When Is Samhain? What Is Astrological Versus Astronomical Samhain?

When Is Samhain? What Is Astrological Versus Astronomical Samhain? October 31, 2019
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When is Samhain? Isn’t it always October 31st?

Some traditions do indeed celebrate it on October 31st, but for others the 31st is Samhain even and November 1st is actually Samhain.

Is one right and the other wrong? Not really, it’s just a matter of what tradition or background you come from.

And those aren’t the only potential dates, either. There’s also astrological Samhain and astronomical Samhain. So all in all, you have four potential dates depending on when astronomical and astrological Samhain falls.

What’s astrological Samhain?

Astrological Samhain takes place whenever the sun is 15 degrees into Scorpio. For example, in 2019 that happens on November 7th at 12:24pm EST.

And astronomical Samhain?

Astronomical Samhain occurs exactly midway between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice. So for 2019 it would be November 7, 12:14pm EST.

Obviously for this year the times for both astrological and astronomical Samhain line up fairly nicely, but this isn’t necessarily always the case. And as for which one you choose, that depends entirely on you, whatever traditions or background you come from, or what appeals to you personally.

As always, there are no right or wrong ways to figure out the timing of Samhain!

Can’t we just celebrate Samhain from October 31st until November 7th?

Go for it! That’s certainly a valid approach too. Not to mention it’s just easiest for most people to gather on weekends, so whenever the weekend falls in between those dates is probably your best bet.

How about that veil thinning? Wouldn’t the dates matter?

I think it would come down to what tradition you were most connected to. For me, the peak period of when I pick up the most spirit world related activity is between Oct 31st and whenever astrological or astronomical Samhain falls last. For some, that ends immediately after Samhain is over while for others that gradually tapers off until Imbolc. I’m in the latter category.


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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Willow Rose

    Life is demanding, the world is a busy place, I look at the sabbats as an ebb and flow of energy from one into the next. I’ve also begun timing observance/activity on astrological dates because there is usually just too much happening on the calendar dates.

  • There are other ways, too, like the Full Moon nearest to 1 November, or nearest 11 November, or the exact date of 11 November. Just go with whatever your tradition says it is.

  • Mike Curnutt

    From an astronomical (and astrological) standpoint, things like the full moon, new moon, equinoxes, and solstices are actually points in time, not a day. A millisecond (less actually) before the full moon, it is waxing and a millisecond after, it is waning. Shifting the days to align with weekends or other conveniences completely throws off the energy.