Samhain Tarot Spread

The importance of Samhain, the importance of Tarot, and how the two are more connected than you may think.

An image of two people holding hands above a table on which crystals, candles, and facedown tarot cards are arranged.

When it comes to spiritual discovery,  Samhain is a very important pagan festival. A lot of people celebrate Halloween on October 31st, but people celebrate Samhain all around the world on that day, too.

One thing you could do to celebrate or get ready for Samhain is a tarot reading. Tarot can help you to understand yourself on a deeper level, and provide you with answers to lingering questions. The veil between life and death will be very thin during Samhain, and so it could make readings more accurate.

If you’re interested in celebrating Samhain, you’ll definitely want to know more about the festival. Keep reading to find out how to celebrate, and how tarot relates to Samhain.

What is Samhain?

You may not have heard of Samhain before, but it’s a very important pagan festival that celebrates birth and death. From October 31st until the evening of November 1st, people will remember those who have died.

Due to the thinning of the veil between life and death, it will be easier to communicate with spirits on this day. Lots of people confuse Samhain with Halloween for this reason.

How did Samhain start, though, and how do you celebrate? Well, the holiday began with Celtic religious tradition. The Celts held four fire festivals throughout the year, with Samhain the most important one of all.

Back then, the Celts believed that the spiritual veil was thinner from the fall equinox until the winter solstice, and did many things during that time to celebrate Samhain.

After that year’s harvest, Celts celebrating Samhain would light a wheel on fire as a representation of the sun to use for prayer. People participating in this ritual could light a torch with this sun and use the flames to warm their homes.

An image of a larger, sparking bonfire with dozens of people gathered around it. Groups are sitting on benches and the grass, while some people are standing.
Bonfires remain a super important part of community Samhain celebration to this day.

The Celts would also leave offerings outside their homes during Samhain for any spirits that visited him, and dress up as monsters themselves so crossing over spirits would not kidnap or harm them. One such monster was the Pukah, a shapeshifter.

Traditions for Samhain changed with time, however. Jack O'Lanterns made their first appearance during the Middle Ages, though people originally used turnips. Celebrators of Samhain would also hold more personal bonfires at this time, called Samghnagans.

Today, there are lots of different ways that you can celebrate Samhain. Namely, it depends whether you want a more private or community-based celebration.

If you want to keep your Samhain celebrations personal, you can start by decorating your home in honor of the festival. Lots of things you already associate with autumn will work— candles, pumpkins, corn stalks, or the Samhain colors, orange and black.

To celebrate transformation, you could also consider updating or redecorating a room in your house. Maybe move some furniture around to get in the spirit of Samhain!

An image of two different paint rollers sitting on a wood floor beside a brightly colored area rug.
Samhain is a time to celebrate change, so embracing small changes around your house could really help you to get in the right mindset.

Celebrating the dead is a super important part of celebrating Samhain, and so you can set up an altar as an offering to your loved ones. Fill a table with pictures, candles, and mementos from a loved one’s life so they can see it when they cross over and know that you are thankful for them.

If you want to take your Samhain celebrations outside of your home, you can definitely do so while still maintaining your privacy. Take a walk to explore the natural world around you— appreciate the fall weather while you engage in some reflection.

Perhaps your feet may take you to visit a cemetery. Visiting your loved ones who have passed on during this time can be very special, so consider leaving an offering at their grave itself. Think about how important they were to you.

If you do become interested in celebrating Samhain as a larger community, bonfires and potlucks are a great way to go about it. Reflecting can be even more effective if we share our thoughts with others.

Tarot, Spirituality, and Samhain

Since tarot can be a very helpful spiritual tool for reflection, it is very relevant to your Samhain celebrations. 

Through little rituals, both on Samhain and throughout the year, you can get more in touch with your thoughts and beliefs. It’s always good to look within yourself in order to find balance, and tarot helps countless people do this.

If you’re feeling lost and confused, tarot readings are a great way to facilitate answers and analysis. Tarot can help you understand things you may be keeping secret about yourself, and provide direction for what you should do in the future.

Reading tarot helps lots of people get in touch with the spiritual center. Reflection and self-awareness are super important parts of celebrating Samhain, and the cards encourage these things at a deeper level than you may reach on your own.

To reach the answers you want via tarot, you have to approach it with a calm and focused mind. Center yourself as you search for guidance in the cards, and you are more likely to find what you’re looking for.

Both the divination and contemplation aspects of tarot are very relevant for Samhain. The thinner the veil between worlds, the more accurate you may find your reading. A Samhain tarot spread may help you understand what the coming year will bring.

An image of someone holding a crystal in their hand. The ground below their hand has several crystals and tarot cards arranged around.
A tarot reading can help us to better understand ourselves, as well as the world around us. What better time to do a reading than during a holiday for reflection?

In order to have the best results, there are lots of steps you can take for your Samhain tarot ritual. One idea for celebrating Samhain through tarot is by conducting a “year ahead” tarot reading, which means pulling thirteen cards.

Twelve of these cards will each represent one month of the coming year, with one representing the year as a whole. Since some refer to Samhain as the “Witch’s New Year,” what better way to celebrate? This ritual will help prepare you for the energy and lessons of the year to come.

Though the thinning veil may help your tarot readings to be more accurate, you can also do little individual rituals to make sure your mind is clear and open to what the cards may want to tell you.

Cleanse yourself in a candlelit bath— embracing fire and water. You can also add any herbs and salts you may prefer. Wash away negative energy so that it doesn’t have an impact on the cards.

The cards themselves may also need to be cleansed, as well as the space you plan to do the reading in. What you choose to do so with is, once again, entirely up to you. Mugwort, sage, lavender, palo santo, and incense are all wonderful choices.

An image of burning sage laid out beside several face-up tarot cards. The rest of the tarot deck and a crystal are in the background.
If you cleanse your cards, chances are your tarot reading may be more effective.

If you are performing a tarot reading during Samhain, consider calling on spirits to help you and guide your hands. Who knows, they might be listening. This is also a reason why you may want to take extra protective steps before reading the cards. Cast a circle or call for protection from the elements, since malicious spirits could be nearby, too.

No matter what, you should always take a moment to meditate and ground yourself before you begin pulling cards from the deck. 

Clear your mind so that when you begin shuffling, you can concentrate on what you want from this reading and from the year ahead of you. Once you begin pulling your cards, lay them out in a circle. 

The first card in your Samhain tarot spread will represent the coming November, and the cards will provide you with insight all the way through the following October— until the next year’s festival.

You can choose to pull the card that represents the whole year last, but some like to pull that card first from just the major arcana deck. What you decide is up to you, as both can be very effective.

When analyzing what the cards say about what you will face in the coming year, take note of any cards that have more negative energy so that you can prepare for challenges in those months. Likewise, look for what months may bring positive things.

If any card you pulled is particularly daunting, you can also pull an advice card from the deck to ask for more clarity on how to face that obstacle.

Make sure to keep a record of your Samhain spread for this reading; consider taking a picture before you close your circle and put the cards away. Since a year ahead reading focuses on the long-term, you’ll want to make sure you can refer back to it.

After all, next time Samhain rolls around, you may want to re-examine your reading from the previous year and compare the two.

Regardless of whether you choose to celebrate with tarot or not, we wish you a pleasant Samhain this year.

Charlotte Pearse

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