The Season of Samhain begins in the Northern Hemisphere on the evening of October 31st and is one of the sacred cross-quarters as we move from Autumn Equinox toward Winter Solstice celebrating the end of the harvest season and the beginning of a new year, in Pagan traditions.
During this time of year the veil between our physical Middle World and the spirit realm is thin, offering us an opportunity to connect to our spirit guides, ancestors and those loved ones who have passed on. The focus of this time of year is one of reflection, reverence and spiritual growth, as we listen deeply honoring the cycle of death and rebirth. In some cultures Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is celebrated honoring our ancestors with vibrant colors and festivities on November 1st and 2nd.
Meaningful ritual and a simple altar is a great way to attune to this season. Here are some ideas and inquiries for you to deepen into this sacred season and ancestral celebration.
Ancestor Altar Ritual:
In the North most corner of your home or sacred sanctuary, you can set up a small table and cloth as a simple altar to honor the season of Samhain. Add images and artifacts from ancestors and loved ones. Adorn the altar with candles, photos of the dearly departed, an offering of your gratitude, colored leaves, marigold or roses. Mugwort, yarrow, rosemary, clove and nutmeg are some of the herbs of the season you can drink in a tea or place on your altar. Apples, pumpkins, grains and squash can also be used in ritual or eaten to honor the final harvest of the year.
Crystals such as amethyst, onyx, labradorite, selenite, hematite, bloodstone, jet, malachite, tourmaline and smokey quartz can be used to connect to the ancient ones and spirit guides. Set your crystals with a clear intention and place them in a grid on your altar.
Burn a stick of incense, sage or sweetgrass in honor of those who have passed. Watch the smoke rise and merge into the unseen realms. Cast a spell or state a prayer for what you are harvesting and rebirthing. Dance or move your body in a way that feels ceremonial and sacred. Be generous with your gratitude for your body temple knowing our ancestors and spirit guides now travel beyond the physical realm. Sit in the darkness and listen deeply to the messages you are receiving from your ancestor altar. What are you rebirthing? Who are you celebrating and remembering? Write in your journal any insights that arise. When you feel complete, say out loud three times “So Be It and So It Is” to close your ritual. Let me know how it goes!
With Love + Samhain Blessings to you, Shanti