This is a fun family ritual that can even include those friends who are not Pagan and still come to the Late Harvest festivities. Bobbing for apples is an active, fun, and funny way to raise positive energy. Telling stories of our ancestors and lost loved ones is a great way to honor them on this day of the dead. Altogether the family will have fun together in this group ritual.
You will need
- apples ~ at least one for each participant
- a large plastic cauldron (any bucket that can hold water will do)
- water to fill it
- a way to mark the apples ~ carving tools, pen, permanent marker, knife Etc
- a list of honorable characteristics ~ examples honor, strength, honesty, integrity, knowledge, humor, persistence, dedication, kindness, and optimism.
To get ready
On the bottom of each apple write the characteristics. You can connect each word with a symbol so you don’t have to carve the whole word. Each apple should have a different characteristic.
Depending on your group and how your day is planned you can cast a circle before the guests arrive. Include the whole house in your circle announcing this is a day of celebration. Welcome those you wish and call for a safe space for the days’ celebration. Or you can cast Circle just before you begin bobbing for apples and announce the purpose of the ritual and connecting with ancestors. When you do cast circle make sure that you remember to invite your ancestors and loved ones who have past.
When you are ready to begin filling the cauldron with water and add the apples. Gather everyone around and let them know how it works. Everyone has to get an apple out without using their hands. Each apple has a characteristic that they will then connect to a loved one who has passed. They will then tell a story about that loved ones sharing their memories with the group. For the little ones, they can take their apples to an elder who can share a story of the family history. Try to share stories that the ancestor or family member would want to be known and puts them in a positive light, particularly for the living. Once everyone has had a laugh, picked out an apple, and shared a story or two, give a toast in honor of your ancestors and the loved ones who have passed. Remember we would not be who we are without those who came before us. Also, thank all those who have shared a story. It is the living who keep the memories of the dead alive and we all know them with our stories.
Many blessings this late Harvest!
At this time of harmony and balance, we honor all we have and show our gratitude by filling a cornucopia with the family.
The Cornucopia has long been seen as a symbol of plenty and a representation of the great gifts we receive from nature. For this ritual, there are two ways you can go. 1) Fill the cornucopia with items that you will then use to make the Equinox Feast.
2) Fill the cornucopia with non-perishable foods that you will then use to donate to food banks so that others can share in the harvest bounty. Remember, that yes, the harvest is a literal thing but also symbolic of all the achievements we make and rewards of our hard work.
Once you and your family have decided what your cornucopia’s purpose will be, you can collect your cornucopia food and family for this blessing ritual.
Begin by grounding. When doing this with kids it is more important that you find a way to share in the energy with them, than be completely clear in thought and grounded. A great way to do this is through storytelling. For the harvest, tell a brief story about the grains and how after planting they were nourished by the sun, earth, and farmer and together they created the ingredients for the food we love.
If you chose to do so with the family, next call corners. If not then call corners before you call the kiddos over so that these energies are present. Here is a simple kid-friendly call.
We call to the North where the trees grow tall stretch your roots here,
We call to the East let your breeze blow its way here,
We call to the South burning in the core make your way here,
We call to the west, run you waters by rain or river over here.
Now fill the Cornucopia, first with energy. Talk about the importance of hard work and the benefits of the work. Talk about where the food comes from and what it takes to get it. Invite each person to share something they worked hard for and are proud of their achievements and success. Also, ask them to share something they are thankful for that is due to the work of someone else. This is a great way to not only share in this energy of gratitude and pride but also teach kids that by working for something you can achieve anything.
Next, fill the cornucopia literally. Have each person add something until the cornucopia is overflowing. This can be part of the sharing process or a separate stage in the ritual.
Once full, set the cornucopia on an altar or somewhere of importance, like above the fireplace or stove. This will be its home until it is time to use the food or go to the food bank.
Enjoy this time of bounty and balance!
The sun is high and the days are long, with the kids at home they can seem even longer. To help your family see their value and the value in each other try this Summer Solstice family ritual. In this celebration, we will learn about each other while creating a unique offering as an individual and as a family.
First, everyone will need to prepare. Each family member will need to prepare and gather their favorite foods. The little ones should be included in making their own dishes as much as possible and older kids should be encouraged to make their own dish.
Set the scene by setting the table with the number of members of the family plus one for the Divine. Mark each person’s seat with their favorite color.
Gather around the family table dressed in your favorite clothes. Join hands and say, “together as a family”, and take your seats. Allow the youngest child to rise and present their favorite dish to each person and the Divine. Encourage them to explain why it is their favorite, what they like about it, and how long they have liked it the best. Allow each member of the family to do the same moving to the right, clockwise around the circle.
When everyone has finished, draw attention to the Divine offering. Point out that the offering and the family would not be the same without each unique individual. Furthermore, point out that we each benefit from what we give to each other. The gift we give to the Divine is made up of the eclectic nature of family. We all must value each other and ourselves to see the true value of the offering.
Enjoy the meal and Blessed Summer Solstice!
PS You can make this ritual more formal by grounding, calling corners, and casting circle.