Solitary Rite for Samhain

By Suzanne Corbie

Short or Solitary Ceremony to Honour the Ancestors at Samhain

On Samhain eve (31st October), set aside a small table to represent your ancestral shrine. Place a black cloth over it with some orange candles or tealights. If you prefer, this shrine can be created outdoors.  Some bright autumn leaves can decorate. 

Place images or momentos of any loved ones who have passed over (you can leave something that belonged to them or their favourite food and drink) and if you don’t have anything like this, then write down their names on orange cards and place them amongst the leaves. 

Some Remembrance Day poppies are around at this time and you can add some of these – they already are in the consciousness to remember those who have passed over. 

After the sun has set, light the candles and a little incense and place some food and drink on the shrine. You can chime the commencement of this rite with a bell or chime if you wish. 

Welcome your ancestral spirits either in your heart or out loud by saying: 

Welcome all ancestral spirits; spirits of earth, sky and sea; ancient ones of the hidden places. At this ysbrydnos, the sacred time that stands between the dark and the light, draw near to the boundary of our worlds and hear our prayers and partake of our offerings. In this season of transformation, we honour our ancestors , as the ancients have done before us. 

If you wish to make a blessing to a loved one who has recently passed over, you can say for them:

Deep peace of the running water to you

Deep peace of the flowing air to you 

Deep peace of the quiet earth to you 

Deep peace of the shining stars to you 

Deep peace of the light of the sun to you 

Deep peace of the Moon in Darkness to you. 

Until we meet again. 

And may the Gods hold you in their loving embrace always. 

You might want to chant for a bit or sing a song of an ancestral deity of your land or life. Sometimes I like to chant a blessing for all those who have died in the past year, not just those I know. In the first year of Covid there was an overwhelming sadness of the great loss of life and refugees from all countries who are losing their lives in desperation of finding sanctuary. I wanted to sing for them, for their lives, for their loss. Think about what is meaningful to you at this time. 

Meditate for a moment on blessing the blood of ancestors that runs  through you, that has contributed to who you are and what you can become, always knowing that you are come from them, but you are not them. You have your own unique journey to fulfil. 

Eat and drink a little.

You might choose to read an inspiring poem you have chosen or written for the occasion.  

When ready, take a deep breath and say; 

As you are the past, we too one day shall become like you. We are now the present as once you were and the sum of our longings and efforts shall become the bright future that we create between us. For it is in this way that we are all blessed and our ancestral line is healed. 

Chime your bell and leave the candles lit until you retire.