A Druid Samhain… About My the symbol of my faith (Part 1 of 2) and my favorite holy day, Samhain (Part 2 of 2)
Part 2 of 2
Lets get right down to the Good Stuff
Harvest Image is from the North American Region of the Globe
pumpkins are not native to Europe.
Turnips were carved into lanterns for much the same purpose as pumpkins are carved and lit today.
*”Turnip lanterns,” and eventually pumpkins, “usually represented supernatural beings and, were used to chase evil spirits. Guisers” , children going about protected by costume used to deceive malevolent spirits and protect the children seeking treats or if no treats were given then the children would carry “used them to scare people, while in some cases they were set on windowsills to guard homes against evil.”
*”This term is also used for lanterns. The first stories about a trickster that was banned” from moving on to the afterlife. “His full name, Sean na Gealai, means “John of the little moon” or, with some modifications, “Jack of the Lantern.”
*from the Vintage News article Turnip-o’-lantern: Turnips were the original Halloween decorations
There are a number of different Druid Religious branches or in the more common vernacular denomination (if you are more Jedeo-christian) or tradition if yours lean pagan. There is signifigant variance in the branches of Druid ritual practices, as well as elemental relation. To that end I have found online copies of Druid Samhain rites and Nematons. I will share them with you. I will also link t o their pages so that you can get more information on their particuar branch of the Druid Faith.
Squirrel so heavy with knowledge his weight felled a tree.
“Samhain Ritual Outline by The Druid Network
The altar is set up, food is laid and the fire prepared. Incense may be lit, music played and introductionsmade. The circle is laid out using the nearby natural resources, whether it bestones, twigs, leaves, etc. The ritual leader then casts the circle.
Here we ask the guardian spirits of the place and time their permission to work our ritual in their area-
Hail Guardian Spirits of this place! We come here in peace and with clear intent. We come here to celebrate Samhain. We ask, with respect, that you accept our presence. Hail Guardian Spirits ofthis place!
THE CALL FOR PEACE
May there be peace in theNorth! May there be peace in the South! May there be peace in the West! Maythere be peace in the East!
(each call for peace to be madeby the person who will be calling the quarter. If done in this order, the callfor peace will flow along the lines of the pre-Christian equal armed cross,also recognised by the Native Americans for their medicine wheels).
We who are gathered here, wecall for peace in this land. We call for peace in our hearts and minds andtowards our fellow beings.
THE CIRCLE CASTING
Sacred Ones, spirits of the birch and rowan, fir and ivy, honeysuckle and rosemary, dryads and devas, allyou who have heard our intention, we ask with respect that you encircle us know, branch reaching branch, leaf touching leaf, roots beneath our feetentangling, that our Circle may be strong, a nemeton of inspiration, reverence and learning, in the name of the Gods whose power we both breathe, we ask that this be so.
(A moment is given to allow the devas and dryads to form the circle)
We give our energy to this circle, mingling and communing with those of the spirits of nature to create a sanctuary of peace.
(Energy is pushed out from theparticipants to mix and strengthen the circle).
Let all here draw their mindsinto the presence of their bodies, that thoughts may be melded with flesh,blood and bones, that the spirits of those gathered may be blended in onepurpose, one voice and one sacred space. Soul to soul, we weave our circle,spirit to spirit, that none may enter this sacred space but those who come intune with our intention and in peace. Soul to soul, spirit to spirit, we askthat this may be so.
The circle is consecrated by taking incense and water around the circle.
CALLING THE QUARTERS
I call upon the Spirit of the North, the Earth Mother, the Great Bear, to be with us in our sacred rite.
I call upon the Spirit of the East, the Skyfather, the Great Eagle, to be withus in our sacred rite.
I call upon the Spirit of the South, the Firebrother, the Great Dragon, to bewith us in our sacred rite.
I call upon the Spirit of the West, the Rainsister, the Great Whale, to be with us in our sacred rite.
THE SPIRITS OF PLACE
We call to the spirits ofplace, to those of Land, Sea and Sky, to those of the three worlds to be withus in our sacred rite.
CALLING THE ANCESTORS
We call to the ancestors of body, mind and spirit to be with us in our sacred rite. To our ancestors whosetears and blood, joy and happiness have been felt upon this land, whose songscourse through our blood, and whose spirit lives on through our celebrations,we call to you to be with us in our sacred rite.
CALLING THE GODDESS AND GOD
I call upon my lady of thestars and moon
To the Bringer of dreams andtwilight
I call upon my lady of the loom
The Weaver of fates in thenight
I call upon the Lady of theLady
The Singer of the Evensong
I call upon the maiden motherand Crone
The Goddess alive and strong
I call upon the Lord of the Sun
The Rider in the sky
I call upon the Lord of theWinds
To the Eagle as he flies
I call upon the King Stag
To the son, lover and sacrifice
I call upon the Lord of theWildwood
The God laughing, free and wise
‘We come to celebrate Samhain, the most sacred of nights, when the veil between the worlds is thin.We give thanks for all that we have, and we honour our ancestors and the deadat this time. Let us now say a prayer for our dead, that they may journey tothe Otherworld safely, and that we might know them again some day.
(Prayers and thanks are said,either out loud or internally during this time of prayer).
Let us now cast off the worries and fears that shackle us to the previous year. For behold! A new year is uponus. With the blessing and strength of the Crone of Winter, we come forth tounburden ourselves to her, in preparation for the long winter ahead. We willneed our strength and conviction to see the winter through, and with herblessing it will be done.
(The Crone of Winter, The Cailleach will stand at the northwest part of the circle, before a cauldron. She lifts the cauldron and holds it between her hands. Members of the circle come beforeThe Cailleach and cast off their ties to the old world, figuratively orliterally throwing something into the cauldron Note: This should be flammable,if literally casting something into the flames, and non-toxic when burned. Ifsimply pushing energy, feelings or emotions into the cauldron, simply standbefore it and push them away from you, letting the Crone take them into thecauldron. When finished, simply walk away, without looking back until you areback at your place.)
The Cailleach then throws thecontents of the cauldron onto the fire. The chant begins:
“The Wheel turns, the fireburns” .
The Cailleach confirms that it has been done, and all are then invited to feast.
The food and drink is blessed.
The ale/mead/wine/juice isblessed.
Goddess, bountiful EarthMother, bless this and suffuse it with your love.
The bread is blessed.
God, powerful Sky Father, bless this and may it lend strength to us.
The drink is held high abovethe head. Thanks be to the land! The cup is then passed to the next person, whothe toasts and passes the cup to the next person. When all have drunk the firstperson takes the cup and pours a measure onto the ground or lake. Thanks be tothe Goddess!
The bread is held out before.Thanks be to the land! The bread is then broken and passed in similar fashion.A measure of bread is then laid out. Thanks be to the God!
Everyone raises their hands tothe sky – Free the spirit, free the land!
The food comes out and everyoneis invited to celebrate! NOTE: A SPECIAL SECTION OF FOOD IS TO BE LAID OUT FOR THE DEAD ON THEIR WAY TO THE SUMMERLAND, WHICH WILL REMAIN IN THE RITUAL SITEUNTIL MORNING WHERE IT WILL THEN BE COMPOSTED, SHOULD ANYTHING REMAIN.
Poetry, artwork and music should then be shared round the circle by those who have been inspired by thismoon and this festival.
When the feasting is done,honour and respect are paid to the Goddess and God, the spirits of land, seaand sky, the ancestors, the four quarters (those who called the quarters nowbid them hail and farewell in much the same manner as they were called), thespirits of the heath and of the oak and to each other. The circle is thenclosed-
We now return the energy that we have spent in creating this circle back to our bodies and souls and the landwhich sustains us, in peace and with the blessings of the God and Goddess. (Amoment is taken to release the personal power put into the circle.)
May the Spirits of this Placehave been nourished as much as their presence has nourished us. GuardianSpirit, we give you thanks. This celebration ends in peace as it began. May the blessings we have received go with us all as we depart this place, to nourish,strengthen and sustain us until we meet again. So may it be!
The rite has ended!”
Guardian Squirrel on the look out for spiritual interlopers.
I truely wish I could provide to you a sample of an OBOD Samhain rite. OBOD celebrates eight religious festivals as per the wheel of the year. I cannot find one anywhere and I spent four hours searching. Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids (OBOD)
OBOD is in its 52 year as an international organization. I believe they provided a Druid to provide the opening blessing and invocation for the 2012 para olympics. The ritual of Fire was profound and amazing. I have a deep and abiding respect for this organization, even though our beliefs do vary.
The Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids is a worldwide group of over twenty thousand members in fifty countries, dedicated to practising, teaching, and developing Druidry as a valuable and inspiring spirituality.
The Order was founded in Britain over 50 years ago by the historian and poet Ross Nichols, aided by the writer and founder of the Tolkien Society Vera Chapman, and fellow members of the Ancient Druid Order, which developed during the early years of the last century out of the Druid Revival which began about three hundred years ago. Read more
OBAD has a Facebook page 52,560 followers! That is quiet a bit more that their reported twenty thousand members.
I suspect that OBOD has no video, nor print medium for their Samhain, due to the fact Samhain is the holiest of holy days.
A total Blackout of a squirrel for OBOD Samhain rite!
Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship is a very different branch of Druid. The functional english translation of Ár nDraíocht Féin is “Our own brand of Druidism” They too regard the wheel to celebrate their holy days. Ár nDraíocht Féin has a different perspective on the Sacred profundity of Samhain, thus many rituals are published online.
Here are a few:
A: The Statement of Purpose and Precedent
We gather here on the Feast of Samhain, the End and Beginning of the Sacred Year, the Time of Turning when the Dark Time begins. This is the Last Harvest. The fields lie empty, sinking into Winter^s Sleep and our larders hold what gain we have reaped from our labors.
As our forebearers did, so do we do now, and so may our descendants do in time to come. We are here to offer worship to the Lord of the House of the Dead and to the Queen of Phantoms; to the Gods, the Dead and the Sidhe; and especially to our honored dead here on the Feast of the Dead.
We offer to Donn the Dark One, the Antlered God who offers hospitality and peace to those bound for the Ancestors’ Country. We offer to Morrigan, the Great Queen of Battle and Sorcery; the Old Woman of Death and the Cauldron of Rebirth.
In this Season of Death we honor the Holy Dead as the ancients did, and we seek the Seed that will wait in the Womb of Winter. Now let us open the Ways Between…
B: Honoring the Patron Deities
To the Gods, the Dead and the Sidhe we offer welcome. All you Spirits who gather here with us, join now to honor the Patrons of our rite.
On the Night of the Scythe and the Skull, the honor-feast of Summer’s End, let us worship the Dark One and the Great Queen.
The Invocation of Donn
In the season of darkening, the Lord of the House of Death receives the Spirits in his Hall. He is Donn the Dark One, called Cernunnos the Horned One. He is the First Ancestor, the Torc Bearer, The Guardian of the Cauldron of Plenty.Hear us now, Horned One, Dark one, Receiver of the Dead, Granter of Rest, Patron of the Feast in the Land of the Dead. We your children pray you to come in, to let your gaze fall upon this Sacred Ground, to indwell our rite and give us your blessing.
We make due offering to you. We give you…
(offering made into shaft or offering bowl.)
Silver, that you grant the wealth of the Underworld, Source of All Potential.
(offering made to the Fire)
Oil, that the richness of the Land be renewed as our own lives are renewed.
(offering placed at the foot of the Tree)
Horn, that the beings who know you may bless us in the Season of Hunting.
Be welcome among us, Donn; Dark One, accept our sacrifice!
The Invocation of Morrigan
As the Earth falls into sleep the Queen of Spirits is choosing those who will go to the Cauldron of Rebirth. She is Morrigan, the Great Queen of Phantoms, the Chooser of the Slain. She is the Battle Raven, the Red Woman, Mistress of the Cauldron.
Hear us now, Red One, Great Queen, Lady of the Reaping, Cauldron-Witch of Sorcery and Prophecy. We your children pray that you be with us, that you look kindly upon our holy rite, that you come into our Grove and give us your blessing.
We give due offering to you. We give you…
Precious stone, that the Bones of the Earth may be clothed again in life.
Whiskey, that the Waters of Life May flow in us and Spirit indwell flesh.
Feathers, that your raven Eye watch over us in the Season of Sleep.
Be welcome among us Morrigan; Great Queen, accept our sacrifice!
Morrigan, the Great Queen of Phantoms
C: Honoring the Ancestors
On the feast of Samhain the veils between the worlds are thin. We call to our Beloved Dead, the blessed Ancestors, to join our feast and receive due offering.
Come to the Gates, honored ones; hear our call, we your children who remember. We offer you our worship, our reverence and our love.
You who fill the empty womb, you who cause the seed to spring to spring, you who fill the breast with milk, receive now these offerings, made in your honor:
Apples, the Fruit of Life and Death.
Pork, the flesh of the Sacred Sow.
Hazel nuts, concentrated meat of wisdom.
We offer these…
(some of each offering made to the shaft)
To the ancient heroes of the Pagan World; those men and women who did the bidding of the Gods for the good of the folk.
To the honored Dead of the passed year; those women and men of our folk who inspired and guided our whole world.
To our own Beloved Dead, Grandmothers-and-Fathers, family and friends who have gone ahead, we honor you and grieve for you. (offering made)
To all of you we give these fruits and meats that you may feast in joy in the Land of the Dead.
Call to the Ancestors
Artist Susan Seddon Boulet
D: During the Praise Offerings
While the Praise Offerings are made, a wreath is passed among the people and all who wish tie a black ribbon onto the wreath in commemoration of their own dead. This wreath is then given to the fire at the Prayer of Sacrifice.
E: The Blessing
The Ale of Blessing flows in us, filling us with the magic of Morrigan and Donn. As the year turns, let us welcome the quiet of the Dark. Let the stillness of the land calm and satisfy our spirits, allowing us to receive the Harvest’s Bounty. Let the gain of the passing year be ours, to fill our lives with contentment. Let us welcome the Dead who wish to return to the living world, even as we remember those who depart. May we rest content as we pass the threshold of new beginnings.
The Death Song
(Repaganized from the Carmina Gadelica)
You go home this night to your home of winter,
To your home of fall, of spring, of summer,
You go home this night to the Turning House,
To your pleasant rest in the Land of Joy.
Rest you, rest, and away with sorrow,
Rest this night in the Mother’s Breast,
Rest you, rest, and away with sorrow,
Rest, O beloved, with the Mother’s Kiss.
In the Many Colored Land;
In the Land of the Dead;
In the Plain of Joy;
In the Land Beneath the Wave;
In the Land of Youth;
In the Land of the Ever-Living;
In the Revolving Castle, the House of Donn.
Rest in seven lights, beloved,
Rest in seven joys, beloved,
Rest in seven sleeps, beloved,
In the Grove of the Cauldron, Morrigan’s Shrine.
The shadow of death is on your face, beloved
But the Cauldron of Rebirth awaits you,
The threefold turning of your Fate,
When your rest has given you your peace.
So rest in the calm of all calms,
Rest in the wisdom of all wisdoms,
Rest in the love of all loves,
Rest in the Lord of Life and Death,
Rest in the Lady of Life and Death,
Till the Season of Turning
Till the Time of Returning
Till the Mystery of the Cauldron
Squirrel contemplating how she is going to peel this apple for a Samhain Divination.
Written by Kami Landy of Shining Lakes Grove (SLG), with revisions by Rev. John “Fox” Adelmann and Rob Henderson.
- Fire, allies, tree fire well/opening
- Consecrate grounds
- Briefing-at parking lot: censing and apple
- Bonfire- Bardic & informal intro (call for stories)
- Final story with “statement of purpose”
- Fox’s warning about the night
- Remove Fox – Outsiders…
- Ana, Nature Spirits and Deities
- Invite people to enjoy journey
- Manannan, procession
- Offerings- food, etc.
- Ancestor invitation
- Fox blows horn for dead
- Dead blow horn and come in
- Praise offerings
- Dead lead dance. End by burning offering.
- Divination- Lisa: nut hulls
- Return- shared feast.
- Cauldron blessing
- Go back up hill- sing “Blood of the Ancients”
- Ana- returning thanks
- Build up the fire
- Collective thank you to Nature Spirits, deities
- Reconnecting meditation
- Final hug, “Walk with Wisdom”
- Purifiers- one smudging, one offering apples
- Seanfhear (old man)
- People to call: Earth Mother, Nature Spirits, Deities, Manannan
- Servers for the dead
- 3 or 4 “dead”
- Drummers or musicians
- 9 woods for the fire such as: yew, pine, oak, birch, willow, rowan, apple, holly, grapevine.
- silver for the well
- 20-30 luminaria lining the paths to the upper fire and to the Nemeton
- Incense for purification: a mix of mugwort, sage and myrrh. Censer
- Apple slices dipped in lemon juice (or salt water)
- Lantern and bells for Manannan, conch for calling him
- Horn for the dead to blow
- Half-masks for the dead
- Throne for Manannan, draped in silver/grey and blue/aqua.
- Blanket, seats, etc. for the “feasthall” of the dead
- A low table near them, for folks to place momentos of their own dead
- Food, drink, etc. for the dead, in nice containers and with lovely tableware. Perhaps an enclosed candle for the center of their area.
- Cups and possibly plates for sharing the feast.
- Thing to pass during praise offering and then burn: a basket of nuts and apples
Two or three people, possibly the “dead” (dressed in mundanes), need to go to the Arb and redirect people to Botsford, then *quietly* come to the woods near the Nemeton and wait to be called.
At Botsford’s at 7:30PM, the fire lit at sundown, the Nemeton fire and well opened and hallowed ahead of the rite, and the Allies (Native American spirits) welcomed and invited at that time.
There should be a person with a candle lantern greeting people in the parking area, telling them that the ritual begins at the upper fire, with storytelling as befits the season, so they should prepare themselves for an otherworldly journey and proceed to the fire. On the path, there will be one person smudging with incense something purifying, opening and warning, such as a mix of sage, mugwort and myrrh. Another person will offer them slices of apple dipped in salt water or lemon juice the otherworld feast, gift of Manannan.
At the fire, begin with the Bardic invocation. This will be offered by Richard MacKelley, who then gets people singing and telling stories.
(various people – encouraged by the bard, Richard MacKelley)
Come! Draw near the fire, draw in.
Take it within you, draw in.
Taste the fire of inspiration
That is the fire within the head,
The gift of the gods that warms the spirit. But look inside now, to the deep upwelling well of wisdom
Stilling you, touching you from deep within the earth.
The year turns to stillness,
Look within at the spark of warmth in your center,
The life which nurtured, rests at the heart of your self.
Follow it, to the sheltered cave of birth,
And the deep pool of vision that lies within it,
Giving knowledge of ancient ones returning,
And of lessons learned and time to come.
See there, a shadowed glimpse of the sun-lit land, the summer land
Where the blessed dead feast and love
And test their skills in endless rounds of pleasure,
A life more bright than life.
Who shall you see there?
Who will come to you,
To tell you of the wonders they know in that place of many wonders?
Which dear one holds you in memory,
As you hold them, and cares still for your welfare?
See them in your minds eye, in the eye of the pool of vision,
And share with them love and honor, laughter and tears of healing.
Peace and blessing be on them,
And on us who greet them with song and story,
Feast and dance this day.
Beckon to the one you have seen, to join us for this time,
To be with us in memory,
In the realm of life as we reach toward them in the land of youth.
And taking with you memory of the beloved dead,
Of those who have led the way, return to the cave of birth.
See yourself looking into that deep pool of vision
For the spark of life’s warmth, and now turning outwards once again,
We call to them,
Come! Draw near the fire.
How Manannan brought the gifts of invisibility and immortality to the Tuatha De Danann. (Kami)
It happened, long ago, when the gods retired to the sunlit lands and made the gateways through the hollow hills, leaving the changing realm of life to the sons of Mil, that Manannan mac Lir brought to them certain gifts, that they might live forever unchanging and move unseen among the sons of men.
Now, many and wondrous were the gifts that the Tuatha De Danann had brought with them to Erin’s shores, and some of those they left for the use of humanity. Among those were the Lia Fail, the stone of kingship, which sat until the days of our grandfathers upon the hill of Tara. The well of Segais, the well of wisdom, which rises at the bottom of the sea, became the source of the river Boyne, from which those who dared might drink their fill. Gifted to Finn macCumhal was the inexhaustible crane bag, made from the skin of the woman Aife when she had been transformed into the shape of that bird, which held all great and magical treasures.
Other great treasures were lost beyond all finding, gone into the mists of legend. But in that time of change, three new gifts they gained. First was the cloak of mist which enabled the Tuatha De Danann to walk unseen among men. Second was the silver apple branch of Emain Abhlach, the plain of apples, which banished all sorrow and fatigue. So sweet was its sound that it entertained all who heard it, better than the finest of music. Third was the “Feast of Age”. No one who ate of it grew old, for as often as they were eaten, the pigs which made up this feast were renewed in the morning, and those who had eaten of them likewise. In this way did Manannan, gracious host, keep the Tuatha De Danann in the land of promise, and this gift is shared with the blessed dead, who come to sit among the gods. There they have the sweetest of wine and the best of foods, fierce fighting and acts of valor by day and all wounds vanishing by night so that there may also be eloquence and words of gentle love in that hall. And in time, perhaps those who died in this world that they may be born there, die in that world and are reborn to this, for did not the druid say; “death is but the middle of a very long life?”
From far across this mortal plain,
Mothers and Fathers of old,
We ask that you return again,
Mothers and Fathers of old.
To share with us the mystery,
And secrets long untold,
Of the ancient ways we seek to reclaim,
Mothers and Fathers of old.
It’s the blood of the ancients
That runs through our veins
And the forms change,
But the circle of life remains.
[encourage people to tell stories of their relatives and ancestors]
Final story: How Cormac macAirt went to Tir na nOg (Kami)
When Cormac mac Airt was king of Ireland, he was a good king and wise, his people prospered and he was greatly loved. And if he was well loved, his children is wife was adored. And if his wife was adored, his children were cherished even moreso.
One day, as he walked upon the plain, he saw a youth playing. This youth had shining hair so fine it was like silver, and cheeks red as apples, his eyes flashed and his smile could bring an answering smile from a stone. In his hand he carried an apple branch, and upon it were nine silver apples. As he shook the branch, the sound of bells rang out, so sweet and pure that Cormac stood to listen, and found the cares and weariness of the day lifted from him.
So deep his peace and pleasure, he determined to have this branch to bring the same to his people, no matter what the cost. He asked the youth what he would take for this branch, and the youth said that he would have Cormac’s wife and son and daughter upon the following day. Well, this shocked and saddened Cormac, for his family were the sun and moon to him, but a bargain is a bargain and he could not take back his word. So Cormac returned to his hall and told the people what had happened. There was much wailing and crying out, for the people were loath to lose their queen and heirs, but Cormac shook the branch for them, and they were contented and set at peace.
The next day, the youth came and took Cormac’s wife and son and daughter away, and the people began to wail again, but once more Cormac shook the apple branch and the people were quieted. So they continued on for a year. The work went faster, for whenever Cormac shook the branch all fatigue was swept away. There were fewer quarrels, for whenever tempers flared Cormac shook the branch and people calmed.
There was peace and prosperity among all the people at Tara, but after a year, Cormac was no longer contented. He missed his family more than the branch could soothe. So one misty Autumn morning he left his high seat and walked away Westward, following the path his family had taken.
After a day and a night and a day, Cormac found himself in an unfamiliar land. Bright were the colors, soft the grass, tall the trees, and the sound of birds was like sweet speech to his ears. As he walked, he came to places of wonder. First, he saw a group of men thatching a house with feathers. No sooner had they got one side done, but they saw that they were out of feathers and began to hunt for more. And while they sought more feathers, those of the first half of the roof would blow away, so that the task was never done. Cormac watched, but said nothing, for he could see no sense in this task.
Again he journeyed on, until he came to a place where a fire was lit for making charcoal, and a woodsman was dragging up immense trees. He brought one, and laid it on the fire, but in the time it took him to go for the second tree, the first was all consumed, so that he could never sit to warm himself. Once again, Cormac watched a while but said nothing, then journeyed on.
Next he came to a barren plain whereon he saw a giant head. Into the skull poured one great stream, and from the eyes and ears and mouth flowed five smaller ones, in all directions. He wondered at this marvel, and traveled on across the plain to where he saw a brightly lit and welcoming house.
The door was opened by a fine lady who welcomed him in with the cup of blessing and wash water for his feet. A table was set for feasting, and a grand lord sat in the high seat. On the hearth a pig was roasting, yet it showed no sign of being cooked at all. The lord said to him; “Be welcome to my house, Cormac macAirt, king of Ireland. Come, let me show you a marvel. You see that pig, roasting on the spit? Well it has this quality- that if four truths are told while turning it, it will be fully cooked.”
The warrior, his wife, a servant each told a tale, and their fourths were cooked, and then Cormac told how he lost his family, and the feast was ready. Then the warrior showed Cormac the golden cup with which he had been greeted and said; “You see this cup, well it has the property that, when three lies are told near it, it will break, and three truths told near it will make it whole again.”
They demonstrated it’s property by means of some nonsense, and when it was said to Cormac; “neither your wife nor your daughter has been unfaithful, nor has your son slept with any woman,” it came back together.
Then the warrior revealed himself as Manannan macLir and asked whether he and his people had been happy in the last year. Cormac told him truthfully that the people had been contented, peaceful and productive, yet missed their royal family almost as much as Cormac himself had missed them.
So Manannan told Cormac that they would soon be with him once more and said; “Many times have I visited your realm, seen and unseen. Many times have I invited you to visit me in mine. Not until now have I prevailed upon you to accept my hospitality.”
Then through an inner door came the most beautiful sight ever to meet the eyes of Cormac macAirt – his wife and daughter and son, smiling in joy to greet him. Together they laughed and wept and hugged, looked at one another long and deeply to see that all were well, and then they sat at last to the feasting. As the dined, Cormac told of the marvels he had seen while crossing the plane. Manannan explained them; the thatching of feathers were the words of poets, who gain no fame nor give any great thought to their words, so that they are all blown away and the world left unchanged. The log that burned before the man could cook his supper, was the work of those who labor for another’s gain, not gaining pride nor sustenance from their efforts. And the great skull was the well of wisdom, flowing into the head and being expressed by the senses.
A gracious host was Manannan mac Lir, and the best of companions his wife, and the night passed pleasantly indeed, but as the sky began to pale, Manannan made a gift to Cormac of the apple branch and the cup of truth, and sent the family off to bed. When they awoke, they were once more upon the plane of Tara, and a year had passed since Cormac’s leaving. Great was the rejoicing when they returned to the hall. And that is how Cormac mac Airt won the silver branch of soothing from Manannan mac Lir.
Fox, coming in as the seanfhear – the old man:
[wanders around the fire, muttering at people, then turns and tosses in some flash powder]
Hear me, children of this earthly realm;
Beware your words this night,
Beware of those who hear unseen,
Beware of hidden ways between
The world of the living and
The sunlit summer land.
It is a night of death,
The ending of the year,
The dying of the light,
The dimming of the sun’s great fire.
Do you not fear the darkness?
See shadows move within the forest;
Which is yet more fearsome. The
dark itself, or what is faintly seen in darkness,
Shadows and mysteries of past and time to come?
So have a care not to wander off your well-marked paths,
Nor speak lightly now of ones long gone,
For they may be among you at this turning of the year.
Outsiders Invocation (Rob):
Begone, old man! You bring a note of confusion and discord to our ritual this night. We have not need of your scare-stories here. Leave the ordered circle of our firelight and do not return!
Ignore my warning at your peril. I have spoken to you, what comes after, none may say. I say to you again- go home, where it is safe and warm and bright, and do not trouble the wandering spirits with your foolishness. [leaves]
Call to Ana (Kore):
We’re the children of the earth, what have we to fear from any creature, living or dead? Trust the earth to continue, our River Mother Ana to preserve us in our place upon the earth, as she has always done. As long as we flow along with her, what have we to fear from the turning of time or any spirits out of time? They, too have belonged to the earth. Ana! Mother, You are with us this night, as every other, and we take joy in your fluid grace, slowing now and peaceful with the coming of the time of sleep. Share our journeys, as we journey on with you.
Call to Nature spirits (Matt): [a voice speaks up from around the fire]
You call us children of the earth. Then look to the first children of the earth, bear and deer and tree and salmon, eagle and raccoon and squirrel: hunters and hunted. They know well the cycles of life and death, and meet them without fear, for though there is an ending in death, yet there is in time a return. So let us be led by their wisdom, to take joy in life and adventure in death, to honor change and the steadfastness of life’s return. The spirits of nature shall lead and join us on our journeys. We welcome them among us. Hail to you who know the wisdom of the earth! Beannachai agaibh!
Deities (Raven): [standing up, addressing the fire]
And I call to the gods of our people, who instruct and protect us in all things. They will go before us to show the way, and guard us that our steps be sure and strong. We are a people of courage, of wisdom, of vision and adventure as our gods themselves. Therefore, I call to Lugh our father, Bile’ and Danu the first ones, Brid of the hearthfire, Ar’n the lusty and the Stag God who leaps in splendor unnamed, to be welcome in our rites and on our journeys, in this sacred day and time and place. Beannachai agaibh!
Rob: It is indeed a night of mystery. Let us call to Manannan to guide us, lest we be lost in the mists of change.
[hand out bells to people around fire]
Call to Manannan (Rob):
Manannan comes, he comes
Even to our fire he comes.
From beyond the sea’s nine waves he comes,
From beyond the isle of Donn he comes,
Lighting the moonlit path of mist he comes,
Showing us hidden gates he comes,
Guiding his sacred guests he comes,
Leading the longed-for dead he comes,
To our calling,
to our greeting,
to our blessing
to our welcome,
[all ring bells]
To the feasting of the night of Samhain he comes,
[Pause. Wait for him to arrive.]
[Manannan (Marae) steps forward silently, lantern in hand]
Welcome, Manannan, honored lord, hallowed guest, high one, Failte romhat! Grey one, what would you have of us this night?
[Manannan gestures to everyone to rise and follow him]
Manannan Mac Lir
[begin procession, ringing bells for Manannan]
[Upon arriving at the Nemeton, people are quietly directed to bring food-offerings to the work altar, opposite the place of the dead. These ushers will sit to the right of the dead and be willing to help serve them.]
[people call to their beloved dead, led by Rob]
Come ancient ones from days long past, come you whose feet knew clay in recent years, come you who gave flesh to your children and you who give loan of this place, and you who teach the paths of spirit. Come, ancestors well-loved and long-remembered, Come! You who have been called by name, come and share in the feast.
[Fox blows horn for dead. Victor blows the horn of the dead.]
[The dead come and take their seats]
Wait! You call this a feast? Where are the offerings of hospitality?
[3 or 4 servers carry food to the dead]
Praise offerings (Rob begins):
We are honored to be here with you. I have brought an offering, a token of esteem, to convey love and blessing.
[does own praise offering, passes the basket]
[pass the basket, each person may make an offering as it comes to them, or merely add energy to it and pass it on. When it gets to the ushers. one of them carries it past the dead, Manannan and the Seanfhear to the next person. When the basket gets back to Rob, he will take it and place it before the dead. This is the signal to begin the final offering.]
Final offering: [The dead take up the basket and lead us in a snake dance – Fox begins the drumming for it.]
You who dwell in the summer land,
Honored dead, join us in the dance.
By our side receive our love today,
Dance with us on this holy day.
Summerland where King Arthur awaits his return
[At the dance’s conclusion, the basket is taken to Manannan; an offering from the dead to their lord. He takes it, makes a gesture of acceptance, and passes it to the seer.]
Divination (Lisa): [The basket of nuts and apples is tossed in the fire and scried into for the message of the ancestors and the direction of the coming year.]
Seanfhear: [One of the “dead” whispers in Fox’s ear, who says:]
Those you have called here are pleased with your offerings of hospitality. They bid you share in the feast.
Return: [sharing the feast. People may continue to bring offerings to the dead or to tell stories about their loved ones or to suggest songs.]
Cauldron blessing – Seanfhear:
We thank you for joining us. It is long since we have been so well treated. But now the feast is ended. The living cannot thrive and grow in the land of the ever-young, as the dead cannot live anymore in the realm of time. Leave now, return to your proper place, and do not forget what can happen when you venture abroad on the night when the year turns to winter. Take with you as you go, your memory, and also if you dare, a blessing from the cauldron of health, wealth and wisdom, for you have shown honor as befits a good guest.
[Manannan will hand the cauldron to one of the “dead”, who will hold it by the gate out of the Nemeton so people can take what they need as they leave.]
[process back up hill]
It’s the blood of the ancients
That runs through our veins
And the forms change
But the circle of life remains.
Ana – return and thanks (Kore):
We who have journeyed far from familiar ways, we thank you for keeping our place in the world we know. You have held for us a place upon the earth, the realm of life, and we rejoice now to greet you with love and honor, Ana, our mother, daughter of this ancient land. Though we may leave this place and return to our homes, you are ever in our hearts for you are the river of life to us and we do not leave your presence, within this world.
[build up the upper fire, we’re all freezing!]
Thanks to spirits and deities who journeyed with us (Matt): First children of the earth, ancient high and shining ones, you spirits and deities who have joined us on this journey, for your guidance and protection, your joyful awesome presence on this journey, no less for all the blessings you bring to our lives, we give you thanks and blessing and honor this day that marks the boundary- time of the year. Slan leibh!
Reconnecting Meditation (Kami):
So- we have journeyed far, within ourselves and between realms. Now we return to ourselves, to the ways and world we know, wiser perhaps, and comforted by contact with loved ones from across the endless sea. The gate now is closed, forms are firm, each place is but itself. And yet all realms adjoin; pass through the mists or the archway or cave, the twilight and shoreline, the boundary and wasteland can be the gate. All worlds are here. And so are we.
Song: Walk with Wisdom
Turnip the Lights the Samhain rite is just getting going!
Even More Ár nDraíocht Féin Samhain rites.
How I was taught to honor the Druid Sacred Times. Three Holy Days, Samhain, The Festival of Bridgit (Spring Cleaning’s origins), and Beltane, as well as One blessing of the (Festival of First Harvest, test of champions, and handfastening time, known as Lughnasdh or rather the Taltian Games)
Druids Harvesting Mistletoe on the New Year
A Celtic New Year triquetra honoring the fact that we as Druids begin in the season of Winter as our day begins at Sunset.
In darkness and silence wisdom is more easily garnered. Our cycle of Life begins with Death, for the land is made fecund as decomposition of materials occur.
The Celtic Year begins at Samhain on the Third Day, November 1.
Next comes the Festival of Brigit, a three day Hearth Festival that is spent cleaning, clearing, and purifying of Hearth and Home. I prefer to call it Lady’s Day. The First, Second, and Third of February, when we find out if more Winter will remain or skirt away on a pleasant warming breeze.
Next comes Beltane beginning on April 30, May 1, and May 2.
Then we swing round to the week long festival honoring the sacrifice of the harvest Goddess Taltiu and her games presented to honor her life by her foster son Lugh the Long Hand. This is the festival of First harvest and the Taltian Games (the Celtic competitive games. The name of the competition has changed to honor Celtic Heritage, because many who now compete no longer honor the old ways. The Festival is now called the Highland Games. It sadly no longer coincides with the Festival of Taltiu. Druids would come and give a blessing to open the games and the First Harvest.
The Harvest Foods from an American Samhain.
Now we complete the year. The final harvest is reaped, stored, and blessed to assure lasting through Winter and the lean times. The feast table is laid out. The Feasting occurs as we close out the Celtic Year. Today’s Calendar this is celebrated on the 30th of October. Then with bellies full we go to sleep and rise to the day that is in between.
We set out a place at the table with our loved one’s favorite foods and celebrate their lives. This is the day we specifically honor those who have died this year. We also honor the ancestors during this time of contemplation and honoring.
Candles can be lit in the windows to aid in guiding the spirits on their journey if they wish to return for a visit. Be sure to empower the candles to invite specific spirits, as the veil is thin as to avoid spiritual lurkers. The day of honoring our ancestors is October 31st. We are grateful that they have moved on after learning the lessons they needed to learn. We honor their wisdom, their humor, and their love.
It is always good to hang a series of Spirit Ward Turnips or Gourds on the 31st of October for extra protection.
Much like the OBAD I do not publish my rites online. I do observe Moon Cycles, as that energy is very useful. I call and honor Land (all things manifest from sub atomic particles to planets and everything in between) Land is represented by the World Tree and the staff carry. I call and honor Sea which is represented by the calling out to the nine waves, beyond which the divine lives, the ancestors also reside across the Sea. I symbolically represent this by a simple bowl of water. I call and honor Sky which is represented by the Sacred Fire into which messages are incinerated and rise to permeate and join with the consciousness of the Divine Oneness. Land incorporates the traditional Wiccan elements, I do not call them, unless I am performing a Wiccan Circle.