Saturday, October 22, 2016

DIY Ancestral Samhain Tree

Samhain is quickly approaching! Of all the sabbats, this is the time to honor and recognize your ancestors as the veil begins to thin. Many witches and non-witches alike set up altars in honor of those who have passed over. In many traditions it is customary to set a place at the table for all those you have lost so they may join the family for a meal this night. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you remember them.

I decided this year to take a different approach to honoring my ancestors. Growing up, Halloween trees were common. Heck, they are still common today. It seems like everyone is either making one or buying one to decorate with this season. The one we had was made by my mother, a very crafty and artistic woman. She makes almost all of her decorations or buys them from other artists. I wish I had the collection of decorations for each holiday that she has, but alas I am still young. I am doing my best to grow out collection. Anyway, I distinctly remember Halloween trees and thought, "Why not use this as a way to honor my ancestors?"And thus the ancestral tree was born!

I have a beautiful curly willow in my front yard (and a weeping willow, yay!!) that I recently cut back. I used one of its branches, a old pot, and some foam and moss from the Dollar Tree to set up my tree.

Once it was made it sat bare in my library for quite some time. I'm being honest, at first I couldn't decide if I was making a Halloween tree or not. I was going to just put it up and save it for another time, but I said, "No, I need to do something crafty for a change!" In comes the ancestral tree.

I started by calling my mom and asking for pictures of relatives. She uses pictures of our deceased relatives all the time in crafts so she already had nice paper copies of most of the family, on both sides of the family...all the way back to when they arrived in the United States on a boat. She also had really great photos of my great grandmother and my grandfather who passes away while I was in college. I made copies of these to place on my tree.

Once I had collected all the images I wanted to use I set off to Michael's to pick up some Halloween scrap booking supplies to create my ornaments. I lucked out that they were having a 2 day door buster sale on all Halloween paper crafts. I ended up saving 60% and paying $8 for some very beautiful supplies and ribbon. In fact, they already had some paper flourishes that were perfect for the ornaments. I was already going to make something similar and buying them saved me a ton of time.

After I gathered all my supplies I set to work cutting and hot gluing everything together. I made several ornaments of different shapes and sizes from many of the people in my family. Next year I would like to add to the collection by creating some from my husband's family. In fact, I should make a note to see if I can't get more of the ornament paper I used before they sell out. Note made. Anyway, once I was finished I hung them up and viola! Simply yet beautiful ancestral tree to honor my loved ones this Samhain.

I think it turned out rather nice, albeit I need some more ornaments.

There are two people missing from my "family" on this tree; one is my best friend Anna who passed away almost 11 years ago when I was in high school. I haven't been able to bring myself to make her ornament, not because I don't love her, but because I feel like making one solidifies that she is actually gone. Even after 11 years I haven't quite accepted it. Please do not tell me she is in a better place. I know you mean well, but those words cut like a knife. The second person is my Uncle Richard. Technically he is a cousin, but uncle works just fine. My mom didn't send me home with any pictures of him. Just know you are remembered and deeply loved Uncle Richard.

How do you honor your ancestors and loved ones on Samhain?


  1. You did an amazing job! It looks really beautiful. Score on the Michael's bargain!

    1. Why thank you! And I know right?! It can be hit or miss with them sometimes. I just happened to walk in on the right day. Originally I was going to go the day before, but decided not too. Glad I waited!

  2. What a spectacularly crafty idea. :)

  3. Fantastic job! I need to fix my ancestor altar. You put everything together so well! Your relatives should be very happy their likenesses are displayed so nicely :)

    1. Why thank you! I added a couple of black and orange ornaments yesterday to fill in some of the gaps. Looks really good. I got lots of compliments at my party.