Samhain/Halloween is October 31. All Saints Day is November 1. All Souls Day is November 2.
In Italy, All Souls Day is a day to remember the ancestors and visit their graves. To anyone who is Catholic it is also a day where one can pray souls out of purgatory. This is accomplished with a series of special prayers.
For those of us who are not Catholic, we may interpret this as a day to assist spirits who are stuck between realms (sometimes called ghosts) to move on, or to help ancestors who have not made the full transition to the ancestral realm find their way there.
Since the group of spirit workers I belong to believe that all of life is ensouled, we open this ritual to a wider array of possibility: to animal spirits, energies, thought forms, or any sentient lifeforms that have been waiting for the right time to move through a portal of transformation.
We will carry out a fire and drum ritual where we will we open a portal through which any souls who need or wish to pass can move through into their next iteration.
We see this as a sort of “housecleaning” for the earth and believe it is something that should be carried out regularly.
What better day than this day, when the veil is super thin, and all souls are recognized and remembered.
We offer this ritual with our hearts open, intention clean and for the greater good of all.
What is this? Read about why I am creating an Abruzzo-Italiana Wheel of the year here.
The Nyamping, the Watchers and the Grigori
In the Dagara tradition, the “Nyamping” are often referred to as “the old, old ones—the ones that are so old, no one remembers their names.” Nyamping are also the ones who come to get you when you die. I was familiar with this concept through my Italian grandmother, who could always name who had come to collect a family or community member when they died. Beings come for you when you die to escort you back to Source. This is one function of the Nyamping.
The Nyamping are the keepers of the fires of Source. They are the transitional gate holders. They examine the preparedness of the one making the transition. They stand at the transitional thresholds.
If you push your way through, it will not be good. There has to be readiness on both sides. This readiness the Nyamping watch and guard for. When the time is right, they lead you through the fire.
In the Italian tradition, the keepers of the portals are the “Grigori” or “The Watchers.” I was told that the Nyamping are resonant with the Grigori and the Watchers, although not exactly the same. Whereas the Nyamping are guardians and gatekeepers of the The fires of transformation and critical dimensional thresholds, the Grigori are a bit closer in to the human experience. “Grigori are ‘close in’ Nyamping,” the wedeme said, when I asked.
Nyamping are concerned with the dead and dying. Fire is their main tool.
About the Ritual
What I share below is a very large ritual. If you are alone or even in a group and do not feel able to carry out the ritual in its fullness, you can light candles and offer the light as a fire for one or two beings to pass through on this night.
You can also ring a bell or shake a rattle as you do this, saying,”‘I offer safe passage for whomever needs it.”
Allow the candles to burn down all the way.
For this ritual you will need:(better explanation for much of this is found in my book Membranes of Hope)
White chalk (ground and whole)
Ash (wood ash from any fire, best if sifted)
Hibiscus tea (5 cups)
Spirits (clear alcohol)
Sage or other cleansing herbs to burn
Fire and a fire pit (wood to burn)
A somewhat large outdoor space
A drum and drummer
1 or more candles
Bell and/or rattle
The Ritual: November 2: All Souls Day—Moving Ready and Waiting Energies and Ancestors Through a Portal of Fire
**Read all the instructions at least once before the night of the ritual.
In preparation: Assign one person to be the drummer for the ritual
Day of the ritual:
Create a container within which to work
- Mark the area within which you will work with an ash circle. If the space is very large, mark the four directions with ash
- Ash around your fire pit. This will be in the middle of the circle
- Burn sage or a cleansing herb inside the space you have ashed off
- Ask if there are any offerings needed from the space where you are carrying out the ritual
- Make the offerings
- Sage or sweep each participant as they enter the space
- Each participant must “chalk up.” Apply white chalk (yes, sidewalk or chalkboard chalk is fine) to wrists, ankles, neck and over heart. Whitewash entire face. (When you go into the land of the dead, you wear chalk to let them know you are only a visitor.)
- Once everyone arrives, create another circle around your fire pit with a mixture of cornmeal, ash and ground chalk. You will want this to be a fairly large circle, at least six feet beyond the fire pit.
- With a mixture of ash, cornmeal and ground chalk, create a star pentacle (5 pointed star) inside the circle made of cornmeal, ground chalk and ash. The fire pit remains in the middle of the pentacle as you create it. It is holding the center space in the portal that will be opened.
- Make an offering to the Streghe and Janarra: Five cups of hibiscus tea, spirits, milk and water onto the earth, asking them to begin to gather those who wish to pass through the fire.
- Call on the Nyamping and their fire
- Light the fire
- Let it arrive at to a phase of burning well
- Create a secondary concentric circle or ring with ash outside of the circle and star pentacle for participants to sit in
- Assume positions around the fire in this outer ring
- One at a time, tapping on the earth, all invoke: the earth, the Nyamping, and fire to help escort and move any energies, ancestors, animals who wish to cross over from where they are into their next iteration. Ask them to help open this portal and lead the way.
- Begin drumming
- Open portal (see below)
- Drummer watches for portal opening and determines when time is up.
- Slowing and cessation of drumming closes portal
- Upon completion of drumming and closing portal, sit in silence at least 5 minutes.
- Participants then share any experiences or insights and make any further offerings that are required
Celebrate with a feast after, remembering to offer a plate of food and some drink to the spirits and ancestors.
To open a portal: (for all participants, not just drummer)
You will create a star pentacle inside a circle which will hold the portal. For this ritual the fire pit will be placed in the center of the pentacle and will be the portal. The energy will begin to build with the sound of the drum. You may feel movement in the earth under the fire pit, or the air around the fire pit, a spinning or a softening energy that begins to create an opening. The repetitive sound increases the portal opening. As you do this, you are using your inner eye and concentrated focus to ask the portal to open.
Often things are asked for in this process. In other words, while sitting there watching the vortex spin, you may be told that more is needed: an energetic offering of a color, or water, or a vibration like compassion may be asked for. You may be shown this with a visual image or sense it with your intuition. Conjure the required energy in your mind and project it toward the portal.
If you are told something else is needed but cannot understand what, ask, “Who can help with this energy?”
At these times, the right entity for the job shows up. It may be an ancestor or guide that you work with, or someone you have not yet met. Other times, it is a sacred heart, a key, or another archetypal force that shows up. You may be told to offer a tear or to process grief through your body. You may be asked for the energy of forgiveness. It is different every time.
In these rituals, you are offering your physical body, which includes your multidimensional consciousness, in service to this task. You are there to receive and transmit. You must be completely present, focused, and open for the energies to move through you.
The drum holds open the space and creates the sound for all the energies to move on, with, and through. The drum, in this case, is doing the work. This is truly a sound technology that has been utilized by humans for millions of years.
Do not underestimate the human component of this ritual. As you sit there participating, you are working very hard and quite deliberately. There can be no preconceived ideas about what is trying to happen or what will. You have heard the call and have agreed to show up for this moment. You show up open and ready to do the work you are shown at the time, in this exact moment. It is always different, and in these processes, you are being taught and you are learning.
Most medicine people will find this custodial task is overdue where they work, and will be called to it often as well. It is one of the services medicine people can provide to their local communities. I see it as a sort of plumbing of the spiritual pipes and throughways that, in some places and for various reasons, have not been tended to for some time.
Many traditions have rituals of consistently sweeping and brushing pathways. It is the same sort of work, keeping the pathways clear for those that need to move through them. Housekeeping is as essential in the spiritual realms as it is in the physical 3D. We are all aware of the clutter and dirt that builds up if we do not tend to our material homes regularly. It is the same on the etheric level.
Wait to see the portal, and once you do, you aim your drum or intention toward it. The sound and your intention will slowly open the portal.
You may see beings begin to form a line as they move through the portal, you may see a destination space open in the space before or beyond you. You may only feel or sense movement. Stay focused and keep your intention clean.
The portals cannot be held open for too long. I would say 20 minutes max.
Blessed be and Good Samhain to you.
© Theresa C. Dintino 2022