Samhain is the final harvest Sabbat of the year. At this time the last crops are gathered and put into storage for the cold winter’s months. The god makes his ultimate sacrifice at this time. But fear not his sacrifice is a willing one, for he does this for his children. The god is symbolized by the last of the harvest. He (the god of the harvest) is cut down (sacrificed) at this time so that we may have food to last us through the winter. The “Johan Barleycorn” songs came from this.
At this time of the year, the cattle and pigs are culled keeping only the ones strong enough to weather the harsh winter months. The meat is then salted and cured so that the people would be able to survive the long winter.
Samhain is also known as the witches’ New Year. The Celts felt that this was the beginning of the year. The reason for this is they believed a new life started at death. You needed to die to be reborn into a new life. That is just what the god has done with his sacrifice. He now resides in the underworld awaiting birth at Yule.
Samhain is also the time to communicate with the dead, The Veil between the worlds is the thinnest at this time. The Veil is the doorway or curtain that separates the land of the living with the land of the dead. Contact between the two worlds is now easily accomplished. So contacting past loved ones is common on this Sabbat. The dead are honored at this time. An example of this in today’s modern society is Mexico’s day of the dead.
The Wheel turns to represent death at this Sabbat, only to continue turning at Yule, to the beginning, representing life and rebirth. The eternal cycle of reincarnation is celebrated during Samhain. The old god dies to be reborn at Yule.