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Samhain/Halloween/Days of the Dead

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  • Samhain/Halloween/Days of the Dead

    All right, then, fellow pans. Another holiday comes rapidly upon us (again?!? It's almost like this things are...cyclical or something). What are people planning? What rituals do you take part in at this time of year? Seasonal foods? Songs and meditations?

    I know some of us are already participating in this conversation elsewhere around MW, but I really love that we're gathering ideas here to inspire each other and help each other out - this year and in future years.
    If you're lucky you'll find something that reflects you,
    helps you feel your life protects you,
    cradles you and connects you to everything.
    Dar Williams, "The Hudson"

  • #2
    I am going to the corn maze and working (dressed up as Pebbles Flintstone) on Halloween night... Other than that, I am having a hard core meditation period, and maybe egging a house... (with exploding eggs... gotta get the family honor back... it's only if this one girl eggs my sisters house...)

    Other than that... I swear I have plans that are more extensive than that, but I can't remember them... tonight I am fairly out of it and can't remember anything, or even what I am doing, for very long... and I am dizzy and sick to my stomach and am convinced that my organs are having a barfight... and I keep smelling burning bar b que sauce... freaking a!....

    Anyways though, if I remember what I am doing later on, I will post again, until then, I am going to go lay down and hope the sour milk taste in my mouth goes away...
    I've been ghosted by RavenStars... boo...

    "Coward, I see what is in your heart.
    Be careful what you sow there,
    for it may prove to be your only harvest, and a bitter one at that."

    Official "I have too many family members to fit in this space, yes, immediate..." club member...
    for those who's family exceeds the given amount of space.

    Honestly... does it have a face?


    • #3
      Samhain Plans

      One new thing this year will be to take part in a small liturgy (of some sort) and a dinner at the UU church I participate in. The celebration, dinner, and children's party are specifically structured around Samhain-Days of the Dead-Celtic New Year. I feel I owe it to the community to participate given my explicit beliefs around this holiday and their being so welcoming to me. This will also be a more explicit explanation of my beliefs to people than before, which was the subject of an earlier thread in this forum.

      Personally, as in by myself, I will spend much of the evening outside in a spiritual place meditating and then honoring all of the spirits as we welcome the quiet time beginning of the new year. This time has always been far and away the most significant spiritual time of the year for me. I will honor it inside with some small ritual of candles and re-decorating for the new year, but the real power will be outside later.

      I'd also welcome hearing about anyone else's specific rituals/practices. I'm always looking to learn and add.
      I don't need a god to make me safe
      I am safe by knowing I am where I should be
      a part of all that is


      • #4
        I am using Nov 1 as my floating holiday so I can observe the Days of the Dead in an intentional, non chaotic way.

        I will start putting the ofrendas together this week, and start the cooking.
        On Nov 3 or 4 the family will gather for a feast and bonfire.

        I've been working on art, and today began on poetry, exploring death and mortality and my relationship to it.

        It's really more of a season than just a holiday.
        In a love affair with sunshine

        Live this day like an altar to what you believe


        • #5
          I've been working on my Book of Days, adding symbols and ideas appropriate for each holiday. It's a slow process, but I knew that I needed more than just words on a page.
          I'm planning on having a ritual remembering my Great Grandmother, I still can't beleive that she died 18 months ago, last year at Samhain, I was still in suck shock over it, that I didn't remember her in a really meaningful way. This year, I'd like to do something special.


          • #6
            I have never done so to the full extent, but I love the idea of hosting a "dumb supper."

            Perhaps you've heard of it: the guests you invite are told before they arrive that the meal and gathering are to be fully silent. No talking, no music... just rememberance. A place is set at the table for the spirits of those dead carried in the hearts of the guests.

            Usually, I do set out the place, but I've never been fully silent, nor have I had guests. Still, the plate is filled with bits of whatever I eat, and a glass of whatever beverage I'm drinking is poured. Unlike normal libations, I place it in an open window overnight, with some kind of inviting light, to provide hospitality to the wandering dead. I do believe they are somehow out there (something about energy and matter and really very little I can explain but that I have experiences with).

            I also usually use this time of year to set wards around the house, make my pact of non-invasion/non-destruction with Grandmother Spider, and express gratitude for the final harvest, blessing the supplies of food to last through the winter. This year, I will also be blessing my sweet Basha for health and for whatever happens to be what is best for her...

            In the morning, when the sun has risen, the dead libation is poured out on the ground in hopes for a successful and fertile coming year.

            I'm always open to new ideas... but this ritual has become very comforting to me as we make the final plunge into winter.


            PS: I agree with you, Cheddar, that it's a season, not just a holiday. But then that's how I feel about all the holidays. They mark the beginning of a season that lasts the next month and a half. That season's meaning or purpose is what I try to be mindful of throughout, until the next holiday comes in... that's how I see the wheel of the year.
            Last edited by Eleisawolf; October 23rd, 2007, 01:09 PM. Reason: Ah, grammar...
            Working for Peace Pruning the Rambles

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            Definition of skepticism: Don't believe everything you think.

            In wildness is the preservation of the world ~Henry David Thoreau

            Pantheism Path Forum Guide

            In memoriam, Basha: 4/1996 - 12/2007 * * * In memoriam, Tika: 9/1996 - 3/2008


            • #7
              Is everybody gettin' ready?
              If you're lucky you'll find something that reflects you,
              helps you feel your life protects you,
              cradles you and connects you to everything.
              Dar Williams, "The Hudson"


              • #8
                i don't actually see halloween as a day which is any more spiritual than any other.

                i tend to mark the changing of the seasons and the cycles of nature.

                so, halloween, for me, is a secular holiday. i used to love taking my daughter around trick-or-treating and then having a nice dinner with family. now that she is grown, it is just a day to visit with family and eat stuff that's bad for me <g>.


                • #9
                  In our family, we celebrate in both spiritual and secular ways. My husband, mother and I set up a Remembrance Altar with traditional seasonal decorations (mostly a variety of gourds) and a photo collection of our departed family members. I also bake soul cakes (traditionally, they contain dried fruit and/or nuts, and I usually make chocolate cakes with dried cherries), and leave a bit out by the back door. We also invite friends and their kids over, and dress up in costumes and I set out a "candy buffet." For us, it's a time to connect with our cultural and ancestral past, honor the passage of the seasons and the larger passage of time, and enjoy fun and junk food with our friends to appreciate the present. It's actually my favorite holiday!


                  • #10
                    Thanks for sharing about your traditions with us, Katsbrain. It's been quiet in here for a while; nice to have some voices again!
                    If you're lucky you'll find something that reflects you,
                    helps you feel your life protects you,
                    cradles you and connects you to everything.
                    Dar Williams, "The Hudson"


                    • #11
                      Eleisawolf I love the idea of setting a plate at the window with a light. I may just have to steal that if you don't mind.

                      I see this season as a kind of new year and definitely feel the seasonal change. Been spending a lot of time preparing my house, getting ready for winter and doing a good tidy.


                      • #12
                        For us it is a favourite time to celebrate family and friends.
                        We have an open house - everyone welcome, we have games and sing songs and share food/drink and stories.
                        We decorate for the secular aspect - and everyone is in costume.
                        Every bottle that is opened, we parade to the yard and pour the first drink in honour of friends and family who have passed (by the end of the night, many drinks have been named in honour of loved ones).
                        When the last guests have left, we clean the house and I usually meditate at sunrise.
                        It is a wonderful, laughter-filled, exhausting evening - and we look forward to it all year.

                        This year in the afternoon before the open house, I will be celebrating with friends in a more formal ritual too (should be very moving- amazing bunch of people!).
                        "Gypsy gold does not chink and glitter. It gleams in the sun and neighs in the dark."
                        — Saying of the Gladdagh Gypsies of Galway


                        • #13
                          Since it's been years since I cast a circle and held ritual, so I'm going to do a "practice" circle this week. I'll cast a circle and consecrate my tools and just spend a bit of time enjoying my sacred space. On Halloween day, I will do a ritual when I have the house to myself (hubby at work, oldest son at school, toddler son taking nap). I will be planning it this week and it will include a few messages to my grandparents that have passed. I haven't decided if I will to a Tarot card reading during my ritual celebration, or do it later at night after trick or treating.

                          I will be taking my two boys out trick or treating on Halloween night for the secular part of the holiday .
                          By the light of the moon and sun,
                          May you be blessed where ever you go.
                          And always remember to have fun,
                          While your mind continues to grow.



                          • #14
                            I'm totally against Halloween. It'd just become another mass-marketed 'holiday' that only serves to make big business more money. As an Australian, I hate getting asked to go to Halloween parties. It really bothers me that the American custom of Halloween is taking hold here. It's the wrong time of year, for a start.

                            Samhain, however, I'm fine with. It's the traditional, original sabbat and Aussie pagans celebrate it at the right time of year for our cycle. It's the falseness of Halloween that really gets to me.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Windsmith View Post
                              All right, then, fellow pans. Another holiday comes rapidly upon us (again?!? It's almost like this things are...cyclical or something).
                              Of course they are "cyclical". It's regarded as a wheel that turns around and comes round again. Time isn't linear. Maybe you should regard the year as a disk and not a straight rigid line.

                              Click image for larger version

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