How To Honor Spirits During The Holiday Season
Most cultures have a once a year celebration for those who have passed on. Nov 2nd is Day of the Dead in Mexico, Oct. 31st Samhain (Halloween) and the 15th day of 7th month in the lunar calendar is Hungry Ghost Month in China (14th day in Southern China). Loved ones whom have passed on always remain in your heart and thoughts. The holiday season is also a great time to show your love for them.
Respectful ways to honor the Spirits:
1. Lighting incense. Incense is one of the most common and beneficial ways to honor the dead. During Ghost month in China it is tradition to light incense every day for the spirits. In Tibetan culture incense is looked upon as their food. Just as we eat food, the spirits receive air as their nourishment. So incense is a way for them to take in your love.
There are different ways to make the incense more readily consumable. One way to do this is to say a prayer from your heart and another is by chanting the Tibetan chant ‘Om Namah Sarva Tathagata Avalokite Om Sambhara Sambhara Hung.’ The chant is to be chanted a minimum of 21times, walking around clockwise in each room of the entire inside of the home and outside three times, once completed a request for positivity in your life may be made.
Where you burn your incense is crucial. Use their photo and create a small little altar in the home in honor of them and burn the incense offering there or outside if you are doing it for all spirits. Always keep the altar clean to show your love. Choose the location of the altar with care, and never place it in the restroom. We must always show respect to the spirits as they also watch over us.
The quality of incense you choose is important, always choose pure quality not mixed with perfumes or chemicals. This is their food after all we want to show them our love by giving them good quality incense.
Types of Incense (general burning purpose):
Lavender (good luck, positive attitude)
Sage (purify, protect, cleanse)
Frankincense (elevate, clear, protect)
Myrrh (purify, revitalize)
Cinnamon (relationships, relaxing)
Palo Santo (purify, cleanse, protect)
2. Food offerings. On the Day of the Dead in Mexico it is customary to leave special bread out for your loved ones that have passed. On Samhain (Halloween) which is the celebration of the ending of the harvest year it is customary to serve a plate at dinner for your loved ones. For food offerings leave a place for them to have their meal during the celebration. You can give fruit, bread anything that feels right -if you know their favorite food great give them that. This helps them feel like they are still appreciated and are a still part of the family.
Remember if you are going to leave some food out this food is for them do not eat it afterwards, after you have left it out for the day then it is okay to throw it away or put it in your compost pile in the backyard and recycle the energy.
3. Flowers Just like taking flowers when you are visiting your spirit friends and family in the cemetery you can make a special place for them at home. Have their picture out for the holiday season with flowers in front of it. Place the picture where it gets to watch all the action happening at home. Flowers placed in a circle as a garland represents the cycle of life, their energy has merely transformed and is never completely gone. Keep them fresh and once they start to wilt throw them away.
Fresh flowers are better than fake, if you use fake always keep them dusted and looking new. If they had some favorite flowers buy those if not anything from your heart is wonderful. And if you’re short on money then it’s okay to go for a walk and pick some beautiful flowers too.
Spirits are always with us. When our loved ones pass they simply transform energy into another form. Their love for you is still there and they are watching over you. So take the time to show them your appreciation. Let them feel invited this holiday season and give honor to who they were and how magnificently they touched your life. Every moment should be a celebration of love and life.