Samhain, which is known as the Celtic New Year, literally meaning "summers end." It falls within the larger cycle of the Shadow Season which begins at the Fall Equinox and continues until Spring Equinox. By Samhain, the year’s work and harvest had been completed, the fields were cleared and often burned after the to prepare the land for the next growing season.
It is a time when Nature rests, turns inward, and prepares for the next growing season. I suggest following Natures lead and use this season to take time to be still, reflect and recharge. Your work is done for the year and now it is time to rest.
Both Halloween and Samhain fall on October 31st and is the night when the veil between the physical and spiritual realms is thin. When the spiritual dimension is more able to intermingle with the physical world of form. This is why Samhain is associated with communicating with and honoring your ancestors. All Saints Day is a Christian holiday that is celebrated on November 1st to honor "All saints" and loved ones who have crossed over. Many people will honor their ancestors on this day by visiting their grave sites and leaving flowers or other offerings.
To honor your ancestors and loved ones during this time you can set up an ancestor altar. Here are a few ideas:
Altar Cloth A base of a black cloth to represent the night, layered with a lace or sheer fabric covering it to represent the thinning veil of Samhain eve.
Decorations Use candles, crystals, and items that represent the final harvest, like apples, pumpkins, and squash. Include colors like purple, burgundy, black, gold and orange.
Photos of ancestors and loved ones who have crossed over.
Mementos of ancestors and loved ones like pieces of jewelry, books, perfumes, whatever reminds you of them.
If you have limited space or prefer not to set up a full altar, you can simply place a candle alongside a photo of the ones you are honoring.
Below is a blessing I like to recite to honor my ancestors on Samhain and All Saints Day.
During the shadow season many people delve into their own “shadow work.” Shadow work is focused on consciously bringing forward unconscious aspects of yourself that often remain hidden, buried, or ignored for various reasons. Many times, these aspects of the “hidden” self are qualities, traits, or memories that we have suppressed. To restore balance and let the light in, we need to open the door to our shadows.
Read my Autumn Equinox Blog post for ideas on how to retreat and reflect during shadow season.
Black Obsidian: To transmute and transcend lower frequency energies.
Quartz: For clarity and setting intentions.