Why Samhain isn’t Compulsory

Samhain has come and gone, and the new witching year has begun. Yes, it’s that time of the year to practice divination to see what’s coming, that time of the year to say goodbye to all that has been left behind. Yet, although it’s both a sad and joyous moment, do we really have to celebrate it, honour it, or even acknowledge it?

Samhain is one of the 8 Sabbats of the year wheel, pagan celebrations that are approximately 8 weeks apart. These Sabbats mark different times of the year from the solstices and equinoxes, through to harvests and the first stirrings of spring. Typically, when one Sabbat passes, a witch will begin preparing for the next, and already, I can sense the stirrings of Yule within the online Witch community.

However, although most Witches celebrate the Sabbats with coven meetings, rituals, rites, divination and prayer work, it’s not compulsory.

Recognising and celebrating the Sabbats is a choice.

Personally, yesterday I acknowledged Samhain with a small nod of the head and a “Blessed be” to those in the know, but other than that, I had no altar, cast no spells, and did zero divination. Instead, I cooked dinner, then went to the pub and had a glass of wine whilst my fiancé watched the football.

And you know what? That is more than acceptable, and completely ok. I feel no guilt for not thoroughly partaking in this blessed day, nor do I have any regrets for not devoting more time to the spirits within my home, or my ancestors.

I feel that these days there’s a lot more pressure on Pagans and Witches to celebrate certain days in certain ways, and to their lives according to what they see and read, thanks in part to Social Media, but also the more easily accessible wealth of knowledge now available online. Trust me when I say learning the craft in the 90’s was nowhere near as easy as it is in todays connected world!

And as always, with this increased awareness and knowledge comes the self-doubt that I have spoken about before: Am I witchy enough? Am I practicing correctly?

And as always I remind you: You are always enough, and every witch practices their craft in their own unique way.

Although the Wheel of the Year is a beautiful thing and helps to remind us of the fragility and cyclical nature of life, death and rebirth, it’s not a commandment and nor is it an order, and it’s not something we should feel pressured to recognise or even to involve in our day to day workings or beliefs.

Knowing the Sabbats isn’t a qualification, and doesn’t make or break you as a witch, just like divination or wishcraft, or hedgeriding doesn’t make or break you a witch.

So, when Yule comes around in December, don’t feel like you have to celebrate, don’t feel obligated to create an altar or use the day’s energies in your workings. If you miss it, you miss it – as long as you are happy, and healthy, and practicing your craft the way that means to most to you, that’s all that really matters at the end of any day, no matter how magickal a day it is.

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