Samhain for Wiccans and Witches (celebration to honor the dead) traditionally occurs when the sun is at 15 degrees Scorpio. Festivities can be somber or more enlivened depending upon your practices. Honoring the dead involves personal and cultural energies, making the process unique.
This specific “time” (mathematical calculation) is when it is believed that the veil between the worlds is the thinnest and communication is most possible. The 24-hour period before that time is acceptable for offerings and communication as well, with the idea being the closer you move to the exact time of the astrological event, the more powerful the messages. Some practitioners celebrate the entire month of October through the first week of November. Those individuals who have ancestral altars in their homes will often tell you that activity on and around the altar tends to heighten as the portal begins to open. For those who are particularly susceptible to communication from beyond the grave, additional protective sigils are added on doors and windows to keep out the “other-worldly street-walkers”. A delightfully carved and lit pumpkin to scare away the evil spirits might be added as well.
In general (although traditional practices may differ) candles are lit to give the dead blessings and to make known the path to enlightenment. Water is presented to bring the ancestors the energies they need. Favorite foods (or seed scattered outdoors) is offered to provide nourishment and positive potential for their next incarnation. It is believed that the spirits consume the “essence” of the thing, leaving the husk. Most practitioners completely clean the altar 24 hours after the event, including the removal of all food. Offer fresh water to complete the process.
Herbs used in ceremonies to speak to or honor the dead:
Myrrh and Lavender — ghosts are said to be attracted by the aroma
Bay — write your petition on the leaves and burn
Frankincense –to remove evil spirits
Copal — to open the pathway to beloved dead
Dandelion Roots — we dry large roots here at the hearthstone to hang near the ancestral altar – some believe that the spirits use them as a perch. If they are large enough, carve protective runes or other sigils on them so that only your beloved dead have access to the ritual area. It is thought that dandelion’s ability to root deep in the ground can carry messages to the beloved dead in the underworld. The flowers, like marigolds, light the way.
Mugwort — soak petitions to the dead in mugwort tea, allow to dry. Use in ceremony and then burn. Place a sachet of lavender and mugwort under your pillow to receive messages from the deceased in your sleep. For a specific message, write your question on a bay leaf and add that to the sachet as well. A picture of the deceased can also be added to the packet if you are interested in contacting a specific individual. Don’t be disappointed if someone else shows up with your answer — sometimes the best response is not from the individual initially asked.
Rose Petals –signifying your love and true navigation to the right energies
Birdseed — used as an offering to nature and carries your prayers – we are all one.
Pumpkin — seeds used in prosperity and business magicks, wishes planted in spring after frost, fruit carved for protection
Turnip — fruit carved to ward off evil spirits
Upcoming holidays associated with honoring the dead include:
31 October Halloween
1 November – All Saints Day
2 November – All Souls Day
1 and 2 November- Dias de Muertos – Days of the Dead (1st for children, 2nd for adults)
6/7 November (depending on time zone)- Samhain — approximately 1:00 AM 7 November 2021 for EDT
Listen. The spirits really will tell you what you need to know.
May your holidays be filled with love, peace, and joy!
Visit Silver’s On-Line Shoppe at WhisperMagick.com where you will find scrumptious aromatic products for your spiritual practices.
4 thoughts on “From Halloween to Samhain – Ancestral Honor”
Merry Meet Again Lady,
I love to get your emails and articles. Thank you for everything you share with us. We met years ago at events sponsored by Into the Light in Bloomsburg Pa. I moved to Sedona Az 20 years ago this month. I am so happy to see you are doing well.
Wishing you and your family a very Blessed All Hollows Eve.
Pamela ( Lady Gem )
Wishing you a most Blessed Samhain, dear Lady. Miss you lots!
)0( Your ghost lady
I always enjoy reading your blog.
Thank you for this – and a very blessed Samhain!