Costumes, Candy, and Carving Galore!
Every year we adorn our houses with the spookiest decor, search for the largest pumpkin in the patch, and enjoy fun crafts with our families. It’s no surprise that introducing our children to Samhain is a smooth lesson. We find so much excitement in this time of year yet it has little connection to the Secular Faiths and we find that it’s roots are actually Irish Celtic in nature!
Inside this Tradition, we also find some areas of apprehension when it comes to teaching our children the purpose for our Rituals. Death, Spirits, and Magickal things that we let them hold on to with a playful vision, and we don’t know how to address them as the real world beliefs that they are in society that doesn’t see them as ‘serious’. Allowing our children to see and begin the journey of understanding death should not be something that we shy away from, as many of us have by making death something that is ‘morbid’ and ‘taboo’. We all have a connection to those of our loved ones who have passed, no matter our age and this is the perfect time of the year to introduce our children to this part of life.
To truly get into introducing this first Sabbat in the Wheel of the Year, let’s begin by teaching our little one’s about the Wheel itself. This Old Tradition Calendar we follow as Pagan’s did – in fact – began with the Irish Celts. The year ended as the last Harvest’s were made and it was time to begin preparing everything for Winter and the next season. Now – this is where our kids (I know mine for sure) will start to ask some questions.
Why doesn’t the normal calendar work like this?
This question has no cohesive answer for a child until they are older. Addressing this should include honest but limited information according to age level, and I would follow along the lines of “There was a large change in power in the world, and they recalculated how we should see the year in time. There are many sciences about this you will learn as you grow.” With this as your answer, or something similar, you both briefly address the complex answer while also letting the child know that there is more to learn and you will help them along the way.
As a practicing Pagan, I like to keep a version of both the standard Calendar and The Wheel of the Year side by side in our home. It gives us the availability to teach our children each day from both Calendars.
Remember that it takes dedication to live a life that is based in the Pagan ways while also participating within Societal Culture. Ensure that your kids can see these learning tools everyday when they please. Some of my favorite times of the week as a parent are when my daughter (8yo) begins to ask more questions about each day on the Calendar and where our Moon may be right now.
Opening up our children to curiosity and allowing them the freedom to be curious is how we mature an intelligent and open consciousness in their Spirit. Answer their questions and if you cannot or do not feel comfortable answering them – be honest! They will happily (and not patiently) wait for you to reveal this to them as they are introduced to the path, and through this you may also find that it can entice them with this mystery to keep their interest piqued towards these Spiritual Paths.
Explaining How Scary Things Relate to Samhain
Crossing between the plains Spiritually is easiest when the Veil is the thinnest, which is during this Sacred Samhain Sabbat. In our Paths, we use our confidence, Magick, and our Scary Spirits to protect ourselves from those who may have malicious intentions. For children, this can be extremely helpful for those who may not have the confidence to face their own fears and demons. We can use this as an opportunity to help our Children see our Paths in an extremely positive light through this type of protective connection.
There is a distinct contrast between Death and these malicious Spirits. In teaching our children about the protection symbols we use in our Craft – such as the Jack O’ Lantern and the Spiderweb – that we must also teach them what we are protecting against, and why. Our little one’s more than likely will not comprehend the deep meaning behind these malicious ‘Demons’ so I do suggest to color these as the normal monsters that are common in our child imagination. Explain to them that the Spirits of the Deceased are not bad and we are welcoming them to our homes.
This brings us to the carving of the pumpkins. Our typical large, round, orange pumpkin is not native to Ireland so these little creations were carved into other gourds and turnips. The face was not originally intended
to be malicious, however they did need to have an expression capable of keeping malicious Spirits away from the homes calling their Ancestors in to visit for the Harvest. Calling these Ancestors is done with the placement of a hot coal from the Sabbat bonfire to give light to the face in the carving. Of course, the tradition of the bonfire for this Sabbat has been lost in contemporary culture – but we kept the idea of illuminating the gourds by placing candles in them.
Carving with Intention for Samhain
In teaching our children our ways and reasons for carving the pumpkins for Samhain, let’s begin with their selection of the pumpkin. Allow them to have as much say so as they are able to for their age in deciding which pumpkin they want to be theirs. Try not to limit them too much in this decision – this will help us to not only avoid putting limitations on their goals, but it will also help them to keep their connection to this practice as pure as possible. Once we begin to put real tight limitations on their goals is when we see obstacles in their connections and a diminished drive to strive for higher goals.
My kids have always loved gutting their own pumpkins. There is just something so careless and fun about getting your hands as dirty as possible to do the work you’re meant to do. It helps to keep the energy of the Magick we are infusing into our pumpkins at a peak of positivity. Use this part of the craft to start teaching your kids about infusing intentions. The object of carving the pumpkin is to give a guidelight to your deceased loved ones while warding off malicious Spirits. So, what if we have the children visualize that the guts are the obstacle keeping the deceased loved ones spirits from reaching the home? As we scoop and dig out each string and seed into a bowl, talk about how the Spirit’s path to us becomes
clearer and clearer. Have them close their eyes and truly see it. Ask them to describe the path to you that they see when they visualize this.
*Dependent on age, allow your child to carve their own pumpkin. This is enforced for safety reasons. Always follow proper blade safety when carving this very thick and tough gourd.*
We can use this same idea of visualization and put it to use with the creation of the face. I like to use this piece especially with those who have children who have experienced heavy trauma and may want to find some confidence against their demons. As each piece of the face is carved – have them visualize that another malicious Spirit has been stopped. Word this according to their age range and maturity level. Use all of these opportunities to explain how this is putting intention into their work, how they’re helping their ancestors return home, and keeping their home safe.
An Ancestor’s Altar
When someone close to us passes, we find ourselves holding onto a token of that relationship – that may be a trinket that they held dear to them, or a picture that we have that holds a memory and a story. We can use our keepsakes from our passed relatives to help teach our children how to go about preparing an Altar to welcome and remember their Ancestors with. Revisit the memories of the Ancestors or the stories that have been told through the generations to touch your Spirit to theirs. Choose an Altar space in your home that your kids can also have access to in order to participate.
Be open with your children when the time comes during the ritual for you to ask your Ancestors for Guidance. Children have a totally different vision and understanding of Spirituality than we do as adults – this won’t
be something very far fetched for them. This also is a good time to explain to them the representation and uses of the Altar tools that are for connecting with our Ancestors, such as:
- Crystals – Easily explained as portals that bring us positive healing energy and cleanse us of negative energy.
- Obsidian – A connector to the Otherworld, allowing you to channel to your Ancestors.
- Selenite – Clears channel, and is our guide from the Gods.
- Bloodstone – To help the Spirit from their veins of this world connect to the Spirit in our blood.
Let your children experience the crystals! Have them hold them and place them on the Altar. This also gives you a grand opportunity to ask them to close their eyes and try to ‘feel’ the energy from the crystal. Which one was their favorite? Why – and did the energy in that one feel different from the others as they helped place them?
Throughout your full Ancestor’s Ritual, ensure that you give your children time to participate. Allow them to share their memories and wishes for their Ancestors while you teach them how to show appreciation to them for their guidance. Another easy part of an Ancestors Altar that can assist with connecting your child to the reality of the deceased is sharing a feast plate in offering to them.
Enjoy this time bonding, celebrating, and teaching your children – and honor your Ancestors with everyone in your family! Make this Samhain something special indeed. Blessed Blue Moons to you and yours!
About the Author:
Hallie has been a Practicing Pagan for 17 years and has taken these years of education and study to achieve her Certification in Herbalism at the Master Level as well as her Certification as a Meditation Instructor. Fully devoting her life to Spiritualism and living a fully Pagan lifestyle has become the drive in her life, which she achieves while striving to help others within the community turn back to Nature based living.
Celebrating being open for just over one year, Hallie is also the Owner and Founder of Saol Bandia – The Goddess Life, an up and coming Metaphysical and Spiritual Hub that supports knowledge and education of all paths while selling and promoting Pagan made goods and tools at ?www.saolbandia.com? or www.facebook.com/saolbandia. She has also recently begun teaching online courses on Spiritualism as well through her handmade courses at http://sbsstudies.thinkific.com? focused in Spellcasting and Tarot Divination at this time.
Contact Hallie directly at [email protected]
By text or call at 502-504-7021 Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/halliewood.horrorgore Or you can reach out to her on Instagram @saol_bandia