Note: Refer to arrangements announced for each Celebration.

Samhain is the dark start of the new yearly cycle.


The tree dies to the red berry.
The red berry dies to the black seed.
The black seed dies to the dark earth
and what at first seems like a schism,
a splitting asunder,
a wrenching apart,
is the start of a new life.

md. samhain 2008

Celebrations at this time in the annual cycle initiate the season of Samhain (Winter time) which is ruled by the Cailleach form of the Feminine energy. She rules winter from 1st November to 1st May when the young Brighde takes over and rules the summer months. There are tales of the Sliabh na Caileach in Co. Meath, Ireland, which were made when the caileach dropped stones from her apron. Read more here.... 25th March is Latha naCailliche (Day of the Old Woman) in Scottish lore.

This is the energy that brings death to all those outmoded ideas, and ways of living that no longer serve us. The Cailleach energy prepares us for rebirth and new life when the winter time is over.

The Cailleach is sometimes regarded as the old wisdom face of the goddess Brigid.

The Samhain themes coming up in mythology are centred around the ancestral spirits, the Cailleach and Fire. The spirits were seen as real and during the Samhain season it was believed that the veil between worlds was thin and their influence was regarded as more perceptible. For this reason, it was customary to leave out some food and strong drink for the spirits on this night.

Jack O' Lanterns originated in Ireland and consisted of a turnip carved into a head with a candle inside.

When the Irish went to the States they found pumpkins easier to carve, so the tradition continues.

The skull is a dominant symbol of Death at this time of year as we celebrate our ancestors. Below is a green glowing skull, called Merlin, from a celebration at Dowth in 2009 and the Mitchell Hedges skull which some of us visited when it was in Glasgow in 2007.

We smoothed our auras with Grail essence... and we received our messages from the angels...

and while the black crows circled as we circled...

the white death skull sat silently upon the ground.

Hill of Tara - 2008.

The ground was cleared by symbolically sweeping away the old year and sweeping in the new.

Mellifont Old Abbey - 2012
Colcannon. from the earliest times it has been the custom in this district to make colcannon for Halloween. The first plate of this is kept for the fairies lest they should while changing from their Summer residence to their Winter home. No salt should be put on their portion. Colcannon is made on this night also to commemorate the end of the digging of the potatoes.

It is an old custom for the young people to kick cabbage around the district on this night. It is also hung on door knobs and door-steps. The reason for this custom is unknown.
Halloween Customs - Galway

This plaster work appears on the ceiling of Holy Grave Chapel in Michaelsberg Abbey, Bamberg, Germany.

Bubbles remind us of the fragility of life.

We have often blown bubbles,

adding to the fun,

and who knew blowing bubbles could have such a fantastic and deep significance? They symbolise the soul.

The web of life is woven in nature and in ceremony at Samhain.

3 old rose scented jossticks made great sticks for weaving this spider's web.

Samhain is a cross quarter day (astronomical mid point between a solstice and equinox),

and marked as far back as the Neolithic (5000 BC) at Cairn L, Loughcrew, Co. Meath.

Picture courtsey of
The sun shines into the Neolithic Mound of the Hostages at Samhain and this time is marked in tradition as the Feis of Tara, or 'the celebration of Tara'.

Return of the Salmon

The Salmon return to the River Boyne in Meath at this time of year.

Return of the Salmon festivals are particularly celebrated along the Pacific North East coast and it is interesting to wonder if our ancestors also had a similar festival which we have now lost.

It has been suggested by some that the stone on the left in Fourknocks has a resemblance to salmon skin.

In this youtube video by Meath Chronicle they are leaping the weir at Slane, on their journey back to the spawning streams. They wait in the river between Drogheda and Slane for heavy rainfall, the extra flow of water helping them on their way over the weirs between there and Navan.

Blessing the Cattle

When Winter comes most hill farmers take their cattle off the high ground and place them in sheds until Spring.

Geology allows them to do things a little differently on the Burren. In County Clare on the west coast of Ireland, the Burren is a flower-rich limestone plateau. In Summer the rock absorbs the heat and, like a giant night storage heater, it radiates the warmth out in the Winter. That makes life pretty agreeable for the region’s beef cattle.

Each year the season to move the cattle is marked by a festival. The local priest sprinkles holy water on their coats and a chosen farmer walks his pregnant cows up the green road to the mountain grazing, followed by hundreds of locals and tourists eager to see the delighted leaping of the cattle as they reach the fresh grazing of their Winter home.

BBC radio programme about moving cattle to winter pastures on the Burren

Halloween on South Uist in 1932...

From the National Trust for Scotland: This haunting photo, along with many others, were captured by Margaret Fay Shaw. The priceless collection featuring almost nine thousand images can be found on the Isle of Canna.

The island's children made some terrifying homemade costumes from sheepskins, haystack wigs, scraped-out skulls and sheep ears – one boy spent an entire day peeling the skin from a sheep's skull to make his mask.

In Gaelic, Halloween was 'Oidhche nan Cleas,' the Night of Tricks.

Gisears would sing songs and tell jokes. They dooked for apples, ate treacle scones on strings and 'fuarag', thick cream and oatmeal with a treat inside.

Like any other celebration in the Hebrides, they would sing traditional songs, including 'puirt a beul.'

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2nd November - All Soul’s Day

Written by Anne Newman 12th November 2019 - A day to remember the dead. A day to celebrate the ancestors. Read more here.

Blogs written at Samhain

Anne Newman shared her thoughts on the ebb and flow of the sun's apparent strength throughout the year. End of Summertime - energies of darkness and light

Marta shared a rune that gave insight into how we can respond to bereavement. Inspirational Writing - There is a place for memories, but there is also a place in the here and now - Samhain 2019.

In 2018 Nora J focussed on the Aes Sidhe as Genus Loci. Dawn and dusk, Bealtaine Eve and Samhain Eve are particular times when the 'veil' between the realms is 'thin' and the otherworld beings are visible. Aes Sidhe

Pinterest Board - Click here for lots of information on Samhain