I love Halloween and how it’s become so popular over the years. We tend to make it a big deal at our house by having a big party, but this also includes honouring and connecting with loved ones that have passed on. In the ancient Celtic calendar, October 31st marked the division of the year and end of the season of light and the start of winter and is also known as Samhain. It’s the night the barrier between our world and the spirit world is at its thinnest. So, Halloween or All Hallow’s Eve, is the perfect time to deepen your medium skills if you have them.
On the actual day of Samhain/Halloween I put out the photos of my loved ones, my mother, my best friend Caroline and anyone I want to call close. We prepare a special meal and set the table with a table cloth, candles and flowers and lay places at the table for those who have gone before – including an egg cup sized crystal glass of wine or spirits depending on what they preferred. We also try to play some of their favourite music and we celebrate our connections by reliving their memory. It is a deeply important ritual for me and I do believe the spirits of our departed loved ones pop in and visit us at this time. Trick or treating comes from the tradition of leaving food out for hungry ghosts who were thought to roam on this night – and also for sharing it with the poor, so I see this new tradition as a natural progression of the old.
Originally to avoid being visited by evil spirits, people wore masks and costumes – and this is where our modern tradition of Halloween costumes began. I love this modern take and you can often seen me running around dressed as a vampire or zombie – usually the weekend after Halloween, when friends come over and we scare ourselves silly and decorate the whole house like a haunted castle.
With the advent of Christianity, Halloween like many pagan traditions, was incorporated into the Christian calendar and became All Saints on November 1 and All Souls on November 2 and in Latin America the Day of the Dead.
Irish immigrants in America first started using pumpkin lanterns at Halloween to ward of wandering ghosts and a spirit known as ‘Stingy Jack’ – hence the term ‘Jack O’ Lantern’ although in Ireland pumpkins did not exist and the original Jack lanterns were made from potatoes, turnips and beats. Orange and black are the traditional colours of Halloween because orange represents the colour of the harvest and black the winter nights
As an astrologer, I have to point out that the original and ‘Old Halloween’ in the Wiccan calendar is actually the day when the Sun is at 15 degrees of Scorpio and the one celebrated by serious practitioners. Whether you favour October 31st and the Celtic calendar or ‘Old Halloween’ – any visualisation or psychic ritual performed on these dates always seems to have that little extra bit of power or magic about it and the spirit of departed friends and ancestors may be present.
If you want to conduct your own ritual, perhaps in order to answer a question about what is coming up for you in the coming year – which is particularly suited to Halloween, then ensure that you won’t be disturbed by trick or treaters! The best time to do this is late on the 31st or on the astrological Halloween. You might want to incorporate orange, black or autumn colours into your ritual. Candles are a must although carving a pumpkin is optional. If you are especially curious you can also use a mirror for this meditation. Set the candles to one side of the mirror and place it so you can look into it. Turn off all other lights aside from the candles.
Set up a sacred space and decorate it with leaves, flowers, fruit, candles and a mirror if you want. Light your candles. You can close your eyes and visualise a door or a barrier between you and the spirit world. Imagine that door opening or the barrier dissolving. Now, you can either say out loud or to yourself ‘The doors between this world and the next are now open. I now invite in wisdom and understanding and anyone who has crossed over with a message for me’. If you have a specific question you can start this or merely say ‘I am now open to any thing I need to know to facilitate my soul’s journey and growth’.
You may get the feeling you are no longer alone or you may just get intuitive insights into your question. If you are brave you can open your eyes and look in the mirror. Some people report seeing a faint presence reflected in the mirror while others see reflections of people or events that have yet to appear. Essentially this is scrying and it works a bit like a crystal ball.
When you are ready you can end the ritual simply by thanking the universe/ spirit for any insights you have received and blow out the candles and ponder the mysteries of this wonderful pagan holiday that has been totally embraced by the mainstream!
Originally published in http://www.soulandspiritmagazine.com
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