“Shadows of a thousand years rise again unseen. Voices whisper in the trees, “Tonight is Halloween!”” – Dexter Kozen
All Hallows Eve.
Day of the Dead.
Traditions across the world have honored and celebrated this night for thousands of years.
Each culture in its own way, but all flowing with the same undercurrent of magic and mystery.
Known as the Spirit Night, it is thought that on October 31st, the veil that separates this world from that of the Other World is temporarily weakened.
The barrier between the seen and the unseen is thinned.
That this night, of all nights, those who inhabit the other side can cross over into our world.
In the beginning, All Hallows Eve was celebrated as a time to honor the ancestors who forged the road before you.
Descendants would create altars for their deceased loved ones, adorning them with food, water and sometimes even gold offerings.
Single candles were lit and left in windows so that ancestors and deceased loved ones could find their way back home.
Extra chairs were placed around the hearth for their unseen guests.
It was also commonplace to leave offerings in doorways or to bury food along roadways for the lost souls who had no one left to remember them.
But our own deceased ancestors were not the only ones to have the ability to cross over throughout this night.
The superstitious believed that on Spirit Night darker things lurked in the shadows.
Ghosts and Ghouls and all manner of creatures of the night who meant to cause harm.
Traveling after dark was ill advised, as trickery and chaos would surely be afoot.
Jack-o-lanterns were carved from turnips and pumpkins and were believed to dispel evil spirits.
People began to dress in fearsome costumes, believing that their disguise would trick any supernatural fiend intending to do them harm.
Over time, these practices transformed.
Morphing into the Halloween that we know today, with traditions that look vaguely familiar to their historic counterparts.
This year, as we move through Spirit Night, let’s bring back some of that old tradition.
Here are 3 ways that you can make the most of All Hallows Eve:
Connect With Your Ancestors: For thousands of years, this night was used to honor those who have passed before us. There is a lot of power in that. We can think about carrying that tradition over by placing a photograph of a passed loved one out for display. Taking flowers to their burial site, playing their favorite song or maybe even writing them a letter. Or it could also be something as simple as taking a few minutes to think of fond memories and the love you have for them.
Bonfire Magic: Originally called, Bone Fires, entire towns would gather and butcher cattle for the long winter months ahead. They would throw the bones into a great fire as an offering to the spirits, in exchange for survival of the brutal season to come. Families would light their hearths from the bone fire for protection all winter long. You can draw on this old magic by building your own fire, where permitted. Fire has an enticing quality to it and by simply sitting at one, you can feel the energy being soaked up into your body. If you aren’t able to build a fire, simply light a candle and sit with it for a few minutes. Look into the flame and see what magic is stirred within your soul.
Divination: When the veil between the seen and the unseen becomes thinner, our third eye becomes more attuned to the possibilities of what lay beyond. This offers us a window to look deeply into our own selves with our own eye of divination. Take some time for inner reflection, write down what you feel within. Perhaps, even write some predictions for where you think you will be in the next month, six months and year. Who knows…you may have a knack for fortune telling.
Regardless of how we choose to celebrate the night of the spirits, if, even at all…
…one thing is for certain…
Keep an eye out for ghosts and ghouls…
And don’t let a black cat cross your path.