Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How do we Celebrate and Decorate for Samhain

For our favorite time of year????  First off we....Honor the Dead It is a magical night when the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest. It is the final harvest, a time to give thanks, remember those that have passed on, and as the Witches New Year, it is time to make vows for the future.

Honoring the Dead

There are many ways you can honor the dead, starting with the simple act of setting out food for them. While you're at home and can properly supervise, place lighted candles in the windows to serve as beacons for the spirits.

Host a Feast of the Dead. Set a place at the table for the dead and offer them servings of the food you eat. Invite departed friend and relatives, ancestors and heroines. Ask the living participants to share a memory about someone who has died who was important to them. Light a candle or ring a bell for each person after you speak about them. In Feeding the Spirit we cut out or draw pictures of things the dead would like. Then burn them in the fire (or candle flame), saying something like, “George, I am sending you new clothes for your journey in the spirit world." or whatever just an example

You can also make an altar for your ancestors. Our family has an altar each year we set it up, decorate it with marigolds and add new objects: a milkbone and tennis ball for our beloved Pris, guitar pick a dead grandfather and so on. The putting pictures of your departed relatives in the middle of the altar, burning white and yellow devotional candles and incense, and talking to them helps give visuals. If you feel uncomfortable talking out loud, write letters. You can burn these too and imagine the smoke carrying your message. 

Getting children into the spirit of Halloween is not very hard, but teaching them about Samhain can be, especially when the holiday is so closely tied to death and often associated with fear. Pagans are not afraid of the spirits of the dead, however. We see them as our beloved friends and ancestors. While nobody really knows what happens when a person dies, most Pagans believe we move on to somewhere pleasant - Summerland, the Land of Youth, Avalon, and so forth.

It's important that children understand that Samhain is not an evil holiday and that scary things like witches and ghosts aren't really scary at all. Regardless of whether or not you want to address the issue of death with your child, teach him/her the origins of Halloween and the true significance of Samhain. Stress that the ghosts of our friends and ancestors are friendly and can help and guide us. Remind them that real witches are not bad

 In Decorating we use pumpkins, ghosts, leaves, black cats and anything else that talk to us at the moment such as spiderwebs, lights, dried apples with the fresh hint of cinnamon, and the list goes on.  Of course the great pumpkin carvings.  Here are a few shots from last year as we haven't gotten that far this year.... oh don't forget the oh so yummy pumpkin seeds keep them for baking:0)

So there ya have it more or less.  Basically have fun, share a story, make tasty treats, decorate, carve those pumpkins and let the lights help the ancestors find their way as they pass thru on this magical night visit with family current and past, Keep your rituals simple esp if including young children and of course their fav of the whole night aside from dressing up the whole fun of trick or treating just be safe out there.

Have an awesome Samhain

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