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I have been up all night praying around the fire with some brave and beautiful souls, giving thanks for my life, contemplating my challenges and asking for the support of my ancestors as well as sending them love and light.
With a history like mine, calling in the ancestors was a concept I avoided for quite some time. I didn't understand it, nor did I want to mess with that, as I wasn't looking to invite random ghosts to visit, ya feel me?
But that's not what it's really about.
Dia De Muertos – Or Day Of The Dead is a Mexican holiday where friends and family gather to remember those who have passed over, and pray for their spiritual journey, giving thanks and blessings. Scholars trace Dia De Muertos back to an indigenous Aztec festival, dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl who rules the underworld.
Before the Spanish invaded in the 16th century the holiday was actually held at the end of summer, but was moved to 31st October – Nov 2nd to coincide with the Christian Allhallowtide – a "time to remember the dead, including martyrs, saints, and all faithful departed Christians." It encompasses 3 days All Saint's eve (Halloween) All Saint's Day – which honours the Saints , and All Soul's day – a day to pray for the good souls who have passed (many remembering in particular family members).
The Greek Catholic church has a number of All Soul's days throughout the year.
Celebrations of honouring the dead have been held across the world for centuries, with cosmologies and traditions reflecting the belied that life includes the seen, physical world AND the unseen. But in our current 'celebration' of Halloween, all of that seems to have been hidden in plain view.
Day Of The Dead has not only been used to remember those we love, and give offerings to ancestors but to embrace the concept and reality of death and poke fun at it. A laugh in the face of death if you will! Quite an important thing, because you know what they say; the only thing guaranteed in life is death and taxes!
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Departed loved ones are encouraged to visit, and their favourite foods and drinks left out as an offering to them on an alter. The Brazilian public holiday of Finados (Day of the Dead) is celebrated on November 2, and people will visit churches and cemeteries to say prayers, light candles and honour the dead.
Samhain is the Celtic festival marking the end of harvest season and the beginning of winter and traditionally is celebrated from sunset on 31 October to sunset on 1 November. Fire ceremonies were conducted and believed to have special healing and protective powers. The veil between the physical and non physical world is believed to be thin at this time. Offerings were left for the nature spirits to ensure protection of the livestock over the winter; feasts were made in homes inviting the departed to join the family – as it was believed the souls came seeking hospitality.
People would dress up in disguises and go from door to door reciting verses in exchange for food. It is believed that lots of rituals took place at this time and perhaps that may be the origin of 'TRICK or treat'…
In 2015 I see a lot of people roaming the streets in very impressive (and scary!!) costumes, getting into the fun of Halloween, and getting very drunk. I must admit I have mixed feelings. I love the fun aspect, people just LOVE to get dressed up. And I love to party as much as the next person. There was a real, palpable energy of fun on the streets and everyone was having a great time; and of course, kids get loads of sweets and get to dress up with their friends! But like many things, everyone jumps on the bandwagon and the real meaning gets lost.
Any day is a good day to honour your ancestors and remember those you love, and Halloween time might just be a time when your prayers are received quicker and louder and you can use the time to communicate more effectively with those you love who have passed.
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Why honour your ancestors?
One simple reason is because we have life because of them. Our parent, parent’s parent’s parent’s.. whether you had a great relationship or not are the reason you have this life. You can choose to honour your life, by honouring those who gave it to you.
Many of our ancestors actually want to help us and let us feel supported on our Earth walk. Many times, they have things to teach us also, when we give offerings we can ask for guidance & support – perhaps with a current family situation, or something else. We may ask for our gifts to be revealed to us, our strengths that we have hidden in our genetics. Conversely we may ask for the healing of aspects held genetically, and this can be both physical as well as emotional.
It’s said karma can be passed down the family line. We could equate this simply to patterns of behaviour and beliefs passed on from one generation to the next. We can also see how certain talents can be handed down, or someone has a temper ‘just like their great grandfather’ who they have never met , or has mannerisms just like great grand mother who lives in another country. We can consciously make a connection and ask those that have past over to help right any wrongs and say thank you for the gifts.. even calling in any unknown gifts that may be lay latent.
In the book ‘Healing Ancestral Karma’ by Dr Steven Farmer it says ” When these secrets remain buried they end up being projected on to other people, or being passed along through the generations, similar to how Jeremy was unconsciously following a path similar to his fathers”. So, even if you are adopted, or don’t know your parents sending healing to your lineage could help you a good deal. Things may play out in our lives we don’t realise are rooted in the past.
If you have turbulent relationship with family you can ask for connection with the highest light and love vibration ancestors, and ask them to heal all of your family line, and you. Ask for the highest light and love vibration ancestors to support you. This is how I began. I didn’t want the last generation or so interfering haha
It can also be a time to just remember and send love to dearly departed loved ones. And you need no reason for that, other than you want to, and you may just be able to tune in that bit more to their heart and spirit while the veil is thinner.
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What to do?
You can make an alter to focus your intention of prayer and paying homage. Simply a place where you can put flowers, and a little offering of nice food an drink. If you are honouring a loved one who has passed you may put out their favourite wine or toy. Today I just put out a small cup of apple juice for it’s sweetness.
You can add some lovely fresh flowers and pictures of those who have passed. You may have sacred mandalas, crystals or prayers you would like to write and add.
You can simply light a candle for your ancestors wishing their peace and love and rest. Thank them for your life, and your gifts, ask for their help if you like. You can light a candle for each loved one who has passed and say a prayer individually to them. It’s a good time to say anything that was left unsaid and release any held on to energy, resentment, confusion or loose ends. This is a powerful process in itself.
Alternatively, you can do this in your garden, and also honour the earth that we all come from and go back to. Giving thanks for this earth walk and all we are offered to sustain us here in the physical.
Having a family meal, and lighting a fire if you can is a gorgeous way to celebrate. Take some time to remember those who have passed, tell stories, eat their favourite foods, leave a little piece on your plate for them. You may even set a place for them at the table and invite their spirit to join you.
Tonight when I eat, I will leave a small piece on the plate with the intention to ‘feed’ my ancestors. Letting them know I am sending them good vibes and nourishment.
You can visit a holy temple and light a candle for those that have passed, sending your prayers. I often pop into a church near by and light candles for people and pray to Mother Mary. You could visit the place they are buried and decorate their grave beautifully, leaving them gifts and offerings. It’s the token, the gesture, the energy of love behind it that counts.
Sending you many gorgeous love filled blessings to you and yours.
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