Celebrating Samhain: A family-friendly ritual for Halloween
"The Wheel of the Year spins on and on, bringing us to and from one season and from and to another..."
Halloween's roots go back much farther than our modern celebrations of jack-o-lanterns and trick-or-treating.
This family-friendly ritual provides a magical framework for honoring your own ancestors and introducing your children and other ritual participants to your loved ones that have passed on.
Note: each participant should bring a photo, and if possible, a trinket from the person in the picture. Objects hold stories. They're the placeholders for our tales; a jumping off point and a good place for the potentially tongue-tied to begin.
Light the tealight facing North on your altar and say:
On this Halloween night, we call in Earth on the bones of our body.
Light the central candle and say:
On this Halloween night we call in Spirit, and the souls of those who have gone before. We come together tonight to honor our ancestors and tell stories of our loved ones who have passed. On this night, as the veil between the world's is lifted, they hear our voices and take joy in our remembrances,
Here's an example from my own life: "This rawhide mallet belonged to my grandfather; he used it in his leather-work." I'd then describe the work he did, including some humorous drawback to it (because he was so thrifty, he was notorious for underestimating how big people were so most of his belts didn't fit us!)
When telling stories with kids, it can be helpful to relate it back to them. "You come from a long like of artists," I would tell mine. In Judaism this is called L'Dor Vador - from one generation to the next. This helps younger children make sense of the connection to their ancestors, and it builds sense of self in older children. "That's where you get you (fill in positive trait here.)"
On this Halloween night we thank Air, Fire, Water and Earth for your presence. We thank Spirit, and the souls of our loved ones. On this Halloween night, we remember.