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  • John

The Veil

During Samhain, pagans, witches, and spiritual believers repeat the same phrase: the veil is thinning. And it is. This veil, the space between this world and the spirit is at its most gauzy and sheer, giving us the best chance of reaching out and connecting with those we lost. Beliefs stretch far and wide, across religions and cultures, to this very moment in the year. Something about the harvest, the shift of seasons, the chill in the north and the emerging heat in south signals to us and end of sorts: the end of abundance, the end of light, the end...

But, in this end we have an opportunity. We can perform rituals, pray, mediate and connect or we can listen to the magick within. This liminal space that seems so far out of reach but now, at this time, is right within our grasp. How can we connect? How can we commune? How can heal, love, and honor? The veil is thin, but our hope isn't.

How to connect:

1. Visit the resting place of your ancestors

If you know the final resting place of your ancestors, pay them a visit. You can go the traditional route by bringing flowers or stones, or you can bring them something they enjoyed in their physical lives: alcohol, cigarettes, all the things everyone told them to avoid here, you can treat them with, there. If you have permission, or if it's allowed, taking some graveyard dirt you can use in a ritual of remembrance, later on.

2. Hold a family dinner

Each year we hold a dinner to honor our family that is no longer with us. We set the table with china and glassware that was special to them in this life. We place items on the table that connect us to them. We set a place for them. We remember them at the start and have a subdued meal. At the end, we pour out the spirits and compost the food. Our ancestors would frown on waste and we honor that too.

3. Create a family altar

We do this many times in our homes, unconsciously: we scatter framed photos, knickknacks that once belonged to our loved ones, and candles and flowers, all along a mantle. We don't usually ascribe a name to this spot, but what you've essentially created is an ancestor altar. If this space doesn't exist, this is a great time to establish a designated spot to pay homage to our passed loved ones. In addition to the items above, you may also leave their favorite things, along with items of clothing, mass cards, and even food. Maintain this space by cleaning it regularly, and decorating it according to special events like birthdays, holidays, and especially during the Samhain season.

Additionally, praying, telling stories of our relatives to others, passing on recipes and folktales that they once have passed on to us, and even looking at old photos can create this connectiveness. Reaching out through this thinning between worlds can seem daunting at first, but the veil only masks what's always there: the love that once we felt here, can now be felt once again.

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