Falling leaves, pumpkin pie, and an entire month dedicated to honoring your ancestors, Samhain is almost here! Also known as the Witches New Year, Samhain is the third harvest festival and is the pagan sabbat for celebrating those who have passed before us.
Each year Samhain marks a time when the veil to the other side is thin and we are able to communicate easier with the deceased. It's a time to connect deeply with our roots and to remember our ancestors. Samhain is the time to honor the witch within our bloodlines.
Here are ten ways to connect with your ancestors.
1. Create an ancestor altar and/or shrine
An ancestor altar is a place to join forces with your special loved ones and to work together in spell crafting, divination, shadow workings, past life explorations, and anything else to help you reach your goals. It's always nice to have a support system in your spiritual practice and what better people to connect than with your ancestors! Having a shared space with your ancestors helps them to feel welcome to offer guidance and assistance if needed.
An ancestor shrine, although similar to an ancestor altar, is different within various traditions and cultures. The shrine is a dedicated area within the home, usually set up all year round, and is a place honor loved ones through prayer and offerings. Ancestor shrines are meant to be treated as sacred places for worship and prayer, to honor those of our bloodlines.
Whether you choose to have ancestor altar and/or shrine, having a special place for you and your ancestors to meet will help to open the lines of communication.
2. Visit the graves of your ancestors
If you have a loved one buried in a cemetery, take some time to visit their grave site. When you go for a visit, you may wish to bring some offerings for them. Think about items your loved one may have liked when they were alive, maybe you could play a song on your cell phone for them, bring their favorite chocolate candies, maybe some fresh aromatic flowers, or a cigar. Everybody loves gifts, including spirits!
With permission and blessing, you may like to collect some of the dirt from their grave site to use in your Samhain ritual.
3. Host a family gathering to honor your loved ones memories.
It's always nice to cook for others! Invite your ancestors to dinner and craft up a special meal just for them. You could even go as far as having a dumb supper, where you eat the meal in complete silence, leaving a place for them at the table with their favorite foods!
Gathering with family, reminiscing about your special loved one, and cooking their favorite dishes is the perfect way to connect to their spirit! Be sure and offer them everything you've cooked to help them remember those moments of warm pumpkin pie, delicious chai tea with family, good laughs, and memories.
4. Reminisce with old photos albums of your family.
Spend time at your ancestor altar or ancestor shrine, drinking a cup of warm tea, lighting some scented candles, and flipping through any old photo albums you may have. This is a relaxing way to reminisce about the days when they were alive. Talk to your ancestor as you flip through the photos, telling them what you remember, what you enjoyed about them.
5. Craft together.
What types of interest did your ancestors have? Ask yourself this question to include some of these interests in a ritual dedicated just for them. A simple crafting ritual could be one where you are sitting at your altar surrounded by candle light, incense burning, doing something they would have loved to do, maybe it's crocheting, playing the piano, or smoking a pipe.
Honor them in ritual by experiencing these activities together, and helping them to connect with you. Those who craft together, stay together.
6. Create an ancestor tea blend.
Choose herbs, roots, and botanicals to create an herbal tea blend your ancestor would enjoy. If you're not sure what herbs your ancestors would have liked, ask them out loud. Sit with your thoughts for a few minutes and see if any herbs come to mind.
Did your ancestor have a certain flavor of tea they loved? Use your intuitive guidance to help you create an herbal tea you drink only when you're wanting to call on your ancestors. Aromas and flavors always have a way of bringing memories to the surface!
7. Write letters to your ancestors.
Spend some time writing a letter to your ancestors. This practice can easily open the door to communication and to practices such as automatic writing. When you start to write this letter, pay attention to how your hand flows, and if your thoughts become more like someone speaking to you. It's not uncommon for spirits to communicate this way. Journaling can have a profound effect and can open many doors of communication.
8. Research your family lineage
Now a days, there are so many ways to research your family's ancestry line, drawing us closer to our family history. Taking the time to follow your family lineage is a way to open communication with not only ancestors you are familiar with, but to those you didn't even know existed! The more we know about our past, the more insight we can gain for our future.
9. Dream with your ancestors
As a way to enter our subconscious gently, our ancestors will visit us in our dreams. This is way for them to communicate with us when our minds are less distracted and more receptive. Connect with your ancestors by making a dream pillow and include the usual items like herbs such as lavender and chamomile and crystals for such as amethyst and selenite and also add something to connect your energy with theirs.
Photographs of your loved ones are helpful to add to your dream pillow or an item that belonged to them, if you have it. Items they touched regularly when they were alive still hold their energy and can help to form a connection. You can use things like jewelry, movie stubs, keys, a favorite flower, oils with their favorite scent, hair clips, business cards, clothing, etc...get creative!
If you don't have anything they've touched, choose items they would like. This dream pillow will help you to interpret their messages more clearly! Be sure and have a journal nearby to write down the details from your dreams.
10. Dedicate a crystal to your ancestors.
Choose a crystal, one you intend to only use for connecting with your ancestors. This crystal can be programmed to link you to your bloodline either during ritual, meditation, or carrying with you in times of need. Hold in the palm of your hand when you're wanting to call upon your loved ones and focus on their presence. Crystals such as selenite, black obsidian, sodalite, and lapis lazuli are especially helpful for connecting with the other side and for opening the door to communication.
Extra Tip ~ Visualize and repeat.
Although it may seem silly at first, just simply visualizing your ancestors, but with all forms of magick, visualization is huge! Try to imagine your loved one sitting next to you, talking with you, drinking a cup of coffee, or perhaps playing with a deck of cards. Once you're able to visualize them clearly in your mind, visualize them actively engaging with you.
Practice this exercise each night before going to bed. The repetition of this practice can create energy shifts, where the veil is lifted for brief moments and you're able to experience your ancestor's presence on a regular basis.
How do you connect with your ancestors? Share in the comments below.
Written By: Feather, Owner of The Witch's Guide.
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