About 2,000 years ago, Samhain was the division of the year between the lighter half (summer) and the darker half (winter.) Even our modern day clocks “fall back” the following weekend after Samhain. However Samhain is more than just a split of our year. Samhain is one of the most important holidays of the year if not the most important for many Pagans. This is the when the thinning of the veils happens, when the separation between the living realm and the spirit realm grows weak. Missing a loved one or want to reach out to an ancestor in your distant past?
Samhain is the perfect time to reach out and making your connection.
Besides honoring your ancestors, now is also the time ward your home from unwanted spirits or intentions. In the past, people wore masks and costumes to scare off these sorts of things, now we wear costumes for fun! This is a great way to easily incorporate children into process. While they are enjoying dressing up for Trick or Treating, you can remind them of the original reason people once had for wearing costumes.
Another way to help ward your house from any ill will is to plant or keep rosemary near your door. Rosemary has long been associated with protection of ones physical and spiritual world. It’s purification properties make it ideal to drive away any negative energy. As a bonus it smells great! Wrap a few sprigs up with orange ribbon and be festive with it!
In addition to our modern day Trick or Treat costume tradition, the simple act of handing out candy and treats also hearkens back to the days of old. As part of honoring our ancestors offering food for those who have gone beyond or offering food to those less fortunate than ourselves, we are bringing good fortune to our family and community.
Lastly if possible, build a fire or if you have no place to set a bonfire such as a fire pit, use some candles instead. Light the darkness and guide the good spirits and your ancestors to the flame. This is when you can tell stories of loved ones and friends who are on the other side. Make offerings of food and drink. Toast to them! Include your little ones. Tell them your best memories of time spent with their ancestors. Let them ask questions. My girls are fond of talking to their great grandparents whom they have never even met! I encourage them to share things from their lives with them. It is always a positive experience for us all.
So this Halloween night, build a big fire, gather around your love ones, make a toast to those who’ve gone before us, dress up and scare away the bad spirits and hand out candy and treats to all you meet. Celebrate!
Blessings and Skol my fellow Suburban Pagans!