Sunday, October 31, 2010

Samhain again

What a day, what a night. It takes or rather, I put a lot of work into getting ready for the Sabbots I lead. This years Samhain ritual started Saturday at 10 pm but I started getting the house ready the Thursday before. A number of people from our pagan group showed up on Friday morning at 10 am to carve pumpkins, but by then I had already been to a school, bank, gas station, donut store, two rite aids two grocery stores, and a dollar tree. We madly carved 10 pumpkins 8 of which were done with pentacles and placed around where the circle would be for the celebration later that night. It was a lot of fun. Others helped me clean up and organize the yard.
After the pumpkin carvers left, I ran to Lowes to see if I could get some more Tiki torches. I couldn't find the cheaper bamboo ones I was looking for, so didn't get any. I did pick up some more firewood however. Came home and then took a bit of a nap. I was tired. I had been up late the night before (Friday night) attending the Samhain of a local witches coven here that I am friends with. It was a very windy ritual with gust as high as 50 mph. I couldn't help but think of the stories of the wild hunt. Glad I was in a protected circle. ;-)

After my nap I showed and dressed in my robes. It felt good to put them on again. Though I do meditation and energy magick daily, I only were my robes on sabbots and a few other occasions. By 9pm the house was bursting with people waiting for the ceremony to begin. The prominent sound was that of laughter and happy chatter. At 9:30 I and a fellow druid lit the torches and candles in the pumpkins. I hallowed the sacred flame and water, and using these hollowed the grounds where the ritual would take place. Because of the large number of attendees (about 25 people) my beloved and had chosen not to cast a circle. With that many people and a few children around it seems there is always the need for people to break the circle, also we were not doing energy raising or spell casting per say and didn't feel it was necessary. So we proceeded without.

After the hallowing of the grounds the ceremony began with my love asking the attendees to step out side. Once all had been gently herded out, the dancers performed a dance which represented the symbolic changing of the seasons ending with Samhain. It was beautifully done and I give my thanks to those lovely ladies for having the courage to do that. Once the dance was over, the attendees lined up and the smudging began. 23 or so people is a lot for one smudging line. Though it seemed to go fast enough, I think that having two smudgers and lines would have been a bit better. It did work just fine and the attendees were kept the talking to a minimum and were respectful.

The ritual went very well I believe. My b'loved wife took the role of high priestess and I have to say that we make a fantastic team. Despite all she's been through with her illness these past months, she danced, and her voice was strong and confident. I could really feel how the years of doing rituals together have really honed us into a powerful team. It's hard to measure the success of a ritual, but I have to say, when you have a number of people willing to speak aloud their remembrances of the dead and weep in front of 22 others in the process, not once, but person after person, you have done it right. Even I shed tears as I spoke of a child hood friend who died of cancer in 2007. I was not there for him in the end, and it's a regret that I have lived with for a long time. The priestess who married my wife and I, honored her ancestors with an old Celtic song. This brought some more tears. We had a Crone who spoke of her "bat crazy grandmother" which had us all chuckling with much needed laughter. Some people gave their hair as offering, other spat. It was a powerful time of no time.

Once all the offerings had been given, I led the gathered in a guided meditation with the hopes that they would be able to contact some of their ancestral spirits. During that time, I got images and the impression the my child hood friend has been reborn into the world again. Trusting in this, I feel as though a weight has been lifted off my spirit. As of this writing, no one else shared anything that happened to them in the meditation. After the meditation Robert, who I had asked to play the role of seer, set to work doing just that. Once again he did not disappoint. Once again the card drawn was pertinent and poignant to the ritual and time. So it was we know what our blessing would be. So it was that my b'loved wife and I blessed the waters of life and each member drank in the blessings of the ancestors. The ritual was closed in the usual wiccan ways (the ritual was a combination of wiccan elements and druid elements as our pagan group is made up of both).

The ritual was followed by the sharing of food and drink and much laughter. Robert gave a few individual readings. Slowly people trickled out and home, and my love and I crawled into bed around 2am, tired but satisfied, like the feeling you get after some really good sex.

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