Halloween/Samhain – also known as Hallowmas, Night Between Veils, All Souls Eve and All Hallows Eve is now widely celebrated across many cultures and in many diverse ways. Samhain as it is commonly called by Pagans/Wiccans is from the Gaelic ‘Summers End’ and is marked as a fire festival to honour ancestors and those that have passed. This Sabbat is dramatic, powerful and full of energy and Herbs are a wonderful way to use the earth’s energy to infuse some magic into whatever you have planned to celebrate.
I adore the fire festivals of Samhain and Beltane, as for me they represent the growing strengths of darkness and light, and I find the energy more powerful than the Winter (Yule) and Summer Solstices (Litha) possibly due to the momentum building. as we watch the world around us die, what better way to celebrate than light a fire, carve a pumpkin and raise a glass to the other side.
Rosemary; Rosemary is for remembrance, an ideal Herb for Samhain as we remember our ancestors and those that have passed. I love this line from Beyerl Book of Master Herbalism relating to Rosemary being thrown onto lowering caskets ‘Thus will we remember with love and fondness the one who is passing into another life, and thus will we also remember that we inhabit mortal bodies as we in habit this earth’ Bring it inside now to dry in a bunch with Oak Leaves, Sage and Bay.
Acorns and Oak Leaves; To be used as decoration as a symbol of fertility and the continuation of life. They look beautiful tumbled into jars, bunched together around the base of pumpkins, and slipped into any floral/fauna displays. Try to use fallen leaves/branches.
Sage; For purification, healing and cleansing (think smudge sticks). Sage planted in your garden is said to reflect the affairs of the grower. Dry sage in a bundle with the other herbs ready to burn in your Samhain fire.
Bay; For protection, but also a symbol of Love. When I burn my Bay in the fire, I believe it takes my love to those that have passed that I have loved – be it people, animals, plants and trees.
Use all of the above for decoration, in jars with flowers, greenery and branches, grouped between carved pumpkins and squashes and also hung in bunches to dry. Tie your herbs together with string or ribbon, and then when your Samhain fire is lit, send them with your intentions and wishes into the fire with a thank you…remembrance, endurance, healing and love.