|“||If there is one thing you should take away from this conversation, child, it's this: you are in my hive. I'm your Samhain, and you are an Essex witch. You cannot hide anything from me.||”|
— Mary Sibley to Anne Hale in The Wine Dark Sea
The position of the Samhain is considered the highest ranking governmental body within the witch community and has existed for several centuries. According to Mary Sibley, the Samhain is not only responsible for the protection of their hive, but also for keeping the Old Ways alive and well. One of the ways this is done is by the fact that after a witch dies their Book of Shadows will magically find its way to the reigning Samhain as a means to keep the books from being lost or falling into the wrong hands. It is also known that after the reigning Samhain dies, whoever is believed to be the next most suitable witch for the position will be chosen as the new Samhain.
Throughout the Salem series
Mary Sibley, feeling betrayed by her own hive, instructs Mercy Lewis to kill Rose Browning, the current Samhain of the coven. The old woman, once a mentor to Mary Sibley, has schemed behind her deeming the woman not ready for the ultimate sacrifice which is the Grand Rite since, in her heart, she is still in love with Captain Alden. While Rose is in the woods, Mary leans in to present their new sister and Mercy arrives behind her and cuts Rose's head with a sharp razor shot (The Red Rose and the Briar). Later, at the House of the Seven Gables, Magistrate Hale kneels before Mary Sibley, kissing the bloodied razor and recognising her as the new Samhain (Our Own Private America). Summed up the rank, Mary Sibley acts as if she had no more rivals, ignoring that Mercy craves the power for herself. This desire for power leads to a rivalry between the two witches. The reckless young witch gathers all the outcasts and the riotous of Salem, promising them to bring a new era, as she is the real Queen of the Night (All Falls Down).
After Mary refused to reign as equals queens, Mercy goes so far as to affirm at the presence of Essex elders that she is the real Queen of the Night, offering to the old witches the sacrifice of male sex organs stolen from men of the village that she herself has bewitched, making them slaves via familiars. When the elders badly chase her away, Mercy Lewis orders to her followers to kill them, and then hang the old women in the public square with their own bowels, declaring open war on Mary Sibley (Cry Havoc).
Unable to find other escape routes, Mary is forced to go to the secret stronghold of Essex Hive, by relying on her role of Samhain to have a say on the carnage that is about to take in Salem with the realisation of Ritum Magni by Countess Von Marburg (Midnight Never Come).
Towards the end of the eve of the Great Terror and the approach of the Black Sunday, Anne Hale decided to claim for herself the crown as "Queen of the Night", totally embittered by the loss of love and the will to prevail over anyone else. Intending to remain the only witch in Salem, she removed from her way all the possible obstacles to her coronation. Once she killed Countess Von Marburg, Mercy Lewis, possibly Tituba, and let Mary Sibley leave Salem once and for all, she even killed the Dark Lord's vessel. Anne Hale, then, took full control of the town, with the intent on starting the Great Rite all over again, using her unborn child as the next vessel for the Devil, thus being not only the de facto Queen of the Night, but also the future Devil's Bride in the Royal Marriage, ultimate goal of the unspeakable horrors put in place with the Grand Rite. (Black Sunday)
- Mary Sibley: "You and that foul bitch mistrusted me. And much worse for you, you underestimated me."
- Mr. Hale: "But killing the Samhain, do you have any idea what you've done?"
- Mary Sibley: "The question is not whether I understand what I have done, but whether you understand what you must now do."
- Mr. Hale: "I do. You have claimed the ancient right. I recognize you as the new Samhain. I will honor and obey your power, earned in blood, and share the word with the rest of the hive."
- -- Our Own Private America
- Mercy Lewis: "You see children, only by killing the rose will the Queen of the Night really become the Queen of the Night."
- -- All Fall Down
- Mercy Lewis: "You alone know the truth. That I, and not you, beheaded the Samhain witch. But I'm not greedy. I'm perfectly content to rule alongside you, as your equal.
- Mary Sibley: You know that will never happen, child. You are too reckless. Submit to your elders, myself included. And in the fullness of time, who knows what powers you might attain? "
- -- Cry Havoc
- Mary Sibley: "I am no longer Mary Sibley. I'm just Mary. But I am still the Samhain of the Essex until one of you foul wretches takes my head."
- -- Midnight Never Come
- The word Samhain is pronounced / sɑːwɪn / sah-win /saʊ.ɪn/ or sow-in, Irish pronunciation: [Saun].
- In reality, the word Samhain indicates a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the "darker half" of the year. Traditionally, it is celebrated from the very beginning of one Celtic day to its end, or in the modern calendar, from sunset on 31 October to sunset on 1 November, this places it about halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice. Nowadays is one of the eight festivals of the Neo-pagan "Wheel of the Year".
- It seems that the way to execute a Samhain is decapitating her. This is what happened to Rose Browning during the episode "The Red Rose and the Briar." Later Mary Sibley challenged the Widdershins to behead her in the episode "Midnight Never Come."
- The ceremonial dress of Samhain is white, as worn by Mary Sibley in Midnight Never Come to have an audience with the elders of Essex Hive.
- In a promotional teaser of the second season we see Mary Sibley sitting on a throne carved from a tree trunk with branches and twisted roots, and Mercy Lewis creating a crown from the muzzle that she was made to wear in the first season.
- According to Countess Von Marburg, the witch community is hierarchized as a matriarchy, therefore, we can assume that the supreme role of Samhain can only be held by women.
- As shown in the episode "Book of Shadows," the Samhain holds a box containing personal objects or body parts of the witches of her hive, like fragments of nails, hair strands or scraps of clothing, probably in order to be able to keep under control her subject and have personal belongings to be used in rituals and spells when needed.
- Though Mary Sibley was the official Samhain of the Essex Hive, her death, and consequent "Reckoning" after her resurrection left vacancy within the coven. Being the last witch left in Salem, Anne Hale is the de facto Samhain of Salem. Furthermore, Anne Hale rightly earned the title by killing Mercy Lewis since Mercy was the one who actually killed Rose Browning.