Tonight we celebrate our Ancestors, friends & family members who have passed over into the Other World. It is Samhain, the Pagan New Year, end of Summer and one of the two times a year where the veil to the Other World is at its' thinnest.
Samhain, (pronounced sowen, soween, saw-win, saw-vane or sahven, not sam-hayne) is one of the four Greater Sabbats, it is a cross quarter day between the Autumn Equinox and Winter Solstice and is regarded as one of, if not the most important of all Sabbats.
Samhain is most commonly known as "Halloween" or "Hallows Eve" in modern day society, and in the Northern hemisphere is celebrated on October 31st / November 1st. It is also the Day of the Dead and is the night when we remember our loved ones and honour our ancestors. We also celebrate the reincarnation of the Sun (God) who leaves us now until he is reborn at the Winter Solstice.
Our family Altar: Adorned with our family cauldron, candles, photographs of loved ones who have passed (including beloved pets), chalice of red wine and an apple as our offering and as our family altar is quite small (it's the top of our fireplace), we chose to place a crystal tree to represent our family lines and Ancestors.
Our Samhain rituals include calling our Ancestors to join us, normally we would share in a feast but our oven broke a couple of nights ago so this part didn't go as planned! We also take time to remember our loved ones who have left us in this lifetime and we each write on parchment paper something we would like to release, which we then burn in our cauldron to release.
As I've said before, Rituals don't need to be fancy, you don't need to do them "by the book" and most of our family rituals, whilst based on tradition, also tend to go with the flow and use our Intuition allowing everyone to add their own individual aspects. Our family is our Coven, and we like to share the roles whenever we can. This allows our children to grow as well and encourages them to do so.
I believe Saige plans to write an article more in-depth of what she did for Samhain this year, so I will leave my entry here and see what she writes!