Halloween or Samhain, is a great time to honor our ancestors who have passed. The night before Halloween, the night of, and the night after, the veil between our world and theirs is at it’s thinnest. This makes it easier to contact and honor them. Many traditions set out Mute Meals at the table for these ancestors, invitint them to partake in the family meal. This not only shows that they are welcomed, but they are honored. Mute Meals can be a plate with a serving of each element of the current meal, pieces of favored foods and desserts, or bread, salts, apples and cider. Generally, one place setting for the honored ancestors is sufficient.
Some traditions have used carved pumpkins and other fall gourds to help these family members find they way to their family memebers. Carved Jack O’Lanterns are a relatively new practice that stems from American. Pumpkins are an American vegetable, so historically, the carved Jack O’Laterns wasn’t practice is past times in other traditions. The Celts did carved gourds, apples and other vegetables into safe candle holders, but since they didn’t believe in witches and welcomed their ancestors, they didn’t use them to scare away evil as many would believe.
Creating an acestral altar is a great thing to do at this time as well. There isn’t a set rule for how the altar needs to look, other than pleasing to you. Use pictures of the loved ones crossed over, favorite items of theirs, a white candle, etc. The ultimate goal is honor them and make you remember and feel the love for them when you work with or look at the altar. Nothing big or gaudy is required, sometimes just a section of a bookshelf is all that’s needed. These altars aren’t anything to be afraid of, they should help fill the home with positivity and love!