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When The Veil Becomes Thin: Introduction To the Celebration of Samhain

In North America, most families celebrate Halloween on October 31 by enjoying costumes, make believe and candy. But for those who participate in modern Paganism as a spiritual path, they celebrate Samhain (pronounced sow-wen) at this time of year. Samhain is a celebration. It is a day when the spirits of our deceased loved ones can be invited into our home as honoured guests. It’s a time to reconnect with our ancestors. Many seek out learning about the ancient traditions used to celebrate this time of year, and often work to reintegrate those traditions into their modern life and family traditions.

Some of the ways that you can blend some of the ancient traditions into a modern day Samhain celebration include:

  • Create a little shrine for ancestors with photos, crystals, and candles. This shrine can be permanent or temporary depending on your preference.

  • Include a place setting at your dinner table for your ancestors

  • Decorate your home with colorful leaves, pinecones and acorns. Some pagans place an acorn on each window sill as a sign of protection.

  • Light a candle in each window to signify that you are inviting your ancestors to join you tonight. (be sure that it’s in a fire-safe container and that your curtains or blinds are safely tucked away) hint: lanterns are a good option.

I’ve talked a lot about ancestors so far, but not much about who our ancestors are. Sometimes when we refer to ancestors, we’re talking about blood relatives, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be so. Our ancestors could be those whom we share a kinship because we walk a similar path. For example, when I first took up quilting, I suddenly felt a kinship with all the quilters who came before me and knew the mysteries and joys of needlework. I felt as though I had joined a sisterhood of women from all times and places. I have a love of music, and so I can choose to connect with those who came before me and carved a path for me with their music. Honoring our ancestors is a practice as unique as me or you. For myself, I like to take a moment to remember that I am who I am today because I am standing on their shoulders. So too, they are standing on the shoulders of those who came before them and so on. Blessed Samhain! Christine Ford is a practicing Pagan, an initiate at the The Temple of Witchcraft, and an Artist. She facilitates workshops, full moon gatherings and Psychic Crystal Toss Readings at InSpirit Centre. To contact Christine or to join one of her sessions please call 289-891-7711

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