Updated: Oct 5, 2019
Don't get me wrong; I love Halloween! I love to dress up and hand out goodies, walk my kids around to get their goodies. I love (most) of the decorations, the laughing and screaming, the parties, and all the other little things that go along with Halloween. I've always participated in big ways - throwing parties or decorating big. What I don't like is how hard it is to separate Samhain from Halloween, especially now that I have children that I can teach my ways to.
The biggest aspect of Samhain, for myself, is that it's the pagan new year. We are bidding good bye to the previous year and getting ready to start with a clean slate. I symbolically cleanse my altar just after midnight, to represent beginning anew. I use a mini besom to 'sweep' away all the residual energies from past work. I visualize it all floating away and vanishing, like smoke or mist.
For my children, I have them tell me what they hope will happen this year, or what they want to do this year, and write it down for them on a small scrap of paper. We then save it in a jar, along with a piece of black tourmaline to repel any negative energy, and let the kids throw it into the next bonfire we have.
Samhain is also the night of the year that the veil between this world and the next is thinnest. It's the time to honor to our ancestors and ask for their advice. A dumb supper is my favorite way to let the kids participate. We make a name card for a deceased friend or relative that we want to invite to dinner. The kids decorate them however they want (which at a young age is just scribbles, but as long as it's from them!), and pick a name. When old enough I'll let them write the name on there, but for now I write it for them. We set up dinner, including extra plates with a small bit of our dinner next to each name card, so that our unseen guests know that they are welcome.
I decorate my altar with pictures of my deceased relatives and items that belonged to them, if I have them. If not, I will find something to represent them; a favorite flower, a favorite piece of candy,a sprig or leaf of their favorite herb, or some other little token.
This year I will be putting items for my father's parents. For my grandmother: A picture of her when she was young, and a piece of the Lefton china she collected during her life and left to me. For my grandfather: A butcher knife as he had his own butcher shop and convenience store. I plan to ask their guidance for the year to come.
Below I'm including a few of my favorite essential oil blends - one for use during an ancestors ritual and one for general use during the fall.
Autumn Kitchen diffuser blend:
1 drop clove
2 drops ginger
3 drops sweet orange
Pumpkin Pie diffuser blend:
2 drops cinnamon
2 drop clove
1 drop cardamom
1 drop nutmeg
Ancestors Ritual diffuser blend:
2 drops sandalwood
2 drops cinnamon leaf
1 drop rosemary