Halloween is an interesting day. People are dressing up in scary costumes and collecting candy. Homeowners are adorning their abodes with creepy décor. Even though modern Halloween is watered down and marketed for consumers, it is still a viable holiday to observe.
Halloween (Samhain in some pagan circles) is known as the Pagan New Year, as it marks the time of reaping. Europeans believed this to be the start of winter. In much of the world, the trees foliage is turning, plants are dying off, and the nights are growing longer. Many things are around us are dying. This is a time to get rid of what does not serve us – cull the heard.
Earth is our Mother. Death is our Father. His embrace is becoming stronger this time of year, and he is taking hold of the planet so Mother can rest. Some are already feeling his clasp – within my circle of friends, there has been grieving for loved ones now lost.
The veil is thinning. This is a commonly used phrase in the pagan community during this time of year. It refers to how the earth is dying, going into a state similar to hibernation. It is a threshold in time, and allows us to be closer to our ancestors – the dead. Some fear this concept, but communicating with them should be welcomed. The dead hold knowledge and power that humans are always trying to gain, but never fully do. If we wish, we can use this time of the year to connect with our ancestors and gain knowledge. However, it is something that must not be done lightheartedly.
This particular Halloween occurs as the moon is waxing, so we can also use this time to pull towards us the things that we need. Use your will to envision what your plans on for the upcoming year – how are you going to prepare for it during the winter? How will you complete your plans during the summer? Write down what you want to accomplish, and meditate on the strength of your ancestors to help assist in reaching the goals. If they are broad ideas, find specific tasks that can be achieved. For example, if your goal is to “be healthy,” write down if you want to lose weight, lower your blood pressure, or eat better. Then write a simple plan on how. It does not have to be perfect, since focusing on too many details in a plan will prevent you from starting. Writing a simple outline will help you commit to your ideas, as well as see what needs to be done to achieve them.
The following is a simple outline for a ritual. Feel free to expand, adding an opening cleansing or closing dialogue, as well as offering to the land or house spirits. What matters is the intent is spoken and the gratitude of the dead is sincere. Set some time aside, and mediate. If you are looking to converse with a specific family member, cook a meal that the deceased family member enjoyed, or make their favorite drink. Speak to them as though they are sitting across from you, ask them for guidance and strength – inspiration and commitment. Tell them about your goal and how you want them to help you achieve it. Thank them for their love and protection that they lend, even in death. Toast to them, pray to them. Make it clear that they are important to you still. Meditate on the goal that you have, and speak aloud in past or present tense. For example, instead of “I want to deadlift 500 pounds,” say, “I can deadlift 500 pounds!” Speaking in past or present tense for a goal, it helps to create a psychological connection to assist with reaching goals. If it is spoken in future tense, you will always be chasing a dream that you cannot have. After you can perfectly see yourself reaching the goal, pour out a libation to the dead, and close the ritual. This can be done simply with a prayer or song.