SAMHAIN RITUAL
1st Annual Witches Ball
at the Unitarian Church in Fort Lauderdale
October 31, 1998
Prepared by Eustacia Blackstar
(email Eustacia)

                      SAMHAIN RITUAL INTRODUCTION

(This introduction is to be given by the HP at the microphone
prior to the ritual.)                                                                                     

The Great Sabbat of Samhain, or Halloween as it is popularly called, is
considered the Witches' New Year.
It may be celebrated in late October through early November.

For many ancient cultures, it was the time of the final harvest, when all was
made ready for the dark days ahead.  The Sun God died to be reborn at
Yule, and the dark Goddess, Hecate presided over the Cauldron of
Transformation.  It was believed that all life would return to this primal
melting pot to be reborn.  This is the Doctrine of Reincarnation.

Samhain is considered a time for reassessment and letting go.  We attempt to
change the habits, practices and relationships that keep us from attaining
our highest and best goals.

It is said that the Veil Between the Worlds is thin now.  This is the best time
for Divination, or looking into the future.

Most importantly, Samhain is a time to remember and honor those who have
gone before.  A place may be set at the table, so the dead can symbolically
feast again with the living.  Candles and pumpkins are lit to guide their
way.  Although we know our ancestors are always with us to guard and
guide us, on Samhain we are often successful at making contact.  We believe
that "He who is remembered, lives."

The ritual of Samhain is about to begin.  Let all those who would attend of
their own free will, gather on the side porch.  We ask that you assume a
manner of respect and reverence, as this is a sacred, religious 
ceremony.  All those entering the Circle must do so in perfect love and
perfect trust.

(Taped seasonal music is heard throughout.)

BLESSING

HP:  (raises athame) Be it known that the Circle is about to be cast.  Let
those who desire attendance prepare for the blessing. Let none be here but
of their own free will.  Let none be here but in perfect love and perfect
trust.

( HP will bless participants with the crystal saying, "Bright Blessings be
with you" as they enter the Circle deosil. HP goes to front of altar.)

PRELUDE

(Maid, Crone and Mother/HPS enter the Circle with lit candles.  These
candles representing the Triple Goddess, are presented to the HP who
places them on the altar)

Maid:       We come together on this night
            to perform an ancient rite,
            as our mothers did before
            throughout the world, in days of yore.
            The season's Wheel has turned again.
            The harvest's in.  It's summer's end.
 
Crone:      We look back now and look ahead.
            We mourn because the Sun God's dead.
            Hecate now this time will rule.
            The Sun God will return at Yule.
            Tonight the New Year celebrates.
            The Summerland casts wide its gates.

Mother/HPS: And each of us will know once more
            the love of those who've gone before.
            For hope to us this promise gives,
            That he who is remembered, lives.


CIRCLE CASTING

HPS:   We will now create a magick circle that will serve as a protective
barrier between the worlds.
 

We cast the circle round and round.  By it's protection we are
bound.  As we will it, so mote it be!
 
(HPS, Maid and Crone proceed consecutively casting the Circle with the
ritual broom, salted water and incense.) 

QUARTER CALLS

HP:   Earth and Air
      Fire and Water:
      Guard and guide your 
      Sons and daughters
      We call on you this Samhain night.
      Assist us with this sacred rite.

(Four participants will call the Quarters.)

Powers of the East wind, Air,
Breathe in us a hope to share
With loved ones who have gone before,
That now we will unite once more.

Powers of the South and Fire, 
Flame our passions, not our ire.
Guard us.  Guide us on our quest
In this New Year, to be the best.

Water and the Western Powers, 
Let us know the strength that's ours.
Cleanse our minds that we might be
Free from negativity.

Mother Nature, show the way.
Help us keep in mind each day,
Oh, Powers of the North and Earth,
Where there's death, there is rebirth.


INVOCATION

HPS:  The Sun God soon will cease to be, 
      Yet we invoke his memory.
      We light the candle, watch it burn.
      We know the Sun God will return.    (light God candle)

HP:  Tonight is a night of death, when our blessed God passes into the
Summerland. (raise athame)
Blessed Lord, we humbly ask your presence at our Circle tonight, as we
honor you at this season.
(Participant appears in the Circle appropriately dressed as the God and
carrying the strawman) All hail the Lord!         
      
HPS:     And now the Lady we invite
         To guard and guide us on this night.
         In Her care we'll ever be
         Safe for all eternity

HP:  Tonight is also a night of Life, when we honor the wise crone Goddess
who will see us through this ever-darkening season to life renewed. (Raise
chalice)  Blessed Lady, we humbly ask your presence at our Circle tonight
as we honor you at this season.  (Crone appears in the Circle carrying the
Cauldron)  All hail the Lady!
 
(HP and HPS bring the appropriate candles to the God and Goddess.   The
flames are united for a moment. The God circles the fire three times
widdershins, then blows out the candle and returns to the Circle.  

HPS:   Tonight the God and Goddess are part of two different worlds.  They
are separated from one another.  Farewell, Blessed Lord.  Safe be your
journey into the Summerland.

(The crone Goddess lights the Cauldron and returns to the Circle.)

HP:  Wise Goddess, may the loving comfort of your people ease your sorrow.

SAMHAIN STORY  (read by three participants)

Part 1.   Tonight we celebrate the Grand Sabbat of Samhain which was the
Celtic New Year.  Samhain marks the final harvest, the coming winter, the
death of the sun.  To our ancestors, particularly those living in harsher
climates, this was a frightening time.  Food had to be stored to last through
the cold months ahead.  Often the weak would not survive.  An especially
bleak winter could mean the end of the community itself.  Even the sun
appeared to leave the sky.

Part 2.  Samhain then, was a very important festival because it offered
hope.  It meant the harvest had been successful and sufficient supplies had
been stocked for the winter.  Fires were lit in honor of the sun which our
ancestors hoped would be reborn again at Yule.  And they thought of those
who had gone before- those who had died in the preparation of the food, or
the hunt, or those who had died in past winters.  Maintaining this
connection is, and has always been, a very important affirmation of life
itself.

Part 3.  Just as our ancestors did long ago, we remember and honor the
dead because they are a part of ourselves.  All those we have ever known,
including our beloved pets, live on in our mannerisms, turns of speech,
values and practices.  They are a part of our personality that distinguishes
us from others. No one else had the same combination of parents, relatives,
friends and teachers.  The traits and memories that we maintain of those who
have gone before, are a form of immortality for them.

HPS:  So we pause and we look back and we give thanks for those who have
made us what we are today.
We hope that some day we too will be remembered, because we know that
"He who is remembered, lives."

ANCESTOR MEDITATION

(Maiden gives a candle to each participant)

HP:  So we begin by remembering.  Close your eyes. Take a deep breath.
Relax completely. Feel a strong connection with the earth and know that you
are in a safe and loving place.  The veil between this world and the next
gently opens.  You realize that you have crossed over into the land of the
dead and it is glorious.  Loved ones who have passed over, now come to
greet you.  Take some time and experience this.

As you return to the Circle, bring with you the memory of those you wish to
particularly honor on this sacred sabbat.  Know that "He who is
remembered, lives."  


HPS:  
Lord of Shadows, Lady of Life-
Yet is the knowledge of thee, the knowledge of  Death.
Open wide the Gates through which all must pass.
Let our dear ones who have gone before
Return this night to be with us.
And when our time comes, as it must,
We will enter thy realm gladly and unafraid;
For we know that when rested and refreshed among our dear ones
We will be reborn again as you have promised.
Let it be in the same place and the same time as our loved ones,
And may we meet and know and remember
And love them again.


Come one by one to the Cauldron of Transformation and Rebirth.  As you
light the candle in honor of your loved ones, speak their names and say
what you wish.  ( Lit candles are placed in a container of sand in front of
the Cauldron.)

(After each has spoken, all say, "He who is remembered, lives")

SÉANCE (Rel)

FEAST                                                                                                   

(Ginger snaps and apple cider are passed by Crone and Maiden.)                 
                                                                                                 HP: 
Now, as has been done many times before, we feast again with our departed
loved ones.  (A libation offering may be made at this time.)

CIRCLE OF LIFE/ SPIRAL DANCE                                                               

HPS:  Just as we remember our dead, Samhain is also a time to reaffirm life. 
We know that nothing ever dies, it just transforms, and the Circle of Life
continues.  Take a moment now to bring to mind new lives, pets,
relationships and projects that have come into your life this year.  Call them
out if you wish.

Now join hands for the Spiral Dance which has no beginning and no ending.
("Circle of the Sun" is played on tape)


TRANSFORMATION                                                                                   

(Maiden passes corn husks to all.)

HP:  The Greater Sabbat of Samhain is also the Witches' New Year.  It is the
best time to rid yourself of bad habits, unhealthy attitudes and
relationships.  The corn husk you have been given, represents that which
is discarded in order to take the nourishment from the corn.  Take a moment
to consider something in your life that you want to change tonight,
something that is not working for you.
Close your eyes and begin.   Now will your intention into the corn husk.

The straw man represents the old year that we will sacrifice to make ready
for the New Year.  Place your intentions on the straw man.  ( As the straw
man burns there is chanting, "In this New Year we'll be free.  As we will it,
so mote it be!")  ("Lord of the Dance" may be played at this time)   


DIVINATION                                                                                            

HPS:  Now with your eyes half closed gazes for a moment into the fire. 
Scrying is an ancient form of divination or looking into the future.  Take a
moment and see if you can catch a glimpse of what the New Year holds for
you.

(Maiden passes acorns to all)

As you leave tonight, take with you the symbol of the acorn which
represents the Sun God.  Know that from the seed will grow again the
mighty oak and the Circle continues unbroken.  Nothing ever ends.  It just
changes form.  Always know that He who is remembered, lives.

OPEN CIRCLE                                                                                          

HP:  We have come together in love and peace.  As we open the Circle, let us
depart the same way.  We know that all there is, is love, and in every
moment there is wisdom.  Let us salute the Quarters:

(The Quarters are dismissed by the same participants who called them.)

Powers of the East and Air, we thank you for joining our Circle.  We ask you
blessing as you part.  May there be peace between us now and forever. 

All:  Hail and farewell!

Powers of the South and Fire etc.

Powers of the West and Water etc.

Powers of the North and Earth etc.

HPS:  Lord of the Summerland, Lady of New Beginnings, we thank you for
joining our Circle.  We ask your Blessing and guidance in this New Year.  As
we depart tonight, may we take the first step on the path toward our
highest and best calling in the certain knowledge that you are ever with us.

HP:  The Circle is now open but unbroken.  Merry meet. Merry part. Merry
meet again.

****************************************************

ALTAR: altar cloth, seasonal decorations, incense, salt/water, God candle,
lighter, reading lights, altar candles
HAVE READY: dry ice, torches, besom, cauldron, seven glass candles, two
tapers, tape recorder/tapes,
crystal, athame, two chalices, strawman, container/sand, candle for each
person, ginger snaps, cups, cider, corn husks, acorns

© 2008 Eustacia Blackstar. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
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