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Internet Book of Shadows, (Various Authors), [1999], at

Public Service Announcement for Immediate Release

Samhain (pronounced saw-an), commonly referred to as Halloween, is a religious holiday celebrated by Wiccan and witch. The festival traditionally is a feast for the gathering of the family in love and remembrance. All the family including one's ancestors.

Wiccans do not regard physical death as an end but merely one more event in a continuing progress of the soul's in its path toward fulfillment of divine destiny. Because of these beliefs, it is only natural at this time of year to invite our beloved ancestors to remember and to celebrate with us.

If you do not find these beliefs in conflict with your own personal beliefs, please join us in the following ritual of thanksgiving and remembrance.

Blessed Be.

The clergy and members of the United Wiccan Church.

After you have shared the bounty of your harvest with the children of your neighborhood (candy, etc) and the house has settled down for the night, disconnect or turn off your telephone so that this state of serenity will continue uninterrupted.

Prepare a special feast of whatever foods reminds you of a special departed friend or family member, or of past family gatherings. While you are preparing this feast think of all of the good times you had with them.

When the feast is prepared, set your holiday table with a special place of honor for the departed friend or family member.

Decorate the table and room as you would for a holiday dinner with the family, add those special things that are important to you and your family (flowers, candles,etc.) If you have a picture of the loved one, it is nice to place it at their place at the table.

Speak to that special person and invite them to join you in this celebration and time of remembrance. It is completely appropriate to say grace or offer any prayer that you feel is fitting.

The following is done in complete silence:

Serve the meal remembering to serve your honored guest (or guests) first. If wine or other alcoholic beverages are served, it is recommended that they be kept in moderation as you and your guests need to have a clear head.

Now sit down to the table with your loved ones and enjoy your feast. When you address them in your mind, always see them as well. (Try not to say in your mind, "if you can hear me...", etc.). After the meal, the time of silence is over. Do whatever you normally do at a family holiday gathering (clear the table, play games, sing songs, etc.). Enjoy the companionship.

When the evening is over, or in the morning if you wish to make it an all night party, thank your invited guests for being with you and for making your celebration a special one.

There are a few words of caution that we will offer.

  1. If this ritual does not feel right for you, do not do it. Follow your instincts.

  2. Remember that crossing over does not necessarily change a person, so if you could not get through a meal in peace with them while they were alive, you will probably have the same problem with their spirit.

  3. Do not ask your guest to grant you wishes or do you favors. It is rude to invite a guest and then make it obvious that a favor is the reason they were asked, not because of love and respect. Spirits do not like rudeness! Besides, spirits often forget that you are limited in ways that they are not. If you ask them for $1,000, it may come as an insurance settlement after a painful break in your water pipe with all the delight in cleaning up the mess from ensuing water damage.

  4. Next: Samhain Notes (Farrar)