The Fundamental Purpose of the Hallowed Eve

honouringtheancestorsMany cultures all over the world celebrate their ancestors in one form or another. The reason is simple – without our ancestors we would not be here today and where we are now at in our paths in life. Each lifetime of ancestors that has gone before us holds knowledge and great wisdom, and therefore maintaining and honouring that connection to the wisdom is crucial for us to carry forward into the ensuing generations.

The true meaning of Hallowe’en is really humble; it is not the commercialized version of candy, costumes, revelry, drinking and dancing, but actually a tradition to honour the dead – the ancestors that precede us. There is a belief that souls who have passed on are the most active between October 31 and November 2. Personally, I don’t necessarily think that is the case in isolation, however I do believe in the collective mind and because many of our thoughts are focused on the aspect of the dead, this draws more souls into the forefront of our consciousness which then enhances the strength of them. Many cultures that do celebrate the real Hallowed day focus on practicing the art of ancestral honour and acknowledgment. Some see it as a celebration of the end of the Harvest, some literally do feast, dance, and sing to celebrate ancestral existence. Some cultures take the time to visit the graves of loved ones, lighting bonfires and lanterns to light the way of the spirit path. In my family growing up, we always had a place at the table – an empty chair – signifying a space for the loved one that had passed on. Either way, there are numerous round-the-world traditions with the same theme – honouring the dead.

The truth is, that we have much to learn from our ancestors. We also have much to repair and release. So this weekend, be it Oct 31 (today) or Nov 1, take time to honour your ancestors – that includes not just human but our pets and beloved animals that have joined us on this journey. Think about each of them. Think of what each of them offered to you in your life. What did they teach you? What imprint did they leave you with? What guidance or wisdom do you carry now that you can attribute to that loved one now in spirit? Believe me, the second you start even thinking about them, focusing your thought energy, they will be there – around you, as all energy arrives on a thought wave. And what you carry now within each of you, has most definitely been passed down from an ancestor or two, and will eventually pass onto the next generations to come. Ancestral honouring is equally a way of not only honouring the medicine within but using it to heal past ancestral patterns and ultimately changing the future of your lineage.

Remind yourself that they are the ones – the brave ones – that paved the way in the past, for you to be here in the present. Celebrate their lives, and their deaths – for death and life are simply part of the natural cycle of things, and honouring the full circle is important. So be grateful for your ancestors – say “thank you being part of my life, thank you for teaching me things, thank you for your contributions and service”. Light candles, look at pictures, sing songs, write – whatever you need to do – do it. Your ancestors will thank you too.

Happy Hallowe’en / Chuesok (Harvest Moon) / Yue Lan (Festival of Hungry Ghosts) / Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) / Malaya Amavasya (Gratitude to our Ancestors)

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