Halloween isn't just about scary costumes and eating lots of sweets, it is traditionally about honoring ancestors and remembering those who are no longer with us on a night when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead is at it's thinnest. So instead of trick or treating and pumpkin carving this Halloween, why not try this traditional All Hallow's Eve ritual...
Halloween, on October 31, stems from the grand tradition of the Celtic New Year. What started as a folk festival celebrated by small groups in rural areas has come to be the second largest holiday nowadays in North America and is increasingly gaining popularity in the UK and the rest of Europe. There are multitudinous reasons, including modern marketing, but I think it satisfies a basic human need to let your “wild side” out, to be free and more connected with the ancient ways. This is the time when the veil between worlds is thinnest and you can commune with the other side, with elders, and the spirit world. It is important to honor the ancestors during this major sabbat and acknowledge what transpired in the passing year as well as set intentions for the coming one.
Samhain — All Hallows’ Eve Ritual
This is the ideal time to invite your circle; the ideal number for your “coven” is 13. Gather powdered incense, salt, a loaf of bread, goblets for wine, and three candles to represent the triple goddess for altar offerings.
Ideally on an outdoor stone altar, pour the powdered incense into a pentagram star shape. Let go of old sorrows, angers, and anything not befitting new beginnings in this new year. Bring only your best to this auspicious occasion. Light the candles and say:
In honor of the Triple
Goddess on this sacred night of Samhain,
All the ancient ones,
From time before time,
To those behind the veil.
Rap the altar three times and light the incense. Say this blessing aloud:
For this bread, wine, and salt,
We ask the blessings of Mother,
Maiden, and Crone,
And the gods who guard the
Gate of the World.
Sprinkle salt over the bread, eat the bread, and drink the wine.
Each of the celebrants should come to the altar repeating the bread and wine blessing. After this, be seated and everyone in turn should name those on the other side and offer thanks to ancestors and deities. This can and should take a long time as we owe much to loved ones on the other side.
For more traditional rituals and celebrations, check out The Book of Kitchen Witchery by Cerridwen Greenleaf.