Throughout October, the veil progressively lifts between the worlds of seen and unseen. Here’s how to align yourself with the unique magic of this powerful time.
The closer we get to Samhain, also known as Halloween, the thinner the veil between the worlds becomes: the worlds of seen and unseen, known and unknown, human and faerie, form and spirit, living and deceased.
For the ancient Celts, there were only two seasons: summer and winter. Samhain literally translates to “Summer’s End”: the sunset of the year. Just like at sunrise or sunset, we are in two worlds at once: the world of the light and the world of the darkness.
That’s why the days and weeks leading up to Samhain have a unique magic all their own. As we sensitize ourselves to the thinning of the veil, our inspiration deepens as we draw upon the potent enchantment of the Mystery and the Otherworld.
Here are 9 ways to open up to the thinning of the veil as Samhain draws near.
1. Stay Conscious as You Drift off to Sleep
The time between waking and sleep is your own personal thinning of the veil.
Get into bed with the intention to stay conscious as much as you can during the process of drifting off to sleep. When you get the hang of this, you will find that you can direct your dreaming mind and enter into the liminal, dreaming world with intention and purpose. This can come in handy if (for example) you’ve been landlocked and you want to visit the seaside, if you’d like to get some advice from a spirit guide or guardian angel, or if you want to make contact with a loved one who has transitioned to the other side.
Sometimes this will work better than others, and with practice, you will get better at it over time.
2. Go Outside at Sunrise or Sunset
Every day, there are two moments when the veil is thinnest: sunrise and sunset. Especially during October as the yearly veil thins and eventually lifts at Samhain, sunrise and sunset are powerful portals when we can enter the space between the worlds.
As I write this, I’m in Central California visiting family. For the past couple of mornings, I’ve taken my dad’s fluffy little dog, Red, for a walk just before the sunrise. Starting out in darkness, an orange glow slowly appeared in the east as we walked, casting the horizon in a shadowed silhouette. In the threshold between night and day, I was especially alert to the mysterious aliveness of nature: the crows on telephone lines, fall flowers, drying sycamore leaves preparing to fall, and neighborhood cats silently slinking through shadows.
3. Look at Photos of Ancestors
Connecting with ancestors and deceased loved ones is a classic practice in the month leading up to Samhain. Many magical spiritual people enjoy creating altars to their beloved dead at this time of year. But simply looking at photos of ancestors and deceased loved ones can help you connect with their essence on the other side, which lifts the veil between the worlds. Be sure to contemplate their spirit, feel love for them in your heart, and send it to them just as you would if they were alive.
4. Wear or Carry a Veil-Sensitizing Crystal
Crystals that help sensitize you to the thinning veil include October’s birthstones: opal and black tourmaline. Labradorite and moonstone can also help you make contact with the other side. First, cleanse your crystal or crystal jewelry in running water and/or bright sunlight. Then to hold it in your right hand as you set the intention to become more aware of the open portal between the worlds. Switch it to your left hand as you breathe, relax, and make contact with the realm of the unseen, mysterious, and magical. Keep your crystal with you during the day or hold it in your left hand as you drift off to sleep.
5. Spend Time in a Cemetery
Cemeteries are literally created with the intention to facilitate a conscious connection between the realm of the living and the realm of the dead. And you can feel it! They are among my favorite places on earth for this very reason. At any time of year, taking a mindful walk through a cemetery will open up your senses to the world beyond the world of form. During the month of October, this effect is multiplied.
6. Visit Your Birthplace
At Samhain and as the veil thins, what comes to mind is our eventual transition from this world to the world of spirit. But our transition from the world of spirit to the world of form is a similar portal. Visiting the place where you made this transition – your birthplace – naturally reminds you of your eternal, luminous nature and your innate connection to the Otherworld.
7. Read Poetry
Not all poetry will sensitize you to the thinning veil. But poetry that overwhelms you with the mystery of time and existence will.
By its nature, poetry bridges the worlds. It’s written in human language, but it simultaneously transcends the linear nature of that language, pointing to the timeless: the birthless, deathless, and eternal.
Naturally, this will be different for everyone. For me, the poetry of Hafiz reliably sensitizes me to the magic of everything. Perhaps for you, it’s Lord Byron, Maya Angelou, Jack Kerouac, Rumi, Sappho, or Emily Dickinson. Find your poetic bliss and you will find that by opening a book, you can simultaneously open the portal between the worlds.
8. Tune into Animals
Whether it’s your cat, a fly on the windowsill, or a crow on a park bench, simply contemplating the consciousness of another species is a way of stepping into the vast power and magic that resides between the worlds. While mainstream culture assumes and implies that animals are lesser beings of lesser importance, this is far from a spiritual truth. In fact, they are our brothers and sisters, more alike to us than different. When we even briefly contemplate what it’s like to be in their world, we expand our own awareness while participating in the timeless tradition of shamanic and magical practitioners since time immemorial.
9. Communicate with Plants, Flowers, & Trees
Plants, flowers, and trees also have consciousness. As I explore in my books The Magic of Flowers and The Magic of Trees, relaxing, breathing, and silently coming into communion with a particular blossom or tree is a powerful act. It will tap you into a powerful, non-linear current of healing energy and spiritual wisdom that can heal you, bless you, and attune you to the magic of life. All flowers, trees, and plants have this potential. At this time of year, you might consider communing with a chrysanthemum, a marigold, a red maple, a golden aspen, or another flower or tree that shows its splendor during Samhain season.
Are you planning to try any of these practices for sensitizing yourself to the thinning of the veil? Or do you have another favorite practice for the purpose? Please share in the comments below.