This holiday is known in modern times as All Hallow’s Eve, or Hallowe’en. This is probably the most festive of the Witches’ Sabbats, because the time of Samhain is the beginning of the Celtic New Year. This Sabbat is yet another fire festival. It marks the time when the cattle are driven in from pasture and are once again run through sacred fires to purify them before bringing them home. These holy bonfires were also kindled to keep evil spirits of the night at bay, for this is known as the time when the veils between the worlds are at their thinnest. Divinations are best performed on this holiday- in histories of Samhain, these divinations were usually employed to foretell future love.
Samhain is also the time when the dead are honored; in many cultures it is customary to set an extra place at the table on this night. Some people place offerings of food and clothing outside, to feed the ghosts and keep them warm. Hallowe’en is often the first cold night of the season, and it is believed that the spirits roam the earth on this eve, looking for food and shelter. Reflections of this belief can be seen in the custom of “Trick or Treating”. In older times, families would provide for the needs of their dead ancestors, but many see this now as mere superstition and will not take care of their own dead. These spirits, having nowhere else to go, will turn to the psychically sensitive for shelter and attention. In other words, it gets pretty noisy around Samhain for most Witches!
The apple is said to be a symbol of the soul. On November 1, I like to go to cemeteries and place apples on graves to feed the spirits who were neglected the night before.