You might associate Halloween with candy and carved pumpkins, but the 31st of October has a history that stretches long before trick-or-treating was ever a thing. For pagans, Halloween is called Samhain (pronounced Sah-wen) aka the Witch’s New Year. It’s an evening dedicated to connecting with the inner self and setting intentions for the months ahead, says Erica Feldmann, founder of shop and community space HausWitch in Salem, Massachusetts.
No matter how you feel about the word witch, doesn’t the idea of focusing on yourself, your energy, and your space sound like a beautiful way to spend the night? Lean into the special holiday by indulging in a few Samhain-inspired wellness practices right from the comfort of your own home.
Clear Your Space
“Before any kind of self-care, I like to clear the space of negative or stale energy,” says Feldmann. Of course, you can just burn sage or other herbs, but she also recommends putting on music, clapping, dancing, or using clearing spray—like HausWitch Holy Smoke Room Spray—to cleanse the vibes of your home. (Just be mindful that white sage is sacred to many indigenous peoples and the practice of smudging is a closed practice in those communities.)
Set the Mood
Once you’ve cleared your space, it’s time to get ready for all that magic. Feldmann recommends lighting your favorite candle, whether that’s a cozy autumnal scent or elegant tapers. It isn’t just for show; she suggests a fun practice called candle gazing. It’s similar to meditation, but with witch-approved benefits, like improved concentration and clarity.
Simply turn out the lights and place the candle two to three feet from you at eye level. Take some deep breaths, relax your eyes, and clear your mind. “Now stare into the candle flame and see if any messages come through,” says Feldmann. “You might see pictures in your mind’s eye or in the candle flame.” No need to strain your eyes—do only what feels natural.
“Witches believe that on Samhain, the veil between the material world and the astral plane is at its thinnest,” says Feldmann. “Meaning that it’s a perfect time to reach out to those who have transitioned to the spirit world.”
This can be as simple as closing your eyes and expressing gratitude to all those who came before you, she notes. Or to take it a step further, drink some tea: Try an herbal version with mugwort or rosemary to give your psychic abilities (Feldmann assures us that everyone has them) a boost. Then write in a journal, thanking your ancestors, while also releasing any patterns or attachments that no longer serve you.
Cast a Spell
“Halloween is also a gateway to winter for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, so setting an intention to stay warm, happy, and healthy at home is another way to honor the spirit of the night from the comfort of your own space,” says Feldmann.
There are a few kits that make setting an intention (also known as casting a spell!) less intimidating. Species by the Thousands has a series of collections based on what your hope for the year is, and HausWitch makes a HausWarming Spell Kit that’s meant to warm up your space energetically and leave it feeling good all winter long. No flying broomsticks necessary.