Samhain or Halloween, corresponding to the Celtic New Year, is a very important moment of transition, which marks the end of the green season and the beginning of the life of the seed, kept in the ground through winter.
Symbolically this is the ideal time to retreat into the dark, which is more fruitful than commonly thought. As such it is also the right moment to investigate one’s internality by depriving ourselves of all that is appearance, exteriority.
Samhain marks the beginning of the dark semester; what has not yet been completed is completed, any debts are paid and any credits are collected. On this very special day the veil that separates the world of the dead from that of the living thins and for this reason it is easier to spot the spirits and communicate with them, and it is also the ideal time to honor them, arranging food in front of the door, preparing altars, votives and getting ready to embrace the darkness.
There is no better way than doing it with colors, so which colors should we use?
Honoring and celebrating Samhain with black and orange. Why is that?
The typical colors of Samhain, orange and black, have a very specific meaning.
The first symbolizes the harvest in the late stages of these months, the second the end of summer, the days that become darker. Furthermore, these two colors are chromatically contrasting, the bright orange next to the dark black, close to remind us of the balance between light and darkness that has always allowed rebirth.
As always, the first step in aligning with the energies of the season is to prepare the house and the altar to welcome the divine spirit and the cosmic energies that move everything around us.
Orange reflects the agricultural nature of Halloween. Being the color of pumpkins and autumn leaves, it evokes the spirit of the season. Together, these two colors create a very powerful symbol that is full of legends, lore, magic, and mystery.
Color of darkness, death, and mourning. Black is the predominant color on Halloween night. It is the color used by witches, for its ability to hinder and cancel the evil one. In fact, black absorbs and neutralizes negative energies. Black is also the color of the pagan deities who rule the world of the dead.
A practical use of these colors
Decorate the house
Preparing the house and an altar with these colors is very important because it helps us prepare our mind and spirit to harmonize with the energies of the Sabbat.
The Gaelic term Samonion means “end of samos” or end of the Luminous, summery, extroverted period. It, therefore, marks the beginning of the “giamos” period of dark, winter, introverted energy. If you have not already done so in Mabon, tie the curtains with brown trimmings, replace the light tablecloths with warm-colored wool cloths or table covers.
Bringing some foods
Decorate the house with baskets of seasonal fruit, cornucopias, pumpkins, and pomegranates. Orange or black Candles, pinecones, and chrysanthemums. The dominant colors of the season are white, a symbol of the light that goes away, red or orange, a symbol of the sun and blood or of life, and black, a symbol of the Beyond, of the dark belly of the Goddess.
Earth, of the magical cauldron in which everything dies to undergo that transformation process that will end with the rebirth in Imbolc.
Decorate the altar (and yourself) in black or orange to honor the dead
As always, place the symbols of the season on the altar: pumpkins, the jack-o’-lantern, pinecones, apples, and acorns. In the center place a cauldron, a symbol of the belly of the Goddess, and an incense burner. Add three candles of black and orange.
Next to the cauldron put a piece of parchment and a pen to be used on October 31 for the celebration of the dead. At the center of the altar, place the photographs of your loved ones who are now deceased, unless you have already set up an altar for the dead.
You can wear black if you feel compelled to, especially when casting spells and performing rituals during this particular time of the year. If you don’t want to go all black you can simply wear a cloak over your clothing when dedicating your time and energy to this pagan holiday.