Whether they are ghosts or imaginary presences, we can still learn something from them.
For many, Halloween is about costumes, candy, and parties, but for those who are listening a little more closely, it’s a day to celebrate spirit. Spirit could be God, it could be human nature, or it could be the ghosts haunting your house (or maybe the exes haunting your phone).
Whether or not you “believe” in the spooky other-sidedness of Halloween, it’s a good time to connect with your ancestors.
A View of the Spirit World
Of course, this is the time of year when the veil between the material and spirit worlds is thinnest. When people who are sensitive to energy can attune to it even more.
Nestled right up next to All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day (also called Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos), this is a time for remembering the departed, honoring losses, and connecting to all who sit beyond the visible plane.
[Read: “Accessing Heritage Wisdom.”]
Our ancestors are always with us. In fact, our bodies downloaded their DNA. For example, it has been shown that a fear of the smell of cherry blossoms can be passed down all the way from one mouse to his grandchild.
If we knew our ancestors, they are always with us in our hearts and memories as well. And who knows—they might really be out there on the spirit plane, waiting to talk to us if we are listening. In the end, it doesn’t actually matter whether they are ghosts or imaginary presences. We can still learn something from them.
A Halloween Ritual to Connect
Halloween is the perfect time to connect with an ancestor, but be careful—opening your energy to the other side can be a little risky. Before you begin, place yourself in a safe circle and clear your energy to ensure no ghosts get stuck to your sweater.
This is a ritual inspired by an exercise in Resmaa Menakem’s book My Grandmother’s Hands, which explores intergenerational racial trauma. For Menakem, our experience of race was handed down by many ancestors, and connecting with ours can help us better understand our individual and historical selves in terms of race, trauma, and healing.
What You’ll Need:
- A circle made of salt, flour, stone, chalk, or your imagination
- A candle, paper, and a pen.
- Optional: sage to burn before and after, ideally in a shell with natural matches (not a lighter) as is traditional in most Indigenous societies.
Step 1. First, set the circle around you with your materials or in your imagination. Set the intention that this circle protects you from any energy that is unhelpful to you. Invite loving, helpful energies only.
Step 2. Do a land acknowledgment, honoring and acknowledging the history of the land you’re on. Consider the earth, the sky, the fire in your body, the water in your skin. Consider the four directions.
Step 3. Light the candle.
Step 4. When you feel ready, invite your ancestor. You may have someone in mind you’d like to talk to, or you may prefer to let the ancestor choose you. Stay open and present to your ancestor. See them in your mind’s eye. Notice what they are wearing, their age and gender, the look on their face.
- What is the mood here?
- What was this person going through when they were alive at the age they appear to you?
- Does it feel good to see this person? Uncomfortable?
- Is your body tense or relaxed?
If you like, talk to your ancestor. Ask questions. See what they might want you to know.
Step 5. When this process feels complete, thank your ancestor and send them on their way. Imagine any excess energy releasing into the ground and out of the stone circle. Wave your hands over the candle flame to cleanse them, and burn the sage again to clear the circle completely.
Step 6. When you are ready, write down what you saw, what you experienced, and anything you learned from your experience with your ancestor.
Connect to spirit—however you define it—with this guided meditation.