The celebrations of All Hallow’s Eve or, as it is more widely known, Halloween, evolved from the ancient Celtic festival called Samhain, and transitioned over the centuries from pagan rituals to a day filled with parties, provocative costumes, hilarious jack-o-lanterns, and trick-or-treating for people of all ages and backgrounds.
Held on October 31st and pronounced sow-in, Samhain was a festival meant for celebrating the end of summer and the last harvest of the year. Also, it reminded its followers to begin their preparations for the winter season. An integral part of the holiday was honoring the dead and their memory. It is generally believed that missionaries of the early Christian Church organized a festival of their own during Samhain in order to persuade remaining pagans into the Christian religion. Although this pagan festival was eventually absorbed by Christianity, its descendant, Halloween, kept some of the traditions and the meaning behind the holiday.
Today, the celebrations revolve mainly around making light of death and the world beyond. While its modern traditions are fun and enjoyable in their own way, many people choose to observe the ancient rituals and honor All Hallow’s Eve in a sacred and more spiritually focused way. Here are five ways for you to try and harness the power of All Hallow’s Eve into your own life:
Bring The Season Into Your Home.
Being aware of the changes happening in the natural world can be a great advantage. Thus, decorating our homes with seasonal symbols like pumpkins, gourds, acorns, apples or placing an autumnal wreath on the front door can create good energy and benefit the occupants. By doing this, we understand and fully experience the Cycle of Life; we become content with the fact that everything around us is slowly ending its life cycle and we are able to welcome the next chapter with open arms.
Take Cemetery And Nature Walks.
The transition into the colder season can be a burden for many; temperatures are dropping and daylight is slowly slipping away. But, keeping a strong connection with nature is crucial, especially during this time. Long and peaceful walks in natural areas allow us to observe the colors, sounds, and atmosphere of the season. Furthermore, reflecting on death is not something to be afraid of; walking through a cemetery can be just as peaceful as a walk in the park. This is also an opportune time to visit and tend to the grave sites of our loved ones. Offerings such as flowers, lit candles, or a splash of water can be of great help for them. A lit candle can offer guidance and make their afterlife easier. Offerings are always very welcome and they can enhance our spiritual harmony.
Light Candles And Cleanse Your Space.
The light of a candle can act as a bridge between day and night, between inside and outside, and eventually between the physical and the spiritual world. Candles can help us transition from one sphere of existence into the next. Lighting a candle by a window at dusk or sharing a meal by candlelight is a way of summoning the darkness and inviting all of its positive energy into our homes or places of shelter. Additionally, during this time, it is best to sprinkle or decorate candles with spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, and orange peels. Thus, the smoke created can be used to cleanse the home. During this process, it is strongly advised to meditate and practice reflection.
Celebrate With A Feast.
As it is a celebration of abundance and the last harvest, All Hallow’s Eve can be celebrated with a large feast where family and friends can gather and exchange positive energy. For pagans, the dinner table was considered a sacred place. So, it is important to decorate it with candles and autumnal centerpieces. The meal should be focused on seasonal fruit and vegetables, dark bread, and red wine. Also, before everybody enjoys their food it is meaningful to take a few minutes and collectively thank Mother Earth for all of its offerings and acknowledge the coming of winter, a period of divine darkness.
Help And Guide The Spirits.
Carving pumpkins and turning them into Jack-o-Lanterns is a tradition that has been adopted worldwide by people of all religious backgrounds. However, few know the true meaning behind this Halloween ritual. The practice is said to have originated from Irish folklore and it was used to guide the lost soul of Jack, a notorious con man. Jack was believed to have tricked the Devil into never taking his soul. After dying, Jack was denied access into Heaven, and when he tried to enter Hell, the Devil kept his promise and sent him away. Ultimately, Jack’s soul was left wandering for eternity between worlds with only a light to guide his way. By placing Jack-o-Lanterns inside and outside our homes, we help the lost spirits of the dead find their way.
All Hallow’s Eve is a special night of the year when the veil between the physical and the spiritual world is at its thinnest. Ancient pagans believed that during this time the laws of space and time were left dormant thus the souls of the dead could return and celebrate with their families. As we light our candles, it is important to remember the powerful forces behind this sacred time. It is a time to remember and to send our love to those who have passed, and to show our gratitude before we enter a new phase.