Samhain is the witch’s new year and its an excellent time to do some deep, intense spells. There’s a chill in the air, and the tingle of power. I’m already getting excited for it and it’s still a couple of months away. October is my favorite time of the year. I get so many witchy vibes, I can’t even stand it. So, to get you ready for the big day, I’m going to give you some Samhain rituals for beginners.
This is a brief overview of shadow work. If you’d like more information, check out this post. According to Jung, a psychologist, we all have parts of ourselves we can’t or won’t except. Since my background is in psychology, and I’m someone who has dealt with anxiety and depression, I’m very aware of my darker aspects. Over the years, I’ve also tried to deal with them with varying degrees of success.
Most of us consider ourselves “white witches” or “lightworkers.” However, by ignoring our darker aspects, we miss out on a portion of our power. Like the yin-yang symbol, we are a mixture of both. Besides what you are suppressing, has a hold on you. If you don’t want to be controlled by your shadows, you need to name them, claim them, and move forward.
Samhain is a fresh start, the beginning of a new cycle. It’s a time when we mark beginnings, set our intentions. Doing some shadow work and cleaning out the cobwebs (metaphorically speaking) is an excellent idea. So, I’m going to give you a simple, preliminary shadow work ritual.
I recommend doing these spells in the evening. There is magic in the air at night, especially during the season of Samhain. Before you do any of these Samhain rituals for beginners, make sure to do a mindfulness or meditation ritual, just to relax yourself. I find it’s much easier to access my power when I am centered. If you like to cast a circle, go ahead and do so. And if you need some basics on casting a spell, check out this post.
About this ritual
We are going to name the darker parts of ourselves. By claiming this, owning it, we are working with our shadows, not against them.
What you will need
- A candle (any color, but black would be amazing)
- A crystal (I use black tourmaline for this, but any protection crystal will do)
- A tarot deck (Rider Waite style)
- Smudge stick or smudge spray (for purification)
What if I don’t have those items?
Spells work best when you make them your own. So, you can improvise. Don’t have a tarot deck? Print out pictures of the cards. You can find them on Pinterest. Don’t have a smudge stick or a smudge spray? You can diffuse essential oils like sage or, my favorite, rosemary. Both have cleansing properties. Don’t have an oil diffuser? You can set some purification herbs on your altar in a tray or a dish. Don’t have a crystal? Then choose a black rock. Make sure to cleanse and consecrate it first. And then set your intention. Hold the rock in your hand, and say something along the lines of “you will keep me safe and sound during this ritual.” Magic is more about intention than following a set of procedures and rules. By the way, a cheap place to get witchy supplies is the dollar store.
Shadow Work Ritual
- Identify your shadows. I’m going with three because it’s my personal number. I do everything in three’s. I have since I was thirteen or so and started practicing. Something about that number is comforting, “right” somehow. But you can choose one, or two. Or more. Spend a few minutes thinking about things you are afraid of, or what makes you angry. Really identify these triggers. This might be difficult. Think about this a few days ahead of time.
- Set up your work space. You can do this at your altar, but anywhere will work. Light a candle, burn some incense, set out your crystal.
- Pull tarot cards that correspond to these triggers, fears. If you need to know meanings, check out the Major Arcana Meanings and the Minor Arcana Meanings.
- An example. I have a complex and difficult relationship with my father, so I’m going to pull The Emperor, since he represents masculinity/father figures. Next, I’m going to choose the Queen of Swords, because she is very careful, walled-off from people. I have a tendency to keep men at a distance because I’ve been burned. Lastly, I’m going to pull The High Priestess. My favorite Alice in Wonderland character is The Chesire Cat, who plays mind games. He is elusive, unknowable, like the priestess. I have this quality. I tend to play games, keep people guessing and don’t let them know the real me. Especially if we’re talking about a love interest.
- Meditate on these cards, own the darker parts of yourself. Say something along the lines of, “I am The High Priestess at times, because (insert reason) and I own this aspect of myself.” And then think about the times you were like this card, recall these memories. Feel them.
- Warning. This might make you emotional. If so, lean into it. You are picking at old scars, and some feelings are bound to bubble up. Hold onto the crystal for protection, and let yourself feel. This is a healing process. It will hurt worse, before it gets better.
- Rinse and repeat. Do this for all the cards you identified.
- After you’ve named and owned your shadows, purify yourself. You can smudge yourself or use those purification herbs. Let go of that negativity, release it. I start at my head and end with my toes, letting the smoke drift over me. If I’m using a spray, I anoint my pulse points, like I’m putting on perfume. You could also crush the herbs in your hands, and release their oils. Then anoint yourself with your fingers. Empty your mind, breathe deeply, smell the herbs. And relax.
- When you are done, close the circle if you cast one. You can place the tarot cards back in their case or keep them on your altar for a bit. I will keep mine on my Samhain altar for the month as a reminder.
Simple Release Spell
Because it’s the new year, we want to get rid of the old and bring in the new. I highly recommend doing this spell during October’s waning moon. Lunar cycles give you an extra power boost. The waning moon is diminishing, bit by bit, and you want to let go of something, remove it from your life. So, what is something you want to let go of? A relationship? A feeling like anger or jealousy? What’s no longer serving you? Identify it.
What you’ll need
- Bay leaves
- A magic marker
- Matches or a lighter
- A fire safe vessel
Bay leaves are associated with wishes or banishment, it all depends on your perspective. After all, by getting rid of something, you are wishing it was gone, right?
- Write it out. After you’ve identified some things you’d like to release or banish from your life, write them down on the bay leaves. If you don’t have a bay leaf, you can use slips of paper. Remember, this is about intention.
- Light ’em up. Be careful. Don’t burn your fingers. These little suckers go fast. As they are burning, say something along the lines of “I release (insert issue here).” Or, if you are like me, you can get a little saucy and Bye Felicia about it. “So long, Jack (fake name), it’s time for you to go.” Incidentally, this is an excellent break-up ritual. Drop the remnants in a fire safe vessel like an ashtray, or a cauldron. I’ve also used the kitchen sink in a pinch. Just flush the ashes down the drain. Note, if you can’t burn something, you can also flush these down the commode. It’s the same principle.
- Breathe deeply afterwards, center yourself. Say goodbye to everything you released once more. And then get rid of those ashes (if you burned items).
This is an excellent time to connect with your spirit guide, your ancestors, or family and friends who might have passed on. The veil between the world of the living and the realm of the dead is thinnest during this time of year.
So, I’m new to spirit work, at least intentionally. I had a very bad experience with a malevolent ghost when I was fourteen (mostly due to my own naivety) and I’ve pushed that aspect of the craft away. However, I have had encounters since then with a friend of mine who has passed away and my grandmother who died when I was a child. Both of those spirits were friendly and it wasn’t traumatic since I knew them in life.
This Samhain, I would like to reconnect with my maternal grandmother. I never got the chance to know her very well since she passed unexpectedly. My mother’s health is declining and she isn’t the same person she once was, there’s a huge disconnect, due to mental decline. I’m yearning for that motherly connection. A visit from my grandmother would bring me some peace.
Essentially, we are going to invite the dead over for a visit. Yes, this is a bigger spell. If you don’t feel ready for it, then keep it in mind for next Samhain. Listen to your intuition on this one.
Because you don’t want to invite any old spirit over, I would highly recommend casting a circle. And because you are a beginner, I would choose to speak with one particular spirit you know. This spell is an excellent fit for Halloween night.
What you’ll need
- A picture of the deceased for your altar
- A protection crystal like black tourmaline
- A mode of communication
- Cast the circle and meditate. Make sure you are feeling calm, safe, and centered before you begin.
- Make the call. While holding the crystal, call out to the deceased. Something along the lines of, “NAME, I invite you and only you to come join me. I wish to speak with you, because…” Tailor this to your relationship with the person. If you feel moved to say anything, say it.
- Communicate. This is the tricky part. For me, I’m going to invite my grandmother to speak to me in my dreams. That’s where I’ve encountered her before and it’s what medium I’m comfortable with, so I’m going to offer the invitation and then close the circle. When I last spoke with her, I had an incredibly vivid encounter, sitting together at her makeup table. And when I woke up, I could smell her gardenia perfume. Any medium will work for this. Choose something that feels natural to you. Some witches like to do astral travel. Some people do automatic writing. Other witches use a Ouija board. Pick one and then simply wait for contact. As a warning, this might take a while.
I hope these Samhain rituals for beginners gave you some ideas. What spells are you planning to celebrate Samhain? Tell me in the comments.