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This is such a special time of the year for me, as we step into the season that begins at Samhain and ends at the Winter Solstice. It is a new beginning, a new immram (a spiritual journey in Old Irish), a new cycle in the ever turning wheel of the year.

Those in the southern hemisphere are at a different “hinge” of the two-fold year of light and dark, stepping into the light half of the year and the season that began at Bealtaine and will culminate at the Summer Solstice. This too is a time of the thinning of the veils, and a time of reflection, and is a time to celebrate abundance, vitality, and fertility / creativity.

How do you honour these times?

I tend to celebrate both Samhain and Bealtaine as “cauldron time”, reflecting on renewal or growth, depending on the season. Often that cauldron time can last the entire season and not just on the traditional dates and/or all other Samhain or Bealtaine dates. I “stir up the pot” of my inner cauldron, mixing and moving thoughts and intuition, allowing what needs to emerge float into my consciousness for reflection, activation and sometimes for ending.

For me, Samhain energy ends roughly mid-November at the time of the Leonid Meteor Showers (November 17-18 in 2023), falling between this month’s new and full moons, and the concurrent culmination of the Pleiades constellation in the night sky (see footnote).

That, for me, is the when the veils truly close: when the previous year’s journey is fully complete and the new journey begins. It is at that time that I step more into the initiatory energies of Samhain, inspired by my reflections and meditations, and the wisdom from my ancestors. 

Honour the Closing of the Veils

At Samhain we connect with and honour our Ancestors in meditation and ritual, building relationship with them… and loving the world with them, my theme for this new journey in the coming year

In a recent Moon Seeds newsletter, I invited readers to create an ancestral altar. You can also find basic suggestions in Nine Ways to Celebrate Samhain.

I now invite you to work with that altar in a meditative journey on the closing of the veils, midway between the New Moon and the Full Moon. This is a powerful liminal time as we move more fully into the energies of the dark half of the year (Samhain) and light half of the year (Bealtaine).

In this journey, you will meditate or journey with your Ancestors, and all those who have passed since the previous Samhain. You can do this at any time during Samhain season — but it is especially powerful at the closing of the veils, to connect with both energies of completion and initiation — to honour your Ancestors of blood, bone, spirit and locale/land, thanking them for their support and for the lineages from which you are descended.   

This becomes the basis of a right relationship with your ancestors, and reinforces it if the relationship is already in place.

Prepare for your Meditative Journey

Before you begin this meditation, read my notes below and adjust or adapt this ritual to best serve you.

On your ancestral altar, ignite a rosemary sprig or smoke medicine wand (for smudging or saining) with a candle. Then, begin your meditation with a simple blessing or prayer, such as:

“With this Rosemary, I remember you and hold you dear.
To all who have crossed, I send blessings for the coming year.”

Let the rosemary scent fill and cleanse the air, and trigger memories of the past.

CAUTION: Be sure to place your candle(s) and any smoking herbs somewhere safe while using and after you have extinguished both.  You may choose to keep your candle lit throughout the meditation, as long as you are doing so safely and practising fire safety.

a bundle of sage smoking
Photo by Los Muertos Crew on

The Journey

Close your eyes and breathe deeply and slowly, releasing any tension or discomfort.

Focus on your heart chakra, or energetically onto the lit candle. Sense or visualize the thread of connection from you to the line of ancestors who stand behind you (in Hogan’s words above), going back to the beginning of time. Their wisdom, choices, genes, and survival are part of your DNA. Know that, in the words of Linda Hogan, “You are the result of the love of thousands.”

Raise your awareness to all your ancestors — those of blood, bone, spirit and land — going back through time (if known, naming them or simply the relationships), honouring their lives.

If you are unaware of your family history, know that your own DNA has stored all that information and at some point those ancestral memories stored there will be accessible to you.

Meditate in that sacred space you have created and let your ancestors know that you are open to the wisdom they may want to share with you. Some may choose to come forth, and make conversation with you or give you a symbolic gift.

Reflect on your ancestors of Blood, especially those who have recently passed, perhaps since last Samhain.

Ask them, “What wisdom do you have for me?” 
Once received, thank your ancestors of Blood.

Reflect on your ancestors of Bone, those distant ancestors who roamed Mama Earth long before the written word.

Ask them, “What wisdom do you have for me?” 
Once received, thank your ancestors of Bone.

Reflect on your ancestors of Spirit, those who inspired you in this life.

Ask them, “What wisdom do you have for me?”
Once received, thank your ancestors of Spirit.

Reflect on your ancestors and spirits of Land, the place where you reside. Reflect on what you know about its history, its challenges, its future, and what has shaped it over time. 

Ask the Land, “What wisdom do you have for me?”
Once received, thank the spirits of the Land.

Reflect on what you know or sense about them all, their journeys, the events and times and challenges that shaped them – and you.

What are they whispering to you, those voices of Blood, Bone, Spirit and Land?  

Thank your ancestors, known or unknown to you, and the spirits of the Land for all they contributed to your life, and for their guidance and support. Ask for their support in becoming a good ancestor for future generations. They may not be of your direct line but of your spiritual line or of your current family and friends, actual or “honorary” nieces, nephews, step-children, etc.

Thank your Ancestors and the Land for any messages, wisdom or gifts that they bring to you.

Close the journey with a blessing you create, perhaps something as simple as:

You are gone but not forgotten.
You live on within me and
all those who come after me.

Complete your meditation by extinguishing the candles, and ensuring the rosemary is no longer burning.

Take some time to journal on any messages you have received, and reflect on how the wisdom can be woven into your life.

Blessed Be

FOOTNOTE: The Pleiades

There is some speculation that Samhain (and similar festivals marking the end of summer and the beginning of winter) were celebrated not on what is now the traditional date of November 1st, but much later in what we now call November.

Based on the ancient Celtic Coligny calendar (a bronze plaque made in the second century CE and named for Coligny, France, where it was found in the late 19th century), and with adjustments between the Julian and Gregorian calendars (and constellation precession, which means that over time the night sky “shifts” over time resulting in a different view from than of our ancestors), it is likely that Samhain was originally celebrated in late November, around the time of the Pleiades constellation rising or culmination (i.e., peak height in the night sky).

In 2023, the culmination falls on November 18. Coincidentally, this is also around the time of the Leonid meteor showers (17-18 November in 2023), which were said to close the Samhain festivities (and the veil between the worlds) in older times.