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Samhain is a Gaelic festival that has an incredible history surrounding it. Growing up in the UK with Celtic heritage, I have always been interested in Paganism and ancient earthly religions. Long before I got into Tarot, I loved learning about the history of Paganism and our relationship with mother earth. I believe that we can really get in touch with ourselves and the universe by celebrating these festivals and using Tarot to help us.
So, today I am going to be going through a Samhain Tarot spread guide with you. I will take a look at a three spreads we can do for this festival that allow us to explore our spirituality. In this guide, I will be using the Modern Witch Tarot deck by Lisa Sterle.
Samhain Tarot Spreads Up Front
These three Tarot spreads are designed to be performed on the night of Samhain. My favorite spread is the Samhain darkness spread. It allows us to examine different aspects of ourselves, using the Tarot to explore things we may be ignoring.
I have also included a Samhain spread for preparing for the winter, and a spread that allows you to explore the other side of the veil.
What Is Samhain?
Before we get into the different spreads, let’s remind ourselves of what Samhain is and why it is important. This ancient Celtic celebration is thought to be the origin of Halloween. It occurs from the 31st of October to the 1st of November, with celebrations going on all through the night.
It is one of the four main Celtic celebrations and marks the beginning of the darker half of the year. It falls halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice.
According to History.com, the Ancient Celts believed that Samhain was when the veil between this world and the next was at its thinnest. Because of this, they would typically leave offerings for beings from the otherworld on this night.
Samhain Spread: Preparing for the Dark Half
In this three-card spread for Samhain, we recognize the changing of the seasons and figure out what we can do in order to prepare for the dark half of the year.
Preparing for winter was very important for our ancestors, who did not have the luxuries that we do today. Of course, things are a bit different nowadays (we don’t need to stock up on food and firewood). However, we are able to celebrate Samhain by looking at what we can do to prepare for the dark half. This involves what we should leave behind and what we should do now in order to have a good winter.
The three cards pulled in this spread refer to:
- Card one: What you need to leave behind
- Card two: What you need to hold onto
- Card three: How you can prepare to have a good dark half
Let’s go through an example spread to learn more about this spread. I will pick three cards and look at what the cards might mean in the different positions.
What you Need to Leave Behind
The first card pulls shows us things we need to let go of before the dark half. If we carry this baggage into winter, it will affect our happiness and wellbeing.
For this card, I received the Four of Pentacles. I always think this is a pretty interesting card, as it has both positive and negative meanings in its upright position. It can suggest that you are conscious and protective of your money as you have worked hard to achieve it. However, it can also suggest that you are being stingy and materialistic. Perhaps you are overprotective about your material goods, and this is affecting your relationship with other people and your spirituality.
I think that the Four of Pentacles holds the latter meaning in this position. I, like a lot of people, can care a little too much about money! Furthermore, I do sometimes fall into the trap of valuing myself only by my bank account. However, our happiness and well-being depend on so much more than just money!
The Tarot is telling me that I need to leave this kind of attitude in the past. Carrying it into winter will only cause me anxiety and stress.
What you Need to Hold Onto
The second card pulled represents things that you are doing now that you need to hold onto and carry into the dark half. This card will reveal the positive actions and attitudes you have.
For this card, I received the Magician. This is the only Major Arcana in the spread, suggesting that the universe wants me to know that this aspect of my life is very important. The Magician is a wonderful card and reminds us of our ability to manifest and progress. When the Magician pops up in a reading, the universe is telling us that we have the power in our hands to achieve our dreams. There are so many opportunities out there right now, we just need to go for them!
When understanding the Magician in this position, we can read it as telling me that I need to remember the magic I have within me. I need to carry on with a positive attitude and work with my skills and abilities to achieve my goals. I do have this positive attitude, and so it makes sense that the Tarot is telling me to take it into the winter!
How you can Prepare to Have a Good Dark Half
The third card pulled shows us how we can prepare to have a successful winter. It is an action card, showing us what we can do now in order to enjoy the dark half of the year. Sometimes, this card can be a little difficult to read. However, by meditating on the card and looking at it in different ways, you will work out what the Tarot is trying to tell you!
I received the Three of Cups in this position. This is a beautiful card, all about friendships and support! It reminds us of the power of friendships, and how we can rely on them whenever we are in need.
I like how I received this card in this position. I can suffer from anxiety and depression over winter, and have been known to become a bit of a recluse! However, not seeing my friends ultimately harms my well-being.
The Tarot is telling me that I must make sure I stay connected with those close to me over the winter months. I need to be aware of my tendency to draw back in the dark half of the year.
Samhain Darkness Spread
For my second Samhain spread, I have explored the darker side of this festival. Ancient Celts believed that ghosts and monsters would appear on the night of Samhain. So, I wanted to incorporate these ideas into a spread. However, this spread doesn’t look at the darker side of the universe, but the darker side of us.
What ghosts and monsters and within us that we need to address?
The four cards pulled in this spread refer to:
- Card one: Ghosts – Hidden fears
- Card two: Monsters – Bad habits
- Card three: Death – What to let go of
- Card four: Spirits – Messages and advice
Let’s pull four cards and go through this spread to understand it better!
Ghosts – Hidden Fears
The first card pulled reveals our personal ghosts. It will show us our hidden fears that keep us up at night. By acknowledging these ghosts, we are able to work on moving forward and overcoming them.
For this card, I received the Ten of Pentacles. The Ten of Pentacles reflects a time of abundance and financial security. It has links to family and sustainability, reminding us of the importance of spreading our successes.
This is a pretty positive card, so how can we understand it in this position? Well, I believe it to be showing that my hidden fear is not having the energy of the Ten of Pentacles. I really value being financially stable, and I do worry about my long-term success! This fear is something that I need to address. How can I work to ease these worries?
Monsters – Bad Habits
The second card pulled in this spread reflects bad habits you have. These bad habits are affecting your well-being and happiness, so need to be addressed!
For this card, I received the Seven of Cups. This is a card of choices and opportunities. It will typically appear in a reading if you have a lot of different paths to go down, and don’t know which one to pick.
However, this card does have a slightly negative aspect to it. It can suggest that you are prone to wishful thinking and idealism. You may have a lot of ideas and opportunities, but you are not actually putting the work in to pursue them.
I think this card makes sense in this position. As a writer, I have a whole load of different projects that I am working on. I will often begin a new project, then forget about it straight away. This definitely is a bad habit of mine! The Tarot is telling me that I need to remember to put in the work in order to achieve my goals. I need to make the choices and pursue them.
Death – What to Let go of
The third card pulled reflects what I need to let go of. This may be linked to the previous card, or represent a totally new aspect of your life that you need to bring your attention to. It will reflect actions and thoughts that you need to actively stop and work against.
For this card, I received the Hermit. I was a bit surprised at this card appearing in this position. I love the Hermit card. It reminds us of the importance of introspection and learning from our intuitions. It has energy of solitude and spiritual growth.
So, what could it mean in this position? Well, I believe the Tarot is telling me that I need to stop relying solely on my own knowledge. It is telling me that I need to be active in learning from others, leaving my Hermit side in the past for now.
Spirits – Messages and Advice
The final card pulled in this spread reflects messages and advice from the universe. This card is pretty open and general, and usually pretty easy to understand! Remember to listen to your own intuitions when reading the Tarot, especially when it comes to advice cards.
For this card, I received the Fool. The first card of the Major Arcana, the Fool reflects stepping into the unknown. There is energy of innocence and adventure with this card. The Fool is taking a risk and making a leap of faith. He is at the beginning of his adventure, with no way of knowing where it will take him. But, he wants to pursue it anyway.
I thought it was interesting to look at the Hermit and the Fool card together in order to really understand what the universe is telling me. I need to let go of the Hermit, and turn to others to learn. The Hermit has energy of wisdom, whereas the Fool is the opposite. Perhaps I have the belief that I am wise like the Hermit. But really, I need to embrace my Fool side! There is so much to learn from the universe, I need to go out there and explore!
Samhain Spread – Explore the Other Side of the Veil
For Ancient Celts, Samhain is a time when the veil between the two worlds is at its thinnest. We are able to connect with spirits, allowing them to guide us.
The next spread explores the other side of the veil, and how we approach death. Death is one of those things in the world that we just simply cannot understand. It is scary and overwhelming to think about, but it will happen to everyone.
I think that it is important to discuss and explore death. In western society, I do find it weird how there is shame and awkwardness about talking about death and those we have lost. I have lost people close to me, and know that there is a certain taboo surrounding death. However, with working with Tarot and ancient customs and festivals, we are able to explore our own attitudes towards death and those that we have lost.
The four cards pulled in this spread refer to:
- Card one: Beliefs of the other side
- Card four: Messages from spirits
- Card three: Our relationship with the other side
- Card four: Advice from the universe
Let’s go through an example of this spread to really get to grips with the card positions!
Beliefs of the Other Side
The first card pulled reflects our beliefs of the other side. Now, this card can be difficult to properly decipher. But, by meditating on the card and considering different meanings, we will be able to figure it out.
For this card, I received the Wheel of Fortune. A card all about karma, fate, and going with the flow of the universe, how does this link to my beliefs on death?
Well, I do fear death and think about it. However, I know that it will happen. So, all I can do is go with the flow and enjoy life! The Wheel of Fortune is a pretty optimistic card, so I liked how it appeared in this position. I am reminded about the cycle of life and death, and how it will happen. Yet, there is optimism still. Death means that I am alive, and this is super lucky! I am able to enjoy my life and experience everything the universe throws at me.
Messages from Spirits
The second card pulled reflects messages from spirits. Because the veil is thin during Samhain, it is the right time to ask for messages from spirits. We can connect with those that have passed on.
For this card, I received the Empress. This Major Arcana card reflects abundance and care. The Empress is a nurturing person, deeply connected with nature and her own femininity.
So, what does it mean for me in this position? What messages am I getting from the spirits?
Well, I immediately thought about my dad. He passed away four years ago, and I do think about how he would feel about me if he were still alive. Would he be proud?
Receiving the Empress put a smile on my face. It reminds me that I am successful, caring, and nurturing. If my dad were still around, he would be proud to see what I have become.
Our Relationship with the Other Side
The third card pulled reflects our relationship with the other side. Are we linked to it at all? Do we have a connection with spirits?
For this card, I received the Two of Wands. This card reflects future planning and decision-making. It represents a time of pausing and looking to the future, working out what we need to do in order to progress.
So, let’s consider this in regard to my relationship with the other side. I cannot connect with spirits and those that have passed, and this does mean that I doubt that we can. I tend to have the belief that once people die, we are unable to communicate with them. I believe that they are here in the world, but they are in a totally different form from what we can comprehend.
In this position, the Two of Wands reflects my grounded and logical attitude towards death. I do not right now have a connection with the other side. But, in the future, could I? What could I do to enhance this connection?
Advice from the Universe
The last card pulled in this spread is advice from the universe. It will be in regard to worries and concerns about death and the other side. It may show us advice on how to live so, that when we die, we are fulfilled.
For this card, I received the Six of Pentacles. I like this card, as it is all about giving and receiving, and charity. I think it is super important to help out those in need. I do see this card as reflecting advice on how to live for me. In order to be fulfilled and content with death, I need to make my life meaningful. By helping those in need, I am doing that.
Samhain Tarot Spread Guide FAQs
Let’s look at some questions you might have about these Samhain Tarot spreads.
Question: What is Samhain?
Answer: Samhain is an ancient Celtic celebration that marks the beginning of the dark half of the year. It is when the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest.
Question: Can I perform these spreads on other nights of the year?
Answer: You can perform these spreads on other nights of the year. However, the spread that explores the other side of the veil is best to be done on the night of Samhain.
Question: Can you connect with the dead with Tarot cards?
Answer: Some people do use Tarot cards to connect with the dead, receiving messages from spirits.
Celebrate Samhain With These Easy Spreads
I hope you have enjoyed my Samhain Tarot spread guide! If you are into spirituality, it is super useful to explore the different celebrations and festivals of our ancestors. Samhain is a super important one, marking the beginning of the winter months.
By using these spreads on the night of Samhain, you are able to explore your soul and its connection with the universe.