It is a common enough phrase these days and used to describe all kinds of situations. Maybe it is the time in the afternoon that your toddler melts down each day without fail. Maybe it is when you see the most animal activity in your yard. It is even used to describe the last hour of stock trading on Wall Street. Whatever the situation, many people use the term “Witching Hour” to describe a wide range of things, from the peculiar to the outright dreadful. But the Witching Hour is real for Wiccans; it is a good thing, and it has real power. Like most things with Wicca, there’s the history, what others think, and where we are today. So, let’s look at when the Witching Hour is, why it holds power, how you can use that power, and why the Witching Hour at Samhain is particularly powerful.
What Time of Day is the Witching Hour?
So, when does this witching hour actually occur? And is it really an hour? Yes, it is really an hour, though the closer to the beginning of the hour you do your spellwork, the more powerful it will be. The Witching Hour begins at Midnight.
You may have heard that it is at 3am. That’s the Devil’s hour, and a time of no prayers. That is an hour that Christians might associate with their demons and the Devil and stems from their incorrect ideas about witches. But it isn’t OUR Witching Hour.
Midnight begins our witching hour, regardless of where you are. If you observe daylight savings, midnight begins when your clock says it does. Time, though powerful, is a construct and you must practice with it as you operate within it in life. Midnight on the East Coast is 9 pm on the West Coast. That time is powerful for those who are experiencing the time as Midnight and for no one else. If you use the sun to tell time, midnight is halfway between its highest point on two adjoining days.
Why “the Witching Hour?”
The Witching Hour likely got its name from a few different activities being combined into one. If witchcraft were indeed practiced with more regularity at this time of night, it isn’t surprising given that non-Christians were persecuted with such fervor. Practicing when nosy neighbors weren’t as likely to notice was an act of self-preservation.
It also might come from the incorrect tie-in of Witches to demons and the Devil. Associating the time of night where evil is thought to be most active with the people thought to worship these creatures is one way the phrase might have evolved.
Whatever the origin of the term, as used colloquially, it signifies the time of day that holds special power to use and open new worlds and experiences to us.
Why the Witching Hour is Powerful
Like the moon, like the seasons, like the Goddess, time each day is a renewing cycle. Midnight is both the end of one day and the beginning of another. At one point, it is closing the book and opening it. It is an in-between time. The veil is thin, and power is heightened. It is a time for stopping and starting. It is death and rebirth. These features in nature signify special power to Witches. Time is no different.
Some might say that because we invented time, the Witching Hour cannot be real. We invented language as well, and words still hold power. Midnight is a global concept for humanity, and therefore does have power.
Harnessing the Power of the Witching Hour
Though any spell would be heightened at this time, spellwork that focuses on closing a chapter in your life, starting something new, reaching out to the other realms, growing your spirituality and psychic abilities, or your connection to the Triple Goddess, especially the Crone, is especially potent at Midnight. Begin your spell or ritual at Midnight to focus the power into your work. Try to have it completed before 1 am if possible. If you have a quick spell or ritual you can set up but perform at the minute the clock reads 12:00, you will add enormous energy to it.
Because the veil is thin at in-between times, the Witching Hour is the perfect time to reach across the veil. Whether this is to ancestors, magickal creatures, or to your patron deities, the thin barrier means you can more readily stretch your energy to connect with them.
If you have been working on your clair-senses, the Witching Hour is a time to stretch your aura and energies out and enhance those powers. There is less feedback during an in-between time like the Witching Hour. Things are in motion, not fixed, and easier to glimpse a view or feeling as they pass through the possibilities.
Midnight is the time of dreaming, so it is the perfect time to do spells or rituals pertaining to dreams. It is also a great time to harness creative energies and bring them into yourself. Spells and rituals that focus on creativity have added power at midnight.
The Witching Hour at Samhain
Samhain is the most sacred of our sabbats and represents our New Year. The Wheel of the Year has made its full turn, and it ends and begins again tonight. Midnight on such a night holds much power. It is the end of a day, the end of a month, and the end of a year. It is the beginning of a day, the beginning of a month, and the beginning of a year. It is all these things at once, and there lies its power. The veil is thin all night on Samhain, but it is thinnest at midnight. Midnight at Samhain is the one time of year that most anyone can reach the other side and find exactly what they are looking for. It is not a time to be taken lightly or ignored. If the New Moon falls on Samhain, the power is exponentially higher.