As we all know, this is the time of the year when the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest and those who practice necromancy, or just wish to contact the spirits of loved ones passed, are paying tribute to ancestors, honoring them with offerings of food, and engaging in various necromantic practices of divination. It's also the time when hungry ghosts, or those with no family or friends to remember them or feed them, restlessly wander the earth. It's traditional to place barley and milk outside as an offering to those wayward spirits, thus easing their hunger and preventing their mischief. Alternately, you can keep them away completely with a small bouquet of flowers and herbs.
Boneset will chase away the nastier spirits while drawing to your home benevolent spirits who have only the best intentions. Hang a bouquet of boneset (with sprigs of white pine and any other protective herbs you'd like to incorporate into your bundle) over your front door, as well as any other entrances that are used regularly. Tie the bouquets with black satin ribbon. Keep in mind that folk tradition believes that the most potent boneset is found growing on or near graves (though I am in no way condoning any indiscriminate picking of a person's grave). You can burn small boneset branches or twigs in a cauldron to drive away any existing ghosts, and should you be a little too involved with the practice of necromancy this Samhain season, boneset can also be used in small bundles hung over the beds of anyone deemed to have "ghost sickness," an illness believed to develop after engaging in extended contact with the dead. If your pets have been actively engaging in necromancy, this will protect them too!
Photo courtesy of gmayfield10 on flickr.