We are getting quite close to Samhain. Here in the Nordics we celebrate the “Day of Souls” on the 1st of November (old Estonian religion follows the Wheel of the Year and our Christmas is called Jõul = Yule). So it is only appropriate to work a little bit on your soul heritage before.

I just received my Wild Unknown deck, ordered from the beautiful Beth at Little Red Tarot, which lends itself well for autumn shadow work.

To better connect with your ancestors, Voodoo tradition recommends marking the Earth element with graveyard soil. Where I live, graveyards are called surnuaed – Garden of the Dead – and is always, without exception, a thick forest. So the dead lay under the trees and they really look quite magical. Some traditions say, however (including ours) that one should never return anything from a surnuaed, not picking a flower, not even a tiny pebble. When I ground myself through the elements, here is what I usually use:

  • A little bit of water in a tiny jug, which I think I brought from Hungary or Slovakia
  • Pure incense smoke (or sage smoke)
  • Candle flame (preferably natural candle, but I do have a huge altar candle that works well also)
  • Sand for earth

I also clean my surroundings with a Tibetan bell toll just before I read or practice magic.

Personally, I wouldn’t bring graveyard soil with me, but if this is something that feels right to you, feel free to use that instead of sand during the Samhain period

Kambja Kalmistu – typical Estonian graveyard

Connecting with the ancestors through shadow work 

What I recommend is to look at these questions, pull a card per question per day and then meditate on the results. Understanding and tapping into your ancestors energies can be quite tricky, especially influences from very long ago. This is a 1-week shadow practice

Day 1: What do my ancestors represent 

Day 2: What is the role of my ancestors in my destiny 

Day 3: What is the main influence of my ancestors to my life 

Day 4: What burdens from the past do I carry in my life 

Day 5: What blessings from the past are bestowed upon me 

Day 6: What do my ancestors need from me 

Day 7: How can I best involve my ancestors in my life 

Following this exercise should get you in tune with the Samhain sabbath and prepare you for the insightful, quiet, halcyonic time ahead.

Write about your experiences in the comment section! Will you try this out? What deck will you use? Do you often do ancestor work?