During this time of year when the veil between the worlds is thin, many of us celebrate All Hallows Eve, All Saints Day, Samhain, the Day of the Dead. It’s a time when the harvest of the late summer and autumn seasons have been reaped. We ready ourselves for the deep slumber of winter which in turn will recharge and replenish us.

It’s the beginning of a cycle of year when days will be shorter, weather will be cooler and we light candles, luminarias, fires, bonfires to help us kindle and rekindle our connection to the light within and without.

I do like Halloween, even more now because of my young nephew. He loves costumes and movies and his innocent fascination makes us even more aware of the magic of the season. But more than costumes and trick or treaters, for me this time of year is about remembering and paying my respects to my ancestors.

Who are my ancestors?

All those who came before me, who helped give me life, who poured their hearts and souls and good will … and teachings and stories into me as a child. It is they who have my attention and my prayers this time of year.

Yes, the ancestors know this is their time

As the Day of the Dead approaches, I begin to see my ancestors in my dreams. I know they can tell that soon they will be remembered and honored. They know I will soon build an altar just for them. Just as in the movie “Coco,” the greatest joy to our ancestors is to be remembered. And just as we, the living, need to remember who we are, remember our purpose in living, and remember how fortunate we are to have this precious gift of life … our ancestors bestow our blessings on us from the other side of the veil, and pay special attention to our prayers and gratitude precisely at this time of year. They want to be remembered.

How to honor the ancestors?

Whether you build an altar, light a candle, place a vase of flowers, write a poem, cook their favorite dishes, look at old photographs or simply feel gratitude in your heart for your ancestral line … you can be sure they receive and they notice every kindness, every offering, every thought of appreciation.

Honoring the ancestors helps us cultivate right relationship

Right relationship is one of the basic tenets of living in harmony; one of the basic teachings in Plant Spirit Medicine healing. This extends to all of Nature and to all of our relationships. Including, of course, our relationship with those who came before us … our dear ancestors.