Wondering what to offer your favorite deities this Samhain?
Are pomegranates difficult or too expensive in your area?
No worries! There are more than a dozen great Samhain offering alternatives that you can decorate your altar with this Samhain season!
Here are 13 traditional and symbolic offerings for Samhain:
- Apples: A symbol of the harvest and the journey to the otherworld, apples are sacred to many deities associated with death and the underworld.
- Pomegranates: Linked to the story of Persephone and her descent into the underworld, the pomegranate is a symbol of death, rebirth, and the cyclical nature of life.
- Candles: Lighting candles can guide spirits and honor the fire within as the nights grow longer.
- Bread: Often homemade, this is an offering of sustenance. Some bake soul cakes or barmbrack, traditional Samhain breads.
- Wine or Cider: Libations can be poured onto the ground or left out to honor the deities and spirits.
- Water: A basic element of life, offering fresh water is a way to refresh and cleanse.
- Herbs: Sage, mugwort, and rosemary are often used, either burned or left as offerings. They can be protective, cleansing, or visionary.
- Bones: Symbolizing the thin line between life and death, animal bones (often from the feast or meal) can be respectfully offered.
- Photographs or Mementos: Items that represent or belong to deceased loved ones can be placed on the altar as a way to remember and honor them.
- Seeds or Nuts: Symbolizing potential and the promise of future growth, these can be offerings for nature spirits and deities.
- Milk or Honey: A traditional offering for spirits and fae folk, leaving out a dish of milk or honey is a way to ensure blessings and prevent mischief.
- Divination Tools: Tarot cards, runes, or other divinatory tools can be cleansed and charged on the Samhain altar, and can also be used to communicate with the other side.
- A Silent Plate: Some people set an extra place at the dinner table or leave out a silent plate filled with food to honor the deceased and welcome them to partake in the Samhain feast.
These offerings can be placed on an altar, left outside, or utilized in ritual. As always, ensure offerings are environmentally friendly and safe for wildlife if left outdoors.
Samhain, pronounced “sow-in,” is a major sabbat in the pagan Wheel of the Year, celebrated on October 31st.
It’s a time when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead is at its thinnest. People honor their ancestors, celebrate the harvest, and prepare for the coming winter.
Making offerings is a way to honor the deities, spirits, and ancestors during this time.