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Honouring Our Ancestors: Pagan Rituals & Healing

honouring our ancestors

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

As we traverse the intricate tapestry of life’s journey, it is imperative that we pause, reflect, and pay homage to the trailblazers who walked before us. Our ancestors, the custodians of our lineage, remain a wellspring of inspiration, counsel, and wisdom. An avenue to connect with their legacy and uphold their memory manifests through the sacred art of pagan rituals and the holistic balm of healing practices.

Pagan rituals: Weaving threads of ancient wisdom

Paganism, an age-old spiritual veneration known as the Old Religion, is a journey that meanders through the annals of history, respecting nature’s quintessence and the eternal rhythm of life, including the enigma of mortality. Ancestral communion is often interwoven with these rituals, where a sanctified space is crafted to facilitate connection with the ethereal realm. Through offerings and invocations, a dialogue is initiated with the spirits, beseeching insights, solace, and rejuvenation. These rituals allow us to forge a bridge with our forebears, immortalising their wisdom.

The samhain celebration: A hallowed tribute

The Samhain, a revered festival observed on the eve of October 31st, marks the culmination of the harvest season and the beginning of the nocturnal phase of the year. During this sacred occasion, the candles of reverence are kindled, altars are erected, and tokens of sustenance are tendered to the ancestors as symbols of gratitude and adoration. This rite is an ode to the departed, an act of communion with the beyond, and a request for spiritual counsel.

Ancestor oil: An embodiment of heritage

An embodiment of this connection manifests in the form of ancestor oil. This elixir is an intentional homage to our forebears infused with herbs and essential oils. Its manifold applications – from anointing candles to caressing the skin or infusing bathwater – provide tangible means to intertwine our essence with theirs. This ritual encapsulates the pursuit of their wisdom and guidance in a tangible essence.

Creating ancestor oil

Creating ancestor oil is a personalised and spiritual process that involves infusing herbs and essential oils to connect with and honour your ancestors. Here’s a simple guide to making ancestor oil:


  • Carrier Oil (such as jojoba, almond, or grapeseed oil)
  • Dried Herbs (like rosemary, sage, or lavender)
  • Essential Oils (such as frankincense, myrrh, or cedarwood)
  • Glass Jar or Bottle
  • Strainer or Cheesecloth


  1. Select Your Ingredients: Choose dried herbs and essential oils that hold significance for you and resonate with ancestral connections. Research the properties of different herbs and oils to ensure they align with your intentions.
  2. Prepare the Jar: Cleanse and consecrate your glass jar or bottle by washing it and holding it with the intention of it being a sacred vessel for your ancestor oil.
  3. Combine Carrier Oil and Herbs: Fill the glass jar about halfway with your chosen carrier oil. Add the dried herbs, filling the jar about one-quarter full. The herbs you use can be a mix of what you have selected for their spiritual or symbolic significance.
  4. Add Essential Oils: Add a few drops of each chosen essential oil to the carrier oil and herb mixture. Essential oils are potent, so a little goes a long way. You can adjust the number of drops based on your preferences and the strength of the aroma.
  5. Set Your Intention: Hold the jar in your hands and focus on your intention to connect with and honour your ancestors. Say a prayer or set your intention silently in your mind.
  6. Seal and Store: Seal the jar tightly. Place it in a cool, dark place, such as a cupboard or a drawer, for about 2-4 weeks; this allows the herbs and oils to infuse, absorbing the energies and creating a potent blend.
  7. Strain the Oil: After the infusing period, put the oil into a clean container using a strainer or cheesecloth. Squeeze out as much oil as possible from the herbs.
  8. Bottle and Use: Transfer the strained oil into the original glass jar or a smaller, more convenient bottle for application. Label the bottle with “Ancestor Oil” and the date it was made.


Ancestor oil can be used in various ways:

  • Anoint candles for rituals and meditation.
  • Apply a small amount to your wrists or temples before meditation or ancestral work.
  • Add a few drops to your bathwater for a soothing ritual bath.
  • Use it to anoint objects or altars associated with your ancestral practice.

Remember, the process of making ancestor oil is deeply personal. Feel free to adapt the recipe, ingredients, and steps to align with your spiritual beliefs and preferences. Always conduct a patch test on a small area of your skin to ensure you don’t have any adverse reactions to the oils before using them.

ancestor oil

The dumb supper

The ‘dumb supper’ is a solemn tradition, honouring the departed by sharing a silent meal. Set with care and respect, this ritual fosters a connection between the living and the deceased. Without spoken words, it’s believed that spirits can communicate more freely. Memories, emotions, and stories are shared as boundaries blur, allowing us to feel close to those we’ve lost. This poignant practice keeps their memory alive in a heartfelt, tangible way.

Guiding the silent feast

Here is a step-by-step guide to conducting a dumb supper:

1. Preparation:

  • Choose a date and time that holds significance; this can be an anniversary, a special occasion associated with the departed or during Samhain.
  • Set the scene with candles, photos, and mementoes of the deceased. Create a quiet and contemplative ambience.

2. Setting the Table:

  • Set a place at the table for each departed loved one you wish to honour.
  • A white tablecloth and dishes symbolise purity and connection with the spirit world. While black represents the mystery and the bridge between realms
  • Place a chair facing outward for each spirit as a symbolic invitation for them to join.

3. Silent Meal Preparation:

  • Prepare a meal that was favoured by the departed or holds special meaning. Keep the menu simple and comforting. Traditionally, a Samhain supper consists of harvested vegetables and game meat, followed by an apple dish.
  • Prepare the meal in silence, focusing on your intentions to connect with the spirits.
  • There should always be enough food to include some on your ancestor’s plate.

4. Silent Communion:

  • Sit down at the table with any participants in silence. The atmosphere should be serene and reflective.
  • You can invite your ancestors to dine with you. However, you will need to ask them in silence.
  • Begin the meal in silence, tasting each bite mindfully. Focus on your thoughts and feelings about the departed.

5. Invocation and Reflection:

  • After the meal, take a moment to close your eyes and silently invite the spirits to join you.
  • Reflect on memories, emotions, and messages you wish to convey to the departed. Feel their presence around you.

6. Moment of Sharing:

  • Now, still in silence, you can express love, gratitude, and messages to the departed. 

7. Closing the Ritual:

  • Light a candle as a symbol of sending your thoughts and messages to the spirit world.
  • Thank the departed for their presence and blessings.
  • Slowly extinguish the candles, ending the ritual.

8. Aftercare:

  • Take time to meditate, journal, or sit in quiet contemplation after the ritual.
  • Keep the atmosphere calm and respectful as you transition back to everyday activities.
  • Invite participants to share their experiences and emotions if desired.
  • Take the contents of the deceased plate outside and leave it as an offering for the dead. It will make a great feast for wild animals that visit your garden, but ensure there is nothing that may cause harm in the food.
dumb supper

Utilising a scrying mirror to pay tribute to your ancestors

Scrying, a practice steeped in ancient mysticism, has long been employed as a means of divination and connecting with the spiritual realm. One intriguing facet of scrying is the use of a scrying mirror—a tool that can also be harnessed to honour and pay tribute to one’s ancestors.

  1. Preparing the scrying mirror: To embark on this ancestral journey, select or craft a scrying mirror. Traditionally, these mirrors have a black, reflective surface, which serves as a portal to the unseen. While you can purchase a scrying mirror, creating your own by painting the back of a piece of glass or using a darkened, polished surface can be meaningful.
  2. Setting the sacred space: Designate a quiet, sacred area where you won’t be disturbed. Light a few candles, preferably white for spiritual enlightenment or purple for connecting with the spiritual realm, to illuminate the mirror and create a serene ambience. Consider placing items that belonged to your ancestors or photos of them nearby to enhance the connection.
  3. Clearing your mind: Sit comfortably in front of the scrying mirror and take a few deep breaths to calm your mind. Relaxation is essential for scrying. Meditate for a few minutes to centre yourself and focus your intention.
  4. Gazing into the mirror: With a softened gaze, fix your eyes on the surface of the scrying mirror. The goal is not to see your reflection but to allow your mind to enter a state of heightened receptivity. This process may take time, so be patient. You may notice images, symbols, or even subtle movements within the mirror.
  5. Communicating with ancestors: As you gaze into the mirror, silently or verbally invite your ancestors to join you. Share your intentions, express your gratitude, and request their guidance, wisdom, or simply their presence. Allow your thoughts and feelings to flow freely as you make this connection.
  6. Interpreting the experience: During your scrying session, you may receive insights and messages or even feel the comforting presence of your ancestors. These experiences can vary significantly from person to person. Trust your intuition and inner senses to interpret what you receive.
  7. Closing the session: When you feel your scrying session has come to a natural conclusion, thank your ancestors for their presence and any insights received. Blow out the candles and reflect on your experience for a few moments.

Utilising a scrying mirror to honour your ancestors is a deeply personal and spiritual practice. It can foster a profound connection with those who have passed and offer solace, guidance, and a sense of continuity. Remember that scrying is an art that may require practice and patience to develop, but it can serve as a meaningful tool for connecting with your ancestral heritage and the wisdom of the ages.


Scrying is generally safe when practised with care and intention. Ensure a calm mental state, and avoid scrying during emotional distress or under the influence of any substances. Some practitioners use protective circles for added safety. Moderation is important to prevent emotional strain, and it’s crucial to remember that scrying symbolism is subjective. Seek guidance if you’re new or unsure, anticipate experiencing various emotions, and respect individual experiences. Trust your intuition; if you feel uncomfortable, pausing and returning later is perfectly acceptable.

A resplendent tapestry woven in legacy

Pagan rituals and holistic healing practices present an avenue to commemorate the legacies of those before us and tether ourselves to the tapestry of our heritage. These customs instil an abiding remembrance of the lives that once graced this earth while concurrently nurturing our spiritual voyage and catalysing our curative odyssey. The echoes of our ancestors reverberate through these practices, underscoring the profundity of their wisdom and the timelessness of their influence.

For more information, hints, and tips, look at our blog. And please remember to tag us @surrender_to_happiness on Instagram with your stories of your ancestors. If you want more protection, look at our crystal protection set. And for information on future celebrations, look at our yule blog by clicking here. Finally, for more ideas on how to enjoy 31st October, check out our happy healthy halloween and our how to celebrate samhain blogs.

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