BY NICOLE HAYWARD-BISHOP
October 31st marks the celebration of Samhain—the day when the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is at its thinnest. It’s a night that is great for ancestral magick, banishing unwanted spirits, and connecting with loved ones who have passed on.
It’s a night that offers an opportunity to do some soul searching and to ask our ancestors for guidance to help us heal and grow.
Our family histories are like previous chapters in our own stories and opening the lines of communication seeking answers can gift us with the insight into ourselves and how to navigate our futures. Change and rebirth can be scary, and the idea of digging up the past and opening old wounds can be painful. However, if old wounds were truly healed you wouldn’t be able to open them. In order to truly heal we need to revisit the histories that we left behind in order to make peace and truly find that closure.
Take it upon yourself to recognize the areas in your development that you’ve been ignoring. Cut open those stitches that act as shields allowing wounds to fester and make peace. It’s much easier to walk away from things when shit gets tough. It’s much easier to close ourselves off from people or the parts of ourselves that scare us. Our darkness shouldn’t be seen as something evil and angry, but just areas that have yet to be discovered or understood like an attic full of unmarked boxes.
Samhain is a holiday that I like to think of as one big flashlight ready to cast light upon our dark. It’s up to us whether we want to pick it up, turn it on, and do some serious soul searching. Ask for guidance from your ancestors, search for answers in your family history and dig deep into the parts of you that should be celebrated and the parts of you that you have yet to discover. The most exciting and worthwhile adventure we can take in life is the journey of self discovery. Change happens whether we want it to or not, and the only thing that we have control over is if we grow as a product of that or if we dig our heels in the sand and refuse to budge.
Living in Canada, I take inspiration from the visual changes this time of year brings like the trees shedding their leaves in order to make way for buds of spring. Nature is always a great source of inspiration when it comes to the ebbs and flows of life. The same goes for animals like the sacred serpent who sheds its skin once it no longer serves, leaving it behind without a sense of remorse but an understanding that it has to go through change in order to move forward. Consider adding visual representations of the serpent to your altar as a way to heighten magicks dealing with this theme.
If you don’t know what kind of rituals to perform on Samhain there are lots of great resources online but really it’s about connecting to your intuition and letting that guide you.
Banishing spells are great to get rid of evil spirits or energies that are weighing you down. It’s easier to send things from the spirit realm back there when the veil is thinner, just keep in mind it’s easier to attract them too if you are breeding a positive environment for negative energies to dwell in so bring awareness to that. I definitely use this time of year to perform a few banishing rituals but I also like to practice deep meditation that’s positive, creative and visual.
I like to sit on the floor with a candle lit in front of me, dimming the lights in my apartment so I have just enough to see the pages of my journal.
I place items that feel inspiring next to the candle like crystals, flowers, and I pull an oracle or tarot card or two asking for clarity.
Sometimes I play music, but oftentimes I prefer it to be quiet and then I just visualize and think about the parts of myself I need to focus on and heal and the parts of myself I might not be totally honest about or sure of. From there I meditate and write as I go, sometimes pulling more cards for guidance.
Once I’m done and ready to close my circle for the night, I run a bath with oatmeal, honey, and some essential oil infused salts and just relax, nourishing my soul and body, thanking them for the work they’ve done and putting them to peace for the night. With all of the emotional hardships ancestral work and healing can bring, it’s good to take them time to nourish ourselves and practice activities that feel calm and cozy. Sit and read a book, watch a movie, cook; whatever it is that helps you rejuvenate and heal.
That dreamy future that you wish for is attainable, it’s just about embracing your truth, learning from your past, and lighting the torch of knowledge our ancestors have gifted to us.