Friday, December 9, 2011

Cottonwood river protogrove Samhain 2011

The great wheel ever turns and Samhains come and go. This year though, will be one that I shall remember for a long time. This year I took charge of the ritual aspect of the Kern County Pagan Circle’s Samhain festival. The festival included all day activities and overnight camping. The ability to camp out in Oct. is one of the nice advantages of living in a warm place. Some of the activities were pumpkin carving, sugar cookie making, sugar skull decorating, and face painting. I would say we had about 30-40 attendees. Before the ritual I lead a guided journey written by Arch druid Rev. Thamos. The ritual was put on by our local protogrove. I was the lead liturgist and Seer. We got the local community involved with the blessing of the fire, well, and tree. The three other druids did the invocations of the kindred, and the purifying of the grove. I opened the gates with the aid of my fellow druids. We had asked a local witch who was crone to play the role of the spirit of winter the Cailleach. She came to the center of the circle and oversaw the offerings being given to the ancestors. Almost every one stepped up, and shared a short story about the ancestor or ancestors to whom they were giving offerings too. This was the third year in a row our local pagans have done this ritual, and I could really see a difference between those who had done in for the third time and those who were doing it for the first. The difference was in their emotional reaction. Those who were doing it for the first time often had to pause in their speech due to the overwhelming feeling and emotion that was bursting forth. Emotion they had stuffed for years. Those who were doing it for the third year, were emotional, but not near so as they had been three years before and the emotion was often more one of joy at the telling of the stories and joy in the remembering. It really made me realize just how powerful the Samhain ritual is as a healing technique.
When all were done, we sang to the kindred, received the omen of their blessing, which this time was the Ogham. They offered us transformation and inspiration. The drink was blessed and many drank in the blessings. After words the ritual was closed with a short grounding exercise, closing of the gate, and one last song as the recessional. An excellent ceremony in all. I was very pleased with it. You can find a YouTube photo video of the ritual here:

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