In the ancient goddess traditions, Fall was seen as a time of power: the power of transformation, the power of connection with nature and beings in the beyond, including ancestors, teachers and dear ones. It was the power to release exterior appearances and attachments, and like nature does at this time of year, to direct one’s energy inward for renewal.
In a day and age of mental and emotional individualism, when our altars honor the gods of reason, it is easy to forget the good we have received from those who have passed on from the visible.
Our ancestors, at least some of them, wanted us to continue their lineage, their ideals. Much of their emotional, spiritual and material energy was expended on our behalf, in loving intentions, efforts and guidance. The best things we are and have in our lives and awareness today are directly or indirectly, at least in part, thanks to those who preceded us.
The following ceremony integrates archetypal energies, colors and symbols you may enjoy including in your practice in the November power portal known as Samhain.
- On your altar, table or other space, put three candles next to one another: pink, blue and purple.
- Add flowers in one or all of these shades, arranging them with the intention of pleasing your dearly departed.
- Add a picture of each ancestor you wish to honor (choose only those who symbolize the positive for you), and also of spiritual teachers no longer on the material plane. If you don’t have an image, you can put strips of paper with their names, and another one that simply says, “All ancestors from my family and spiritual lineage who have helped, supported and strengthened me directly or indirectly.”
- Put a picture of a spiritual protector, such as Archangel Michael, Blue Tara or Simhamuka, on the altar as well.
- Light a stick of copal or sandalwood incense and make a reverential gesture while saying,
These flowers and this incense are offerings for my ancestors and teachers in the invisible dimension of spirit to which this smoke disappears. Dear ones, I honor you and thank you for your gifts to the world and your efforts, intentions and actions on my behalf.
- Light the pink candle as you say,
The light of love burns in my heart and is alive in my connection with (mention names of chosen dearly departed)…
- Light the blue candle as you say,
The flame of awareness guides me to recall that (name or names of ancestors (and departed teachers) you wish to invoke, and) all my ancestors live on in the dimension of Spirit, and brings to light the gratitude I have for their legacy.
- Light the purple candle as you affirm:
Love and awareness fuse and create a transformative force that blesses my ancestors and everything connected to them.
- Repeat slowly and mindfully,
I renew my commitment to continue their legacy in ways that are appropriate now.
- Clarify one to three ways in which you can act on this commitment. They may be subtle, such as working on attitude, prayer for the departed, forgiveness, generosity, or responsibility to oneself or others; or they may be tangible, such as activism, help to a less fortunate family member, focus on developing your own gifts and potential, and/or other commitments that occur to you.
- Ask the spiritual protectors to seal your connection and commitments in their blessing.