Many of us enjoy the spooky season that is Halloween but did you know that some of the traditions associated with the day are based on ancient cultural beliefs?
Samhain originated as a Celtic festival celebrated in England and Ireland to mark the beginning of the Celtic New Year. It is believed that the veil between the spirit world and our world is at it’s thinnest. At this time the souls of the dead were easily able to pass through and visit our world.
It was also believed that all kinds of nasty spirits were able to roam around the earth on this sacred evening so if you ventured out, to protect yourself and blend in with the other ghosts and goblins, it was best to wear a disguise. That is where dressing up in costumes came about.
The Christians celebrated All Saints Day on November 1st. It was a day to commemorate all the Christian Saints. The evening before was know as All Hallows Eve, kind of like how we look at Christmas Eve. In order to bring the Celts into the Christian faith certain elements of their Celtic faith were blended in with the Christian faith. To ease the converting process, elements of Samhain and All Hallows Eve were blended together and eventually became Halloween.
Many cultures still honour the dead in a solemn celebration by visiting the graves of loved ones bringing flowers and food, lighting candles and praying for their souls.
It makes sense to me that if this time of the year is widely considered the best time to commune with the dead, it couldn’t hurt to send a shout out to friends and family that have passed on before us just to let them know that they are in our hearts and remembered.
I believe that spirits do communicate with the living, especially loved ones because of the emotional bond. It is only a matter of being open to the message, to be aware of the symbols and signs being offered.
My mother passed away almost six years ago and she has visited me on occasion in simple playful and loving ways. I might be in my kitchen cooking and the scent of her favourite perfume, “Charlie” will wafted into the room, or a song on the radio will remind me of her only to be followed by one of her favourite songs or even Ritchie Valens, “Oh Donna” which is her name and was a popular song in her youth.
These incidents, of course, can be explained away as coincidence and most times I would, but it’s the feeling my body gets, a knowing, a tingle, that tells me she is there and sending me a little love. I usually laugh and say, “Hi Mom, I know you’re there, I Love you too”, out loud so she knows I know she is there. It’s a fleeting, tender moment and that’s all it takes.
So this Halloween night, if you have loved ones that are departed and you would like to acknowledge them, here are a few simple things that you can do:
- Light a candle in their honour. Choose a small votive candle, hold it in your hands and say a little prayer for their soul or even just a simple message of love then light it. Let it burn out on it’s own to make sure the full energy of the message gets released.
- To help your loved one zero in on your message, put small items around the candle that belonged to them such as a piece of jewellery, a small tool they may have regularly used or a picture of them. Anything that may connect them to corporeal world.
- Be sure to protect yourself. Remember that if the veil is thin and spirits can come through, bad spirits can come through too. Imagine a protective bubble of pure white light surrounding you. While you are offering a prayer for your loved one, recite this protective phrase, “I am surrounded by the divine white light, nothing but good can come from me, nothing but good can come to me, I am safe.”
- Be mindful of your loved one and be open to any sign they may offer. What ever it is, it will personally resonate to you that they got your message.
If you believe that there is something more when we die, that our fleshy body may die but our souls live on, then it is reasonable to believe that on some level we should be able to communicate with other souls that are not, at this moment, experiencing a human experience on earth.
If the veil between the human world and the spirit world is at it’s thinnest during Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 and you have a message for a loved one who has passed through, it may very well be the best time to send it. Be open and see what happens.