This Halloween, I’ll be leading my weekly group distance reiki meditation in which we’ll focus on shadow work, embracing the parts of us we tend to hide or run from in order to heal and grow.” —Kesaine Walker, Reiki Healer and Astrologer (@kesaine)

“Since the veil is thinner around Halloween (Samhain), I put a lot of focus towards communication with my ancestors. I turn off all electronics for an evening or two and play in the other realms through scrying, meditation, and automatic writing. I’m also a big fan of hosting seances, busting out the ouija board, and keeping a white candle in my window (to welcome and guide loving spirits into my home).” —Renee Watt, Professional Witch, Tarot Reader, Psychic,, and Host of Witch Doctorate Podcast (@rainbowglitterstar)

“By day I’m building a Samhain altar, cleansing my home, reflecting, and grounding. But by night I’m wearing a costume I hand-made after some iconic female heroine, dancing freely, and celebrating my ancestors!” – Shawn Engel, Owner of WitchyWisdoms (@witchywisdoms)

“Over the week of Halloween, I won’t be doing readings, but I’ll be DJing a variety of spooky events:  Poisonivy Halloween in Marin County, California (October 31), Who’s Yer Mama in Nevada City, CA (November 1), and the PEX 13th Annual Halloween Ball: ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ on the USS New Jersey, a battleship across the river from Philadelphia (November 2)” – Lexi Ferguson, Tarot Reader, Astrologer, and DJ (@illexxandra)

“Before Halloween, me and one of my Moon Club besties and fellow poet, writer, and witch Kimia Madani will be taking a few days to go up into the woods for a quiet retreat, where we will read poetry and tarot, deep dive into our astrology charts and connect with the power of nature. For Halloween week, we will be connecting with our inner high priestesses via costume and dress, and bringing our inner light and sparkly magick to social gatherings” —Darla Downing, Bay Area Ambassador for Moon Club, Tarot Reader, Reiki Healer, and Astrologer (@themysticalsister)

“As a double Scorpio/Halloween baby/Witch, Samhain is amplified for me. I will be giving blessings and making a crystal grid on my alter to my guides and ancestors and afterwards soaking in a candle lit ritual bath sprinkled with oils and herbs. Than pulling a few Tarot cards to set intensions for myself.” —Caitlin McGarry, Tarot Reader and Astrologer (@tarotgraph)

top photo: The Craft

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