Samhain Ritual 1999

@ Lady Therese 1999

Cleanse the circle area with your besom (broom).

Cast the circle.
First with Sword or Staff
Secondly with Salt Water
Thirdly with Incense

Have everyone ground and center themselves (Use a short tree connection)

Bless and welcome all. (have all visiting HP/HPS walk the circle while placing oil on the foreheads of the guest, saying nothing--each HP/HPS has there own oil bottle)

I ask the blessings of the Wise-men, wise-women, Holy Ones of all generations and those witches who have gone before us. The Priest and Priestesses who have walked this path before. Send forth the strength and energy as we tread this path between the veils that no soul be harmed, may no one be treated without respect on this night of nights.
Blessings upon those who walk the spirals of the maze.
May your wisdom lead us.
May the great work of this night be guided by the Source of all Mystery.
Blessed Be

Once again we meet to turn the wheel. It is the festival of Samhain, the eighth and final spoke of the wheel. On this night, we perceive that the boundaries between the worlds are thin, less defined. The souls of either realm might look beyond the veil and glimpse the other side and perhaps pass through. Our Lord Sun has become the Lord of Shadows. The days grow shorter, the nights cooler. The Cosmos tonight provides a mirror of your soul, reflecting the cycles of your life that you create. On this night of darkness, look to the mystery of the season to release that which has been completed. Look at and acknowledge that which has come to an ending within your own life and bid it a final farewell. Even though this may bring you pain, it must be done. This is the Scorpio part of the year. it is the trial of death and rebirth or the dissolution of vain pleasure and revenge. It is at this point in life that the seeker must choose the sting of the scorpion, the mud of the gray lizard or the wide, clean, vision of the eagle.

Samhain is a night for divination, the past, present and future merge. For those of you who have not been here to share our holiday before, I will explain something of Samhain. Halloween, called Samhain by the ancient Celts, and Hallowmass by the early Christians, represented the final harvest of the year for the ancient people. A time when all of their food was stored for the coming winter, a time of abundance and plenty, a time to give thanks to their deities.

(invoking the watchtowers)

East (water)
We the Witches of old call the Watchtowers of the East, the powers of water. The tides of the ocean, where all life began, the rivers and streams that feed and nourish the Earth. Thou art the dark sea from which all life comes and unto which all life returns. We call you now to aid us in our rites.
So Mote It Be.

South (air)
We the Witches of old call of the Watchtowers of the South, the powers of air. The gentle breezes that soften winters chill and the cleansing force of the gale winds. Oh, Ye of the Southern wind, place of storms and breath of life. We call you now to aid us in our rites.
So Mote It Be.

West (fire)
We the Witches of old call of the Watchtowers of the West, the powers of fire. Cauldron of burning light, fill the night. The spark of lust which leads to all Creation, Ignite the dark, while amidst the ancient stones we stand. We call you now to aid us in our rites.
So Mote It Be.

North (Earth)
We the Witches of old call of the Watchtowers of the North, the powers of earth. The womb of the Mother, dark protector of the seed. Guard ye well the dormant seed, wrap all that lives in restful sleep. We call you now to aid us in our rites.
So Mote It Be.

(Evoke the God and Goddess)
(Light the God and Goddess candles)

Charge of the Crone
Hear the words of the dark Goddess who stands within the crossroads, whose torch illuminates the Unknown:

I am the Queen of Transformation and the Dark of the Moon, hidden in the deepest night. I am the mystery of the Underworld and the wisdom that coils about your heart in the time of your trials.
I am the soul of nature that gives form to the universe; it is I who await you at the end of the Spiral Dance. Most ancient among Goddesses, let my worship be within the heart that has truly tasted life, for behold all acts of craft and art are my pleasure and my greatest ritual is love itself.

Therefore, let there be beauty in your strength, compassion in your wrath, power in your tolerance, and discipline balanced through mirth and reverence.
You who seek to see me and seek to behold my true face shall know that all your searching and efforts will one day come to an end. For the mystery shall be unveiled. Look no further than within yourself in order to look into my eyes.
At the end of the Spiral you shall cease to imagine and come to know.
Blessed be.

Charge of the God
I am the radiant King of the Heavens, flooding the Earth with warmth and encouraging the hidden seed of creation to burst forth into manifestation. I light my shining spear to light the lives of all beings and daily pour forth my gold upon the Earth, putting to flight the powers of darkness.
I am the master of the beasts wild and free. I run with the swift stag and soar as a sacred falcon against the shimmering sky. The ancient woods and wild places emanate my powers, and the birds of the air sing my sanctity.
I am also the last harvest, offering up grain and fruits beneath the sickle of time so all may be nourished. For without planting there can be no harvest; without winter, no spring. Worship me as the thousand-named Sun of creation, the spirit of the horned stag in the wild, the running wolf, the endless harvest. See in the yearly cycle of festivals my birth, death, and rebirth --- and know that such is the destiny of all creation.
I am the spark of life, the radiant Sun, the giver of peace and rest, and I send my rays of blessings to warm the hearts and strengthen the minds of all.
Blessed Be

Dark Lord: (older man steps forward to speak)

And as does the cycle of the Moon ever begin to wax and wane and to grow forth again, as do the seasons from one to the next flow in smooth will my children know their own pattern in both worlds.
On this eve of Samhain we have come to honor those that have passed beyond the veil. The Moon must decline, darken, and die. Beyond life are the realms of shadow; the journeys unknown and the visions undreamed. For the soul seeks its own level, rests, and gains a time and a place to be reborn. Now here the story of birth and death.

Crone: (in a chair in front of fire with an afghan over shoulder)
Speak the Lore........
Listen, my children, a true story I tell of those of our line who lived when the world was far younger and the moon quite new. I tell of a clan of we, called the Celts.

I remember those days when our people first heard of the strange invaders who had come to the Lion Island so long protected by its distance, it's cliffs and it's sea. Invaders had come before. In time they went away again and we continued our lives as they had been in the times of our long fathers.

Ours lives flowed on within the spiral of the year. Spring we brought to the fields with dance, song and the love of lad for lass. And winter brought we to the land that seeds might sleep and stags might raise their mighty antlers over the high lonely hills. Upon the night between the moons long, did we lead our people to the hollow hills.

I remember how the flames of the tiny lamps we carry would flicker although within the hill there was no wind. I remember how I thought I saw the flames reflected in the empty eye holes of the skulls set in hollows in the walls. We bow our respect to them when we enter. We summon the winds of the world to honor them, we call our Gods and Goddesses and we cut the veil which from year-birth to year-end has sundered us from them. We sit and close our eyes and listen, listen, listen. And in soft whispers they would tell us of what might bode and who may live...and not. Names they give us for those to enter life and praise for those whose day will come. Then we thank them and seal the door and leave them till the wheel comes round once more.

I remember though those years have passed far beyond the memories of nations -- and nations strong and mighty in that time have also faded and grown into stories fit only to frighten children.

But there came a year when those who dreamed strange dreams and saw strange signs above them in the skies came to Albion and brought their news of a new God and a new order to the high rules of the land. They said that their way was now the only way. They said that kings must bow to their dead God or they would fall before his march to own the Earth. They taught the kings to murder and to kill for differences of thought or word. And we, we took our sheep and looms and walked into our further hills. A foot, a mile, a stead we moved. For we were not aminded to be one with them nor to follow their strange God they carried nailed upon a tree.

And when the year rolled round and the dark began to fall, the Dree declared year-end was nigh. Where were our barrows and the heads of those long fathers of our clan who came to us upon the night which stands between the years? And I, I was the last of the old women of the path. Dead my sister, lost in the long miles wed run from the swords and horses of the new god's priest.

I looked back to where the warm lands steamed and boiled with the tall and strange followers of new beliefs. Long miles and long weeks of walking lay between me and the hollow hills of my clan. Never again might I seek the dark eye holes of my grandmothers, never more would I look upon their dry bones. We had left them there in the low lands to barrows sealed and dark. What would we do without their words and thoughts and wisdom?

My people cried and tore their cloaks. "We could have brought them with us," they said. "Why did you let us leave them? They wouldn't have slowed us much." How could I tell my children that the old ones couldn't leave their dark and holy caves. Had we tried to lift their skulls the sun and air would crumble them.

There's one more night before the year-turn I shall wrap me in my cows skin and I will dream for us. I shall dream the hollow hills and the long mothers heads upon their shelves. And I shall ask them to tell me what our people should do. In my dreams I left the high lands and fast my mind flew across the land and to the door within the hollow hill.

There I sat up wrapped tightly within my cow skin and made my bow to the ancients sitting there upon the shelves. "What shall we do?" I cried to them, "We have lost this land and ne'er may we return to visit you here on Samhain's eve."

Soft they spoke to me and soft their words followed me far across the hills and high into the North land we flew. Back into my cold stiff flesh I came back and round me sat the clan awaiting for what word I might bring. And I sat up and cackled and I smiled and I told them to untie the skin and to help me up. And from a child I took a round smooth turnip. Grown in the soft lands, it was, so large the center had hollowed of its self. And I took my knife from my belt and carved into it eye holes, a nose; a wide and smiling mouth. And I set within it the last of the tiny lamps we once had carried into the hollow hills.

The sun set upon the day without a date and all around the poor cold camp of the clan shown the eyes and smiles of the long fathers and long mothers. Through the years out of reckoning still I see my children on that night lighting up the skulls of the old ones. See, there beside that house; there's my skull with candle set within. Watch I'll keep this night for you and, if you bow in honor of the old ones, I'll tell you of the year to come. Of the birth of Arthur and of Nimue. Of who must die that life may always change, yet be always of the same sort and kind.

Now is the time when we can invite all our departed loved ones to celebrate with us for the evening. Let them join us in our Belfires, singing and dancing. Spend now a moment to think about the loved one you would like to visit with you this night. See them in your minds eye and remember your love for them. In the morning hours bid them depart so they may return to their realms. (close eyes and quiet time)

Now we will enjoy the Myth of the descent of Persephone.

(There are the following parts in this play:

Guardian at the gate

In this world, the Goddess Demeter is seen in the moon, the light that shines in darkness, the rain bringer, mover of the tides, the soil of the womb, Mistress of Mysteries. And as the moon waxes and wanes and walks three nights of its cycle in darkness, so, it is said, the Goddess's Daughter Persephone once spent three nights walking in the kingdom of Death.

Mother, I do not understand why Pluto, Lord of Death must come and take the souls of the living? Why do you allow him to do such things? Why don't you stop him?

Only through Death my child can Life happen. Death must be embraced. All things must die in order to be reborn and return to me. Mine is the Mystery of the Womb, that is the cauldron of rebirth. Enter into Me and know me, and you will be free of all fear.

I still don't understand His ways or why this must be so.

Go to my temple and listen and you will learn.

Persephone, without telling her mother, rejects Demeter's advice and secretly journeys to the to the underworld to unravel the mysteries of Death for herself.

(Persephone proceeds around to the Western quarter where she is met by the Guard)

Stop!!! (placing athame to breast of Persephone)
Why do you try to pass through the gate from life to death, Persephone?

Guardian of the Western Portal, I seek an audience with Pluto, Lord of the Underworld. I seek answers to questions that only he can answer. Let me pass.

Nothing may be brought into the land of Death. If you wish to enter you must enter death as you entered life, remove your jewelry and your crown, leave all markings of your rank behind.

(Persephone removes, her jewelry and hands it to the guard)

Persephone, you may enter, but heed my words of caution -- If you partake of food or drink while you are in the Land of the Dead, you will not be allowed to return to the World of the Living and must remain here forever.

(Demeter is looking for Persephone--asking all guests)

Where is Persephone? She is not in my temple? Have you seen her?
(proclaiming to all)---- "Unless my daughter is returned to me nothing will grow. The plants will wither, trees will lose their leaves of protection, and animals will die of starvation. The Earth will become cold. Mortals will not have the pleasure of sunshine or warmth So long as Persephone is gone!!!!!"

Persephone travels for three nights in the underworld seeking out Pluto. She is unaware of Demeter's wrath falling upon the land above.

(Persephone meets up with Pluto)
(Pluto bows at her feet and kisses her gently on the lips)

Oh my love, do not return to the world of the living, but stay here with me, and have peace and rest and comfort and be my Queen. For I have loved you since first seeing you in the Eleyeusian fields

My Lord, if you truly knew what love was, you wouldn't embrace death so eagerly. You wouldn't take the souls of my worshippers, you would leave them be to enjoy all the pleasures of life.

My Lady, everything passes and fades away. I bring comfort and peace to those who pass my gates. That they may grow young again and return to your mother Demeter. But you are my heart's desire---return not, but stay here with me.

(performs the Fivefold Kiss on Persephone:)
(kneel and kiss the tops of the feet)
Blessed be thy feet, that have brought thee in these ways

(kiss the knees)
Blessed be thy knees, that shall kneel at the sacred altar

(kiss abdomen)
Blessed be thy womb, without which we would not be

(kiss breasts)
Blessed be thy breasts, formed in beauty

(kiss mouth)
Blessed be thy lips, that shall utter the sacred names.

(hands her a pomegranate)
Behold, the fruit of life which is death. Taste of it and understand.

(Persephone eats seeds)

My Lord, I've tasted the fruit and I understand the circle of rebirth now. But I also understand that I cannot remain with you for all time. I belong on the right side of my mother. But I am torn between the two of you. I know that I love you as I love her. And to not feel your embrace would hurt me as it would hurt you. Let me return to the otherworld with the promise that I will return to you?

I embrace you as my queen, and am pleased that you love me. But you will need to return soon to me. You've tasted the fruits of death so now part of you is part of me.

(Persephone proceeds to the Western Portal and the Guard returns her markings of rank.)

(Persephone goes to Demeter and they embrace)

Persephone did you go to the underworld?

Yes, and now I understand what you tried to explain to me of life and death.

Then you understand that as life is but a journey into death, so death is but a passage back to life, and in me the circle is ever turning.

Yes, I understand that only through death can rebirth happen. But while I was there in the underworld I also learned that death is love. I do love the Lord of the Shadows and wish to share part of my life with him. I ate four seeds of Death and know the true meaning of love and sacrifice.

Oh no!!! You ate of the pomegranate?? You know that since you've tasted of the fruits of death you cannot remain with me in life for all time.

Yes, I know now this to be true. But I want to be in both places. I do love him and wish to be with him. But, I love you and wish to be with you as well.

Then this is the way it shall be. For every seed you ate you may remain in the underworld with Pluto as his queen. But the remainder of the year you will remain with me. It grieves me to do this, but it is the law of the Gods.

I'm sorry

(Demeter and Persephone embrace and say good-bye)
(Persephone returns to the west)
(Demeter cries)

Demeter being of great wisdom set the law into place as it was written. But through her loss she knew great pain. For the remainder of the time Persephone would remain in the underworld Demeter would be sorrowful. Nothing would grow, the land fell asleep. The seed stayed nestled in the womb of the earth until Persephone's return in the spring. This was to continue till the end of time.

1) Hecate, Cerridwen,
Dark Mother Take us in.
Hecate, Cerridwen,
Let us be reborn.

* * * * * * * *
1) We all come from the Goddess,
And to Her we shall return
Like a drop of rain, Flowing to the ocean.

2)Hoof and horn, hoof and horn,
all that dies shall be reborn
Corn and grain, corn and grain
All that falls shall rise again.

(Great Rite - done by HPS and HP)

(Thank the Lord and Lady for attending the rite)
(Dismiss Watchtowers)

East (water)
We the Witches of old call the Watchtowers of the East, the powers of water. We thank you for joining our Samhain celebration tonight. As ye depart to your mighty realms, we bid thee Hail and Farewell,(pause) and harm ye none on your way. So Mote It Be.

South (Air) We the Witches of old call the Watchtowers of the south, the powers of air. We thank you for joining our Samhain celebration tonight. As ye depart to your mighty realms, we bid thee Hail and Farewell,(pause) and harm ye none on your way. So Mote It Be.

West (Fire) We the Witches of old call the Watchtowers of the West, the powers of fire. We thank you for joining our Samhain celebration tonight. As ye depart to your mighty realms, we bid thee Hail and Farewell,(pause) and harm ye none on your way. So Mote It Be.

North (earth)
We the Witches of old call the Watchtowers of the North, the powers of earth. We thank you for joining our Samhain celebration tonight. As ye depart to your mighty realms, we bid thee Hail and Farewell,
(pause here so others can repeat your salute)
and harm ye none on your way. So Mote It Be.

To our beloved dead, we say Merry Meet and Merry Part and Merry Meet again. May you return to your areas of peace and progress and taking with you our love. And now, as our God goes to ready himself for his rebirth at the Winter Solstice, may he know we value his sacrifice, and that we, together with Our Mother, await his return with love and joy.

(The circle is grounded and taken down)

Open the circle, Merry Meet, Merry Part, and Merry Meet Again !

"Song to Demeter" by Cynthia and William Birrer

"Mythology" by Edith Hamilton

"Celtic Devotional" by Caitlin Matthews

"Magical Rites from the Crystal Well" by Ed Fitch and Janine Renee

"Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner" by Scott Cunningham

"A Witches Bible Compleat" by Janet & Stewart Farrar, pgs. 40-41.

"Witch and Famous Previous Rites" by Lady Therese and Lady Bridget

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