Most pagans know of Samhain as a time of the year where we honor those who passed on before us.
Some traditions include lighting candles to represent each person who died this passing year. Others might set photos or mementos of loved ones, sharing stories of them on Samhain.
One year, my study group decided to include not just those who passed on, but other symbolic deaths, so we might reflect on them. One man shared the death of his marriage (divorce) while another shared the death of a job. This might also remind us that death can also offer rebirth, and the Wheel of the Year turns to another cycle.
Some ideas to honor the dead:
- Share stories. I’ve always felt this it the most powerful way to honor those who passed on, by sharing memories of them.
- Share songs. If you know favorite songs or music, share in ritual to honor those who passed on.
- Hang photos, ribbons, or ornaments that represent the dead.
- Offer prayers, thanks, and offerings. You can offer to honor them by making a promise you’ll keep in the coming year. For instance, I might promise to donate to veterans to honor my grandfather who was a veteran of WWII. I could make an offering of charity or good dead, to promise to quit smoking or take care of a family member to honor them.
What traditions do you partake in for Samhain to honor the dead? Share in comments below.
There are many traditions within the pagan religions, with many more since I started at the young age of 14…so many, many years ago.
New ones are popping up all the time, from the orthodox Gardnarians to the easy-going Reclaiming, to traditions specific to cultures such as the Asatru (Nordic) or Tamaran or Kemetic (Egyptian).
So what would I have if I were to start my own tradition?
- I would have no leaders or followers, and no degrees. I’m a huge believer that EVERYONE is responsible for their own spiritual path.
- We’d have no priest or priestess, but teachers. Their role is based on their ability to teach and share knowledge, but are also considered part of the group. We have rituals in circles, having no ‘head’, all are equal.
- Members are expected to take responsible for their own spiritual path, including their ego.
- My tradition would incorporate some of the Buddhist beliefs of removing the ego, to find happiness.
- Members would be required to read a lot of books, even the ‘bad’ ones so they can hone their opinion.
- They would be expected to think for themselves, to speak up and share their views. Groups would encourage diversity and mutual respect.
- Laughter and play would be essential to all rituals.
- Rituals would be done by everyone, where each member is encouraged to have a say on how the ritual is done, often sharing the diversity of the group.
So what would you include your tradition? Post in comments
I found video by Morganna RavenMoon in my travels on the Web, and love the idea of doing my own statue rather than buying one. By making it yourself, you can infuse more of ‘you’ in the tools you have on your altar.
Her Youtube channel offers tons of neat idea for Sabbat practice and more. She doesn’t post new videos, but started a new channel with a fresh focus.
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