Samhain, pronounced Sow-een, Sah-veen, or Sam-hayne, is the Witches' New Year. It is said to be the time when the veil between the worlds is very thin, when souls that are leaving this physical plane can pass out and souls that are reincarnating can pass in. Darkness increases and the Goddess reigns as the Crone, part of the three-in-one that also includes the Maiden and Mother. The God, the Dark Lord, passes into the underworld to become the seed of his own rebirth (which will occur again at Yule). Many Pagans prepare a Feast for the Dead on Samhain night, where they leave offerings of food and drink for the spirits. Divination is heightened this night. Jack-o-lanterns, gourds, cider, fall foliage can be used as altar decorations.
Other Names: Halloween, Hallowmas, All Hallows Eve, Day of the Dead, Feast of Spirits, Third Harvest, Samonios, All Saint's Eve, Martinmas, Celtic New Year, Samhuinn, Celtic Winter, Samana, Festival of Pamona, Vigil of Saman, Hallowe'en, Vigil of Todos, Santos
Meaning: Wisdom of Crone, Death of God, Reflection on our place in the Wheel of the Year, Honoring of the Dead, End of Summer, New Year (Celtic), Celebrating Reincarnation
Lore: It is traditional on Samhain night to leave a plate of food outside the home for the souls of the dead. A candle placed in the window guides them to the lands of eternal summer, and burying apples in the hard-packed earth "feeds" the passed ones on their journey.
Deities: All Crone Goddesses, The Dying/Dead God
Activities: Divination, Past-Life Recall, Spirit Contact, Meditation, Drying Winter Herbs
Taboos: Travel after dark, Eating grapes or berries
Colors: Black, Orange, Red
Symbols: Jack-o-lantern, Balefire, Besom, Masks, The Cauldron, Waning Moon
Animals: Bats, Cats, and Dogs
Stones: Obsidian, Onyx, Carnelian
Plants: Apple, Mugwort, Gourds, Sage, Allspice, Catnip
Food: For food, beets, turnips, apples, corn, nuts, gingerbread, cider, mulled wines, and pumpkin dishes are appropriate, as are meat dishes (if you are not vegetarian; if so, tofu seems ritually correct).
Ritual Oils: Frankincense, Basil, Yarrow, Lilac, Ylang-Ylang, Camphor, Clove
Attunement Teas: (Individually or Blended) Apple Cider, Angelica, Catnip, Indian Hyppo, Sage, Valerian
Goddesses: All Crone Goddesses and Underworld Goddesses, such as Babd (Irish), Brunhilde (Teutonic), Cerridwen (Welsh-Scottish), Eris (Greek), Baba Yaga (Russian), Bast (Egyptian), Fortuna (Greco-Roman), Frigga/Frey (Norse), Hel (Norse), Inanna (Sumerian), Kali (Hindu), Psyche (Greek), Hecate (Greek), Lilith (Hebrew), The Morrigu/Morrigan (Celtic), Pamona (Roman), Rhiannon (Welsh)
Gods: All Death Gods, All Aged Gods, and All Underworld Gods, such as Am-Heh (Egyptian), Arawn (Welsh), Corn Father (Native American), Coyote Brother (Native American), Hades (Greek), Heimdall (Norse), The Great Horned God (European), Kronos/Cronus (Greco-Phoenician), Loki (Norse), Nefertum (Egyptian), Odin (Norse), Pluto (Greco-Roman), Sekhet (Egyptian), Woden (Teutonic)
SOURCES: Some info was taken from an unknown source; however, most info was found at The Wiccan Garden, as taken from The Sabbats: A New Approach to Living the Old Ways by Edain McCoy and Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham.