Sunset on Samhain (pronounced ‘sow-en’), October 31st, is the beginning of the Celtic New Year, a three day holiday from Oct 31 – Nov 2. The old year has passed, the harvest has been gathered, livestock have been brought in from the fields, and the leaves are falling from the trees. It’s the ending of one cycle, the beginning of another as the earth slowly begins to hibernate around us.
This is a good time for us to look at wrapping up the old and preparing for the new in our lives. Think about the things you did in the last twelve months. Have you left anything unresolved? If so, now is the time to finish them, because, once you have that unfinished stuff cleared away, you can begin looking towards the next year.
It’s also a period of time to honor and respect our friends and family who have transitioned before us. It’s a celebration of life over death. Candles are lit to honor our loved ones, plates of food are left out and festivals continue for 3 nights. Our Celtic heritage looks to our ancestors to bring them guidance for the coming year and to use this opportunity to honor their loved ones, not as dead, but as living spirits and guardians who hold the wisdom of mankind. It’s a celebration of the afterlife, understanding we never die, we always live and continue to learn.
For centuries people have believed these days offer the thinnest layer between our world and all our ancestors before us – and this is why we send a prayer to our ancestors – sending our love to them.
My family uses birthday candles on Samhain – lighting a candle and saying a Samhain prayer for each friend and family member that has returned to the heart of the Creator before us. As the candle is lit, we place it upright in a large bowl of sand until the altar of my ancestors glows with a soft, warm light illuminating the room and photos of our loved ones.
I am honored to share our Samhain prayer with you. May your family be blessed at this most precious time.
Ancestor Prayer on Samhain
To ______________________ (your loved one’s name)
I honor You,
From the dawn of your birth
to the sunset of your death,
I honor you.
For everything you accomplished
and everything you didn’t,
I honor You.
For the experience you brought to my life
and the experience I shared with you,
I honor You.
May you feel the love I send to you now.
and may my heart be open to receive your love.
May my mind be quiet to hear your voice
and may your wisdom and love continue to grow forever.
May you feel the breath of Spirit surrounding you at all times
and may you feel supported in everything you do,
from this moment until the end of time.