Samhain is a day that is celebrated by most people around the world in one way or another. It may be a time of mourning, protection, death & rebirth, manifestation, divination, dark magick, or new beginnings. The meaning varies based on a person's religion, family traditions, belief system, & spiritual orientation. In this blog I have listed a few rituals used, however, because there is no correct way to celebrate, there are many more that aren't mentioned here.
Creating an Ancestral Altar
One ritual practiced by many is creating an ancestral altar. This can be as elaborate or simple as you want it to be. This is done to honor your loved ones who have passed on before you and to have a place to communicate with them. One of the great things about this practice is that it isn't picky. Any surface can be used as an altar. You can use a bookshelf, end table, dresser, windowsill, or even a stump in the woods. Once you have selected your surface use Sage or Palo Santo to cleanse the surface & your tools.
Now that your area and tools are prepped, you're ready for the fun, and often emotional, process of decorating. While there are many options, some items I'd suggest to place on the altar would be pictures of loved ones, crystals associated with your purpose, such as Black Obsidian, Jet, Carnelian, Fluorite, Amethyst, Black Onyx & any other stone you feel drawn to use. I like to place an offering cup, offering dish, candle, incense, herbs, runes, pendulum, something to represent the five elements & decorations. If there is a particular food or drink, your loved one liked, use that as an offering. Otherwise, some basic offerings would be tobacco, rum, wine, or any of your favorite foods. Water & chocolate are also great. After all, you can (almost) never go wrong with chocolate. You can do a fancy ritual to your ancestors with scripted poems, prayers, and petitions, or you can speak from your heart. (Remember that your ancestors are people too they have just passed on). I like to talk to mine and tell them what's going on in my world & even ask them for advice. Once you have connected with your ancestors make sure to sit in silence for a while giving them a chance to speak to you. They may have something to say. Always remember to thank them for joining you & be sure to bid them farewell when you are done.
Ritual for Insight in Choosing a Path
This is a great ritual if you need help selecting the best path for you with the most positive outcome. To perform this ritual, you will need a small black candle, an old key, the two of swords from your tarot deck and an offering to Hekate.
You should start by casting a circle in anyway that you choose. Light your candle invoke Hekate, see her standing before you. Place the two of swords & the key on the altar and ask Hekate to help you choose a path, one that will lead to a good outcome. Take a moment to connect to Hekate & ask for advice on how to handle your situation. When you are done, thank Her and leave the offering. Let the candle burn all the way out. There are many chants for calling in Hekate, choose one you are comfortable with or write your own.
Divination Ritual for Guidance
Another great ritual for celebrating Samhain would be to perform a divination ritual for guidance & insight into the future. Now remember the future can always change depending on the choices you make, so this ritual is in no way binding. Just because you've divined it, does not mean it is set in stone.
To start, choose your source of divination some options are a Black Mirror, Obsidian Sphere, Pendulum, Runes, Tarot & Oracle cards, a Spirit Board, or whatever form of divination you are comfortable with. Cast a circle calling in the elements, your spirit guides, ancestors, deities, higher self, or whoever it is that you would like to help guide you. Use your form of divination to get the answers you seek. When you are finished, release your circle, elements & guides thanking them for their help and leave an offering.
Finally, a great and simple ritual for Samhain is to cleanse your home. While simple, it's an absolute must as you enter a new season. Start by removing clutter & unused items. Sweep out the old energy & let go of what no longer serves you & your highest good. With stale energy out of the way, you're better able to welcome in the blessings of the new year.
As you can imagine, I could write several books on rituals. There are simply too many to fit into even one full-length novel. Regardless of culture, Samhain is a time-honored tradition meant to honor the dearly departed, & provide a time to perform divinations & prepare for the darkness of winter. Should you be finding yourself at a loss for how to participate in this sacred ritual, I hope you'll be able to find comfort and inspiration here. Should that be the case my purpose is complete.