So, this year there’s no reason not to gather for Samhain, so we can gather big! But for many of us, going outside for our Halloween rituals still isn’t an option.
In previous blog posts I’ve discussed why working with the Ancestors is an all-year-round practise for me, but I always spend some time at Halloween remembering and honouring the dead.
I created for my online Ancestor Healing course which is now on it’s third cohort. The final session is built around this rite, but taken out of the course context it’s also a great online ritual to do as its own event, which is why I’m sharing it here.
This was created for use on Zoom, which is why I reference that as a platform, but there are of course more video call options available which work just as well.
Here’s the rite!
Build a Sacred Space
Start by creating an online sacred space. Participants may choose to create their own sacred spaces and have their own individual altars. You can also have an additional laptop or phone camera pointed at a main altar so everyone can see it during the rite.
I use runes to create a sacred space – specifically Kenaz (to cleanse the physical space), Laguz (to cleanse our emotional space/ regulate the nervous system), and Othalla to invite in the ancestors.
You can then do some personal centring if you choose, I use Awen for this but an Aum or a Witches rune would work just as well.
Invoke protective spirits.
I always choose to work with the disir and use the disir circle:
“Sisters, Mothers, Grandmothers, Daughters
Bear mothers, Warrior Women
Those who have gone before us
Those who have always been.
I call out to you as kin
Three times I call you up
Three times, watch over us
Three times stand strong and firm
Between the worlds
Within the multiple spaces and combined space we’re in
Let nothing through that will cause us harm
Or that we can’t handle at this time.
We bid you welcome”
Invoke the Ancestors
This can be a group or individual effort, an invocation I use is:
“Those who have gone before us
Whose energy runs through us
The web of wisdom whose threads carry to us
And are woven through our body and fate
We invite you into our space
And to create connection and communion
Feel our energy
Be with us”
Building the space
As a group, you would then start building the space. Each member, without worrying about jumping in or being prompted says what feels right to them. They describe what the hall looks like, and what food is at the table. The rite facilitator can prompt decorations, furniture, and surroundings. They can also prompt participants to offer and describe food dishes with cultural and ancestral significance.
Welcoming the Ancestors
As the facilitator prompts the participants, they describe people they see sitting down at the table. Depending on how many people are attending there can be a number of tables or one long central table.
As participants sense the ancestors who gather and describe them, others may recognise those they are describing and give additional information or name them.
The facilitator asks where each participant is sitting and if the ancestors they are sitting with wish to talk.
Talking to the Ancestors as a group
Participants sense the communication of ancestors they tune into and become a channel for the group to ask questions, answering them as they sense the responses from the ancestor they are communicating with.
Communicating with our own ancestors in deeper meditation
This is given as a guided meditation:
And now, we’re going to give ourselves space to talk to our own ancestors, who have gathered for this wonderful feast.
Feel centred in yourself as you watch the scene, the individuals at the table may be chatting to each other, or maybe they are sitting quietly.
Can you smell the food?
Can you hear the dishes clinking?
There are candles in the centre of the table, lean in and blow out the one in front of you.
All the light in the room goes.
And now there is silence.[pause]
You can smell the smoke of the candle and now you can hear the shuffling of chairs moving, and feet across the floor.
You can sense people walking behind you.
And then there is silence again.[pause]
You hear a match striking and the fuzz of the flame. And there, in front of you, the candle is re-lit but you’re now at a smaller, round table.
There are faces smiling at you.
What do they look like? Do you recognise faces? Or energy?
Spend some time talking to the people at your table.[give participants time to communicate with their ancestors]
And now you recognise your time with the ancestors is nearly up.
Say thank you.
And now lean over and once more blow out that candle.
Plunging yourself into darkness once more.
You don’t hear any chairs moving or footsteps this time, but you know the ancestors are leaving the table to go back to where they usually stay.
But you carry the ancestors in your heart.
Take some time now to feel the energies of the rest of the group.[pause]
Feel your body. Your feet. Your stomach, your head, your hands.
We’re going to do one more Awen and then we will open our eyes. Same as before, use your hands on your diaphragm, heart, and throat.
Are you ready?
Use this chant to come back into your body so that when you finish the chant, your eyes will be fully open, and you will feel physically well, and emotionally calm, and embodied.
I want to take a moment now to remember our ancestors. Those who were in the rite and those who weren’t.
Say their names.
The use of the Awen chant allows participants to ground and come back from the meditation. Saying the names of the ancestors out loud at the end reminds participants of the group and helps bring back that sense of connection.
Closing the rite
Thank the ancestors.
Thank the protective spirits.
Say “this rite is over”.
Socialise in the Zoom space.
Spending some time socialising in the Zoom meeting after the rite will help to ground the energy. Encourage participants to have food and drink available so everyone can feast together in the same way as they would in an in-person rite.