It’s the (actual) most magical time of the year: October.
This is the time when the veil thins between the world between the living and the dead, making our magical power and spiritual inspiration all the more accessible.
A traditional (and delightful) way to honor the season is to create an altar to the dead. This could be anyone on the other side whom you’d like to honor, including family members (human or otherwise), friends, and famous people you admire.
Here are 5 items you might place on such an altar.
1. Framed Photos
It’s always a good idea to include framed photos of the deceased people (or animals) you’d like to honor. This attunes the altar to the frequency of their unique personalities and invokes their presence in the space.
2. Marigolds and Mums
Marigolds are a traditional addition to Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) altars, symbolizing death and rebirth. (If you want to create a traditional Day of the Dead altar, this post is quite instructive.) Chrysanthemums symbolize shining light into the darkness, and opening a doorway between the worlds.
3. Foods and Beverages
Just as we living people enjoy connecting with the spectral and invisible realm at this time of year, our beloved dead enjoy revisiting the physical and sensual treats they enjoyed while present in the flesh. As such, they appreciate altar offerings of some of their favorite foods and beverages.
4. Candles and Incense
Of course, candles and incense are standbys for altars of all varieties. For an altar to your beloved dead, black, grey, white, burgundy, purple, and orange candles are particularly appropriate. When it comes to incense, copal and sweetgrass are excellent choices for opening the door between the worlds and honoring our non-corporeal friends.
5. Decorative Skeletons and Skulls
Decorative skeletons and skulls are powerful symbols of mortality: a particular point on the human cycle of life, death, and rebirth. In addition to reminding us to honor our beloved dead, these altar items help remind us that we will eventually follow them into the otherworld. This is a beautiful thing to remember, as it frees us up to live life fearlessly, to love fully, and to make the most of each and every moment.