“…the feet have walked with the bones of their ancestors over long trails leaving behind the roots of forests. They walk on the ghosts of all that has gone before them, not just plant, but animal, human, the bones of even the ones who left their horses to drink at the spring running through earth’s mortal body which has much to tell…” —From When the Body by Linda Hogan

From our Samhain ritual booklet, I’m sharing one of our most beautiful rituals in this week’s blog. It is very simple, but extraordinarily touching, and serves as a way to connect profoundly with all those who have gone before us. At the heart of the ritual is the connection to joyous memories.

This time of year is special to me for this reason. I get to recall not only those who have left this earth, but also those still here, still close to me. My father has always loved Halloween and shared his excitement by dressing in costume, hosting parties in the basement of our old Victorian home where my friends and I bobbed for apples and felt a little excited and a little scared all at once.

My house today is a celebration of those memories. I have a skeleton named Cornelius, all kinds of pumpkins and gourds which I grew, bones of wonderful creatures, a bat named Mike, and of course lots of candles! I hope you are in high spirits this week leading up to Samhain on the 31st. As for me, I can hardly wait!

All my love, always.

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When we honor and express our love for all the beloved humans and creatures we have lost, we connect to our lives in ways which reveal to us not only the brevity of life, but also the expanse of time. Your life is connected to all others. Throughout time—both past & future.

This ritual can be very simple, or you can take much more time with it. The purpose of this remembrance is to recall all the good things you can about those you have loved. Think of great meals shared, funny road trips, holidays, vacations, and all the little things they did which made you smile. This is a great ritual to hold with others, as it brings up happy memories you can share with one another.

Collect these items to prepare— A candle, a pencil or pen or markers, paper, photos of ancestors and beloved others who have left this world, and other art or collage supplies.

Without much thought, draw out a large tree with branches. This will be the foundation for your Tree of Life. You can also print out an image or sketch of a tree. Next, begin penciling in names along the branches, along the trunk and on the ground where a tree’s roots spread out, wherever it feels to you that they belong.

Start with those closest to you, most recently lost. Continue with names of ancestors, as many as you can think of. Add the names of creatures who you loved and lost. Add embellishments to flesh out your tree. Think stickers, doodles, paint, glitter, or other collage elements. Allow yourself to play as you remember.

Once completed, sit back to look upon the names. Recall the love, the joyous moments, and how each contributed to who you have become. Notice the location of some names in relation to others. Know that the love you shared with your dearest humans and creatures is still with you. You may wish to place your Tree of Life upon your altar to dwell upon your memories over many days or months.

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