All Hallow's Eve, Samhain, Harvest Home, Shadowfest, Ancestor Night... the Wheel of the Year turns, and the day after Hallowe'en, we celebrate Dia de los Muertos, All Soul's Day, Day of the Dead... It is the time of year where The Wild Hunt races across the sky, and the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead is at it's thinnest. In the Wiccan and Celtic religions, November 1st marks New Year's Day. Clearly there are many cultures across the globe who observe this seasonal shift into winter with similar reverence. As most of the northern hemisphere experiences an energetic shift with the drawing-in of resources and life, it makes sense that we reflect back and take time to honour those who have slipped from this realm. While this post won't be delving into the ways and whys of these traditions - there are books and websites aplenty that already do that - I will caution folks that Samhain (which translates as "summer's end") is actually pronounced "Sau-in", since mispronouncing that when conversing with others can sometimes be a little humbling.
Personally, I avoid using the word Samhain for the most part, and just stick to Hallowe'en, or All Hallow's Eve.
That said, I am reassessing my relationship to this particular sabbat.
Put your milk and honey on the table and lay out the pictures of your ancestors.
Meditate on their faces.
Feel their presence.
Then eat something they loved, and invite them to taste with your tastebuds, and drink deeply from a chalice of red wine.
Mediate and channel.
Say aloud thoughts that pop into your mind.
After your ritual, pour the rest of the wine out on the holy dirt.
Give the food left overs to your animals.
Light white candles anew for gratitude.
Blessed be the night, and blessed be the new year.
May we enjoy our bodies without illness,
May we be protected against natural calamities,
And against the rage of men.
Rest your eyes on this image, The Tree of Life twisting, dancing.
-- Z Budapest
I wish you all the joy and reverence you seek, however you may choose to celebrate this Hallowe'ekend!