3 Rites To Help You Celebrate Samhain
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3 Rites To Help You Celebrate SamhainHonour The Dead With These Three Ceremonies From Lisa Lister
Lisa Lister More by this author
Some call it Halloween, others call it All Hallows Eve, but from sundown on October 31st through to November 1st, many pagans and witches refer to it as Samhain.
What is Samhain?
It’s an ancient Celtic Fire festival, that like Mexico’s indigenous custom of Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, shares the ancient spiritual practice of honouring, remembering and paying respects to the Dead, our ancestors who have gone before, blood + bone through ritual, ceremony and celebration.
Samhain reflects the rhythm of Mumma Nature. In most places in the Northern hemisphere, Samhain represents the end of the growing season. The frost kills off vegetation and there is death. An ending.
It’s believed by many witches + pagans that this ending is when the veil is at it’s thinnest between the world of the living and the Dead making it possible for contact and communication to be made with our ancestors.
For those who have experienced the death of people they love in the past year, Samhain rituals can be an opportunity to bring closure to grieving and help them to adjust to their loved ones being in the Other world by communicating with them.
There are many Samhain rites to celebrate, communicate with + honour the dead, these are three that I observe:
MAKE AN ANCESTORS ALTAR
I have a working altar that I sit at, pray to + work spells on, but at Samhain I create an altar dedicated to my ancestors. I gather photographs, items and memories of deceased family members, friends, or pets. I arrange them on a table and light candles in their memory. I offer them a small libation – my nan loved a cup of milky white tea, my dad a cold beer, while my mum loved a black Russian (an alcoholic drink) and while I do, I speak their names out loud and express well wishes and thank them for being part of my life and lineage.
If you’re with people, invite them to do the same + share stories of those that have passed. If you’re on your own, sit with your ancestors + see what comes through.
Look back on your life over the past year. Take a look at your journals, the photographs you’ve taken, anything you’ve created over the year. Think about how you have grown, what you’ve achieved, the challenges you’ve faced, the adventures you’ve had, friends you’ve lost + new friends you’ve made. Meditate on it, journal it out, create a mood board or a piece of art that reflect you + the year that has just passed so that you’re able to move forward with gratitude and have compassion for what you’ve dealt with and celebrate all that you are. You’re amazing, by the way.
BURN, BABY, BURN
Write a list of everything you want to let go of – people, experiences, challenges + habits and cast the list into the Samhain flames allowing it all to be burned into ashes. Circle the fire in a clockwise direction and visualize yourself rising from the flames, new, energized + revitalized ready for the year ahead. Now, and this is my favourite part, use tarot, runes, scrying, or your favourite method of divination to seek and guidance for the year to come. Write down any messages, symbols or insight you receive to help guide you through the year to come.
Samhain blessings to you!
Editor's Note: Lisa Lister is the author of Love Your Lady Landscape and the forthcoming book Witch. Connect with her at her website, on Facebook or Instagram.