Samhain / Nos Galan Gaeaf ancestral healing
Samhain, the Gaelic name for Halloween, is on the 31st of October, also known as Samhuinn in Scotland and Nos Galan Gaeaf in Wales- literally meaning ‘the night before the beginning of winter’. Astrologically Samhain is a cross quarter festival- falling in between the autumn
equinox and the winter solstice and for this reason dates to celebrate can vary- from the 31st to the 7th of November- which is its astrological date this year. This is a special time, where spirits abound to wreak havoc or visit their loved ones, for solace or revenge, where the spirits of nature remind us of their wild and untamed ways and for a while the ordinary way of things in the mortal world is upended.
Now is a perfect time to honour our ancestors and do some ancestral healing- this frees us up from the patterns of the past, ways of being handed down from parents to children often going back generations that are often unconscious and overlooked, to say what we didn’t say or to resolve and forgive any misdeeds.
Try setting up an ancestral altar. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, just a clear shelf with photos and maybe some flowers will do- and it can be a permanent fixture in the home or just up for a few days as you feel. Just making a space in our home for something helps to hold it in our awareness and allows a consciousness change to occur gently and gradually. An ancestral altar can be a place where we make a prayer for those who have passed over, or where we may ask for help and support, holding those who have come before us in respect and gratitude, and asking higher assistance to support those who we may feel needed more healing in their lives when they were here. Sometimes people leave us with uncomfortable or difficult feelings and this is a place where these can be addressed as well- where we may ask other ancestors for support or say things we need to get of our chest.
To send some ancestral healing and to honour those who have passed this Samhain, light a candle for remembrance, and spend a few minutes remembering your mothers and fathers ancestral lines, sending them your gratitude and asking that they be blessed and healed. Take a glass of wine or other spirit, and a dish of your best food, and place these on your altar as a gift for them- feeding the spirits is an ancient and worldwide practice, and shows your care and respect, building healthy strong bonds between you and your spirit kin. Lastly, light a candle or candle lantern ( traditionally in Scotland these were tumshies- carved turnips not pumpkins) and place the lights in your window or outside your door, allowing it to burn safely, right down, to guide the spirts on their way back to the otherworld.
May your bloodlines and ancestors be blessed!