Monday, October 24, 2016
Samhain (pronounced SOW-een) is the holiest day in the Pagan year, usually observed on the night of October 31, when the sun is in the zodiac sign Scorpio. Better known as Halloween or All Hallow’s Eve, this is the holiday people often associate with witches and magick. Most of the ways the general public marks this sabbat, however, stem from misconceptions—it’s a solemn and sacred day, not a time for fear or silliness.
The Holiday’s Significance
Since pre-Christian days, people who follow the Old Religion have considered this a sacred time to remember and honor loved ones who have passed over to the Other Side. That’s why Halloween is associated with the dead.
According to Pagan culture, Samhain ushers in the New Year––it’s the start of a new cycle, a time of death and rebirth. The word samhain is Irish, meaning “summer’s end.” In many parts of the Northern Hemisphere the land is barren now, the last of the crops have been plowed under for compost, and the earth rests in preparation for spring. As the old year dies, some people choose to shed old habits or attitudes, and replace them with new ones.
In Mexico and the Southwestern U.S., people celebrate the Day of the Dead, which bears some similarities to the Celts’ Samhain. People decorate altars in their homes to mark the sabbat, often displaying photos of deceased loved ones there. During the week before the Day of the Dead, they go house to house, visiting the altars of friends and relatives, saying prayers and paying respects.
Contacting Spirits on the Other Side
Because the veil that separates the seen and unseen worlds is thinnest at Samhain, it’s easier at this time to communicate with beings on the Other Side. You can take this opportunity to talk to loved ones in the Afterlife, request guidance from ancestors, angels, or guardians, or contact spirits residing in other realms of existence.
The origin of the jack o’ lantern is rooted in the belief that wandering spirits and ghosts turn up on Samhain. The lantern’s glow was meant as a beacon to light the way for the spirits of the dearly departed; the scary faces carved on the pumpkins were meant to frighten away evil spirits.
Many mediums, psychics, and Afterlife researchers say that beings in the Other World really want to contact us––and they have much to teach us. Noted medium James Van Praagh, who has been communicating with “the dead” since the age of two, writes in his best-selling book Ghosts Among Us: “Ghosts walk among us, impressing us with their love, guiding us with their wisdom, and protecting us from harm.”
On Samhain, you may wish to honor your loved ones who’ve moved into the Afterlife by displaying photos, mementos, and offerings. Reflect upon your time together; share memories. Lighting candles for them is also a favorite practice. Consider spending time in meditation, contemplation, and/or prayer––listen for their responses, which may come in the form of words, visions, impressions, sensations, scents, sounds, or something else. Pay attention to synchronicities, signs, and dreams too.
Monday, October 3, 2016
If you’re like many people, you don’t think you can have any impact on your loved ones who’ve passed over into the Afterlife. We’ve been conditioned to believe that the people we once knew are either above it all now––sitting on the right hand of God, playing harps as they drift blissfully across the sky on clouds, etc.––or else they no longer exist at all. Either way, they’re oblivious to us and our actions here on earth … or so we’re told.
Our Loved Ones Still Exist, and They Still Love Us
Just because our loved ones no longer wear physical bodies doesn’t mean they’re no longer alive. Noted mediums such as James Van Praag and dedicated researchers, including Dr. Brian Weiss, Dr. Raymond Moody, Dr. Michael Newton, and Dr. Piero Calvi-Parisetti, all present convincing evidence in their books and other work that the death of a physical body doesn’t mean the end of existence.
In fact, it pains our loved ones on the Other Side that we believe they’re dead and gone, that we no longer think we can connect with them, and that we try to push aside our feelings in order to “get on with it.” Nothing could be further from the truth, and such beliefs create suffering for us as well as for them.
Spirits in the Afterlife constantly try to communicate with us. They want to let us know they’re still alive and well, to alleviate our fears of death, and to pass on valuable information from the higher planes. A great many get through to us too. Peter Novak in The Lost Secret of Death wrote, “67 percent of widows believe they’ve seen, heard, or seen ghosts of the dead.”
In his book/video program Love Knows No Death Dr. Parisetti notes, “The University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Council found that nearly half of American adults, 42 percent, believe that they have been in contact with someone who has died. Of these, 78 percent said they saw, 50 percent heard, and 18 percent talked with the departed.”
What Can You Do?
Talk to your loved ones as if they’re still here––because they are. They’re protecting you, guiding you, slipping you messages all the time. Don’t shy away from mentioning their names or recounting experiences you recollect. Take joy in your memories and invite departed loved ones to share these with you. You may be surprised to rediscover happy memories you hadn’t thought about for years.
During meditation, invite loved ones to communicate with you. In a relaxed meditative state you’re more open to receiving insights and input from other planes of existence. The same holds true in the dream state. Before you go to sleep, ask your loved ones to visit you in your dreams.
Offer healing prayers to beings on the Other Side. Your loved ones still welcome the heartfelt thoughts and feelings you share and can benefit from them. If you know an energy-healing modality such as Reiki, you can send them loving energy just as you would send it to a physical person. Honor them by lighting candles, burning incense, playing music, planting flowers, or whatever seems right to you.
In the spirit world, souls continue learning and growing. We can assist them in their process, as they assist us in ours.
As The Tibetan Book of the Dead tells us,“Thine own consciousness, shining, void, and inseparable from the Great Body of Radiance, hath no birth nor death, and is the Immutable Light.”