October 31st was Samhain, which is essentially the Pagan new year. I already made a post about 10 ways to celebrate it, but a couple days after the 31st, a local group (Baltimore Reclaiming) had an event to celebrate it, and I unearthed a lot of insights during those three hours. You may remember me talking about them when I attended my first event this spring for Beltane. I’ve been attending all their events ever since, and loving it, but Samhain was especially intense and I got a lot out of it and wanted to share some of my thoughts that I hadn’t initially considered prior to attending the ritual, specifically related to ancestors, descendants, and our past selves.

Samhain Insights | Uncustomary


One of the main things we think of with Samhain is how the veil between the worlds is supposed to be the thinnest and we’re able to connect with those who have died. I brought a picture I keep on my altar of Nannie, my paternal grandmother, of her as a child (about four-years-old; I don’t know why I connect with the picture so much, but when I found it, I had to have it and have kept it on my altar for seven years). I was intending to try to connect with her, because I believe there was a lot of peace with her passing and I don’t think she ever really wanted to “stick around” so to speak, so there have been very few instances of me connecting with her since she died.

During the trance, there was an opportunity for us to offer a gift to our ancestor and I immediately imagined holding out one of the purple felt tip pens she used to order in bulk from office supply stores. It was all she wrote her cursive notes, to do lists, and checks in. Totally her signature. I didn’t see her, but felt an energy, and suddenly the pen had disappeared from my hand. Before I knew it, we were being instructed to walk back up the stairs and were being led back out of the trance. I shot up to a sitting position and felt cold uncontrollable shivers roll through my body for almost three minutes. It was like we had touched hands.

They say no one really dies as long as you keep their memory alive. And one of the biggest things Nannie taught me was kindness and gratitude. She would write thank you notes to gas station attendants. I came out of this realizing that I definitely need to re-tap into my well of gratitude and kindness activities not just because it would make her proud, but because I value these traits and want to share them with the world.


I never thought about descendants during Samhain before because I have no children and never plan on having children. But what I realized during this ritual was descendants can be conceptual as well as the gifts we leave to the world. Even if I never plan on birthing, adopting, or fostering children, I can still leave my lessons in the books I write. I can leave my magic, merriment, and Uncustomary-ness in my art, projects, kindness, and connections. My legacy is my descendant. How people remember me is my descendant. The feeling people have after they read something I wrote or when I leave or enter a room are my descendants.

Samhain Insights | Uncustomary

Past Selves

Samhain happens during Scorpio season, which is a great time to check into our past and shadow selves. During this ritual, I saw a lot of past lives but not in the way I’ve talked about them before in my Past Life Regression. I’m talking about within these thirty years on this planet, in this body, the lives I’ve led. The different cultures I’ve been a part of, the different people I’ve been, the mistakes I’ve made, the habits I’ve made and broken, the lessons I’ve learned.

I saw a bunch that I was happy to acknowledge and say, “Hi” to. I know these happened to get me to where I am now, and I don’t regret them, but that doesn’t mean I need to return to them. But I saw a few that I miss elements of, and what I got from the Samhain ritual was it was time to resurrect those elements. I had the ability and connection to see clearly the parts of me I miss the most and to call upon them to incorporate back into this current version of myself. Because we can always do that. We are always evolving, and that doesn’t mean we can’t call back to parts of us we lost along the way.

So that’s my take on what I learned at the Samhain ritual! It was all stuff I hadn’t experienced or thought of in that perspective before, and I wanted to share for anyone who might be interested. Let me know if you’ve had similar experiences or if this shed light on anything for you.

Photos: Maura Housley
Ouija Board Photo Edited: Joe Dissolvo