Samhain can be celebrated on the calendar date of October 31 or when the Sun is at the 15th degree of Scorpio on November 6. Or it can be celebrated on both days depending upon your ritual needs. All of the sabbats can be celebrated over the course of several days, but the cross-quarter sabbats have a longer period of influence, especially Samhain. So many people work their magic on or near October 31 that the powers are summoned, the spirits are stirred, and the veils are parted, but the qualities associated with Samhain continue to rise until November 6. It is easier to access subtle energies and open the way between the worlds on all the sabbats, but at Samhain this is felt more intensely.
On October 31 the Moon will be full in Taurus and conjunct a retrograde Uranus. It is also a blue moon. Mercury, Mars, Neptune, and the asteroid Chiron are also retrograde, with Mercury squaring Saturn. The Sun is moving toward an opposition with Uranus that peaks on November 4. There is also a stellium of Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto that is building to a Jupiter-Pluto conjunction the middle of November. If you are fluent in the language of astrology you may be taking a moment to contemplate the challenges these imply. However, challenges are often the keys to opening the way to opportunities, and this Samhain season can do just that.
Let's start with how to work with all those retrogrades as you plan your rituals, celebrations, and workings. For many, Samhain is a time to work with the ancestors, the lessons of the past, and the bringing in of the harvest. Retrogrades are an invitation to move slowly, to dig deeply, and enter into the reverie of remembrance. They are not the best time to begin new things, but they are an excellent time to review, refine, and release what has already been in progress.
When Neptune is retrograde, it facilitates your ability to experience what lies beyond the physical. It is also easier to release whatever illusions and delusions you may be harboring. Neptune retrogrades will often challenge you by stripping away layers of fantasy and leaving you with the task of seeing things as they are. If you can still find the will and desire to move forward with a realistic perspective, you win.
When Uranus is retrograde, its swift, transformative power is slowed down enough so we can see how its lightning flash branches and grounds into the Earth. This is particularly true while Uranus is in the slow and robust sign of Taurus. The urge to quickly change the material conditions of your life will be strong; instead, use this time to reconnoiter and make a plan of action. Profound change is achievable if you find the balance between Uranus's drive for action and Taurus's drive for durability.
When Chiron is retrograde, our old psychological and spiritual wounds become more evident. Chiron is also the bridge between the outer and the inner places, as well as the network that unites the various parts that make up our whole, and when retrograde it is possible to trace those connections and find the breaks in your integrity. While the healing may happen after Chiron goes direct, the insight that starts this process is easier to find during the retrograde.
When Mars is retrograde, physical energy and power to assert your will in the world turns inward. You may feel frustrated, but pushing yourself and forcing outcomes probably won't serve you well. It is a good time for self-care and recharging. This is also a time to examine your wants, needs, and priorities. If you evaluate your methods in life for reaching your goals during a Mars retrograde, it will be easier to see what does and doesn't work.
When Mercury is retrograde, it is important to be very careful in how you listen and how you speak. Of all the retrogrades, people seem to be the most concerned about Mercury's. However, if you work with, rather than against, its natural tendencies, it can serve you well. It is an excellent time to edit and review what you have written, as well as your unwritten inner dialogue. If you adjust your pace, you will find that you will notice subtleties and details that would've been missed when moving at your normal speed.
Mercury is also squaring Saturn at Halloween. This does have a tendency to encourage sharp conversation and conflict. But it does not have to be the case. It can also allow you to find the details that cause conflict so that they can be adjusted or negotiated. If the desired outcome is an ending of a connection, then use this aspect mindfully for that purpose. With the Moon being conjunct Uranus, there will be a pressure to act up and act out. This sense of urgency can be redirected to raise energy in your rituals and workings. Feel it for what it is and turn it into power instead of agitation or anxiety.
For November 6, when the Sun is at the 15th degree of Scorpio, astrological Samhain, the retrogrades are still in effect with the exception of Mercury, which will have gone direct on November 3. The conjunction between Jupiter and Pluto continues to tighten and will be exact on November 12. This conjunction will be the third and last in a series. The stellium of Saturn, Jupiter, and Pluto is the strongest influence during this period. These aspects arouse a desire for profound change from the smallest details of your life to the largest structures in society. The key to good choices is to focus on what you hold to be the most personally meaningful. When Jupiter and Saturn reach an exact conjunction at the Winter Solstice, the influences peak, but start working with them at Samhain. This conjunction is much like the pouring of a foundation or the planting of a perennial garden; the decisions that are made will have a lasting impact. This Samhain is truly a crossroads, a threshold, filled with endings and beginnings that will reverberate for years to come. Empower your choices.
Excerpted from Llewellyn's 2021 Sabbats Almanac.
Ivo Dominguez Jr. (Southern Delaware) has been active in Wicca and the Pagan community since 1978 and has been teaching since 1982. He was a founding member of Keepers of the Holly Chalice and he currently serves as an elder ...