In a nutshell, Samhain is a time to remember, mourn, and celebrate the dead, to mark the end of the harvest season and the oncoming winter, and to reflect on one’s own place in the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. Samhain’s secular counterpart, Halloween, is the only mainstream holiday that plays with and laughs at our collective fears, especially the fear of death and dying.
Both holidays mark a meeting and parlay between the upper world and the underworld, the light and the shadow. I wrote a tarot spread inspired by the occasion, designed to survey and compare the terrain of one’s personal upper world and under world.
I set down three pairs of cards, mirrored over an imagined horizon line. The first pair, Life and Death, asks the two questions I hold at the core of most of my readings. What do I need to move towards and embrace? What do I need to let go of and cut from my life?
The second pair, Courage and Fear, contrasts the fears I manage well with the fears I repress and avoid. Where in life am I brave? Which fears do I openly face and manage with skill? What fears am I less skilled at navigating? What do I need to shed light on and tackle next?
The final pair, Celebration and Contemplation, acknowledges the odd dual nature of holidays that jumble festivity and solemnity together. What do I have to celebrate? How can I let go and squeeze the most joy out of this moment? What requires more sober reflection from me? What do I have to meditate on? If you’re in a period of mourning, you could use the sixth card to reflect on what and how you grieve.
Here’s a sample reading with the Halloween Tarot. I’ll spare you the gory details of my personal shadow-work, and stick to key points. The cards I drew certainly resonate with where I’m at right now.
Trust more, play more, keep following my gut.
2. Death: What to Let Go Of
Two of Pumpkins (Pentacles) Rx
I need to let go of that precarious, barely holding things together feeling. Constantly striving to reach my idea of perfect balance may be keeping me out of a true, attainable balance.
3. My Courage
Page of Ghosts (Cups)
I’m pretty good at facing my emotions and the weirdo recesses of my imagination. I’m good with sitting alone in my inner landscape.
4. My Fear
Four of Imps (Wands) Rx
I’m afraid of instability and insecurity. I’m afraid of getting my shit together, having nice things, and building because I expect anything I set up with love and care to come toppling down. I’m afraid that I lack a foundation to build on.
5. To Celebrate
Three of Pumpkins (Pentacles) Rx
This is basically the opposite of “put down the ducky if you want to play the saxophone.” Put down the pen and back away from the GD drawing board. Not every day is a work day.
6. To Contemplate
Ten of Pumpkins (Pentacles)
This ties right in with my fears card and gives me some themes to contemplate in order to work that knot out. Home, foundation, security, fulfillment, and bliss. I need to think about where I want to go next in terms of where I started, and where I am now. What’s been enough and what hasn’t? What resources do I have around me now? (Hint: more than I think.)
Let me know what you think if you try this one out, yourself. As always, spreads that I post on the blog are free for personal use. I just ask that you don’t use them commercially, and if you decide to blog your results, I’d love a link. Thanks!
Have a fabulous, blessed, and blissfully spoopy weekend!