The ancient Pagan holiday is considered the witch’s New Year or Pagan Halloween. It’s a wonderful time to honor our ancestors. Here are Easy Steps to Honor Your Ancestors on Samhain/Halloween. I’ve included invocations some poetry and a couple videos from my home and garden.
Samhain’s eve, the ancient call we hear,
A pagan New Year, as winter’s chill draws near.
A veil grows thin, ‘twixt worlds of seen and unseen,
Where spirits roam, in the moon’s soft, silver sheen.
With pumpkins carved and fires ablaze so bright,
We honor the past, on this hallowed night.
A time for ancestors, their stories we revere,
In Samhain’s embrace, we greet the coming year.
As seasons turn, and nature’s cycle spins,
We welcome the wisdom the old year brings.
Samhain’s magic, in the shadows it unfurls,
A time of transformation for our souls and our world.
Samhain is a sacred Celtic festival celebrated from October 31st to November 1st. It marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of darker months and winter, symbolizing the cyclical nature of life and death.
It’s a time when the veil between the physical and spiritual worlds is believed to be thin, making it an ideal occasion for connecting with ancestors and spirits both human and pets.
For me, it’s always been a time of honoring my ancestors and pets that have died. I love decorating indoors and outdoors with a sense of humor and reverence.
The photos this year are from my kitchen and garden. I spruce up my ancestor’s altar which is private so no pics. It’s a daily shamanic practice that is deeply meaningful.
History of Samhain:
Samhain has ancient roots, dating back to Celtic and Druidic traditions in Ireland, Scotland, and other Celtic regions. It was a time to give thanks for the harvest and prepare for the dark, introspective months of winter.
The festival was also seen as a liminal time when the boundary between the living and the dead was blurred. People would light bonfires, wear costumes to ward off malevolent spirits, and engage in divination practices to gain insight into the future.
Here are a few simple ways to Honor Your Ancestors at Samhain/Halloween:
Samhain is a time for deep reflection, honoring the past, and seeking guidance from your ancestors. Remember to approach this ritual with respect and an open heart.
1. Setting the Sacred Space:
Choose a location that feels sacred and quiet. Outdoors, a garden, or a secluded area indoors can work. Light candles, such as white or black to symbolize the spirit world, and burn incense with scents like sage, frankincense, or myrrh to create a serene atmosphere. You may also want to lay a simple cloth or cloth with symbolic patterns on the ground as the base for your altar.
2. Altar Preparation:
Create an altar to serve as the focal point of your ritual. On it, place items representing the four elements: earth (such as soil or a small potted plant), air (incense or feathers), fire (candles), and water (a bowl of water or wine). Include photos or mementos of your ancestors, perhaps a family tree, and any objects with personal significance to them.
I also like creating altars to honor my beloved pets who have passed. See the DIY Altars
at my other site Cat Wisdom 101.
3. Invoking sacred space and the Ancestors:
Begin your ritual by invocating sacred space and/or your ancestors.” I call upon the spirits, earth and sky, In this sacred space, their wisdom nigh. Guardians, protect, as our intention grows, East, South, West, North, as our spirits flow.
Grant us guidance, dispel our fear, With love and gratitude, we’re here. In this sacred space, let our spirits shine, As we honor this moment, divine.”
You can use words like, “I invite the spirits of my ancestors to join me on this sacred night. May their wisdom and guidance be with me. Let the veil between our worlds be thin. or “Ancestors and helping spirits, we invoke you, In this sacred space, we honor and pursue. Guide us with wisdom, protect us on this quest, With gratitude, we gather, feeling truly blessed.”
Remember, all invocations are best when personalized and spoken from the heart.
If you like rhyming invocations, try this one:
Spirits of earth and sky, we invoke,
In this sacred space, our hearts spoke.
Guardians, protect, as intentions flow,
ast, South, West, North, let our spirits glow.
Guide us, dispel fear, with love we steer,
In this sacred space, blessings appear,
Honor this moment, divine and clear,
As our spirits shine, we hold dear.
Offer food and drink as a symbolic gesture of hospitality and respect. Apples, pomegranates, cakes, pies, honey wine are classic. Include items your ancestors enjoyed during their lifetimes. Place the offerings on the altar, and as you do so, speak their names and offer your gratitude for their presence.
Use a divination tool like tarot cards, runes, a scrying mirror, or pendulum to seek insights or messages from your ancestors. Trust your intuition and interpret the symbols or messages that come through. Take your time with this step, and be open to the guidance you receive. The air can feel electric and I find tarot or oracle cards love to jump out. Trust the process.
6. Meditation and Reflection:
Sit in quiet meditation and reflect on your connection to your ancestors. Imagine them surrounding you, offering their wisdom and support. Feel their presence and listen for any inner guidance or messages that may come to you during this meditative state.
After the rituals, invite family and friends to share a meal. Set a place at the table for your ancestors, symbolizing their presence. Share stories and memories of your departed loved ones, allowing their spirits to be an integral part of the gathering.
8. Release and Closing:
As the ritual concludes, thank your ancestors for their presence and guidance. Express your gratitude for the connection you’ve established. You can say something like, “Thank you, dear ancestors, for joining me on this sacred night. I release you with love and gratitude.” Again, it’s your ceremony. Make it personal. There is no right or wrong way.
9. Bonfire or Candle Lighting:
If you have the space and it’s safe, consider lighting a bonfire outdoors. Unless it’s raining, I always do ceremony with a bonfire. Alternatively, light candles on the altar or around the space to symbolize the guiding light for the spirits as they return to the otherworld. If there are fire hazards, use fairy lights, LED or solar lights.
10. Express Gratitude:
Take a moment to reflect on this honor your ancestors on samhain halloween experience.
Express gratitude for the opportunity to connect with your ancestors. You can also journal your thoughts and any insights you gained during the ritual, providing a lasting record of this meaningful experience.
Let’s end with some some divination with a fun wheel of fortune. After all, it’s time to celebrate the witchy New Year! While I have a decades long experience as a witch, for the past few years I’m leaning towards a shamanic identity. You may also enjoy posts from my archive.