Oct 31 – Nov 1: Ritual For Connecting With Loved Ones

Many years ago, people believed that from the evening of October 31st to the evening of November 1st, the world of spirits and the world of the living came close together. This meant that our loved ones who had passed away could visit us. Over time, as more and more people started celebrating, the focus shifted to fun and games, however it’s still important to remember the deeper meaning of Halloween and the connection we have to those who came before us.


The Celts, with their intrinsic bond to the natural world and the vast cosmos, held a deep and profound respect for the rhythms of nature and the enigmas of the Universe. To them, the natural world was a realm alive with magic and meaning, from the ebb and flow of the seasons, the phases of the Moon, to the shifting patterns of stars in the night sky, their lives were not separate from the world around them; they were a part of it. Every mountain, river, and forest held a spirit or deity, and every natural event had significance.

Sacred groves, known as “nemeton,” were places of worship and community gathering. Here, amongst the ancient trees, they would conduct rituals, seek guidance, and pay homage to the gods and spirits. Water sources, like wells and springs, were seen as places of healing and divination. Mountains, often shrouded in myth and legend, were believed to be the abodes of gods or gateways to other realms.

The Celts marked the occasion of Samhain, which laid the foundation for what we recognize today as Halloween. Their calendar was lunar-based, focusing on the Moon’s phases rather than the Sun’s cycles, however, they also recognized potent times within the solar year, and one such moment was the cross-quarter day. Falling between the fall equinox and the winter solstice, this midpoint held special importance, believed to be a time when the veil between our world and the spirit realm was at its thinnest. It was more than just folklore; it had roots in their observations of the cosmos, and was a time of spiritual reflection, renewal, and connection.

Stone circles, like Stonehenge in England or the standing stones in various parts of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, are testament to their astronomical expertise. These ancient sites align with celestial events, revealing the Celts’ sophisticated understanding of the cosmos.

Loughcrew, in Ireland, is a testament to the Celts’ astronomical insights. The megalithic cairns there have been standing for over 5,000 years, with stones meticulously positioned to capture the rising sun’s light on these special cross-quarter mornings. When the first beams illuminate the inner chambers, it’s as if the world stands still for a moment, acknowledging the confluence of the earthly and the ethereal. For the Celts, this time wasn’t just about spooky tales; it was a profound intersection of their spirituality, community, and understanding of the Universe.

The Celts believed that during this time it was easier for people to connect with loved ones who had passed away because the boundary between our world and the spirit world became thinner.

Many cultures have a tradition of remembering and honoring people who have passed away, similar to the deeper meaning of Halloween. Some people light candles, put out special foods, or even make special spots in their homes called altars to show respect to their loved ones. These acts are a way to say “we remember you” and hope that their spirit is happy. Doing these things also reminds us of the good lessons and memories these people left behind for us.

During Halloween, when people thought the boundary between our world and the spirit world was at it’s thinnest, they also believed it was a good time to try and see into the future. A fun game we play today, like apple bobbing, was actually once used to try and predict things about the future. Nowadays, some people who are into spiritual practices might use cards, special stones, or other tools to try and get insights or answers to their questions, especially around Halloween. They believe this time might give clearer or more special messages.

Ages ago, dressing up in costumes was done not just for fun but to hide from bad spirits. People also made big fires and carved faces into turnips (and when they came to America, pumpkins) to keep away any harmful ghosts and to show friendly spirits the way home. Today, when we light a candle inside a carved pumpkin, it’s like lighting a way for our loved ones to come back to our memories, even if it’s just for a short time.

If you want to connect more deeply with the special meaning of Halloween, think about making a special spot in your home for remembering loved ones who have passed away. You can light a candle, put up a picture, or even put out some of their favorite food. Taking some quiet time to think, write down your feelings, or just sit and remember can help you feel closer to them and the world of spirits during this time.

Ritual For Connecting with Loved Ones on Halloween:

Materials:

  • A white candle (symbolizing purity and connection to the spirit world)
  • Photographs or mementos of your loved ones
  • Incense (preferably frankincense or sandalwood, known for spiritual connection)
  • A quiet space

Steps:

  1. Preparation: Cleanse your chosen space by burning the incense, allowing the smoke to permeate every corner. This is to purify the area and create a conducive environment for spiritual connection.
  2. Set the Space: Place the photographs or mementos of your loved ones on a table or altar. If you have multiple items, arrange them in a circle.
  3. Light the Candle: As you light the white candle, set your intention by saying, “I light this candle to honor and connect with [name of loved one]. May their spirit feel my love and presence.”
  4. Meditation: Sit comfortably in front of your altar. Close your eyes and take deep, calming breaths. Envision a warm, glowing light enveloping you, connecting you to the spirit world. Imagine your loved ones standing before you, bathed in this light.
  5. Speak to Them: Out loud or in your mind, talk to your loved ones. Share updates from your life, express your feelings, and ask for their guidance or blessings if you feel called to.
  6. Listen: After speaking, sit in silence for a few moments. Be receptive to any feelings, images, or messages that may come through.
  7. Gratitude: Express your gratitude by saying, “Thank you, [name of loved one], for being with me today. I cherish our bond and hold you close to my heart.”
  8. Closing the Ritual: Extinguish the candle. As you do, say, “As I extinguish this candle, I honor the eternal light of [name of loved one]. Our connection remains strong, transcending time and space.”
  9. Ground Yourself: After the ritual, eat something light, drink water, or take a walk outside to ground yourself back into the physical realm.

Remember, rituals are deeply personal. Feel free to modify the above steps to better fit your beliefs, feelings, and the unique bond you share with your departed loved ones. The most important thing is the intention and love you pour into the ritual.

Halloween, deep down, is about the circle of life: being born, living, passing away, and then starting again. It tells us that when someone dies, it’s not really the end, but just a change. This idea can comfort people who are sad about losing someone. During Halloween, it’s a special time where we can use these feelings to help heal, say thank you, and maybe even learn more about the big questions in life.

So, this Halloween, amidst all the laughter, candy, and costumes, pause for a moment. Think about the friends and family we no longer see, those who left memories behind. Remember the stories they shared, the love they gave, and the moments that made them unforgettable. As you do, you’ll feel a deep connection, not just to them, but to everyone around you. Because, even though we’re all living our own lives, there’s a bond, an invisible thread, that ties us all together, both in this world and the next. This bond is strong, filled with love and memories, and it’s something that time or distance can’t break.

The beauty of Halloween is that it merges two worlds – the joy of the present with the reverence of the past. It reminds us that while we celebrate in the now, we should never forget those who walked the earth before us. Their stories, their wisdom, their lessons, and their love continue to shape us, influence our decisions, and give our lives meaning.

So, as the night draws to a close and the festivities wind down, let’s carry the essence of Halloween with us, not just between October 31st – November 1st, but every day. Let it be a reminder that life is a beautiful journey of connections, of shared moments, and of bonds that remain unbroken, bridging the gap between the living and those who’ve passed on. Embrace that love, cherish those memories, and always remember the unity that lies at the heart of this age-old celebration.

Alex Myles

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