Visioning… The Lake Isle of Innisfree by WB Yeats

The poem The Lake Isle of Innisfree in image and sound

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

by WB Yeats

almost-petting-chipmunk-e1412553627973
Squirrel with Isle in background, much like Innisfree

 

Innisfree_image

Innisfree

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,

750925

Small Cabin on Innisfree, “of clay and wattles made:  Nine bean -rows will I have…”

 

And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:

 

a1a424243d7643b73de0415b870eade5--printmaking-ideas-linocut-prints

A depiction, possibly a wood block of an Irish bee hive

Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee;

image325

Bee pollinating Irish Heather

And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

Peace+comes+dropping+slow

Slow dropping water over stone

 

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,

Winner-Square-Moon-Evening-Image60011

Veils of Morning at Innisfree

 

Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;

 

cricket sings; There midnight’s all a glimmer

 

There midnight’s all a glimmer, and a noon purple glow,

 

642px-Heather_(Highlands)

Noon Purple glow, said by Yeats to be the heather reflecting upon the water at noon, from a recording of W.B. Yeats reading his poem.

And the evening full of linnet’s wings.

 

Linnet’s wings

 

 

f5af399dd26d3a030e212d2c70a3325f

always night and day

 

I will arise and go now, for always night and day

I hear the lake water lapping

I hear the lake water lapping with the low sounds by the shore;

classic-London-5

WB Yeats age 23 living in London heard  “One day on the strand I heard a little tinkle of water, so on a shop window a little jet of water balancing a ball on top.  It was an advertisement of cooling drinks. It set me thinking of Slego and lake water. ” The inspiration for  the finest of Irish poems

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey

I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

 

All images borrowed from the internet and all videos are linked to YouTube.

 

And finally

a unified copy of…

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

by WB Yeats

the-lake-isle-of-innisfree-2-728

 

 

 

SONY DSC

Red Squirrel (Acorn Thrower) in an Irish Glade

I do so ever hope that your reading of this Irish Masterwork was enhanced by my images and videos. – Acorn Thrower

Advertisements

Día de Muertos …

flat,800x800,070,f.u8

Information  and images compiled by Acorn Thrower

“What’s …Día de los Muertos…?
Día de los Muertos — also known as “Día de Muertos,” or “Day of the Dead” in English — is a holiday with Mexican origins that is celebrated on November 1 – 2. … Día de los Muertos is a day to celebrate death — or, more specifically, the deceased —… Día de los Muertos has both indigenous origins from the Aztec festival for Mictecacihuatl, The Lady of The Dead, and Catholic origins from the Spanish conquistadors’ All Saints and All Souls Day.

 

dia de los muertos

Wait, it’s a two-day Holiday?
Yes, the original Aztec holiday was actually a month long event, but when the Spanish conquistadores arrived and turned Mexico Catholic, the celebration became intertwined with All Saints Day (Nov. 1) and All Souls Day (Nov. 2). Traditionally, Nov. 1 is when you welcome the souls of children that have passed away, known as Día de los Inocentes (Day of the Innocents) or Día de los Angelitos (Day of the Little Angels). Nov. 2 is when the adult souls arrive.

 

halloween2

How do you celebrate the dead?
Those who celebrate Día de los Muertos will usually put up altars honoring those members of the family who have passed away. They decorate the altars with candles, sugar skulls, marigolds, food, beverages and clothes. These offerings, or “ofrendas,” are gifts for the dead and are usually a combination of his or her favorite things. Like the holiday itself, the altar also has mixed imagery of both indigenous and Catholic background. The graves of the deceased are also visited and honored with offerings as well as vigils.

 

dia de los muertos altar

Would you have to go to Mexico to see these celebrations?
No, although Día de los Muertos is a Mexican National Holiday it is actually celebrated in other countries as well such as Guatemala, Brazil and Spain. It is also becoming more and more popular in the U.S. due to the large number of Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans.

 

dia de los muertos

…Skulls?
Skulls are everywhere during Día de los Muertos. The origins trace back to the pre-Hispanic era, when they were kept as trophies and used during rituals.

 

La-Muerte

The most recognized skull on Dia de los Muertos is the Calavera Catrina. The image as we know it today originated with José Guadalupe Posada, a Mexican Artist who depicted a fancy female skeleton as a dig against the Europhile Mexican elite during the Porfirio Díaz dictatorship. It became an iconic image of the Mexican Revolution at the beginning of the twentieth century.

 

sug2

But the actual Catrina is said to have originated thanks to the Aztec tale of Mictecacihuatl, the Lady of the Dead.”

By Ana Maria Benedetti

Why is Día de los Muertos celebrated?

1-15-12-2-9-14-18m

“Assured that the dead would be insulted by mourning or sadness, Dia de los Muertos celebrates the lives of the deceased with food, drink, parties, and activities the dead enjoyed in life. Dia de los Muertos recognizes death as a natural part of the human experience, a continuum with birth, childhood, and growing up to become a contributing member of the community. On Dia de los Muertos, the dead are also a part of the community, awakened from their eternal sleep to share celebrations with their loved ones.
File-Sep-27-4-04-52-AM
The most familiar symbol of Dia de los Muertos may be the calacas and calaveras (skeletons and skulls), which appear everywhere during the holiday: in candied sweets, as parade masks, as dolls. Calacas and calaveras are almost always portrayed as enjoying life, often in fancy clothes and entertaining situations.”

tmp716109758821564417

 

“In many parts of Mexico, participants in Dia de los Muertos festivities wear shells or other noisemakers on their clothing and jewelry. Why?

Answers will vary! Consider the culture of the festival:
•    The dead are a part of the community, but invisible to the living. Shells and noisemakers will wake the dead from their sleep, and keep them close during the festivities.

flat,1000x1000,075,f.u2
•    Many of the dead were musicians or enjoyed music and dancing.
•    Dia de los Muertos is a celebration, and music is an important part of the joyous atmosphere.”

1477684992-JuanGaAltar01

“A Dia de los Muertos altar for Mexican singer Juan Gabriel, created by Amparo de Jesús Rincón Pérez, of the National Council for Culture and Arts in Mexico City, and officials from the Dallas Mexican Consulate, at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas.

It’s not even celebrated in all of Mexico.

Isabel Montemayor, assistant professor and research associate for the Center of Mexican American Studies at the University of Texas at Arlington, said it is not as common for places in northern Mexico to celebrate, compared with southern Mexico in states such as Michoacan, Oaxaca and Veracruz.

It’s not a depressing holiday.

Montemayor said it’s a misunderstanding that the tradition is somber because death is involved. It’s quite the opposite, actually.

muertos1

“It’s a celebration of life. That’s why you see the bright colors and music. Yes, there’s some solemnity about it, but at the same time it’s a celebration of the individuals who lived,” Montemayor said.

day-of-the-dead-mexico-DDLM1015

Ofrend

It’s not a shrine; it’s a very symbolic altar.

Shrines are usually sacred structures for a specific deity. Altars used for Dia de los Muertos are the centerpieces for the holiday.

 

e595248112357cfcfa33b1591cf7b373--day-of-dead-altars

Rincón said the altars can vary in levels, but they are typically three-tiered to symbolize heaven, purgatory and earth.

 

The bread is round for a reason.

Getty-Pan-de-Muerto-57f277873df78c690fe6bf2c

Pan de muerto, or bread of the dead, may sound off-putting. But it’s a common treat made at panaderias, or Hispanic bakeries, for the holiday. The pastry is round to symbolize the circle of life, Rincón said.

 

What is la ofrenda?

 

You may see prepared meals, cigarettes or even a bottle of tequila on some altars. Those items are a part of la ofrenda, or the offering, which is a gift for the dead. It’s usually items that the deceased enjoyed the most. During the holiday, it’s believed the dead can savor their favorite things again.

The holiday coincides with the end of the agricultural cycle. Indigenous pueblos in Mexico saw it as a time to give thanks for the year’s harvest and honor their ancestors.” dallasnews.com

 

 

s-l1000

For more on Día de los Muertos celebrations and tradition around the world go to Wikipedia.

rawImage

Día de los Muertos a woman dressed as a Caballero

 

ec50e7d99b865cb16856f868767c9d97

Calavera Catrina on a deck of playing cards.

dia-de-los-muertos-michoacan-journeymexcio

Honoring the ancestors

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

More stunning calavera face painting

eff1f35da474d67c4f42c24cc7bc145e

Let these fellas play us out

482a5de88ec04f6ad915568582fe70b4--animal-skeletons-strange-photos

One final ancestor to honor

 

Images scoured from the internet.  The images belong to the photograhers or source holders.  All source material has a link in the body of the text.  All rights reserved to original publications.  Thank you for allowing me to share your words and work.

 

All Saints Day was moved… How squirrelly? All Souls too…

A “Saintly” Squirrel in Stained Glass

All Saints day originally went my a different name, dedication Sanctae Mariae ad Martyres, based upon the pagan celebration of Lemuria both were held on May 13. “Some liturgiologists base the idea that this Lemuria festival was the origin of that of All Saints on their identical dates and on the similar theme of “all the dead”.” (Wikipedia All Saints Day)  Pope Gregory III in the mid-eighth century dedicated a day to the saints and their relics, November 1.

“The choice of the day may have been intended to co-opt the pagan holiday “Feast of the Lamures,” a day which pagans used to placate the restless spirits of the dead.  In Ireland All  Saints Day is celebrated on April 20th.  November 1 is all Saints Day, Tomorrow is All Souls Day.  I will cover both in this Blog as I will post it in the morning on All Souls day.

 

metairie_cemetery_new-weeping_angel_tomb_chapman_hyams

Weeping Angel in Holy Light

 

 

6153280059_21bd403f92_b

Weeping Angel During Day

 

All-Saints

A classic Depiction of “All Saints”

100 points if you can name them all.   I have a friend. Maria B. who can name them all.

I am going to start with and bit of Truth, as it is what the fundamental beleif of my faith, Druid.  Though I have been in a Roman Catholic Church in the past year.  Long ago I converted from Roman Catholiscism to Druid.  I have released all of my past knowledge of the religion that no longer lightened my soul.   Thus there will be numerous instanaces of exerpting from other sources.  As I have been researching this topic I have fallen utterly in love with the pictures of lights to honor the dead.

 

the-virgin-mary-with-the-apostles-and-other-saints-fra-angelico

“The Catholic practice celebrates all those who have entered heaven, including saints who are recognized by the Church and those who are not.”  Catholic.org

Of Course where you have a room full of a christians you will have a similar number of perspectives on what a holy day means, as well as how to celebrate the holy day.

 

saints_stained_glass

 

“According to Mark Wood at Christian Today many evangelical protestants are uncomfortable with saints as it seems to rank some Christians more highly than others.

Thus many Christians extend the celebration of All Saints Day to everyone who is a Christian. ‘We are all saints, in a biblical sense,’ he writes.

‘So All Saints Day is a time to be thankful for all those Christians who have lived before us, whether they are officially saints or not. Some are the great teachers ad prophets from history.

Some are those who’ve taught and inspired us personally. ‘Some are our friends and family. We can thank God for their witness, and for the way they have transmitted the faith down the generations. We can learn from their lives. We can take time to be grateful for what we’ve received, and to recommit ourselves to follow in their footsteps.’

Kenya Sinclair, a writer at Catholic Online, echoes this sentiment saying All Saints Day is a ‘call to live as saints’.”  Metro.co.uk

international-house-images-allsaints1

Prayer votive to the Saints

 

 

Fun Fact from Beliefnet.com

“New Orleans Saints

Did you know the New Orleans Saints was named after All Saints Day because of the huge Catholic population in New Orleans?”

 

Symbols for the Holy Days

Germans purely celebrate All Saints Day

All Saints’ Day is represented by paintings and images of many saints together. The saints may surround or look towards a figure representing Jesus and be accompanied by angels. Saints are often represented with a golden halo above or behind their heads.

 

Newweling-Kegel

Two or more candle wicks dipped in wax and wrapped around a cone-shaped form

 

Newweling

Newweling preburning

 

2011112706

Newweling Burning

In some areas of Germany, a Newweling symbolizes All Saints’ Day. A Newweling is made of two or more candle wicks dipped in wax and wrapped around a cone shaped form. The form is removed before the candle is lit. Traditionally, each candle wick is dipped in red, white, blue, yellow or green wax and two or more different colors are used for each candle.

Toussaint

Passy-Cemetery-Paris-06-©-French-Moments

“All Saints’ Day in France is locally known as “Toussaint” which is the contraction of “Tous les Saints”, meaning “All the Saints” in English. The solemnity takes place in Autumn on the 1st November and is a Catholic tradition of honouring the dead.

Pere-Lachaise-Cemetery-Paris-©-French-Moments

French people commemorate their dead on the 1st of November. The catholic tradition makes a distinction between Toussaint (All Saints’ Day, on the 1st of November) from the “Commémoration des fidèles défunts” (All Soul’s day, on the 2nd of November). Dead relatives are supposed to be commemorated on the 2nd of November, but since Toussaint is a public holiday, French people honour their dead on the 1st of November. Members of a family usually gather to go to the cemetery together.

 

Pere-Lachaise-Cemetery-06-copyright-French-Moments

They put chrysanthemum flowers on the grave and light candles to symbolise happiness in the afterlife.

 

Crypt-Saint-Michel-Bordeaux-©-French-Moments

They can also attend special church services.

 

Passy-Cemetery-Paris-05-©-French-Moments

Toussaint can be a very important moment for families. They can spend a day together in a respectful atmosphere which generally excludes usual family fights, even though regrets and sorrow can be a source of tension. Toussaint is an opportunity to strengthen family links spending a nice day together or expressing common grief.

Many different countries blur the lines of All Saints Day and All Souls Day, the Filipinos are another one of  these nationalities.

 

Undas or Undras

sitemgr_photo_3779

“Most Filipinos go to the cemetery to visit the graves of deceased relatives and friends. Some prefer to go on Oct. 31st or Nov. 1st, while some go to the cemetery for three straight days. Others would spend the night at their loved ones mausoleum. Once we arrive, we clean the tombs, light up candles, offer flowers, and say a prayer for the souls of the departed.”

 

 

november-2-2015-philippine-holiday

“During this time, schools are on their semester break so it is also an opportunity for families to spend time together. Children would play with their cousins as the adults would exchange stories and play cards or mahjong (a game that originated in China). Back in the 80s, flying kites and catching dragonflies were favorite activities among the young. Filipinos, known for their love of singing, also bring guitars to serve as a means of entertainment while at the cemetery.

 

cemetery

As lunchtime approaches, everyone sets the table for the various dishes cooked for that day. It usually includes the deceased loved one’s favorite dish. We place a plate of food in front of the tomb or grave as offering for the soul of our relatives and friends. Priests would also go around the cemetery to offer prayers and bless graves.”

 

All-Saints-Day-Philippines-5

“Many people go back to their home provinces for All Souls’ Day. If they can’t, they go to the church to light candles. Special masses are also held in memory of the departed.”

 

Manila-North-Cemetery-1101

“Aside from honoring the dead, Filipinos also use this time to unwind. “

Quoted text

Polish and Hungarian Catholics also seem to blur the lines of the two holidays.

Polish Wszystkich Swietych

“All Saints’ Day is celebrated solemnly in Poland. The first of November is a bank holiday during which people visit cemeteries and gather round their family graves, laying flowers and lighting candles.

all-saints-day-cemetery-in-pruszkow-poland

 

“The Roman Catholic tradition (Festum Omnium Sanctorum) honouring all saints, both known and unknown, is one of the most important Polish holidays. It was also recognized by the communist authorities of the Polish People’s Republic. They renamed it the “Day of the Dead” and treated it as a day of remembrance for the deceased.

People used to believe that on 1 November, the day the Church traditionally received offerings from believers to celebrate mass in memory of the dead, souls stuck in purgatory would roam around among the living.

 

SwietoZmarlych-2-14202453688-122f8e1bf4-o.jpg

Pagan beliefs and celebrations have survived to the present day in the Podlasie Voivodeship, historically part of the eastern Slavic lands. Forefathers’s Eve, a tradition pre-dating Christianity commemorating restless souls, is still celebrated in some regions. In many villages, food, drink and prayers are still offered to the souls that have to atone for their sins, to help ease their anger and make their journey to heaven more comfortable. The tradition of a feast during which bread, eggs and honey are consumed has also been preserved. According to one superstition, a spoon which falls to the ground should not be picked up as it is thought to have been snatched by a dead soul searching for food.

 

2-chelb polish bread

CHLEB SZWAJCARSKI aka. “bread of the dead”

In some villages in southern Poland, people continue to bake the “bread of the dead,” marked with a cross and prepared early enough so as not to torture souls which, it was believed, used ovens and chimneys as the shortest way to heaven. People used to share the “bread of the dead” with priests and beggars who would say a prayer for the dead.

 

All Saints’ Day is followed by the All Souls’ Day (Commemoratio Omnium Fidelium Defunctorum – Commemoration of All Deceased Believers). It was introduced by Odilio, an abbot from Cluny, in 993 to replace the pagan celebrations for the dead. Nowadays, on All Souls’ Day, Roman Catholics remember the dead and pray for their souls. The second of November is not a bank holiday in Poland, but practising Roman Catholics go to mass on that day.

m.5111_all-saints-dayPoland

On 1 and 2 November Polish cemeteries are alight with hundreds of thousands of candles. The flower traditionally associated with All Saints’ Day in Poland is chrysanthemum.”

KAROLINA KOWALSKA

 

 

Hungarian All Saints Day

Halottak Napja

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hungarians lanterns honoring the holy days

 

ALL SOULS DAY

Celebrated on November 2nd

800px-Day_of_the_dead_at_mexican_cemetery_4

“All Souls’ Day is a Catholic tradition in which churches commemorate the dead by praying for their souls. Rituals include visiting family graves and remembering deceased relatives. However, this Christian holiday combines some rituals from the Pagan holiday Samhain as well as ancient Mexican traditions used to celebrate and remember dead ancestors.”

File-Sep-27-4-04-52-AM

“Altars are set up in homes to honor dead relatives. These are adorned with food and drinks (ofrendas), photos, candles, flowers, and candy skulls inscribed with the name of the deceased. Incense sticks are lit to help the departed find their way.”

 

“What Is All Souls Day (Commemoration of the Faithful Departed)?

All Souls Day History, Information, Prayers, Meaning, Traditions, & More

What is All Souls Day? It is when the Church commemorates and prays for the souls in Purgatory, who are undergoing purification before entering heaven. All Souls Day is celebrated on November 2nd, the day after All Saints Day. Prayers: All Souls Day Prayers

 

‘Just the facts’

Liturgical Color(s): Black, White, or Violet
Type of Holiday: A Special Class; Ranked With Solemnities because it takes precedence over a Sunday
Time of Year: November 2 (West), Eve of Pentecost (East)
Duration: One Day
Celebrates/Symbolizes: All the faithful departed
Alternate Names: Commemoration of the Faithful Departed; Commemoratio omnium Fidelium Defunctorum
Scriptural References: 2 Maccabees 12:44-45; Matthew 12:31-32; 1 Corinthians 3:13-15; 2 Timothy 1:16-18; 1 Peter 3:18-20

Data Points

All Souls Day directly follows All Saints Day, and commemorates the faithful departed, those individuals who die in God’s grace. Catholics believe that not everyone who is destined for heaven is immediately ready for the “Beatific vision,” i.e. the direct experience of God and his perfect nature in heaven, so they must be purified of “lesser faults,” and the effects of sin.

The Catholic Church calls this purification “purgatory.” The Catholic teaching on Purgatory essentially requires belief in two realities: 1. that there will be a purification of the souls of believers prior to entering heaven and 2. that the prayers and masses of the faithful in some way benefit those in the state of purification.

As to the duration, place, and exact nature of this purification, the Church has no official teaching or dogma, although Saint Augustine and others used fire as a way to explain the nature of the purification.

Many faithful Catholics, including Pope Benedict XVI, understand that Purgatory may be best thought of as an “existential state” as opposed to a temporal place (see Benedict’s Eschatology: Death and Eternal Life 230-231).

In other words, because Purgatory is outside created time and space, it is not necessarily accurate to speak of a location or duration of Purgatory. Nonetheless, the prayers and Masses of the faithful do have an impact on the purification that the faithful are undergoing in Purgatory. Many non-Catholics, including C.S. Lewis, have believed in Purgatory, and the official dogma of Purgatory is hardly offensive, even if the popular understanding of it has led to confusion. As a more everyday explanation, many liken Purgatory to a place or state where one gets “cleaned up” before entering into the presence of Almighty God.

The Church prays for, and remembers, the faithful departed throughout the entire year. However, All Souls is the general, solemn, day of commemoration, when the Church remembers, prays for, and offers requiem masses up for the faithful departed in the state of purification. Typically Christians will take this day to offer prayers up on behalf of their departed relatives and friends. Others may remember influential individuals that they never knew personally, such as presidents, musicians, etc. This may be done in the form of the Office of the Dead (Defunctorum officium), i.e. a prayer service offered in memory of departed loved ones. Often this office is prayed on the anniversary (or eve) of the death of a loved one, or on All Souls’ Day.

There are many customs associated with All Souls Day, and these vary greatly from culture to culture. In Mexico they celebrate All Souls Day as el dia de los muertos, or “the day of the dead.” Customs include going to a graveyard to have a picnic, eating skull-shaped candy, and leaving food out for dead relatives. The practice of leaving food out for dead relatives is interesting, but not exactly Catholic Theology. If all of this seems a little morbid, remember that all cultures deal with death in different manners. The Western aversion to anything related to death is not present in other cultures.

In the Philippines, they celebrate “Memorial Day” based loosely on All Souls Day. Customs include praying novenas for the holy souls, and ornately decorating relatives’ graves. On the eve of All Souls (i.e. the evening of All Saints Day), partiers go door-to-door, requesting gifts and singing a traditional verse representing the liberation of holy souls from purgatory. In Hungary the day is known as Halottak Napja, “the day of the dead,” and a common custom is inviting orphans into the family and giving them food, clothes, and toys. In rural Poland, a legend developed that at midnight on All Souls Day a great light shone on the local parish. This light was said to be the holy souls of departed parishioners gathered to pray for their release from Purgatory at the altars of their former earthly parishes. After this, the souls were said to return to scenes from their earthly life and work, visiting homes and other places. As a sign of welcome, Poles leave their windows and doors ajar on the night of All Souls Day. All of these customs show the wide variety of traditions related to All Souls Day.

‘A bit of History’

Christians have been praying for their departed brothers and sisters since the earliest days of Christianity. Early liturgies and inscriptions on catacomb walls attest to the ancientness of prayers for the dead, even if the Church needed more time to develop a substantial theology behind the practice. Praying for the dead is actually borrowed from Judaism, as indicated in 2 Maccabees 12:41-42. In the New Testament, St Paul prays for mercy for his departed friend Onesiphorus (2 Timothy 1:18). Early Christian writers Tertullian and St. Cyprian testify to the regular practice of praying for the souls of the departed. Tertullian justified the practice based on custom and Tradition, and not on explicit scriptural teaching. This demonstrates that Christians believed that their prayers could somehow have a positive effect on the souls of departed believers. Closely connected to the ancient practice of praying for the dead is the belief in an explicit state called purgatory. The New Testament hints at a purification of believers after death. For example, Saint Paul speaks of being saved, “but only as through fire” (1 Corinthians 3:15). Over time, many Church Fathers, including St. Augustine, e.g. in Enchiridion of Faith, Hope, and Love and City of God, further developed the concept of a purgation of sins through fire after death.

‘A bit More History’

In the early Church, departed Christians’ names were placed on diptychs. In the sixth century, Benedictine communities held commemorations for the departed on the feast of Pentecost. All Souls’ Day became a universal festival largely on account of the influence of Odilo of Cluny in AD 998, when he commanded its annual celebration in the Benedictine houses of his congregation. This soon spread to the Carthusian congregations as well. The day was celebrated on various days, including October 15th in 12th century Milan. Today all Western Catholics celebrate All Souls’ Day on November 2, as do many Anglicans, Lutherans, and other Christians. Initially many Protestant reformers rejected All Souls’ Day because of the theology behind the feast (Purgatory and prayers/masses for the dead), but the feast is now being celebrated in many Protestant communities, in many cases with a sub-Catholic theology of Purgatory. Some Protestants even pray for the dead; many Anglican liturgies include such prayers. While the Eastern Churches lack a clearly defined doctrine of Purgatory, they still regularly pray for the departed. …”

5174350622_a594af9416_b

Hand made paper machete lantern

 

allsouls_sidebar

An All Souls Day Festival

 

 

4013081028_20777a2aa9_b

The Dearly Departed watching over the families who have come to visit

The Faith of Ages… as old as a Great Oaks probably older…definitely older

 

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

001

Harvest Image is from the North American Region of the Globe

pumpkins are not native to Europe.

carvedturnipby-2015-nasa-will-be-growing-turnips-and-basil-on-the-moon

Turnips were carved into lanterns for much the same purpose as pumpkins are carved and lit today.

 

squirrel-steals-carved-pumpkin-max-ellis-1

*”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.”

 

800px-Traditional_Irish_halloween_Jack-o-lantern-497x640

 

*”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  Boban Docevski

 

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.

 

15pmn176

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.

THE GUARDIANS
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.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

(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.

CONSECRATION
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

THE DECLARATION

‘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.

1008_18_70-celtic-cauldron-gold

The Gundsdrp Cauldron of Plenty

Hall_Nibumbum_shs

A Samhain Feast Table

1008_18_70-celtic-cauldron-gold

The Gundsdrp Cauldron of Plenty

 

THE 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.)

THE CLOSING
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!”

 

8c61e5f57ae13677a7ea3d2310036ed5

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.

Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids

About The Order

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.

black squirrel 13

A total Blackout of a squirrel for OBOD Samhain rite!

 

 

 

Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship

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:

Stone Creed Samhain Rite

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!

8cbc6902dd7665fe1d957ebe8a08e5d2

Donn

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…

(Shaft)

Precious stone, that the Bones of the Earth may be clothed again in life.

(Fire)

Whiskey, that the Waters of Life May flow in us and Spirit indwell flesh.

(Tree)

Feathers, that your raven Eye watch over us in the Season of Sleep.

Be welcome among us Morrigan; Great Queen, accept our sacrifice!

297605698d5b7d5ae8523d9625710c05

Morrigan, the Great Queen of Phantoms

Artist link

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.

(offering made)

To the honored Dead of the passed year; those women and men of our folk who inspired and guided our whole world.

(offerings made)

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.

d91536af40f94224d7c53a06d1f1d8b0--spiritual-quotes-spiritual-life
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

9f63f0876f1643941ed03bc8cf841dfc--singers-apples

 

Squirrel contemplating how she is going to peel this apple for a Samhain Divination.

 

Shining Lakes Grove Samhain Rite – 1997

Written by Kami Landy of Shining Lakes Grove (SLG), with revisions by Rev. John “Fox” Adelmann and Rob Henderson.

Outline

  • 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”

Parts

  • Greeter
  • Purifiers- one smudging, one offering apples
  • Storyteller/Bard
  • Seanfhear (old man)
  • People to call: Earth Mother, Nature Spirits, Deities, Manannan
  • Servers for the dead
  • Manannan
  • 3 or 4 “dead”
  • Drummers or musicians

Materials

  • 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.

Storytelling

(various people – encouraged by the bard, Richard MacKelley)

Centering

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.

samhain-bonfirebonfire

b-for-bewitching-samhain-bonfire

Samhain Bonfires

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?”

Songs

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.
Beware!

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!

Seanfhear:

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!

 

9c8490c7eff79a4712bf3e8ed8aad94c--celtic-goddess-goddess-art59bae506e5089972b9da83775ef646c8--celtic-mythology-crows-ravens (1)a4ed2447947f5027622baf5bb7cea82cDeities (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):

[blow conch]

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

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]

Seanfhear (Fox):

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.]

Song

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.

 

440px-The_Death_of_King_Arthur
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]

Song

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-o-lanterns

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)

celtic-new-year-in-celtic-cultures-in-britain-and-western-europe-the-G39GCW

Druids Harvesting Mistletoe on the New Year

 

40d2bb80d3f0c9081db3540b3128b572

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.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Next comes Beltane beginning on April 30, May 1, and May 2.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

 

hqdefault (1)

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

 

b8c704d3e71b6d311a4e74a50263f1ff--celtic-festival-modern-halloween

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.

 

 

 

 

 

The Faith of Ages… as old as a Great Oaks probably older…definitely older

A Druid Samhain…. About my faith and my favorite holy days.

A taste in image of what is to come in the next 24 hours

I am choosing to be kind to myself and get to bed at a decent hour; as I have a huge event on Sunday to prepare for as well as a blog to complete as promised.

 

Pointy Witch Hats & Black Cats Part 2 of 2

A Wiccan Samhain Part 2 of 2

 

A wee bit o Wiccan Law or rather Rede, just so you know that Wicca, Wicce, or Witches as they choose to assign themselves.

WDONA231-Fall Witch's Hat w.squirrels

Just a bit of Squirrelin’ Around the Wich’s Hat to lighten the mood

 

And now the Rede en toto…

3c214ff5c3bd29260d746b4fca6ebd5a--witchcraft-history-wiccan-art

 

Now on to How The Wiccans Celebrate Samhain

They set up your Samhain Altar…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Wiccan-Symbols-And-Meanings-Wiccan-Pentagram-Pentacle

Basic Element Info

Air
Masculine, projective element connected to rational thought, the mind, intellect, wisdom, communication, etc.
Corresponding to the North, the winter season, middle of the night.
Earth
Feminine, receptive, connected to stability, practicality, materialism, the physical world, etc.
Corresponding to the East, to the spring season, to sunrise time,
Fire
Masculine, projective, connected to the will, passion, creativity, etc.
Corresponding to the South, to the summer season, to midday (noon).
Water
Feminine, receptive, connected to the emotions, intuition, mysterious, the subconscious, etc.
Corresponding to the West, to the fall season, to twilight time.

8866370_f520

Samhain is both last and first.

Holidays-3-paganism-18189677-470-432

Samhain is the ending and the beginning.

 

A Wiccan Ritual has a standard format for group rites.

  • A Circle is cast and elements called, the circle is sealed.
  • A Processional  – The Summoner of the rite sends out their page  to gather the coverners to ritual.  The Summoner rings a bell thrice to call the coven to the rite. The page sees to the coveners they are  asked to ground, center while focusing on the rite ahead. They then get ritually cleansed, generally smudging.  Next they are lead to the head of the path to the rite.
  • A door is cut to allow entry to the circle.  The covener enters and is greeted in turn by the priestess and then the priest (the order of who greets first is dependant upon the rite).  The door to the circle is sealed.
  • The Priest and Priestess lead a song, hymn, or chant and dance It is sung to honor the deity (ies) The dancing and singing may include instruments such as drums, tambourines, and finger cymbal. The song and movement build the energy to be utilized for the forthcoming magic work.  The dance always goes always desoil round the circle.
  • The Priest speaks about the shifting of the time and light
  • The Priestess speaks about the thinning of the veil and invites the ancestors and loved ones
  • Then an enactment of the Samhain rite occurs , honoring one of these energies or a few of these concepts: the final harvest, or death of the God, return of the dead to briefly rejoice, the creation of the world, with  chaos transformed to order,  or culling the weak animals that will not make it through the winter (this is the time of year to rid one’s self of weakness).  Enactment will take the form of a play, mime or dance.  At the end of the enactment a bell is rung seven times and
  • Then a convener speaks on how Samhain is perceived.
  • The Priest and Priestess respond
  • The coven reply
  • The Priest and Priestess respond
  • The coven reply
  • The Priest and Priestess respond
  • The coven reply
  • The Priest and Priestess respond
  • The coven reply
  • The Priest and Priestess lead a  dance around the circle
  • The Priestess takes up the symbol of the God and a sacred mystery of sacrifice is made going back and forth between Priestess and Priest. Covener stands by to light the cauldron.  The Coveners circle round to place an offering on or near the altar. They may kiss the Priest  and move back to their places, always moving desoil, as they pass the burning cauldron they may toss in their paper containing their weakness. The Priest contemplates, then removes the symbol of the God and dismisses the God.
  • The bell is rung nine times
  • Then follows the Ceremony of Cakes and Ale..
  • The circle is dismissed.
  • The feast (to ground out the energy of the rite ) occurs followed by  games and fun.
mostly researched  from Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft

192p87k8ohw53jpg

According to Scott Cunningham’s Living Wicca… Samhain symbolizes The end of Summer and the dead are honored.  Scrying by flame or mirror is recommended, leave offerings for the departed. Colors are orange and black.

 

4013081028_20777a2aa9_b

Online the consensus is that a Wiccan Samhain is one or two days around the 31st of October and the 1st of November.  Or takes place around the first full Moon of October, generally called the Harvest Moon. This year (2017) Samhain would have been at the top of the month if celebrated around the Full Moon.  The energy felt like Samhain to me.  This was the most intensely I have felt Samhain energy in quiet some time.

Here are two Wiccan Samhain rituals.

Take a few moments to watch and learn about Samhain by watching rites.

   A Wiccan Samhain Ritual

about 32 minutes

Cauldron Chat – 2015 Samhain Ritual

about 11 minutes

 

 

 

Pointy Witch Hats & Black Cats Part 1 of 2

…. A Wiccan Samhain Part 1 of 2

Important Details

Getting to know your Wiccan or Witch

Witch Hats

8c0db20692129be07e3b4499e48ea586--halloween-witches-fall-halloween

Pointy Witches Hats

Earliest seen wearing of the Pointy Hats, now associated with powerful women was…

“But weirdly, one of the earliest incarnations of the conical headpiece is also one of the most familiar: Three female mummies uncovered in the Chinese region of Subeshi[PDF]—known as the “witches of Subeshi”—are famous for covering their hair with large funnel-shaped contraptions of black felt. They look like aunts in a fourth century B.C. outtake from Sabrina the Teenage Witch.” Katy Waldman from her blog  https://tinyurl.com/lzrljn3

 

A bit further along that the Mummies are the other two iterations of what is today typically worn by the modern Witch hat.

300px-Hans_Memling_050

First is the hennin.  The Hennin is where we see the great skyward reaching point of the classic witch hat derives.  A Hennin designated the person as being of noble countenance.

 

330px-Bust_Attis_CdM
The second chapeaux from this era of European fashion and culture was the Phrygian cap.    This particular head covering had a specific meaning for the wearer.  A person wearing a Phrygian cap represents liberty, sometimes noted as a liberty cap, “in artistic representations it signifies freedom and the pursuit of liberty.”

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cone of Power

Visual Representation of a Cone of Power

“Of course, most modern people who identify as witches don’t actually wear the stereotypical witch’s hat. (They don’t have to pull on flowing garments either, although certain rituals are associated with color-coded robes.) Still, the peaked cap holds special significance for some Wiccans, who see it as a visual representation of the Cone of Power they draw on for their spells.”

Katy Waldman from her blog  https://tinyurl.com/lzrljn3

bonfire

Bonfires are built to enhance airflow for even and safe burn; the optimal shape is a conical.

A bonfire can be seen to contain three of the traditional elements which Wiccans fundamentally use to direct power.  The fourth is ever-present as a guardian at the base of this luminous con of power.

Three is a number that is akin to the Divine Feminine (the power seen as creation.)

Most of the witches hats are worn by women or girls.

The witch hat, this tool taps into the divine femine power.

Art of Witches, Real Witches , and Film Portrayals of Witches

It is my theory that the witch hat embodies an idea drawn from it’s herstory. The Witch’s Hat represents the ennoblement of women as manifest liberty, thus creating the cone of power

88528bc11a2918f7d7aac509c0c55954A Witches  Hat Maze for you

The triple elements present in the luminous Cone of Power

Earth (the Wood),  Air / Oxygen (that empowers the fire to burn), and Fire (the energetic manifestation of the luminous Cone of Power

287415279_af817c46ef

The Cone of Power appears regularly in the form of the bonfires that are consecrated and blesses to enhance the positive magic or rather energy of the ritual. Generally the weather has turned cool on Samhain (last of October) so warmth is also a concern.

 

Familiars and Animal Companions

2d995f646cfc37d7c90fbff9c5a6d094--halloween-art-happy-halloween

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Black Cats

Black Cats and Witches

Black Cats and Witches are a a dynamic part of the portrayal of a Witch, or rather a Wiccan.  Many who follow Wicca find or are found by an animal companion or rather a familiar.  Those companions will spontaneously manifest a bond or connection.  Now that said, not all black cats are familiars.

Not all familiars are cats.  I know of a few other species of familiars, a boa constrictor, a miniature goat, a pit bull, a shar pei,  a  dachshund, a parakeet, an iguana, a horse, and a rabbit.  Not every Wiccan has a familiar.

Finding or being found by a familiar has to occur as is naturally.  Animal companions are generally loving pets

I have been calling Wiccans witches. Not all witches are practitioners of the Wicca.   Only some Wiccans claim to be Witch.  Manners maketh Man, thus I ask you to be polite make inquires into how to address your local Wiccan or witch and what they feel the difference is to them.

 

procession

A Wiccan Memorial Day Honoring Fallen Pagan Soldiers

 Soldiers who will later be honored at Samhain to honor those who have gone before to The Summerland.

Paganavebury

Not all Witches choose to wear a Witch hats

 

Yes, I know I went on a tangent.

to be continued…