October is rich with seasonal celebration and traditions, and for good reason. After a long, laborious summer and fall harvest season, October is an opportunity to reap the many rewards of your year’s hard work. While this is physically symbolized with a harvest feast, in the spiritual sense this bounty presents itself as lessons and wisdom from beyond the grave. This is why there is such a mystical energy in the air and our natural fascination with the spiritual realm is felt so vividly right now.
While Halloween is the most popular holiday this time of year, I believe that incorporating our traditions with the diverse practices of Samhain (Celtic new year) and Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead in Mexican and Latin traditions) heightens our experience and opens us to a deeper sense of magic. I’ve had many students and friends ask me for simple ways to work with the spiritual energy present for these holidays, so today I’m offering you five simple rituals to ignite the mystery and wisdom of Halloween. I can’t wait to see what kind of magic you create!
- Build a Festive Halloween Altar
We talk a lot about altars at Sage Goddess because I think altar creation (even just the process, not the product) is one of the most impactful ways to work with ritual and intention. Sacred space is crucial to any kind of energy work, so dedicating a tabletop or side table to honor the Halloween festivities is a special way to work with this season’s thinning veil.
- Black and/or orange candles
- Seasonal crystals
- A chalice filled with water or wine
- Dark feathers
- Photos and/or mementos of the departed who you wish to honor
- Any festive altar decor
- Place a candle in the center of your altar.
- Use a compass to determine the Four Directions and place your altar items in each direction as they correspond to the element. Crystals for Earth in the North, your chalice for Water in the West, a candle for Fire in the South, and your feathers for Air in the East.
- Fill in your altar with your seasonal items and personal mementos.
- Light your candles and offer a prayer of gratitude to the souls you wish to honor.
- BONUS TIP: Keep a piece of smoky quartz or shungite and a small dish of sea salt on your altar at all times to keep energies clear and filtered.
- Candle Magic Ritual
Candle magic is one of the fundamental means of working with energy in the most magical tradition. I have many candles of my own for this reason, and Samhain is an especially good time to call upon your spiritual support for setting intentions. There are many types of candle magic, but this is a simple practice I enjoy this time of year and feel called to share. It’s best to do at this month’s new moon, which falls on October 12.
- Black candle
- Perfume or anointing oil (I use my Witch’s Brew, Samhain, or Black Magic perfume depending on the ritual I am doing ).
- Small square of paper
- Writing utensil
- Rub a few drops of anointing oil between your palms and dress your candle by rubbing the body of the candle or jar, visualizing your energy connecting with the energy of the candle.
- Write your intention for the upcoming winter season on your square of paper, on the other side write “so it is.”
- Fold the paper and place it under your candle.
- Light the wick and call in the support of the element of Fire, the goddess Hecate, your guides, ancestors and relations to support in the manifestation of your intention on the physical plane.
- Meditate on your intention by focusing on the dancing flame, repeat your words in your mind or aloud for at least five minutes. Continue as long as you feel called and connected.
- Ask that your intention unfold “in perfect time and in alignment with the collective highest good.”
- When you finish your meditation, express gratitude to the divine forces who came to support your spell, remove the paper from beneath the candle and then light it in the flame. Allow your paper to burn to ash in a fireproof dish.
- Let your candle burn until it extinguishes itself, releasing your intention into the ether to manifest.
- BONUS TIP: Bury the cooled ashes outdoors, to the direction of East, where all new beginnings take root.
- Ancestral Connection Crystal Meditation
In Samhain tradition we talk about the thinning of the veil. This is the time of the year when the border between the physical and spiritual realm is thinnest, making it a beautiful opportunity for interacting with your guides and departed ancestors. Ancestral connection is a very special type of magic; if there is someone who has passed on with whom you’d like to connect, I know you’ll enjoy this meditation.
- White sage
- Selenite wand
- Ancestral connection stones like skeletal quartz, picasso jasper, and smoky quartz
- A piece of paper and a writing utensil
- An offering for the ancestors (e.g. food, dried flowers, a poem, etc)
- Find a quiet space where you can sit comfortably
- Prepare a list of questions you have for your ancestor(s).
- Light your sage and smudge yourself, clearing any interfering energies and fear you may be experiencing. Ancestral connection is sensitive work, and it’s common to feel emotions rise when we are preparing to connect in this way.
- Use your selenite wand to trace a clockwise circle on the floor or carpet around you.
- Place your memento and crystals before you in the meditation area, and then present the offering to the spirit of your ancestor.
- Now, meditate until you feel your body and mind relax.
- Ask that only your ancestors who have moved through the light and have healed their own karmic path be allowed to visit with you. Then, verbally announce to your ancestor that you are present and would like to speak with them, asking the questions you prepared. Return to silence and pay attention to whatever comes through. These messages can come through as words, visions, smells or even just the sense of their presence. Be still and patient, creating the space for your ancestor’s spirit to communicate however they can. If there are any messages or information you feel called to offer them, you may do this as well.
- When you feel you have received the communication, bow in gratitude to your ancestor(s), thanking them for their presence and imparted wisdom. Close the meditation by asking them to return to the plane they came from, acknowledging that their time in this place has passed and they are where they are meant to be.
- Trace a counter-clockwise circle on the floor or carpet with your selenite wand to complete and close the circle.
- In your journal, write down any messages or sensations you experienced to revisit later. If you saw symbols or images, you may choose to draw those as well.
- BONUS TIP: I like to anoint my journal pages with one drop of my sacred perfume (any of them you are working with) to seal the experience.
- Sacred Space Clearing
When we work closely with the spiritual realm, like we often do during Halloween, it’s critical that we have a clear space, free of negative energies and sealed with your unique vibration. When you keep your spaces clean and clear you attract vibrant spirits of light into your sphere of experience. Protect yourself and loved ones this season with a ceremonial cleansing of your home, office, and other sacred spaces. This ritual is a physical and a spiritual space clearing, which go hand in hand. Have a Samhain cleaning session and feel the profound energy shift ensue. Invite others to participate, if you feel called to do so.
- Start with a physical clearing of your space. Gather and throw away or donate any stagnant items in your home that you don’t use, that you aren’t excited about anymore, or that are simply not fitting into your present life. Organize and clean your surfaces, clearing away piles of clutter. Ask yourself if you have used an item within the last 60 days and if not, considering offering it to someone else who will. Letting go of clothing that doesn’t fit your body today creates space for deeper self-acceptance.
- Hang white sage above the entrance and exit doors, which will clear the energy of those who visit as well as prevent any unwanted spirits from entering the space. You can pin a single sprig or an entire bundle, whichever you prefer.
- Open your doors and windows, then smudge the room. Ask the smoke to clear all energy in the space that is not healthy and positive.
- When you’ve finished smudging, place a protective stone in each of the four corners of the room to seal the energy in.
- BONUS TIP: I like to place a single clear quartz point in each bag of clothing and items I donate, to expand the gratitude and love I’m sending on with these items to the people who will receive them.
- Honor The Departed With a Memory Offering
This is a sweet and simple way to celebrate the experiences we shared with our loved ones who have passed. Create a memory offering to collect the stories and little things you remember about them, and on Halloween gather to share these memories together in celebration of their life.
- Glass or mason jar
- Small paper slips
- Writing utensil
- Create a seasonal altar in your home to honor the departed (see above).
- In the center of the altar offerings, place your jar and the slips of paper.
- Throughout the season, write down passing memories of your departed loved ones on the slip of paper and place it in the mason jar, saying a prayer in gratitude for their time on the Earthly plane.
- Allow any guests in your space to contribute their own memories to the jar.
- At the end of the season, gather to share these memories aloud with your loved ones to celebrate the connections we shared with those who have passed on.
- BONUS TIP: Place Rose Quartz in this special jar to send love and sweet stone medicine to their spirit all year.
There are so many special ways to celebrate this magical time of year, and these rituals are just the beginning. I hope you enjoy them and feel called to create your own sacred traditions to honor the departed and the spirit of the Halloween season. If you’d like to learn more about Samhain and deepening your practice beyond these rituals, this book is excellent.
Many blessings to you, your loved ones, and those who came before,