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Welcoming Samhain: accepting the darkness as well as the light

Samhain is upon us.

In ancient times, Samhain was the festival that celebrated the end of the Celtic year, and the beginning of a new year. It can also be thought of as a New Year's celebration. It acknowledged the time of year when the harvest was over, nature was starting to decline, and hibernate. Samhain also marks the beginning of the dark season.

The themes of death and darkness were dominant.

So how can we be inspired by Samhain today? What significance may it have in our lives today?

I've summarised what I believe are the 5 main takeaways of Samhain, and how it is relevant to our lives today.

  • Darkness is as natural, and as necessary, as light. Likewise, the dark aspects of ourselves - sometimes referred to as our shadow side - are as necessary as our bright, "sunny" side. This part of ourselves is the one which can be our teacher, and our guide. Although it is often very challenging to accept our shadow side, with awareness, and openness, we can learn to treat it with acceptance and compassion. This is where we have the opportunity to grow, and to sometimes make changes that are more aligned with our true self.

  • Samhain can help teach us to let go of what is no longer needed in our lives. Whether this is physical stuff, or emotional stuff - such as old habits or old belief systems - or even friendships or relationships that no longer are serving us, this is a time to really ask ourselves what can we release. We are mirrors of nature. Just like the trees are able to gracefully let go of it's leaves in order to be able to create fresh foilage next Spring, it is natural for us to let go of things that are no longer good for us.

  • We need to rest, to slow down. This is vital. The natural world understands this. Many animals hibernate at this time of year. Plant life retreats. Humans often don't allow ourselves to really rest. This is more than sleep. It's taking things at a slower pace at times. It's the opposite of doing, of achieving something. How can you incorporate rest into your everyday, so you can restore the natural balance to your nervous system? This may be simply carving out 15 minutes a day to sit, to walk in nature, to write. Or to stay under the covers some days. There are so many ways to do this. The important point is to make it a habit. Listen to yourself. Samhain can help us to understand this, and that it is part of the natural cycle of life.

  • How can you bring more light into your life now? I love lighting candles at any time of year, but especially now. I find they can help bring warmth to my mood. You may find an activity that really brings joy and a feeling of lightness to your being. This will only radiate outwards to others, and you will spark light and happiness in others too. It doesn't matter what it is, but your heart and soul will know the feeling!

  • This is also a time to allow ourselves to draw our energy inwards. Maybe you have always wanted to try meditation or restorative Yoga? Or simply take some time out alone. Like the concept of Yin and Yang, we need quieter, introspective time, as well as more outward and extrovert time.

Samhain holds many gifts.

I hope that this will help you gain some new perspective on navigating the "dark" - whether it's simply the darker days, or you can apply it some other aspect of your life.

I am so much looking forward to delving deeper in this topic with the wonderful Mari Kennedy. She is the creator of The Celtic Wheel, an online journey into the ancient Celtic festivals. This closes for bookings tomorrow I believe. More details here. Maybe I will see you there.


Article by Kerry White

Kerry White is a Motherhood Clarity Coach, helping women get clarity around their desire to pursue an alternative path to motherhood.

She is also a Workplace Wellbeing Facilitator, Keynote Speaker, Shiatsu Therapist and Yoga Teacher. Kerry is especially passionate about supporting women feel well on every level - physically, mentally, socially and spiritually.

Read more about Kerry here.

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Zoe Baker
Zoe Baker

Hello Kerry, I love this blog post! I have just shared a link to it in a group I am part of on Facebook, as we have been discussing how the approaching dark days and change of season impacts us. I find your beautiful words here very inspiring about how we can shift our mindset to accept rather than rue this change of seasons. Thankyou.

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