I started a simple Halloween ritual for myself a few years back, that I’d like to share with you.
Let me say that a ritual is any action you consistently take for a specific intention, usually with a spiritual or religion connection or origin, but not always. So if you carve a pumpkin every year, that’s a ritual. Put up a tree and celebrate Christmas complete with gifts and a feast, also a ritual. Sing happy birthday, make a wish, blow out candles and eat cake – you got it, a ritual as well.
Halloween, or Samhain, started out as a Pagan/Gaelic/Celtic festival to celebrate the end of the harvest and the beginning of winter, or “darker half” of the year. It was considered an end of the year celebration.
Fun Fact: At one time, way back before Jesus, the calendar year only had 10 months and didn’t include winter (January, February) as it was consider a dead time.
On October 31st it is said, that the veil between the world we live in and the spirit world, or some would say, the other world, the one where the Fae live, is at it’s thinnest and spirits, fairies and the like, can walk amongst us. This is why we dress up, to blend in with the other goblins and creatures who can roam the land on All Hallows Eve.
The spirit of our dead are also able to venture through the veil on Halloween eve, and it is this legend, or belief, that I created my simple ritual around.
In the last few years I’ve been no stranger to loss, and the tally of loved ones who have passed on has grown considerably. I wanted to honour their memory at this time of year, a time when the chances of them being able to receive my message of remembrance is greater than at any other time of the year.
So before the evening of Halloween, I gather up a votive candle for each member of my family who has passed away in my lifetime. Sadly, there are 11 candles needed this year. I put them on a tray, and if I am feeling particularly crafty, I might also add some evergreen boughs to symbolize everlasting life, because I believe that our souls are eternal, and maybe some other garden finds but they are not necessary, just a nice touch. It’s the focus of intention that’s most important.
At 6pm on Halloween night, which is the time I consider the transition point of day to night, I light the candles. As I light each one, I think of each family member who I am honouring, and send them love. I let these candles burn until they burn themselves out, usually around 4 hours.
To me, I am offering a beacon of light of remembrance for their souls – a commitment to our family bonds and love.
I do not hover, I have candy to give out after all, but when the “trick or treaters” empty the street, I relax and enjoy the flames of love. It is a simple reminder to me that there are many levels of life and spirit and that we are never alone, and we are always loved.
I share this simple ritual to you this Halloween season so that you too might offer a small beacon of light for your own departed loved ones as well. It’s good for their souls and it’s good for yours.
Happy Halloween and blessed Samhain to you.